You may not want to think about it, but you could have a thief in your midst. For many veterinary team members, the temptation to embezzle from their employer is real. Sometimes no one may even notice until the culprit’s made off with a substantial amount of money.
Take control of the situation. Here are six all-too-common ways team members on all levels can steal from your practice, and some simple ways to avoid fraud.
1) Deleting or altering invoices.
Your invoices are the lifeblood of your business. They’re how clients and other businesses know what to pay you.
At many businesses, it’s easy to change or even delete an invoice. By changing the amount on an invoice after the customer receives it, an employee could take some of the money paid by the customer. By deleting an invoice, the employee could walk off with all the money, or even provide services to family and friends for free.
This problem exists because there’s no paper trail. In these cases, practice management software is invaluable: it allows management to password protect invoice changes and deletions, and track changes made.
2) Taking cash.
Cash provides your employees an easy way to embezzle. It’s easy for a team member to skim the till. Alternately, if clients aren’t diligent about checking their receipts (or taking a receipt at all), a team member can request more cash than they’ve rung up the client for, and can pocket the difference.
As a rule of thumb, any time there’s cash changing hands, there should be two team members there. All clients should receive receipts, and practices should audit cash registers and receipts regularly.
Worried about tracking invoice deletions? With easyDVM, we can help…
3) Making personal purchases on the company’s credit card.
This one is straightforward: team members use the company credit card for personal expenditures. It’s a classic way of embezzling.
Only select members of your team should be able to use the company credit card. Veterinary practice management software helps managers run reports on spending and see where money’s going. Immediately question unusual purchases.
4) Paying fake vendors.
It can be surprisingly easy to make fake purchases on a company’s behalf. A team member could easily authorize a payment to themselves or a friend.
Veterinary practice software helps businesses run reports on their payments, and detect any purchases that don’t match the practice’s normal routine. Again: if you see a payment to someone you don’t recognize, look into it.
5) Taking inventory home and selling it online.
Normally the profits from selling flea or heartworm products go directly to your business. But a savvy team member can figure out how to take those profits for themselves, without ever touching company money. Team members can swipe drugs or tools, sell them online, and pocket the profits. Particularly brazen team members may even claim the item never came, forcing the supplier to eat the cost and send duplicate items.
Another way is to set up their own account at a vendor that you are paying for. The products ship directly to the employee’s home and you get stuck with the bill.
To counteract this, keep security cameras up, and assign team members to take inventory regularly. Ideally, the team member taking inventory shouldn’t be the same one who’s unpacking items. And use your practice management software to track inventory and cross-reference what you received in the software with the invoices you are paying.
6) Logging hours they didn’t work.
Many businesses let employees report their own hours. Some team members will take advantage of this, logging hours they didn’t work.
Veterinary practice management software will usually let managers see the hours a team member has logged, at a glance. Managers should be present and engaged enough to know if that actually reflects the employee’s presence in the office, or their work. Our easyDVM software even shows the ip address of the device where they clocked in allowing you to easily check that they are in the right place at the right time.
There are many ways to embezzle money from a veterinary practice. By staying diligent, keeping an eye on expenditures, and running regular reports on your veterinary practice management software, you can make sure your employees are on the straight and narrow. Most of your employees are completely honest and your due diligence protects them from being set up by that one bad apple.