If my day-end report balances to my bank deposit, can I still be embezzled?

In a word, YES.

Many dentists believe that if the “daysheet” generated by their practice management software balances to their bank deposit, embezzlement is not happening in their practice.

Please don’t take us out of context — carefully checking the daysheet is something every dentist should do daily.  This recommendation is not based on the idea that it will catch embezzlement (it probably won’t), but it will help you spot data entry errors and other mistakes that can cost you money.

Dentists tend to believe that the daysheet is “right” because it comes from their computer, is nicely formatted, and is produced by a sophisticated practice management software. It is human nature to accept the veracity of documents that arrive in this way.  However, what these dentists are forgetting is that normally entry of transactions in the software and printing of this report are performed solely by staff.  With this kind of control, it is not difficult for a staff member to make the daysheet say whatever they want it to, and therefore make it balance to a bank deposit that has been reduced by embezzlement.  Thieves are both motivated and clever, and generally have little trouble finding a way to make the daysheet present an untrue picture.  (For a discussion of the creativity and determination of thieves, please see our article at https://www.prosperident.com/2016/11/29/squirrels-embezzlers-common/)

Because we do not want to enhance the tool kits of embezzlers, we won’t discuss specific methodologies for adulterating daysheets here, but we will mention that we see situations where daysheets have been “cooked” on a weekly basis.

Put slightly differently, if your bank deposit does not balance to your daysheet, you have an embezzlement issue.  However, the reverse is not true — the fact that these things balance may mean nothing more than that your embezzler knows how to add.

We should also mention that the task of determining whether these two things truly balance is a bit more complicated than it once was.  Deposited funds may arrive at the bank in many different ways (carried by you to the bank, deposited by check scanner, directly deposited by an insurance company or a patient financing company, deposited directly by your “merchant terminal” that accepts credit card payments etc), and some of them have a time delay compared to when they are recorded as received in your practice management software, a proper reconciliation requires more than the comparison of the funds being carried by the office to the bank, and normally can’t be fully completed until several days later (when the “delayed” funds have arrived).

So what should a busy dentist do?

We’d suggest starting with our Ten Great Monitoring Ideas at https://www.prosperident.com/2016/11/03/ten-great-monitoring-ideas/ (incidentally, one of the monitoring ideas is that you should print the daysheet yourself, and not rely on a staff member to do it for you.

A great tool for simplifying the balancing process is our Monthly Monitoring Spreadsheet.  Email us and ask for it, and we will be happy to provide a copy.

If you have embezzlement concerns for this or any other reason, we are happy to speak with you.  Call us at 888-398-2327, or email us at requests@dentalembezzlement.com, and we will be happy to help.