Embezzlers can be the nicest people. When you work closely with a person every day, it's hard to imagine that person stealing from you. But embezzlement occurs in medical practices more often than you might think. Cash transactions, especially, offer temptation to those with a penchant for pilfering.
Take the following measures to help reduce the potential for cash embezzlement in your practice:
- Do not give any one employee complete control over the entire sequence of cash transactions.
- Give only key employees access to cash.
- Segregate financial transactions so that employees who keep practice accounting records do not handle receipts or perform cash disbursements. If this division of labor is impractical, arrange for a review of all work at least quarterly.
- Consider requiring business office employees to undergo the bonding process.
- Hire an outside accounting agency to perform periodic financial audits.
- Check references and perform background checks before hiring an employee. Employee screening companies can conduct criminal background searches; provide motor vehicle reports; and verify personal information, including employment history.
Embezzlement controls should extend to policies for writing checks and handling bank statements, incoming checks, and payroll. Adequate supervision, a system of internal checks and balances, posting transactions in a timely manner - and an overall emphasis on integrity in your practice - all help create an environment that invites honesty.
Embezzlement is just one part of a continuum of financial policies that every practice should have in place. If you need help in this area, call TMA Practice Consulting today for expert recommendations and guidance.