Sooner or later, every practice owner receives this unwelcome news. Your office manager, who is key to the smooth functioning of your office, is leaving. A thousand thoughts race through your head. Where will I ever find a replacement? How can I replicate the amount of knowledge that will vanish with the incumbent?
Many practice owners fall into the trap that, when they find the perfect office manager, they assume that person will be in situ forever. Cross-training other staff members never seems like a priority, nor does having any documentation of what the office manager does and knows.
Once a month, the entire team at Prosperident gets together for a virtual "Town Hall." These meetings serve several purposes. First, they give our team, who are widely scattered geographically, a sense of belonging and connectivity. Our work, which is almost always done remotely, can be insular. Particularly in the past eighteen months, our group has appreciated the chance to see and hear each other.
The topics we discuss are varied. Some of our sessions are technical, where one of our more senior examiners will present a specific skill or situation.
At other times we will discuss managing investigations. Since I personally review and approve all final reports where we find embezzlement, report writing is a frequent topic.
These meetings are also our chance to discuss embezzlement patterns and trends that we are seeing.
In the past few meetings, some fairly clear trends are emerging in what embezzlement looks like since Covid struck last year. First, we are simply seeing more embezzlement. Our "strike rate," which measures how frequently we see embezzlement in cases where symptoms are evident, has increased from its traditional level of 70% to 78% in the first six months of 2021. This means that a greater percentage of the people who hire us are being victimized.
We also are seeing some different patterns. Expense-side theft, like payroll tampering and purchasing personal items through office accounts are on the rise.
People steal as a result of "pressure" which is sometimes financial and sometimes emotional. it doesn't take much imagination to understand how the long-running pandemic has stressed people on both dimensions, and the need for practice owners to be vigilant is as strong as ever.
If you have concerns about embezzlement in your practice or want to lessen your vulnerability, I'd love to speak with you. You can book a time using THIS LINK.