ON THE GUARD AGAINST EMPLOYEE FRAUD

With all employers have to do on a daily basis, one thing you would think they need not worry about is employee fraud. Think again. As it turns out, employee fraud is something that more and more employers have to combat, especially in these days of economic stress in the nation. According to a report several years back from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, U.S. businesses lose some 5 percent of their revenue due to employee fraud, with the median loss coming in at around $160,000. If your company is wondering what it might be up against, there are a number of different fraudulent scams that employees will try and get away with. They include:

Monetary theft – The most common of problems, this can involve an array of scenarios, including employees diverting company funds into their own accounts, padding expense reports, and literally taking cash from an office fund box slowly but surely. In order to guard against this, do not leave one individual in charge of all company finances, and be sure receipts are provided for any company expenditures by employees;

Supply theft – Another common issue is employees stealing things from the supply room. Paper, pens, envelopes, staplers, etc. can easily go missing as employees then use the items at home. If one person is in charge of ordering company supplies, be sure they can account for everything ordered. Employees who request and take items such as scissors, pens, etc. should list the quantity of items they took so everything is accounted for;

Workers Comp fraud – While there are legitimate injuries on the job, companies must also deal with employees who either fake injuries altogether or extend the time off of the job even though they have been medically cleared to return to work. Countless employees nationwide have been caught over the years out doing another job, exercising, traveling etc. when they are supposed to be at home recuperating from a workplace injury. The scam ends up costing the employer money in both time not worked and investigations;

Protect Your Business
While companies can institute every conceivable plan to thwart employee theft, sometimes schemes will initially slip through the cracks. In order to better protect your business, you can:

  • Do solid background checks before you hire employees, especially on those who will be tasked with handling money for you;
  • Institute a no-theft policy from day one, making sure employees are given a document that outlines such procedures. Review anti-theft measures with your employees on a regular basis so it sticks in their mind. Make sure employees know that stiff penalties, including termination and possible arrests, can follow a theft;
  • If you have money around the office or store, be sure to install surveillance cameras so that not only are the funds protected, but employees know they are being watched during such transactions. It’s always useful to bear good spreadsheet practice in mind here as well. Keep a close track of things and any discrepancies will be easier to spot;
  • In cases where you believe your company has been defrauded by an employee, be sure to do a thorough but fair investigation so that no one’s legal rights are impacted.

While the majority of employees will prove to be hard-working, loyal individuals, employers need to keep their guard up, especially when the economy is stuck in neutral.