Standard practice for you

Standard practice for you

I’m currently working with one of our clients on a professional negligence disciplinary case.

The employee going through the disciplinary process is a standalone bookkeeper in the company and he’s been there for over two years.

And he’s been making mistakes. A lot of them.

He’s been on holiday for the past two weeks, and while he’s been off we’ve taken the opportunity to find out what’s been going on.

As it turns out, there’s been A LOT going on, and very little of it has been good.

He’s no fraudster, but he hasn’t been claiming the VAT or paying the suppliers, he’s been logging PAYE to sundry expenses and he’s never ever done a bank reconciliation.

The more that came out, the more the need for a disciplinary became clear, and when I was chatting through with the client, they commented that it was “lucky” that “Bob” had been off on holiday for a full fortnight so that we could do the investigation.

My response was to explain that it is standard practice for finance workers to be required to take two weeks off in a row.

The silence on the other end of the phone made me realise that while I’d assumed this was widely known, it’s probably not.

So I thought I’d let you know too!

The compulsory two-week holiday rule was first proposed by the now defunct FSA in 2008.

This was after Jérôme Kerviel, a trader at Société Générale, lost over $7 billion of the bank’s money in 2007. He later admitted hadn’t taken one single day of vacation that year because he didn’t want anyone else to look at his books.

It was initially introduced to traders, but it’s now standard practice at the banks that all staff take those two weeks off every year. Without remote access to their work accounts.

If you have bookkeepers, finance directors, or anyone who has access to your books, and especially has access to make payments, you absolutely should make sure that they are away for two consecutive weeks every year, and that someone else takes over and does the role for that time, even if it is a freelancer.

You need to know about it before it gets as bad as $7 billion!


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