Jesse Gossman, Founder
Jesse Gossman, the Founder of Vigilant Eye, is an expert in fraud detection. A Certified Fraud Examiner and Economic Crimes Forensic Examiner with more than a decade of experience in the police department as a fraud detective, Gossman has had the opportunity to dissect countless incidents of fraud and embezzlement in his career. Prior to founding Vigilant Eye, he noticed a common theme in financial frauds across several small to medium-sized companies. "Business owners are often focused on growing their businesses, and they don't have enough time to look at every transaction in their accounts and verify them with different vendors," says Gossman. "These owners also implicitly trust employees (CFOs, bookkeepers, or office managers) to take care of the company's financial transactions and accounts, which eventually opens up the door for fraudulent activities," he adds.
To empower small and medium-sized business owners with visibility into their overall financial transactions, Gossman started Vigilant Eye in 2018. With its proprietary software that leverages transactional information and the data from a company's banking and credit card accounts, Vigilant Eye provides financial information and analysis directly to owners. The software performs detailed classification of transactions and utilizes custom analytics to identify spending patterns and then flag suspicious activity.
"We are not an accounting software, we are a fraud detection tool. All of the transactional data collected is clean and it is extracted directly from the banks"
Vigilant Eye’s client onboarding process starts with the team collecting information—through a short questionnaire—on different types of accounts and transactions that happen in a client's business a medical office, the software is going to ask if travel is a common expense or if entertainment is a common expense that is authorized through that account,” says Gossman. This helps them identify the “restricted use categories.” Vigilant Eye categorizes all transactions into 65 preset groups so that when the software detects a new vendor, it automatically gets categorized.
We are empowering our customers by providing them transparency into their accounts and spending. We are also distributing the fraud-fighting or the oversight function across all stakeholders
This gives the owner the ability to know within moments whether there’s any expense on any accounts that does not align with their business model.
The software has the ability to analyze six months to two years of past financial transactions, including analytics on individual vendors, how many times the business has transacted with the vendor in a month, the usual cost range per transaction with a given vendor and so on. Upon detecting an anomaly, for example, an out of the list transaction or a transaction exceeding a certain amount, the software will raise a flag for that transaction and display it to owners for further review.
A unique aspect of Vigilant Eye is that it collects all the transactional data directly from the bank so that nobody can manipulate the records. “We are not an accounting software; we are a fraud detection tool. The transactional data that we collect is clean and extracted directly from the banks,” asserts Gossman.
Vigilant Eye offers all these powerful features through two products, depending on the size of a business and type of entity. The first one is Vigilant Eye SMB, which is designed for small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners. It allows bookkeepers to manage all the accounting books and assign expenditures to accounts, including the credit card balances, as well as the total amount of money spent on credit cards for a particular month. Vigilant Eye SMB comes with a dashboard that displays the total amount of cash in all accounts, which enables owners to keep track of their entire financial condition. The dashboard also has the flagged transaction display, which allows the users to monitor and investigate specific transactions that need further attention.
Vigilant Eye SMB has a permanent record of every flag that has ever been triggered on that respective account.
It presents a complete breakdown of that particular transaction and provides details on what caused the flag. Also, it has a transaction detail page that provides an upgraded version of the bank statements, including the vendor classification, the date of a transaction, the amount, and the vendors associated with it. All transactions can even be extracted to an Excel spreadsheet, which allows the users to cross-verify or follow-up investigations with the police department, attorney, or with a forensic accountant.
The second product, Vigilant Eye for Boards provides all members/ stakeholders of board directed entities, community organizations, or investor groupswith transparency into the overall spending in real-time. It uses the same proprietary analytics of Vigilant Eye SMB that flags any transactions that are indicative of theft and mismanagement. Many of these trigger points are created based on real world cases and real world experience to identify when someone commits fraud or embezzlement. Many condo associations and HOA boards are using Vigilant Eye for Boards to analyze and observe where their funds are actually being used. This transparency ultimately reduces the chances of frivolous claims from owners while simultaneously empowering them by distributing the financial oversight role across all stakeholders. “It provides oversight without the overhead, says Gossman.
In one instance, Vigilant Eye assisted a small enterprise that had 14 employees. Within minutes after the client signed up with Vigilant Eye and linked their accounts, the software detected several flags against ATM withdrawals and spending at the casino that fall under restricted use categories. Further investigation proved that the office manager was misusing the company’s credit and ATM cards, which summed up to around $45,000 theft during the span of one and a half years. It had been concealed through the manipulation of records. Vigilant Eye’s software instantly identified the issues in the account and helped the owner solve them.
Gossman emphasizes the fact that providing transparency has become the new order in financial transactions. “We are empowering our customers by providing them transparency into their accounts and spending. We are also distributing the fraud-fighting or the oversight function across all stakeholders. It will ultimately allow them to see what exactly is happening with their funds to identify fraud and misappropriation at the correct time,” says Gossman.