Meet the Fourlane Partners: Laura Davidsen

Meet the Fourlane Partners: Laura Davidsen

Laura Davidsen, a partner at Fourlane, brings 30 years of accounting and management experience, gained through her roles as an accountant and business owner. She and her team provide managed services consulting and development for customers in many industries, including construction, food service, retail and field service management, where the business revolves around having trained specialists who work in service professions, including electrical, plumbing and HVAC.

Q: At Fourlane, you head up the forensic audit practice. What is the backstory about how you got into this field?

Laura: While attending college, I worked at a dining and athletic club. One day, the chef asked me to make a deposit for some tenderloin that a member paid cash for. The chef was adamant that I deposit the money instead of the controller depositing it. This stirred me to investigate the deposit paperwork, where I found that the deposit sheets did not match what was recorded in our computer system, and that the controller purposely scratched off, whited out or just left off the cash deposits that were missing.

I took my discovery to the board of directors, and they confronted the controller. Needless to say, the board fired the controller. At this point, I began to work closely with the CPA office to audit the books over a 10-year period. At the end, the controller owed $80,000, and I realized that I loved the investigation – both finding the embezzlement and finding the missing transactions in a mountain of paperwork.

This same scenario recurred a few other times throughout my work life; another incident occurred for a restaurant in Asheville that a client was interested in buying. Upon auditing the restaurant’s books, I discovered the owner had two sets of books!

Q: 2020 has been a year unlike any other. What are your clients’ biggest concerns right now?

Laura: Great question! Some of the biggest concerns include the following:

  • Keeping staff motivated and productive.
  • Opening the business back up and being able to function from the company office. Many are still not able to work simultaneously from the office, which postponed work for conversions (new files).
  • Keeping up with the new high demand for products such as gloves and safety equipment.
  • Some clients have made reductions to staff, and more senior employees are having to take on more duties. 
  • As people share their home office space with home daycare or school space, work/life balance challenges arise.

Q: Do you think the potential for fraud increases during widespread work from home? Why or why not? Is it possible that irregularities can increase when all workers are in different locations, and, if so, how?

Laura: Yes, there are many possibilities, such as timesheet theft, fraudulent payroll entry, data theft by the employee or others, including unsecured networks, and sharing the computer with others and exposing data.

Q: What are the several of the biggest mistakes companies make in preventing fraud?

Laura: The biggest one is maintaining a one-person accounting department. Instead, a business needs to have segregation of accounting duties. Other mistakes include not performing background checks to know who your employees are, not protecting credit card information, and having controls in place to prevent check fraud, such as locking your checks up and keeping track of the numbers.

Q: Based on your Fourlane experience, what would you say is the best part about your job?

Laura:  The best part of my job is meeting a client for the first time, discussing their pain points and providing the client with a solution. Also, at Fourlane, we work with each other very closely.  With the use of tools like Slack and GoToMeeting, we can communicate and collaborate throughout our days, working to provide solutions to staff and clients. 

Q: When you’re not working, what are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?

Laura: I love baking and almost opened a bakery back in 2002, but kept it as a hobby, where I shared it with friends and family. I like cooking with my husband and having family/friends over. I also enjoy surf fishing with my husband and two boys, as well as taking walks or riding bikes on the beach.

You can contact Laura here, or contact her via her LinkedIn profile here. Want to learn more about Fourlane and the services we offer? Click here and contact us today!

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