Employee theft can come from many positions such as store or warehouse employees, delivery drivers, etc., but employee theft can also come from employees inside of the Corporate Office as well. Even senior level employees are not immune from making life long mistakes even though they are usually well respected within the corporate environment.
We have had recent cases that the above statements bring to mind. First a high level Human Resources Executive was caught hiring fictitious employees and then subsequently sending their paychecks to himself. An accounting employee was caught making company checks out to himself and friends which were cashed for thousands of dollars before she was caught. And, a second accounting employee was caught using the company credit card to purchase personal items, gas, and even casino cash advances.
These are just a few of internal Corporate Office employee theft cases that we have investigated recently. It always amazes us when corporate officers come to us concerned about store level employees, when they should be looking in their own backyard.
Many types of employee theft are impossible with careful accounting practices. Easy ways to make it more difficult for employees to steal include:
- Moving accounting and inventory responsibilities between employees on a random basis, so that one person isn’t always responsible
- Independent audits of bookkeeping records and inventory
- Having organized and easy-to-find invoice and shipping records
- Regular spot checks by high-level management of bank account records, including making banking deposits as often as possible
- Keeping as little cash as possible at your business premises, and removing cash as it accumulates during your business day
- Checking daily to make sure cash deposits equal cash receipts
- Never handing over blank checks to employees
- Reviewing cancelled checks each month
- Keeping payroll preparation and payroll distribution separate, to be handled by different employees
- Following up on customer complaints about credit for payments
- Reviewing employee time records carefully to make sure employees were actually present during those times
Make sure your employees feel comfortable enough with management that they can come to you if they’re having financial difficulties that might tempt them to take from the company.
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It also helps to have a clear written policy on employee ethics, including theft, signed by each employee. Your policy should include a statement that employees caught stealing will be prosecuted, rather than settling for simple restitution and an apology. Of course, the written policy should always be enforced.
And it’s important that employees know they can come to you with incriminating information about other employees without having to worry about ramifications such as job loss. Set up an anonymous tip system that allows employees to hand over incriminating information without identifying themselves.
If you think that your company or location has an employee issue, please don’t hesitate to call Hayes International at 813-991-5628 for help! $