Skip to Main Content

Start Of Main Content

Tips to prevent employee theft

Careful hiring and assigning responsibilities can ensure no one's stealing from the till.

Safeguard Your Business From Employee Theft

Employee theft, a costly workplace crime that costs U.S. businesses $50 billion annually, affects the finances of all firms — from small businesses to large corporations.

Employee theft can come in many different shapes and sizes; whether it's taking home office supplies, skimming from the registers, insider robberies, or sophisticated bookkeeping and computer fraud, the reality of the modern workplace is that business owners are wise to have controls in place - controls that can help minimize and prevent employee theft.

Want to protect your business? Here are a few steps to get you moving in the right direction.

The safest way to prevent stealing by employees: Hire honest people

It might sound obvious, but your best defense against employee theft is to hire honest employees. Thoroughly screen all job applicants by requiring a detailed application, checking references, and conducting a face-to-face interview. If you'd like to go even further, you can require a criminal background check for all potential employees, and in some states, depending on whether the employee will be handling money, you can require a credit check. Sometimes the requests themselves will cause an undesirable candidate to move on.

Internal controls aid in preventing employee theft

A few simple policy changes and adjustments to your business's everyday operations could make employee theft much more difficult. Consider the following:

  • Duties such as issuing checks, making deposits, managing inventory, and reconciling accounts should be kept separate. Require a second signature for disbursement checks over $500.
  • Individuals with access to company books or purchasing/paying duties should be monitored. Such employees should be granted only as much access as they require to perform their duties.
  • Rotate tasks among employees whenever possible.
  • Carefully review all journal entries and be alert to large numbers of unnecessary entries.
  • Consider hiring an outside CPA firm to perform an annual audit.
  • Require employees to use passwords to access computers or networks and have employees change their passwords on a monthly basis. Employees should log off the computer whenever they leave their desks.
  • Be certain to make backup copies of the accounting records, and store the copies off the premises. If you later think someone's been changing the books, you'll be able to conduct a thorough comparison.
  • Conduct regular inventory audits of all property. Your company may want to consider an independent auditor if your inventory is especially large or number of employees is small.

Security to protect your property

You trust your employees with your property, but that doesn't mean you can't maintain an added level of control. Here's how:

  • Consider using a keycard system or a digital PIN system instead of a traditional key and lock. Both grant you more control over who does and does not have access to your business, and both provide more information regarding when and how your property has been accessed.
  • If you use a traditional key and lock system, maintain control over access to building keys. Don't have keys out and available for any employee to use. Keep all spares locked up.
  • Make sure all shop, warehouse, and office keys are the type that cannot be duplicated without the master.
  • Keep an accurate record of those employees who have been assigned keys. It will decrease the likelihood of keys disappearing, but it will also help the police if you ever have a break-in.
  • Consider changing or re-keying your locks whenever an employee leaves or is dismissed.

Learn more about how to protect your family from burglary with the latest home security technology.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.


Also Important

Natural Disaster Planning for Your Business

Natural Disaster Planning for Your Business

Create a business natural disaster plan to protect your employees, secure assets and resume operations.

How to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents on Your Property

How to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents on Your Property

What owners can do to prevent slips, trips, and falls, and what to do if they happen.

Related Articles

How to Start a Small Business

How to Start a Small Business

Read these tips for starting a small business.

Tips to Protect Your Business From Robbery

Tips to Protect Your Business From Robbery

Learn about theft deterrents, how to prepare your staff, and how to alert authorities.

Options to Consider When Insuring Your Small Home Business

Options to Consider When Insuring Your Small Home Business

Insurance for a home based business might require small business insurance since your homeowners might not.