03 / 06 / 17

Employee Theft: Practical Tips to Avoid Embezzlement

Written By: Kathryn Watson

TWO employee thefts in the news THIS WEEK! In the news about a week ago in Mandeville, Louisiana, it was reported that two employees were arrested for stealing from their employer more than $1.4 million. Just a few days ago, another news story: in Lafayette, Louisiana, a woman stole more than $250,000.

In both cases the theft went unnoticed for more than 8 years, leaving employers to question what went wrong. At a time where employee theft has become a frequent news story, it’s important that business owners take steps to make sure they have good accounting practices in place that prevent employee theft and encourage accountability.

To ensure that employers don’t become the victim of a rogue employee, business owners should give careful consideration to the following safeguards:

  • Run background checks and drug test on new hires, confirm prior employment and degrees obtained.
  • Establish and enforce a system of checks and balances that encourages accuracy with multiple persons verifying financial transactions.
  • Assign the recording and processing duties to separate employees.
  • Restrict the number of employees who can access to financial information.
  • Conduct audits regularly (and unexpectedly) to identify weaknesses and alert employees to the seriousness of fraud, keeping potential wrongdoers in check.
  • Implement policies that encourage employees to report possible misconduct, make it anonymous.
  • Train employees on the proper procedures and what constitutes illegal activity.
  • Evaluate current accounting systems and confirm thorough and proper security measures are in place.

Employee theft is a real problem in today’s business world, but with a little diligence and a few security measures, owners can work to prevent becoming a victim.