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?