Who owns that nice new car in your parking lot? Do you have an employee who seems to be living at a standard higher than his salary would permit? Hmmm, he (or she) tells you his Uncle Joe died and left him a huge inheritance, or maybe he won the lottery. You’re happy for him; such a hard worker who never takes a vacation!
This could all be as innocent as it sounds BUT it could also be a flashing warning sign of employee dishonesty.
While you don’t want to accuse a valued employee, we would recommend you take steps to protect your company’s assets. For example, a regular rotation of duties among employees may prevent unauthorized transactions from going unnoticed. While you may have concerns that changing longstanding procedures might be unsettling for this trusted and valuable employee, your actions may actually be in his best interest. When employees are cross-trained it makes it easier when they need to take time off.
To mitigate against the selection of a potentially dishonest employee, background and credit checks should be performed before hiring any new employee in a position to misappropriate assets. Your employee handbook (yes, you should have one) should also include provisions for dealing with employees when serious acts of misconduct are discovered or suspected.
Article contributed by Terri Marakos, CPA