By Tricia Luedke, Vice President, Private Banking, Core Bank
My momma always said… go to the dentist every 6 months and get an annual checkup! I’m turning over another small milestone (but milestone none-the-less) this year, and adding another item to my annual checklist! Goodness, growing up stinks sometimes. Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and brushing those teeth. What’s next? Well, if you’re a Business Owner, have you thought about a checkup for your company? How often should you evaluate your company’s external relationships?
Business owners should go through their banking materials at least annually, and definitely look over access levels if there is turn-over with executive staff.
Case in point:
I recently had a client’s controller leave the business. They were the administrator for all company access to online banking and they were also a signer on the account. So how does letting an employee go leave a company vulnerable?
Checkup Item #1. Online Access/Account Signers
Who has authority to do what?
As an Administrator for Online Banking, this person is allowed to manage all of the users, thus creating templates for ACH and wires, approving transactions, setting up bill pay and granting privileges to other users. This privilege is a big one that leaves companies at risk if they have a staff member leave and should be evaluated regularly.
As Owners of the Business, you should look over the signature card to know IF there are different levels of authority for signers.
- Do all signers have access to open or close the account, write checks, transfer funds?
- Should you have separate accounts for payroll, or vendors to lessen whose fingers are in the Operating Account?
- Should you have separation of duties for office staff or switch jobs every so often for back up purposes?
I’ve seen companies have the same person opening the mail, filling out deposit slips, making the deposits, and creating the bookkeeping entry. This could leave the company missing deposits and could leave the employee at risk of having too much control.
Checkup Item #2. Fee
There are times when I’m visiting with accountants and they say “my clients” are so frustrated with their bank fees! They don’t even know what they’re being charged for.
As a Business Owner you should be looking at an Analysis Statement monthly.
- This statement indicates the volume of transaction you are doing as a company.
- The products and services you are using.
- The earnings credit received on your account and your average collected balances.
Your Relationship Manager/Treasury Service Specialist should be able to help you evaluate these products and services to make sure you are still using them, if there is a need to upgrade, or change/eliminate products and services.
Checkup item #3. Merchant Services/Outsourced Vendors
Merchant statements can be very confusing and hard to understand. Sometimes it can be hard to see what rate you’re being charged for accepting certain types of cards. You should visit with your merchant provider annually to know if rates have changed with Visa/MC/Discover and if the rate promised is the rate you are receiving.
These items are just some that assist in allowing a business owner to step back and truly evaluate where there are risks and how to mitigate those risks, if not eliminate them all together.
So eat that box of chocolates, brush those teeth, exercise, get some sleep and set up those appointments to get a checkup!