Stealing from the boss – the unpunished crime!

Did you know that stealing in the workplace is a huge burden on business finances and it is a crime that often goes unpunished?

Statistics obtained by the Australian Federal Police indicate that 70% of business fraud losses are from staff and former staff, costing businesses over $1.5 billion a year. The Australian Retailers Association estimates that 55% of stock shrinkage relates to employee theft.

There are many forms of “theft” in the workplace.  Dipping into the till, transferring funds to their own name and sometime even setting up a competing business and stealing customers are just a few methods used by criminals in their workplaces.

Unmistakably all of this is a criminal offence, but unless you have videos showing the “hand in the till”, it is often very difficult to prove, and this is the frustrating part.  How is this any different to a robber stealing $100,000 from a bank at gunpoint or holding up the local service station at knife point?  Yes the employee isn’t “armed and dangerous” but in my opinion, “Theft is theft” and should all be treated in the same way.

Surprisingly, most often it is the employees that are most trusted by the boss who turns out to be the offenders. Quite often employees that are even considered as “part of the family”.

So how can you avoid Employee theft?

Monitor all cash handling, have checks and measures in place.  Quite often this can be as simple as having a good point of sale system.

Don’t assume that all your employees won’t steal from you.  You don’t need to go to the extreme and be paranoid about everyone, but even the trusted employees should be put to the occasional test.

Make prosecution a part of your businesses policy.  Set an example and follow through on each and every occasion.

Keep a close eye on your financials, know your profit & loss figures and know when things don’t quite look right.

If you are losing customers without any obvious reason, call them to find out why, they may have gone to the employee that has just started their own business and stolen them away from you.

Never give anyone complete unrestricted access to your money.

Do random checks on your stock and check the stock take figures.

Is there an employee that all of the sudden is spending beyond their means? Are they claiming they have received a sudden win fall or unexplained wealth?

Talk to your staff, you may be able to gauge the guilty or perhaps another employee has seen or heard something suspicious and are waiting to be asked.

Don’t let anyone get away with stealing from you and your business.  You worked hard to get it, don’t just stand back and become a victim, protect your business.

Author: Susan Friswell