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What is separation of duties?

Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

What is Separation of Duties

The separation of duties is one of various internal control techniques for safeguarding a company’s assets. By separating employee’s duties, the likelihood of theft, embezzlement, etc. is reduced. The reason is it will now require two dishonest people working together to admit to each other that they are dishonest and then plan and carry out the crime.

Example of Separation of Duties

A bank requires that its night depository safe be opened twice a day and the deposits processed immediately. Rather than have one person opening and emptying the safe, the bank requires that an officer and another employee open the safe and take the deposits to a third person (bank teller) who processes the deposits. Further, the bank sends or makes available bank statements showing all of the customer’s deposits and other transactions.

Having the duties separated, it is difficult to hide a theft for an extended time.

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About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on

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