With the advent of electronic communication and easy-to-use editing software, it is not surprising that there are more and more incidents where firms have become associated with financial statements for enterprises who are not their clients. These fraudulent statements are being used to obtain credit or are filed for regulatory purposes. Although firms can do little to prevent this type of theft, do take it seriously if it ever comes to your attention that your reports have been used without your authorisation – contact your insurance company and legal counsel immediately. In addition, make sure you’re taking the appropriate security precaution with your electronic signature and letterhead.
Financial Document Clearinghouse
The instances of unauthorised use of reports in the US has become such a significant issue that CPA.com, a subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), has co developed an online financial document clearinghouse that enables private business to exchange key information with their investor and lenders as well as retrieve information from their CPA firm, ensuring the data is submitted from an authenticated source. The idea is that once financial information users, such as banks and investors, become aware of services such as this they will demand that financial information come from a reliable and authenticated source rather than obtaining the financial information directly.