The thought of employee fraud is enough to send most business owners scrambling for cover. No entrepreneur wants to deal with fraud in his or her business. It can set you back financially, it can cause your customers and clients to lose their trust in you, and it could actually destroy your business. If you feel as though you’ve found an instance of small business fraud, you need to act quickly and you need to act appropriately. If you believe that you are experiencing small business fraud, a financial consultant can help, but before doing so be sure that the fraudulent activity is occurring. This can be done by the following:
Prove you are right: print statements, general ledger reports, and any other evidence you are using. Put all of this documentation in a singular place (like a notebook).
Audit all systems this employee is exposed to. If an employee has opportunity for fraudulent activity in the checkbook, also check the credit cards, payroll systems, and expense reimbursements for fraud.
Call in help. This can include a financial consultant to help document the fraud for an insurance claim, your local sheriff to decide about criminal charges, or a local business consulting firm to help fire, do the work and find a new employee.
Employee fraud will feel violating, cruel, and you will often feel like your partner has done the unthinkable. However, it is important to have an action plan to save and protect the small business, and get the fraud out as soon as possible. Calling for help from a financial consultant is wise and extremely helpful.
Barb is the CEO of Fisher Bookkeeping, an outsourced bookkeeping consultancy that provides small businesses with a full-service financial department. Her favorite aspect of work is to break down the accounting to meaningful bits, so entrepreneurs can make a powerful difference in their own business. She's also a power lifter (squat: 215, DL: 270).