I know that I have talked about these things before, but they keep coming up in conversations with doctors, so this month I’ll devote this column to addressing some of the misconceptions about embezzlement that just won’t seem to go away.
Myth # 1 — Cash vs. Checks
Almost every dentist I speak with believes that embezzlement is limited to cash theft, and it hasn’t occurred to them that embezzlers have found ways to steal checks payable to the doctor, credit card payments, and electronic funds transfers. Because there are almost certainly some nascent embezzlers reading this column, I won’t spell out here how it is done, but this is something that we see on a daily basis. Practice owners need to know that any form of wealth transfer can be adulterated by an embezzler, and they don’t have to be a Mensa member to do it. A bit of research and a modicum of creativity will suffice.
Myth # 2 — I Can’t Fire Them Yet
Another misconception is that doctors believe that their recourse against a thieving employee diminishes when that employee is fired or quits. I frequently encounter dentists who suspect a former employee of embezzlement, but believe that they have no ability to take action because the employee no longer works there, and others who believe that they must keep an otherwise unsatisfactory employee on the payroll until our investigation is complete.
Let me make this very simple. Stealing is stealing, regardless of whether or not the person who did it is still (or ever was) an employee. So yes, we can investigate the actions of an employee who is no longer working for you, and no, there is no reason to keep an employee you really don’t want anyway while our investigation take place.
Have embezzlement concerns? Want to make your practice better protected against embezzlement? Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 and we will be happy to help. Or click here.
Thanks for reading.
David Harris CPA, CMA, MBA, CFE, CFF
Chief Executive Officer