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Paychex Inc. was cruising in 2002 when it hit a bad-debt pothole. When write-offs more than doubled that year, it was a culture-changing shock. In theory, it was paying the employees of its clients with money it had already collected through the ACH, but the companies could still take money out of their accounts and stick Paychex with the ACH equivalent of a bounced check. And in 2002, when the dot.com bubble burst, that was happening all too often, reports Frank Fiorille, director of enterprise risk management.

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