Archives For Stewardship

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?

 

 

Did your parents’ teach you about saving early in life? Do you wish that you had a chance to learn how to manage your personal finances earlier in life? The fact is that most children adopt the habits and philosophies that their parents have about money

 

Parents will often spend large amounts of time teaching skills that children will naturally pick up, but never teach or even discuss one of the most important habits in life, how to handle savings and money.

 

“Odds are your kids will figure out how to tie their shoes. I do not see many adults without this skill, but I meet people every day that haven’t learned how to save”

– Todd Burkhalter

 

This conversation goes best when you have an action plan.

 

Action Items

Start by giving your child an allowance for chores completed. An allowance isn’t a birthright, but payment for work completed. Getting this wrong breeds entitlement!

Next, use this simple yet powerful phrase, Give Save Live, to instill an important life lesson on how to manage money. We Give first, Save next and then Live on the rest. Allow them to own this philosophy by controlling these three areas:

Giving – allow your child to give to something/somebody that he/she wants to help (where they will see the result or impact) This creates joy in giving as opposed to feeling obligated.

 

Lesson/Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:7

 

Saving – allow your child to see and understand where their savings is going – Discuss the statements and how/why it grows. In time, allow a portion of their savings to be used for a larger purchase, thus reinforcing the impact of saving. Older children should be allowed to invest a portion of their savings into companies that they like and will want to follow. This step increases their enjoyment and understanding of investing

 

Lesson/Verse: Proverbs 13:11

 

Living – allow them to enjoy the remaining portion

 

Remember that children often mimic what they see in their parents. So I encourage everyone to live by the premise, Give Save Live. Even us parents.

 

 

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