Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type



Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Aaron Zimbelman

Second Reader

Jason Rasso


After serving as a treasurer for a student organization it was clear that it would not be difficult to commit fraud and the largest obstacle was likely the guilt that would be associated with being unethical. However, students frequently cheat in an academic setting which is similar to the setting which a student organization operates within, making it possible that leaders in student organizations are committing fraud. Therefore, students were surveyed about both cheating in an academic setting and personal experience with a leader in their student organization committing fraud. The survey results along research regarding past publicized cases of theft show that student organizations do have a problem with being vulnerable to fraud. Because student organizations are similar to small businesses, small businesses were then researched and a local small business owner was interviewed to determine the best ways to combat fraud. As a result, the best internal controls were better determined and discussed in terms of how student organizations could implement these controls. However, one predicted challenge with implementation is the fact that many students trust their leaders due to the values which their organizations are founded upon. Furthermore, the survey conducted revealed how students find it much less ethical to steal from a student organization that to cheat in an academic setting, further reflecting their hope that leaders will be ethical. While this is a trust students would like to have in their leaders, the personal experience the same students have with fraud and previous cases show that the role of ethical decision making is not enough to prevent fraud which further demonstrates the need to implement stronger internal controls. And small businesses served as a beneficial starting point regarding the best internal controls to implement in student organizations, with these internal controls being explained in more detail as well as listed in flyer as a reference for student organizations’ treasurers.

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Included in

Accounting Commons