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Are You Sure?

October 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

Being sure is important in business. Being sure allows you to freely and confidently make decisions. So, sure about what you ask? Are you confident that none of your employees are stealing from you?

In my business, we deal with Dental Practices located all over the world. Consistently throughout all of the practices that we serve there continues to be story after story of staff members who have found a way to steal money from the practice. There seems to be a never-ending number of methods that this can occur.

And trust me, when it happens, the numbers can become staggering.

The fraudster is almost always someone who has been there for years and has earned the trust of the doctor or owner. Many times it starts out small, likely even with the intent that they will return the money. Unfortunately, the small amount was intended to solve an issue in their home life but the issue persists. However, when it goes unnoticed and whatever problem existed continues; their judgment slips again and so it goes…..

It isn’t always a masked bandit or a horrible person that will steal from your business. That would make it much easier to identify. Often it is the least person you would ever expect within your organization.

As a business owner you should put safeguards and checks and balances in place to prevent what starts as a temptation into spiraling into something much larger. Some of the checks and balances that our On-Site Practice Analysis Team recommends are:

  • Deposits are made on a daily basis
  • Internal controls over cash
  • Reconcile the books daily
  • Internal audit trails on the practice software; minimum of 1x per week
  • Check the deleted files internally in the practice software
  • Stamp checks “Deposit Only” immediately
  • Different people run audit trails and check each other’s work
  • Carbon Copy of receipts
  • Fidelity Bonding your staff

Just to name a few….

The above are literally just a few of the items that should be completed as part of your internal business processes. Most of these are daily functions so they can’t be just left to chance or performed randomly. It has to become how you operate every single day.

For many small business owners the list above can seem daunting. The thought of trying to train everyone to do these things can be even a little uncomfortable. When in fact this could be suggesting that there is a trust issue. I would encourage you that there isn’t a trust issue, but rather good business processes. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

 “Trust, but verify” – Ronald Reagan

 I will admit that implementing all of these systems can be cumbersome. However, when each of these are in place there is a sense of clarity and peace that comes along with knowing that they are in place. Fear and doubt are reduced which allows the Doctor or Business Owner to concentrate on the other areas of the business.

Whenever a business doesn’t have the time, expertise, or human capital to do certain parts of their business they outsource the job to a professional in that field. My colleagues, some of the brightest CPA’s in the business, serve our clients by taking on these functions and processes for them. I have personally witnessed the relief that occurs when the doctor releases this burden as he outsources this to the professionals. It is like hiring a team of the brightest financial minds at a fraction of the cost of only one employee. Creating this financial team, as an extension of their office staff, provides for the surety that is desired.

So, are you sure?

Even if you answer yes, does it make sense to put these safeguard procedures in place?

 Or, should you outsource this part of the business to a professional for the ultimate in peace and clarity?

 

 

Evaluated experience is what creates wisdom; it isn’t solely the experience itself. However, it seems that often times in business we don’t pause long enough to evaluate our presentations, events or processes. Many businesses just plow along doing the same thing time and time again; when simply taking the time to debrief after an important experience could lead to a breakthrough.

 

The originations of debriefings were in the military after battles. This time was valuable since it allowed the leaders to evaluate what went right, but it also gave the soldiers a voice. The troops being allowed to have input allowed them to function more cohesively as a team and provided an opportunity to release some emotional baggage. Each of these items certainly would boost morale and I would suggest even save lives.

 

Would you agree that there are times in business that it seems like a battle? I do not want to infer that business and work life are near the act of valor as a soldier endures but I do believe that we can learn from the technique in which military leaders created.

 

many small light bulbs equal big one

 

Recently I found myself as a dinner guest at another company’s function. Listening to this group of co-workers discuss various aspects of their business was enlightening. Often times having the vantage point of being on the outside of a situation and peering in, there is amazing clarity.

 

The dinner was in full swing and more and more individuals became comfortable in sharing struggles that they experience in their particular roles. The struggles ranged from being frustrated with corporate processes, co-worker relationships, feeling undervalued and not feeling like they could impact change. There was an alarming sense of, well…. That’s just how we have always done it! Which is one of the most dangerous mentalities to have in business.

 

So as I listened to all of the opinions and commentary it was overwhelmingly clear that simply adapting the corporate culture to one of change and improvement would solve many of these concerns. I am fortunate to work for a young and fast growing company that has this mindset. The group that I was with this evening worked for a large and very old company; changing culture in a very large organization can be a challenge.

 

Corporate culture stems form the top; corporate policy and procedures also stem from the top. Throughout this dinner, from my consultant’s viewpoint I wanted to have the opportunity to share with this company’s leadership that simply adapting one small facet of their processes would make a radical difference in their production, client’s experience and the lives of their employees.

 

Make debriefings a mandatory part of the corporate culture.

 

After each experience having a designated time and format to ask, What did we do right? What can we do better on next time? Never begin with, What did we do wrong?

 

These simple questions will spawn a conversation that leads to a company that is consistently revising and improving their events and meetings. Organizations that have implemented this procedure and tracked their productivity and success have seen a marked increase in overall productivity.

 

In addition, it allows every team member to be heard. This forum to share their voice certainly reduces the harboring of angst or ill feelings towards co-workers. Debriefings encourage creativity in thinking of how we can improve both individually and corporately. All of these things lend to a greater morale internally, but also a greater client, patient or patron experience for those that are being served.

 

One of my favorite beliefs that I have learned from DDS Financial is how

 

Frustration Leads To Breakthrough.

 

The idea that Frustration Leads to Breakthrough is so true. However, I firmly believe that there should be an organized way to share exactly what everyone’s frustrations are, so that everyone has an opportunity to create, implement and share in that breakthrough moment.

 

Implement the debriefing after your next meeting or event. It will allow you the opportunity to evaluate your experience. It is the wise thing to do!

 

 

Check out www.debriefing.com for additional resources about this idea.