Not sure why, maybe I'm naive, but I'm always stunned when I hear of a bookkeeper or treasurer stealing money from the firm they are working for or volunteering for. Without the proper checks and balances put in place, your bookkeeping system could be set up to allow for theft and pilferage, and it could be happening right in front of you. In the past few weeks, I've come across a few different stories of businesses and non-profits getting taken for a ride. One story came from my hometown in upstate New York and the other from where I currently reside, which is here in Utah. I feel situations like these can be avoided if the proper time and effort is put into building a strong bookkeeping system and utilizing the checks and balances that are associated with this. As a business owner or manager, you want to be able to whole heartedly trust the person managing your money and you want to be able to identify areas where money can disappear. If you don't, then you might want to take the necessary steps in changing that.
Empower Your Bookkeeper
You want a bookkeeper that will ask the tough questions. Some bookkeepers may have a hard time with this, especially if they are a family member or close friend working on the books. Owners or managers sometimes turn to someone they know with some free time on their hands to help out with the books. I always cringe when I hear the previous person doing the books was a young cousin, retired aunt, a neighbor with some free time 3 hours a week, etc. Do they have an accounting background or are they QuickBooks certified? This can lead to a major headache if the person isn't locked into what is happening with the business on a day to day basis and isn't fully submerged in the operations. Will they know how to handle ATM withdrawals or transfers out of the bank accounts? Will they ask about cash transactions that may dead end somewhere in QuickBooks? All safe money, petty cash, and tills better be on the books and verified on a periodic basis.
Review Your Books, Review Your Books, Review Your Books
Owners and managers may hold some of the blame when it comes to the question; how could we have been getting robbed when we trusted the bookkeeper and didn't bother checking their work? I'm always amazed when I talk with a business owner or manager that doesn't have the ability to view their books and review their financials without the help of their bookkeeper. Although the main goal of a bookkeeper is to make life for the owner or manager a lot less of a hassle, the owner or manager should not let go over the system entirely. How would they ever know what is accurate and what is 'cooked.' There are many steps they should take along the way, and we have written about it many times in the past. Matt and I find ourselves talking about this topic a lot due to its importance. How can one feel comfortable if they aren't sure if they are being robbed by their bookkeeper or treasurer? Not only is cash to be viewed under a microscope, but as should inventory, office supplies, and services. If items are walking out the door, then your bottom line will suffer.
We specialize in setting up bookkeeping systems that reduce worry and limit concerns about theft. With an increase in confidence in your bookkeeping, you can direct your energy and worries towards other areas of your business such as growth and increased revenue. Feel free to get in touch if you want to talk more about how our outsourced bookkeeping services will benefit you and your business directly.