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Reducing Stress for AP Teams

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Niek Dekker
3 Min

Let’s face it – cost-cutting runs through most CFOs’ veins. In the face of budgetary constraints, CFOs regularly pressure departmental heads to rein in expenditure. But it would be hypocritical to do so if their own department were seen to be profligate. With finance and accounting departments being cost centres for most businesses, they are often the first places CFOs look for belt tightening opportunities. But keeping a lid on costs should not see you scrimping on essential tools, such as those that help you fight fraud. Such an approach could result in unforeseen consequences, notably a rise in stressed Accounts Payable (AP) teams.

Stressed Mid-Career Accountants

A recent survey of 260 Australian accountants by Monash Business School, measured levels of stress and wellbeing. With an average age of 43 years, and having worked in the industry for an average of 22 years, the survey identified that mid-career accountants tended to exhibit higher levels of stress.

In fact, those aged between 30 – 34 years had the highest levels of stress. Interestingly, as accountants rose through the ranks to more senior levels, their stress levels decreased.

There could be a number of factors for this trend. One potential explanation could be the fact that mid-career accountants tend to be the individuals undertaking the hands-on work that carries a greater risk of error resulting in fraud.

Any mid-career accountant, working in a busy AP team, knows that one inadvertent mistake, such as being deceived by a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scam, could result in massive losses for their employer. This could result in them losing their job and potentially ending their career in accounting.

Sacked BEC Victim

Recently, the Fair Work Commission ordered the Bank of Queensland to reinstate a branch manager who had been sacked for falling victim to a BEC scam. The fraudsters had successfully compromised a customer’s email account and instructed the bank to pay the final $30,000 instalment of a loan to the scammer’s account.

In sacking the branch manager, the bank had claimed that verification processes had not been followed correctly. However, the Commission thought otherwise, arguing that a lack of staff training on detecting and dealing with BEC scams was a contributing factor.

The experience of being deceived by a BEC scam, and the resulting repercussions from employers, can result in heightened stress and anxiety levels for accounting staff. The branch manager in the Bank of Queensland case stated “her dismissal resulted in considerable hardship to her and her family.”

Avoid Stressed AP Teams

There’s no doubt that overly stressed staff can sap morale in any organisation. It can lead to reduced rates of productivity, poorer levels of customer service, higher absenteeism and staff turnover. These are all costs that ultimately impact an organisation’s bottom line.

One important measure you can take to avoid stressed AP teams, is to give them the tools they need to avoid being deceived by scammers. Rather than relying solely on humans to detect increasingly deceptive scamming attempts, technology can help you avoid instances of digital fraud.

Eftsure is a unique fraudtech solution that aggregates the banking details from nearly 2 million Australian organisations. Before your AP team processes EFT payments, they can verify the banking details against eftsure’s database to determine whether other organisations are paying the same supplier using the same banking details. If the banking details match, there’s a strong probability that the payment will be sent to the correct beneficiary.

With tools such as eftsure in their armoury, your AP team will be able to get on with their work without the stress that at any moment they could become targets of digital fraud.

Contact eftsure today for a no-obligation demonstration.

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