I recently took on a new client and even though I could pass on the engagement, I felt I had a civic responsibility to help this person out. I was retained by an elderly woman, still very active, lives alone, no family close by and wealthy. After speaking with my new client, I learned her previous bookkeeper was "not so nice" and as she put it, "finally found the gumption to release her of her duties". I can post hundreds of articles relating to bookkeepers that steal from the elderly. It's unfortunately a common occurrence today because they are often vulnerable and people prey upon that circumstance. I'm pretty certain I will find improprieties from this bookkeeper as I have already found suspicious activity after only spending 2 hours with my new client.
There were glaring warning sides that my client picked up on such as (1) verbal intimidation not allowing her to look at her checkbook (2) making the client pay for the bookkeepers personal expenses (3) decreasing the font on her computer so she could not see what was being typed (4) no checkbook reconciliation performed (5) reviewing transactions and telling the client it was none of her business or not important.
The client is entitled to know everything about their finances, what has happened in that month, which checks are being written and anything that comes in the mail that may or may not require their attention either electronically or in hard copy form.
I am a Certified Fraud Examiner and I have E&O and GL insurance. I will never risk my credibility nor my reputation of my company to steal or misappropriate funds. I am now looking to expand my service to other seniors in the area that would like for me to perform basic bookkeeping for them because it's egregious for me to allow them to be taken advantage of.