Credit Card Abuse:
Be Careful How Much Credit You Give Your Employees
It is not easy keeping track of a business's day to day finances, especially when the economy is in a state of turbulence. And when you do not pay as close attention to the financial statements as you need to, it can be pretty easy for a few credit card purchases to slip through the cracks here and there. Employees know this, and in some cases, they might try to take advantage of it.
Times are hard on everyone these days, and it is not all that uncommon for some employees to try and meet their personal financial obligations by reaching into their employer's coffers, and taking home more than their paychecks.
For an employee with access to the company credit cards, this is an easy task. Here are tips you can implement to help prevent employee credit card fraud in your business.
Place Limits and Restrictions on the Credit Cards
Most business credit card providers offer protection programs that can help you place limits and restrictions on your employee credit card usage. For instance, you can require that a supervisor or manager has to sign off on any purchases over a certain amount, or you can set spending limitations on your business credit cards. Consult with your credit card provider to find out all of the fraud protection tools at your disposal.
Review the Rules of Credit Card Usage Regularly
Sometimes employees need to be reminded of certain rules and regulations within the workplace, and the business's credit card usage should be included in that conversation. Make it a habit to review the company's credit card rules and regulations with your employees every so often so there is no excuse for them being unaware of the issue.
Reiterate the Company's Zero-Tolerance Policy on Credit Card Fraud
Make sure your employees are crystal clear about the company's zero-tolerance policy when it comes to credit card fraud. Let them know that stealing from the company will not only place their jobs at risk, but that they could also be facing criminal charges. Have your employees sign off on a document stating that they have been informed of the company's credit card usage regulations, and they understand and agree to comply with the company's policies.
Reduce Your Company's Credit Card Dependency
If you do not need to rely on the business's credit card as often, then you are automatically reducing the chances of fraud from occurring. Look for ways your business can cut costs that may alleviate spending on the cards. For instance, instead of sending an employee off to another city for a meeting with the company credit card in tow, try to arrange the meeting to be done over the phone. It not only saves your company a ton of money on travel expenses, but it instantly lowers your company's risk of credit card fraud.
Restrict Access to the Company Credit Cards
Company credit cards should not be handed out like party favors. Only your most trusted employees should have access them. In a small business, this may be difficult to do without hurting feelings, so make it a policy that an employee has to be with the company for a certain number of years before they are granted that responsibility.
Review All of Your Credit Card Statements and Receipts
If you make it policy that all company credit card receipts must be turned in after being used, then you can review the purchases, and compare them against the credit card's statement when you receive it to make sure all of the purchases are accounted for and verified. While this will add some extra work to your week, it will help employees second guess using the cards for their own personal benefit, because they know you are paying close attention.
Using an independent bookkeeper like Off-Site Business Services helps business owners monitor expenses and purchasing activity. Your employees and your earnings are your most valuable assets. Make sure your business knows how to protect both!