As a small business owner you may find the thought inconceivable, but your employees may be stealing from you. You can take specific steps to minimize your losses by setting up processes such as separating accounting functions. But if you suspect there’s already a problem, you should consider hiring a forensic accountant to help you uncover the theft.
Going to the police may seem like the natural thing to do when you suspect a crime, but the police do not specialize in financial crimes. Forensic accountants are the ones with the expertise and experience to compile financial records and present an unbiased report.
Forensic accountants work with financial statements, but they look at things differently than typical accountants. Many financial crimes, such as embezzlement, are committed by accountants or bookkeepers, so you can’t blindly trust the people you hire to help you. A forensic accountant looks to uncover problems by going through the financials with a fine-tooth comb and following the paper trail. They know which materials to look at and the right questions to ask your employees. You should expect the forensic accountant to produce a written report, and they can also recommend whether you should go ahead with law enforcement to try and prosecute your employee. With the ammunition your forensic accountant produces, you could decide you want to use this person as an example to discourage others from stealing from you. Your employee may even settle with you and the authorities rather than have a long, drawn-out trial.
You want to trust people but it doesn’t always work out. Perhaps you are too busy running your business by meeting with clients, networking, or other activities. In any case, financial safeguards are a good first step, but you may also need to bring in a forensic accountant if you suspect someone is stealing your property.