Monday, August 16, 2010

Checks and Balances

Credit cardsImage via Wikipedia
If you are a single person operation, you don't have to worry about checks and balances when it comes to finances and your business, but once you hire employees you need to ensure that you have checks and balances as a firewall to an employee robbing you blind.

A couple of weeks ago I talked about an employee that ended up steeling $10,000 from a company simply because they did not check peoples bags as they walked out the door.

Many small business owners do not want employees to think that they are not trusted so they do not put in necessary checks and balances to protect themselves against theft. You need to create a balance between protecting your employees and creating an environment of trust.

Here are some examples of creating checks and balances in your business.

If your company has credit cards (I recommend debit cards), either assign a card to a specific person. If you only have one card to go around, have employees sign the card in and out and if something shows up on the bill that you have no receipt for, you will know who had the card at that time and talk to that person.

Checks should require two signatures to be valid. Another alternative would be to put things such as utilities on EFT so there taken out of your account directly. This will require you to check the bill and make sure there is funds in the account to cover it, but then you are writing fewer checks and there is less chance that one will fall into the wrong hands.

Bag checks are another easy way to deter theft. If your employees know that their bags will be check when leaving the store, they are less likely to put something in there that does not belong. You will need to check the rules in your jurisdiction to see what rules you will have to abide by to avoid costly litigation.

Another big area that is becoming a concern is computer usage. Do you have employees spending more time surfing the web instead of performing important tasks? While this may not be direct theft the employee is still stealing from your business because you are paying them but they are doing personal things on the computer. Computer monitoring software could be a wise investment to insure your employees are doing what they should.

These are just some basic ideas to protect your business. It is not an all inclusive list but hopefully it will give you some ideas to keep money from walking out the door.
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