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Workplace Theft & Fraud Prevention Tips Part 2

A key investigation technique is to be aware of changes in employee actions.

Posted by Joe Gerard on March 10th, 2010

This is the second part of the Workplace Theft Prevention Tips we published yesterday.  Chances are, if you know you are going to get caught, you won’t do it. At the same time, employees need a clear outline as to what is acceptable and what isn’t, so that they can refrain from activities that are not allowed at work. In some cases, it’s necessary for managers to assume the “Big Brother” role within their organization in the fight against fraud. When employees know someone is holding them responsible for their actions and that consequences are enacted on those who do otherwise, you will notice a difference in the decisions they make. In continuation to our post yesterday, here are recommendations 5 through 10, to help you prevent theft and fraud in the workplace.

6. Audits

Conduct both scheduled and random financial and accounting audits. In the article “Top Ten Ways to Prevent Employee Theft”, forensic accountant/ fraud examiner Tracy Coenen points out that “when employees are aware that there will be random checks of their areas, they’re more likely to be honest.  Also, they will not feel singled out when it’s their turn for an audit.” Make these audits part of company policy- this way it demonstrates to employees that you are taking the necessary measures to protect the company against theft and fraud. When audits are part of company policy, employees expect audits to take place, therefore, audits are also an investigation tool, as they can be a great source of evidence.

7. Pay Attention to Change

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A key investigation technique is to be aware of changes in employee actions. There could be multiple reasons to cause an employee’s pattern of behaviour, but you may want to monitor these changes in case something happens down the road- these changes should be documented, as they can be used as a source of evidence if an investigation occurs. In this article on “Preventing Employee Theft” Sherrie Bennett writes that it is important to pay attention to employee problems, “if possible, make sure your employees feel comfortable enough with management that they can come to you if they’re having financial difficulties that might tempt them to take from the company.”

8. Consistent Investigation of ALL Tips

It’s best to investigate, or at least make an inquiry into every incident reported regarding theft or fraud. In order to address the matter quickly and show your commitment to the workplace anti-theft/ anti-fraud policies, action must be taken immediately. The faster you look into the incident and can resolve it, the better your chances for avoiding repeat problems or snowballing into BIG problem that could tarnish the reputation of your company.

9. Lead by Example

Set the tone from the top– this tends to be the trend everywhere for 2010 and beyond. In this article, fraud examiner Larry Cook writes that “every employee — regardless of position — should be held accountable for their actions.” In order to get your employees to believe that you are committed to fighting workplace theft and fraud- and get them to commit to honest practices as well, you need to make sure that all of your actions send the right message. If you’re going to take the time to get employees to follow anti-theft and anti-fraud policies, they will only take you seriously if everyone is held accountable for their actions and there are no exceptions made for any incidents.

10. Continuous Improvement

In the article “Top Ten Ways to Prevent Employee Theft”, Tracy Coenen writes that “management should be constantly looking for ways to improve policies and procedures. Fraud prevention is an ongoing, dynamic process that requires continuous evaluation and improvement.” Stay current on changes made to financial and accounting laws and regulations- train employees and notify them of the changes so that they are aware of the update. Develop a training schedule in order to train new employees, as well as provide training to present employees, to continue demonstrating your commitment to an honest, open workplace. Communicate regularly with employees and stick to audit plans- if you make changes, cancel or cutback on any of the established control measures, employees will notice and it could begin to seem that you have lost your focus regarding the prevention of workplace theft and fraud.

Joe Gerard
Joe Gerard

CEO, i-Sight

Spend my days showing off the i-Sight investigative case management software and finding ways to help clients improve their investigations. Usually working with corporate security, HR & employee relations, compliance and legal teams.

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