Internal Business Control Systems in Small Puerto Rican Retail Businesses

Belma A. Borras, Walden University

Abstract

Small businesses' vulnerability to financial losses brought about by employee theft is higher than for larger organizations. Small business owners are concerned about occupational fraud, as the annual average loss from fraud for small business owners in the United States was $150,000 per incident. Grounded in the fraud triangle theory and COSO Internal Control Integrated Framework, the purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to examine the relationship between the degree of segregation of duties, attitude toward internal controls, and the internal control system in small gas and convenience stores in Puerto Rico. Data were collected from 129 small business owners and managers of gas and convenience stores located in Puerto Rico. The results of the multiple regression analysis were significant, F(2, 126) = 49.158, p <. 01, R2 =. 438, indicating the degree of segregation of duties and the attitude toward internal controls, significantly predicted the internal control system. The implications for positive social change included the potential for a better understanding of the existing relationship between the degree of segregation of duties, attitude towards internal control, and internal controls. Thus, small business owners and managers could become interested in engaging in a low-budget internal control system for their business to reach their goals and diminish the occurrence of occupational fraud.