Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Bookkeeper was Stealing From Us! She is a Good Christian Woman.

     The title to our blog today was what the business owner said when she called and said that her firm needed help.  WOW-- what happened here?  When someone calls and tells us that, we stand up and pay attention.

      Here is the short version of the story-- the company had made some management changes in the last year.  One of the senior employees elected to leave, and in the process, took a couple of other employees with him.  The bookkeeper, a long time employee was one that elected to leave.  We have written before about internal controls and the bookkeeper-- in fact, embezzlement in general.  Sadly, this business owner either did not read the post or did not believe that it was going to happen at their firm.
       Once the bookkeeper said that she was leaving and going to work for the "old" employee, the owner told her to leave immediately, she did not need her 2 weeks notice.  After the bookkeeper had left, the owner began to explore the bookkeeper's work area.  Ummmm-- in the back of a file cabinet, she found invoices that had not been properly posted in the records.  These were all cash transactions, no inventory control and no cross checking.  A more in-depth review revealed that the bookkeeper had embezzled at least $75,000 in the period of a couple of years.  The business owner figured that the amount was probably much higher, however, the invoices were there to support that much loss.
       The police were called, a police report was filed, but nothing else done.  The business owner was out the money.
        We will say it again-- internal controls are paramount in any company that handles money.  In this case, the bookkeeper was proud to be a "Good Christian Woman" and advertised it all the time.  However, what she did was totally unchristian, at least as we understand the tenets of Christianity.
         A business owner can never be too careful about monitoring the cash drawer.  Inventory control procedures are another area where money can "evaporate" in thin air.
         If you are a business owner and do not have documented process and employee procedures, now is the time to begin that process.  Verbal discussions do not hold up in a court of law.  Do not allow verbal discussions to guide your business.  Put everything in writing and insure that all employees sign to acknowledge understanding and compliance.
          In this case, we told the business owner that she was not the "Lone Ranger" regarding employee theft.  Sadly, the business owner said that this was an expensive lesson for her business.
          Now is the time to call us for advisory services if you find yourself in this dilemma.  We want to insure that you don't experience this challenge at your business.