Prevention is Better Than a Cure - Avoiding Internal Business Theft

Whatever your business is-whether you are involved in retail or not, for instance-you are susceptible to business theft. Sadly, many businessmen (especially those who handle small businesses) only consider retail theft (such as shoplifting) as business theft. But this isn't true at all; business theft can happen through a number of ways, usually when you least expect it. Business theft can cost your business thousands of dollars, and can ultimately cause the demise of your enterprise. No one would want this to happen, obviously, especially not you-so you have to be prepared. Preventing business theft is better than fixing the damages it has caused. While these anti-business theft measure may seem like additional effort or hassle to your already stressful daily regimen, think of it as an insurance for a better business future. After all, you wouldn't want business theft to ruin your livelihood.

Here are some ways you can avoid business theft and business fraud, according to tips and information collected from a number of sources and experts:

1. Screen employees: Employee theft is more common than retail theft, so it is wise to screen your employees; regardless the type of business you handle. It is only logical to know whether your employees can be trusted with money and valuable information. The typical recruitment process does not work here, as this does not dig deep into an applicant's personal history. Professional business theft screening may be advised here, as this can verify personal information, as well as perform criminal checks, credit checks, drug screenings, past cases and claims against past employers, and other similar information. Of course, this business theft screening process can also be done after you hire an employee.

2. Cash should be handled by fewer people. Employees can embezzle company money easily if the cash exchanges hands frequently. Once the proper individuals find out about the missing money, it will be harder to detect who stole it since it reached and was handled by many employees, making the detection more difficult than it is. With only a few people handling the money, you can easily detect at which point the money was embezzled. Also, with fewer hands, you deal with fewer personnel-thus reducing the chances of embezzlement.

3. Practice dual control procedures to prevent business theft. For instance, when one employee handles the money, assign someone else to double check. This prevents collusion, and helps maintain the balance in the company. This also keeps fraudulent employees from even attempting to steal from the company.

4. Conduct periodic audits. A common practice in banks, you can also conduct surprise audits to make sure the ones handling the cash at the end of the day will not steal from you. Make sure the audits are periodic yet unexpected, to keep the employees on their toes. Even though your company does not have a thief within its mist, periodic audits can drive employees to be more careful with handling the money, especially since they know you can check their performance when they least expect it.

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