It would be a perfect world if everyone we worked with could be trusted 100 percent, but being too trusting can lead to employee theft or fraud. There are some simple steps you can take to protect your business:
- Use a password! Your QuickBooks or other accounting software should have an Administrator password at a minimum. Even better, set up a separate user account for each person accessing the software and have everyone set their own password.
- Review your books! Even if you’re not a “numbers person,” you should learn enough about reading a Profit-&-Loss report and a Balance Sheet to be able to know if something is amiss. There are seminars offered at your local SBDC or community college if you need to learn how to read these basic reports.
- Make your bookkeeper take a vacation! At least once a year, make your bookkeeper take a week off at the end of a month. Let someone else close the month and reconcile the accounts. You never know what you might find! If you don’t feel comfortable doing the reconciliations and reviews, hire your tax preparer or a Virtual Bookkeeper for the assignment.
- Get a stamp! Purchase a “For Deposit Only” stamp for your business account and stamp all incoming customer checks with it. This can prevent someone else from cashing your customer’s check.
- Open your statements! You, the business owner, should be the one to open the bank statements. Always make sure you receive them unopened. Then review them for any unusual payees or amounts.
- Lock up your checks! Don’t leave blank checks laying around. Make sure you keep track of voided checks, too. Then, be sure to keep track of check numbers and investigate any missing checks.
These simple tips can help you sleep better at night and help prevent the theft or fraud that could seriously damage your business.
Deb Howard Greenleaf, EA, CEO and Principal, of Greenleaf Accounting Services provides virtual accounting and bookkeeping services and specializes in financial management to consultants, coaches, solo professionals, and other small business owners across the US. Deb is an Enrolled Agent (EA)—an IRS-licensed tax professional—and specializes in small businesses and entrepreneurs filing Schedule C or as an LLC. As an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Deb spends her day in QuickBooks Online and specializes in providing QBO support.