Every small business relies on its employees every day. But when money or valuables are involved, you must also consider the possibility that one or more employees may try to steal from you. A key partner in finding and preventing employee dishonesty is a skilled certified public accountant (CPA). How can they help you, no matter what size or type of business you have? Here are a few ways.

1. Fraud-Proofing Your Systems. The best way to reduce loss from theft is to prevent them in the first place. Good practice when it comes to bookkeeping, cash handling, inventory management, and other things will help achieve this. For instance, your accountant may recommend a buddy system when handling cash, a better bank deposit schedule, or in-house auditing of cash and checks. 

2. Spotting Red Flags. Modern-day employee embezzlement can be complex and hard for the average businessperson to spot. This is where an accountant can help you learn about and notice signs of potential trouble. Perhaps they notice that expenses in one area have risen dramatically from last period. This might be normal, or it could be a sign that someone is inflating costs or taking inventory. 

3. Analyzing and Auditing Transactions. One of the most common tasks that accountants handle is auditing your books. In an audit, the trained accountant will attempt to verify that your processes follow accounting standards, that transactions are being handled correctly, and that reports are accurate. This is one of the key ways that embezzlement is eventually detected by many companies. 

4. Being an Independent Source. Most small companies rely on a very small group of people to handle important jobs. But the fewer people that are involved, the easier it is for one of them to commit fraud. As an independent, outside party, your accountant is someone you can rely on. Rather than relying on one employee's opinion of best practices, a business owner can get expert advice to avoid trouble. 

5. Diversifying Who Does What. Can't afford a large staff? Diversify your accounting department by outsourcing some of the work. Your payroll clerk might handle the regular operation of payroll, for instance, while the accountant balances and verifies the payment of payroll taxes. This way, you ensure that no one employee has too much control. 

Where to Start

Could you help keep down costs and prevent fraud with help from a certified public accountant? If so, start by learning more about their services and how to tailor these to your particular needs. Call a CPA such as Harold C Ward, Jr., CPA, PC today to make an appointment.