A business is only as good as the employees who work for it. Effectively screening employees is a must to ensure you always hire the right personnel. Unfortunately, previously reliable employees can travel over to the "dark side" and cause serious problems. Some might even go so far as to skim significant sums of money from company coffers. Small business owners really do have to be aware of the major red flags associated with employee embezzlement or else they could lose a stratospheric amount of money very quickly.

The Employee Works a Little Too Much

Do you have a seemingly hardworking employee who never takes time off and is always working overtime? Often, such an employee is a valued treasure thanks to his/her dedication. Then, there is the possibility the person works a great many hours and never leaves the office out of fear his/her embezzlement activities will be discovered. 

Once you start noticing cash receipts going down even though the number of customers and clients you deal with is the same, you may want to pay closer attention to the employee who seemingly never leaves the premises. Something might be up.

The Employee's Vices Set the Stage for Desperation

Employees who develop addictions to vices such as drugs or gambling need money and a lot of it. As the seriousness of the addiction increases, so do desperation levels. Making the jump from honest employee to embezzler is not difficult for someone with an addiction.

If the employee seems very hyper, has bloodshot eyes, appears disoriented, or otherwise appears under the influence of drugs, address your concerns. If needed, have the person drug tested and terminate anyone who tests positive.  

Also, keep a watchful eye on anyone who constantly mentions betting on sports or visiting a casino. A bad losing streak could spark the decision to embezzle.

Employee is Continual Disgruntled

In some instances, the employee may be unhappy with the job and choose to embezzle funds to make up for the perceived mistreatment. In many cases, a perception of not being paid enough is the root cause. However, the employee could be angry about a reprimand or being denied certain perks. Embezzling funds becomes a way of getting back at various perceived sleights.

The Employer is Absent

A main reason why embezzlement occurs and is not caught until far too late is the owner is, basically, absent when it comes monitoring the books or the accounting. Those who have not been as diligent as they should be are easily taken advantage of. If you have been lax in this regard and now suspect fraud or embezzlement, contact a CPA, such as Mary E Lewis-Mclaughlin PA, to conduct a thorough internal audit. Such an examination will reveal all.