Now that the new school year has started, have you noticed that your office supplies are being depleted? When you receive your gasoline bill from your sales team filling their cars, are you wondering why your cars are only getting 4 miles per gallon? Are you short of cash in your register on a regular basis? While every small business owner likes to think they’ve hired honest and trustworthy people, most small business are susceptible to employee theft.

So, how do you contain employee theft? Setting the right “tone from the top” is critical. Let everyone know that theft will not be tolerated and if someone is caught stealing, they will be fired immediately. Implementing internal controls to manage your assets will also help detect and prevent theft. Separation of duties, access password and authorization controls must be in place and working.

Hiring honest people by doing a thorough background check, and providing theft prevention training will help to minimize losses. Performing asset and financial audits on a regular basis will also allow you to better detect theft. Installing cameras and computer-based security systems, while potentially expensive, might save you a lot of money by lowering theft.

And finally, provide a procedure for employees to report theft. This can be done anonymously and most certainly should not have any negative consequences for those who report theft. Hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars could go right to your bottom line….if your employees aren’t walking out your door with it!

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