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Series: How Does Employee Theft Happen – Part 3

Article Highlights:

  • How can you protect your dealership?
  • Read these tips to learn more.

In the previous articles in this series, we examined why theft happens and how it happens. If you missed those articles, check them out below:

How Does Employee Theft Happen – Part 1 

How Does Employee Theft Happen – Part 2 

Now that you’ve learned why and how theft happens, you should be asking yourself: how can I protect my dealership? There are hundreds of measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of employee theft. In this article, we’ll highlight a few of them. This isn’t an exhaustive list but rather tips to get you started.

The office is your dealership’s epicenter but it could end up being the cause of your downfall if you aren’t careful. Take the following actions to help reduce risk:

  • Spot check write-offs to make sure employees aren’t writing off legitimate payments they’ve pocketed.
  • Inspect pre-numbered checkbooks periodically to reduce the likelihood of stolen checks.
  • Question write-offs and voided documents.
  • Use a system to monitor for duplicate payments to the same invoice.

Needing to protect your physical assets is obvious. Here are a few tips to protect your investments:

  • Have inventory done by an outside agency once a year to check for inconsistencies.
  • Mark items likely to be stolen to make identification easier.
  • Lock the parts department and tool storage area; limit access to these rooms.
  • Set thresholds for inventory amounts and values.

As we’ve learned, even trusted employees, under the wrong circumstances, could cost your dealership. Here are some tips to help deter employees from choosing the wrong path:

  • Insist employees take vacations.
  • Check references before hiring.
  • Provide each employee with a policy manual.
  • Alert employees of monitoring; according to a UNC Charlotte burglary study, 50% of convicted burglars would not have stolen if an ADT sign were present.

If there is only one person who can get the job done, it’s easy to hide theft. Here are a few tips on how improved processes can help protect your dealership:

  • Open all mail yourself.
  • Have the dealership mystery shopped periodically.
  • Hold regular meetings to review and update internal controls.
  • Have an outside, impartial, party review questionable activity.

With these tips, you should have a good start to reducing the risk of employee theft at your dealership. However, there are infinite and ever-changing ways people steal. The most effective way to deter employee theft is to use a solution to monitor activity in the dealership. When a questionable transaction is found, you can review it. This way, you spend less time trying to stay on top of everything and more time running a business.

This is the end of our three-part series on employee theft.

 

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Director, Product Planning, DMS, Reynolds and Reynolds

Scott Worthington is director of product planning at Reynolds and Reynolds. With more than 28 years of automotive industry experience, Scott leads the team responsible for product strategy for the company’s ERA® and POWER dealership management system platforms. He also manages product strategy for Reynolds eWorkflow, DMS reporting tools and analytics, and a number of other product areas.  

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