Published On: Sat, Aug 8th, 2015

Employee Theft: 5 Areas that You Will Need to Tighten Up Your Security

If you own a business, one of the most unpleasant problems you will have to deal with is that of theft, particularly by your employees. For very small businesses this may not seem very important, but, as study quoted in Fortune magazine has found that retail theft adds up to an amazing $32 billion, you can see how large the problem must be across all sectors. The problem for an employer is understanding where these losses occur, and how. Here are the most common types of employee theft that occur.

Hand in the Till

Without cameras recording all payment activities (and somebody to check them) it is difficult to guarantee that all payments are making their way into the company accounts. Cash could simply be taken from a till, sales not registered, or customers could even be overcharged with an employee pocketing the difference. Cash theft is a major problem, and one that seems so easy for an unscrupulous employee

photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay

photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay

Stock Taking

This is not the legitimate exercise of checking the stock you have; it is taking the stock home. Removing stock from the shelves or storeroom has always been a problem for businesses, and whether you are a retail outlet or a small garage, you are susceptible to this problem. It can range from simple things like a packet of sweets to the more sophisticated employee not scanning all of your stock into the system. Continually replacing missing stock is a sure way to cause a business to lose its profits


If your business has a lot of customers whose private details are stored in your computers, there is a very big threat to your customer’s bank accounts if an employee decides to copy their information and sell it. Theft from a computer system is easy for those with access, so limit access to sensitive areas. Identity theft is already a massive problem (click here for tips on its prevention), without your employees cashing in on it and potentially ruining your business. Other forms of information theft include intellectual property theft, customer lists, and working practices.


Payroll theft can be a difficult thing to pinpoint in a large business, especially as there is no way that management can keep track of all their employees’ payments. An employee can claim for a travel expenses that are not real, a meal that was for the family, or claim for overtime not worked; and without the right business practices in place, these things would be difficult to spot. A much higher level of payment fraud would be a member of the payroll team creating a ghost payroll, where imaginary employees are created and paid by the company. These types of actions require the help of certified forensic accounting services, as tracing the fraud could involve countless payments to thousands of employees, and could add up to tens of thousands of dollars and upwards.

Company Assets

Your assets include things as small as paperclips and as large as a truck; but they are all targets for a thief in your company. Pens and staples may not cost a lot of money, but as items become larger and more expensive; your company will start to feel the cost of replacements. A television or computer that goes missing is expensive to replace, and it has even been known for employees to steal cars and trucks; so keep an eye on your assets.

Ignoring any type of theft in your business will create an additional cost that you will have to bear, but why should you? Tighten your record keeping, and use checks and balances to minimize errors. Don’t let a single person manage your company’s finances, and install cameras to keep an eye on vulnerable areas. Most of all, you should train your staff to look out for signs of theft and malpractice. It has been estimated that, on average, businesses lose 5% of their profit due to theft, so paying for some extra cameras could be a great idea not a cost.

Guest Author: Keith Sullivan

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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