As A Working Student...
In my mind I always thought of thinking as an Internal Audit staff policing the company´s Accounting and Compliance system... at least, that was my first job as a working 20 year-old student. I was hired by the Controller of a Group of Companies as one of their auditors. I worked there while finishing my studies at night and continued to work for about 7 years. When I left, the people I audited in different departments are still my friends until now, always reunited when I´d go back to visit my relatives in Manila.
In Europe, I´ve worked for multinational companies in various sectors. Three of those giant companies were Bluechip American firms. There were irregularities but nothing really serious and were just petty things. They complied to the rules as well as the US-GAAP were strictly implemented. I must say that the offices in the city of Vienna were a bit more expensive to run because everything was simply expensive. Most importantly, employees enjoyed so many benefits including the 13th and 14th Month-Pay, children´s allowance, etc. For the employers, the fixed costs were horrendous as well as the employer´s contribution had been equal to what the employees were contributing to the social security system. And so, the Management closed-down offices and moved to other EU countries mostly in Eastern Europe when the borders opened early 90s. It had been cheaper to run the offices there because salaries were lower than in Western Europe.
Shortly after my stints with the above, I found a job in multinational companies and one of these firms had been the topic of what this content is all about. In my years of working in one of these local companies, I found out that the company´s control system was lax... one of the co-workers were using the Cash Fund privately and more often than several times. Sometimes, the amount varied.... nobody controlled the movement of the fund ,I was recording the movements, balances of which did not tally.. so I confronted the person and asked her to pay the missing amount. She said she really didn´t understand how the cash flow works. I know she did, but was just playing around. So she reimbursed what was missing. I did not report that incident because she paid the missing cash.
Months have passed and the same thing happened again and again, she was living lavishly because of her lifestyle. So I finally talked to the right hand (foster son) of the owner. She had been the darling of the company owners and she have had more advantages than others because she was already there as assistant when the company had its beginning and later expanded to other countries . Later on, the management felt she was already becoming a liability, she was sacked by the Management and they took away the cash Funds from her and gave it in the care of the CFO, who had been my superior.
Conflict of Interest...
Normally, any employee working in the Finance and Accounting Department should not hold any Cash Fund because there is a conflict of interest. What more if recording is done by the same department where every member had access online! Our Dept. Manager had been the focus of other employees in the company because of his behavior of not acting as a professional corporate person. He scolded his department employees in front of a group when mistakes happened and everyone had been fucked-off of his style.
How many times did I suggest the correct procedures on accounting and filing of documents he always declined?! In the end, we´ve been going round in circles and wasting double time searching for documents. I only had a year before retirement, so I resigned from the company stating health issues as reason. During my last month there, the foster son told me that the CEO wanted me to audit the 2 Cash Funds held by the CFO... there were big cash movement that were not documented.
It took me 3 days to have the 2 Fund-Balances reconciled and the outcome was that he had been using some of the funds privately. As far as I remember, the final amount missing had been 1.6K USD but I doubted it! I knew there were more but maybe when days were moving on, he replenished what he had used from other sources. Although I had been assisting the owner´s foster son behind closed doors, the CFO didn´t know what was going on because we were auditing the company´s books in the system. It was only said to everyone that I was ordered to assist the other Manager on a special assignment.
The result of the Cash Fund audit caused him his position because the Management knew there were some manipulations in the books which only a few had access in the software he used....so he had been degraded to the position of an accountant. What more, he was asked to move from his office and transferred to a general working area which was very degrading because the co-employees didn´t know what went on and why he transferred office.
After I resigned, I lived in Andalusia for a year since about a few months after I was to get my retirement already. I got an email from the company´s lawyer asking me to pass-by the office as we have something important to talk about. When I arrived from Andalusia, I went to meet the lawyer and she talked about an offer for me to work again for the company as Department Head.
Of course, I politely declined the offer because the much awaited retirement began that month. I asked what went on and the lawyer said, they want to sack the former CFO because he was already becoming a liability, but then they couldn´t... because he knew too many trade secrets that might damage the company. So they assigned him to a newly formed company that was having construction business in Turkey as Accountant. They did ot give him any financial position. I am not sure whether he knew that I audited his Cash Fund.
And so, I felt that justice automatically served its right and most of my former co-employees were relieved. I didn´t feel that I have done a whistleblowing act as it was an order from the Management to find the truth. Indeed, the end justifies the means!
Stay safe everyone!