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Top Three Ways Employees Steal From Small Businesses

By MarksNelson on September 11, 2017 in Articles, Entrepreneurial Services, Jennifer Katrulya
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Employees can be a great asset to any small business, but they can also be a very real threat. While most are trustworthy, employee theft is an all-too-common occurrence. A study done by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners showed that forty-five percent of small businesses do not recover any of their fraud-related losses.

How can you prevent this from happening? Here are three ways your employees can steal from you and how to prevent future damage.

1. Inventory

A loss of inventory or shrinkage frequently occurs during the restocking process, on the sales floor, and just about any other time of the workday. It’s all too easy for employees to stash supplies or merchandise in their pockets when no one’s looking.

Solution: Keep expensive inventory behind a lock-and-key. Restrict access to important merchandise or supplies, to make it more difficult for employees to swipe. Limiting access to inventory or merchandise can greatly reduce the opportunities for loss and theft.

2. Cash

Stealing money from the cash register is a problem that plagues small businesses. It’s far too easy for one employee to falsify a transaction by quoting a higher number to a customer, then pocketing the remaining balance. Some employees may even issue themselves a cash payment and then void the transaction later.

In addition, you may have given a trusted bookkeeper or office manager the ability to pay bills online. But this leaves the opportunity for the employee to pay personal bills using those checks, or a signature stamp.

Solution: Create a system for one employee to reconcile the bank accounts and a different employee to pay the company’s bills. This is also a good strategy to implement for the cash register. Have two different employees review the number of voided transactions from the cash register on a daily basis. Make sure both verify the true cost-of-goods-sold, versus the price paid at the register. You should also consider installing surveillance cameras over the cash drawer to prevent any cash stealing attempts.

3. Data

Most employees steal a company’s data for the benefit of other competitors, or even themselves. There’s always profit to be made with proprietary information, customer records, and other digital assets. This is why protecting your company’s data and sensitive information should be a top priority.

Solution: Assign numbers to each employee and restrict access to computer programs and other data unless absolutely necessary. Only allow certain employee numbers to access sensitive data, and enforce the changing of passwords frequently. Be sure to discontinue any employee accounts who no longer work there.

By implementing these solutions along with frequent monitoring, you can prevent employees from stealing from your business.

For more information on safeguarding your business contact your MarksNelson advisor at 816-743-7700.

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Jennifer Katrulya

Practice Leader-Accounting Services