What Should You Do if You Suspect an Employee is Stealing From Your Company?

It’s a dreaded scenario that, unfortunately, happens all the time. An employee thinks they can get away with stealing from you, and takes what is not theirs. Whether it’s office supplies, intellectual property, or cash that has been stolen, it is important you move quickly as soon as there is any indication that you have an employee who has committed theft.

Here are some steps you need to take in order to take action. Please remember, every situation is different and you need to approach these problems on a case-by-case basis, and act accordingly based on the circumstances.

First, do not rush to make accusations. You need to move quickly to handle the issue, but if you simply have a suspicion that an employee is stealing from you and you start throwing around wild accusations or fire them without proof, you could find yourself in some serious hot water. It can be infuriating to find out your employees have stolen from your company, but you need to react calmly and professionally.

Ensure that you completely know and understand your company policies about theft and discipline. This may be a good time to consult with HR or even an attorney about your options. If your workforce is unionized, there may be even more complex issues surrounding actions taken against theft. Read your company’s policies on theft, interviewing employees, and disciplinary action before moving forward.

Next, gather as much evidence of the theft as you possibly can. Document dates and times, and gather physical documents or videos that could help prove the fraudulent activity. Conduct interviews with potential witnesses and other employees within the bounds of your company’s interviewing policies, and document the results of those interviews. It can be extremely useful to hire a Forensic Accountant, who can conduct an internal audit that will seek out evidence of fraud. Forensic accountants can help you gather the proof you will need to take action against the employee.

Finally, once you have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that fraud has been committed in your company, you must decide what disciplinary action to take. Was it so simple that you feel comfortable just suspending the employee or do they need to be fired? If the crime was severe enough, do you want to press charges and try to recoup your financial losses? Think carefully about what discipline is warranted and make sure any disciplinary actions you take also stays within the bounds of your predetermined company policies.

If you suspect that fraud may be taking place in your workplace, call Desnoyers CPA, LLC for a consultation.

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Written by Desnoyers CPA

Desnoyers CPA

Known for her friendly, outgoing nature and her rare talent for financial foresight, Lydia Desnoyers has been serving individuals and small businesses in Florida since 2010. After earning her Master’s Degree in Accounting from Nova Southeastern University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Florida State University, she became a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner.