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Is your business at risk? Do you recognise the signs of fraud?

Employees don’t set out to steal...

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Employees don’t set out to steal, on the whole they are trustworthy.  Like you and I they come to work to earn money to pay their bills.  Unfortunately some will change and steal from their employer.  Can you recognise the signs?

The fraud triangle

Theft or fraud only occurs in the workplace if someone feels pressured by financial burden in their life, sees an opportunity to solve that problem and is able to rationalise that they are owed the money and are otherwise not a criminal.              

Most fraud occurs in independent restaurants where there is a high level of trust.  Operators don’t want to believe they are being taken advantage of.  It is also rare for the employee to have joined them with the intention to defraud their employer; they are feeling pressured and simply see an opportunity.

Take a look at your team:

  • Have there been changes in behaviour recently? 
  • Has someone fallen on hard times or started spending on luxuries? 
  • Do team members insist on working the same shift each week and with the same colleague? 
  • Do they cancel holidays; because the business can’t afford them to be away? 
  • Or take few, if any annual holidays?

These are all signs that your business is at risk.  So how do you stop fraud?

  1. Have a bookkeeper who is in charge of daily bookkeeping.  They should be the only ones to enter figures in to your accounts package, authorise supplier and other payments.  Note, payment of suppliers should only be done once authorised by you or your senior management. 
  2. On top of this you need an accountant to review the books.
  3. I suggest you also review your profit and loss account on a weekly basis.  If there is a problem you will start to see the variances in the KPI’s. 
  4. Get out of having a set routine, turn up to work at random times, use different entrances and occasionally undertake some menial tasks i.e. take out the trash or wash pots.
  5. Carry out random and regular internal audits. 
  6. Employ the services of an external auditor every couple of months.