• Ronnie Wambles

The Myth of the Two Signature Check

Over $500,000 was stolen from a church in Ohio by their 80 year old bookkeeper. It took a few years for her to do it and even longer for anyone to figure it out.

They were caught completely by surprise. Since they required two signatures on all checks, they never thought this could be possible.

Conventional wisdom says that requiring two signatures on your church or business checks is the gold standard of internal controls.

But, did you know that most banks don’t check for multiple signatures even if the check has two lines?

In fact, banks don’t typically abide by the two-signature requirement because they consider it to be an entity’s internal process. They don’t want the liability.

Additionally, most church staff and volunteers find two signature systems to be overly burdensome and inconvenient. Eventually, they start presigning blank checks so that church business can run smoothly. Thus, nullifying the point of the policy.

Requiring two signatures on checks isn’t a bad thing. It can be a helpful tool and sound practice if used appropriately. But it may not be the magic safe you think it is.

The two-signature check requirement will not protect your church or business from fraud.

Houston, we have a problem.

Is there a better solution?

Yes! The technology exists which allows for better internal controls which are easier to use and at an affordable price.

There are cloud-based programs which can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

A few of the features include:

  • Create users and set roles based on your organization’s needs.

  • Customize approval requirements by dollar amount or department.

  • Approve and/or pay bills electronically.

  • Include/attach original paperwork to electronic bill and payment.

We use a program called Bill.com with our clients. They find it fast and easy to use. And a price can’t be put on the comfort of knowing that their exposure to fraud is limited.

How comfortable are you with your organization’s exposure to fraud and embezzlement?

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