When it comes to theft, most business owners immediately think of their business being broken into and robbed, but the sad truth is employees are one of the biggest culprits of theft and fraud within a business. Just like you protect your business with locks, security cameras and lighting, you need to also take measures to minimize opportunities for employees to take advantage of your business.
Ready to get started? Take steps today to make sure your business is protected tomorrow.
- Identify opportunities for theft and the different assets that can be stolen. Make a list of data, financial accounts, and more.
- Perform an audit. By having unannounced internal audits throughout the year as well as a third-party audit annually, you can ensure that your other precautions are working to prevent theft and fraud. Regularly monitoring the books makes it easy to catch any malfeasance quickly, before too much is lost. It also creates a standing protocol for your business to make sure your financial records are in order and everything is accounted for.
- Run background checks on staff, especially employees with financial access.
- Control who has access to petty cash and use numbered cash slips and receipts to ensure the cash drawer is balanced.
- Determine the levels of access for certain files and data through your computer system. Remember that information can be stolen more easily than money can.
- Take note of any behavioural changes in employees and any recent large purchases that seem out of character. This can be behaviour that includes rumoured drug or alcohol abuse as well as opposing stricter protocols around financials.
- Set a business precedent of accountability and supervision so employees know that certain behaviours are not tolerated.
- Have security cameras at entrances/exits and have a system in place to keep track of your inventory. If you don’t have a system in place, how do you know if something is missing?
- Most importantly – engage with your employees. Employees who are engaged and feel a part of your business and mission have an emotional investment in your business and are less likely to steal. When you listen to your staff, they connect with you and your business. If they were to steal, it would feel like they were stealing from themselves.
Your business means everything to you, so take steps to protect it from inside and outside threats. Keeping a vigilant eye and a set protocol for data/financial access, audits, and engagement will create a business environment built on honesty and procedure.