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Preventing Theft

An owner-manager can lose a great deal of money from theft. Theft takes many forms such as employee embezzlement/pilferage, shoplifting, burglary and robbery loss. Prevention must start with the small merchant.

You can use a combination of measures to protect your store. Even though you cannot eliminate theft entirely, you can take positive steps to keep it to a minimum.

Steps to Prevent Employee Embezzlement & Pilferage

The first and one of the most important things an owner-manager should do is set a good example. Your employees watch what you do and are prone to imitate your habits - good or bad.

Check the background of prospective employees. Sometimes you can satisfy yourself by making a few telephone calls or writing a few letters.

Know your employees to the extent that you may be able to detect signs of financial or other personal problems. Build up rapport so that they feel free to discuss such things with you in confidence.

See that no one is placed on the payroll without authorization from you or a responsible official of the company.

Either personally prepare the daily cash deposits or compare the deposits made by employees with the record of cash and cheques received. Make it a habit to go to the bank and make the daily deposit yourself as often as you can.

Personally examine all cancelled checks and endorsements to see if there is anything unusual. This also applies to payroll checks.

Make sure that an employee in a position to mishandle funds is adequately bonded. Let employees know that fidelity coverage is a matter of company policy rather that any feeling of mistrust on your part.

Spot check your accounting records and assets to satisfy yourself that all is well and that your plan of internal control is being carried out.

Personally approve unusual discounts and bad debt write-offs. Approve or spot check credit memos and other documentation for sales returns and allowances.

Don't delegate the signing of cheques and approval of cash disbursements unless absolutely necessary and never approve any payment without sufficient documentation or prior knowledge of the transaction.

Examine all invoices and supporting data before signing cheques. Make sure that all merchandise was actually received and the price seems reasonable.

Personally cancel all invoices at the time you sign the cheques to prevent double payment through error or otherwise.

Don't sign blank cheques. Don't leave a supply of signed blank cheques when you go on vacation.

Inspect all prenumbered chequebooks and the prenumbered forms from time to time to insure that cheques or forms from the backs of the books have not been removed and possibly used in a fraudulent scheme.

Have the preparation of the payroll and the actual paying of employees handled by different persons, especially when cash is involved.

Pay special attention to the sales person who is visited by too many personal friends. Keep a sharp eye for signals such as: nods, winks, etc. between cashiers and customers.

Pay special attention to cashiers when they are surrounded by clusters of people. Watch for items bypassed when ringing up sales.

Prohibit employees from parking near receiving doors or docks. Keep the receiving door locked when not in use. A receiving door should be opened only by a supervisor who remains in the area until it is locked.

Employees who are caught stealing will be prosecuted. Settling for restitution and an apology is inviting theft to continue.

Rotate security guards to reduce fraternizing with other employees and to prevent monotony which can result in reduced alertness of the guards.

For more information contact us to meet one of our consultant specialised in commercial security and products.


184 Freeman,
Gatineau, Québec
J8Z 2B5

260 St-Patrick street, suite 100
Ottawa, Ontario
K1W 5K5
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