Over the past few months three of our business clients have submitted employee dishonesty claims to our insurance agency. As economic conditions over the past few years have tightened, the risk of employee theft is becoming more commonplace. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has estimated that businesses lost about forty billion dollars during the past year. Small companies are particularly vulnerable because they are not big enough to cover the losses. One in four employees (including executives) who committed fraud against a business had been with their employer more than ten years.
In conjunction with legal action, insurance coverage is available to cover this type of claim. However, as with most claims, it is in your best interest to set up safeguards to prevent an employee dishonesty claim.
- Have all checks countersigned.
- Require approval for any accounting adjustment to your books.
- When hiring new employees, do background checks, check references and do personal interviews.
- Do surprise physical inventories by someone not in the stock department.
- Have purchasing and accounting handled by two separate departments or people.
- Segregate billing and collections from accounts receivable accounting.
- Be sure to reconcile checks at the end of each month.
- Checks and balances need to be set up for all levels of your organization.
Prevention is the least expensive solution to this growing problem. Routine reviews of both financial procedures as well as inventories need to be part of your business plan.
As always, if you have questions or feel we can be of service, call Pinnacle Group Insurance at 412-816-1000.