Running a business is by no means easy. On a regular basis (daily, even) entrepreneurs are forced to close their fledging enterprises because they do not have enough money to continue operating. Unfortunately, sometimes the reason people’s businesses are forced into closure is because money actually goes missing. If you are worried because numbers aren’t adding up and you can’t track funds then this post is for you. In this article, you will find out everything you need to do in the event of money going missing or numbers not adding up.
Check for Input Mistakes
The very first thing that you need to do if you are worried money has gone missing is check for input mistakes or errors. Sometimes individuals who’re using programs like Excel do not put the right figures in. If an input error occurred and a period of time has passed since the original mistake then it will be very hard for you to actually establish that an error has occurred. Even so, you need to investigate when Excel links are not working or if numbers are not adding up. You can do that by getting in touch with the person who filled out the sheet and performing an audit.
It is good, every so often, to perform backups on your spreadsheets so that you can pinpoint exactly when mistakes have happened. By performing backups you can go back through historic sheets and find the exact instance that somebody made an error. Ideally, every time amendments are made to sheets they should be saved and backed up. Make sure that you encourage your staff to do this too. By getting staff to perform backups you’ll be able to more effectively identify who made mistakes too but be sure to get them to sign backups with their names.
Conducting Company Audit
If money has gone missing, an audit needs to take place immediately. The problem with money going missing is that if you do not track it down, the IRS could get involved. If they do, you could end up getting into a lot of trouble. They do not look fondly at business owners who’re not in control of their finances. It is especially important to remember that even though money has gone missing if you have not already paid tax on it, you will have to even if you cannot find it.
A company audit can be extremely difficult to conduct, especially for inexperienced individuals. If you have never had to audit anything before then you may instead want to hire a professional to do it for you. A professional auditor will be able to effectively investigate and make sure that your company’s finances are all in check. If they are not then they may have to report you to the IRS themselves (but only if it looks like money has been stolen). If money has been stolen then you need to involve the police.
Speaking to Employees
Get in touch with employees who have been in charge of finances or spreadsheets right away, as soon as it looks like money has gone missing. Doing this will help you to track it while the memory is still fresh in their minds. That being said if a large amount of time has elapsed between money going missing and then you finding out it has gone missing, it is theoretically possible that your employees will not remember and as such will not be able to help you. If they cannot help you then you may have to involve the police, but that is something that will be covered in more detail in the next section.
When you are speaking to employees about money that has gone missing, you need to make sure that you do not take on an accusatory tone. If your employees feel like you are accusing them of stealing money then it’s perfectly possible that they will refuse to engage with you. After all, nobody wants to feel like they are being accused of stealing, even if they are guilty. Gently approach the subject and be subtle, taking note of every single one of your employees’ responses, sniffing out the rat.
Involving the Police
Let’s be honest: if numbers aren’t adding up and no matter how hard you are investigating the matter, the police need to get involved. Sometimes the involvement of law enforcement can be enough to get somebody to confess. Likewise, police detectives will be more adept to find a thief than you will. Finding somebody who has stolen money can be very difficult as people tend to cover their tracks very well. Even the most experienced thieves sometimes make mistakes that lead to them getting caught though.
When you are involving the police you need to make sure that you are not in the wrong at all. If you are in the wrong in any way shape or form then it is a good idea to tell them from the outset. If you do not disclose wrongdoing and they find out themselves, you will look especially guilty and could get into a lot of trouble. Involving the police is something that can be hard to do but unfortunately is a necessary and logical step to take if money has gone missing and you cannot figure out where it has gone.
Benefit of the Doubt
Even when you have involved the police, give employees you suspect the benefit of the doubt until you have hard evidence post-audit. If you fire somebody because you think they have stolen money and then later find out they did not, then they could potentially file a lawsuit against you. If a lawsuit is filed you could be sued for missed wages and then damages. Not only will you be short on the money that has gone missing but you will also have to then pay the employee(s) that you fired unlawfully.
Money can be hard to keep track of. In truth, you need an accountant’s support. Hiring one will help you to deal with your money more effectively and prevent it from going missing. Keeping track of your money can be extremely easy to do when you have an accountant on your team.