Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 13th 2017 Contents JULY 13 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG11
Theft and how
to discourage it
Companies with high volumes of
cash transactions can present an
attractive target for theft, by either
external or internal perpetrators.
This column focuses on the latter. Its
purpose is not to generate suspicion
and apprehension between business owners, operators
and their employees---whose duties include the han-
dling of cash---but to encourage systemic solutions,
eg the substitution of cashless transactions, as a way
of doing business and to reduce, if not completely
eliminate, the attraction which cash presents in the
temptation of criminal elements.
What propels employees to steal?
Cash presents an often irresistible temptation to
many who handle it, especially if there is a continuous
flow and large quantities. There are any number of
reasons why employees steal: some to satisfy a real
need, some not but, all too frequently, simple greed.
A company that does not encourage strong value
concepts---value for money, good industrial relations
practices, corporate social responsibility and fostering
the confidence and trust of its employees---can feed
the perception that the company is a ready target. The
absence of any systems and procedures for proper ac-
countability or transparency enhances
the environment for wrongdoing and
making the particular business an easy
These conditions present the ideal
opportunity to an employee who may
feel he or she has been mistreated by
the employer by virtue of being over-
worked, not appreciated, etc, to seek
revenge by capitalising and manipulat-
ing weak procedures and faulty systems
for handling cash, so that it finds its
way into the pockets of unauthorised
collectors. This money may be used
to satisfy what some might consider
a legitimate need (eg repaying a bur-
densome debt) or to conduct illegal
activity (eg procuring drugs).
Such people may not be sufficiently
deterred since the consequences could
How do employees
The ways of theft are myriad and var-
ied, and the chamber does not profess
to know them all but some of the more
popular methods have been: not ring-
ing up sales and pocketing the cash,
stealing directly from petty cash, lifting
money from night deposits, breaking
and entering business places outside
normal working hours, conspiracy with
other employees and faking robberies.
Another frequent scam is for a sales-
man or collector to collect cash from
a customer and delay in handing it
over. They then collect from another
customer and replace the funds of the
first customer, and so on along a chain.
What can employers do
to discourage theft?
Since prevention is better than cure,
it is imperative that employers conduct
thorough and detailed investigations of
the background of each potential em-
ployee, or secure a service provider who
is able to do so. This ought to include
the procurement of a certificate of good
character from the police, following up
references carefully, conversations with
former employers and even objective
persons who reside in the same com-
munity as the employee.
There is a useful role to be played by
CCTV, using a system which is trust-
worthy and able to reproduce images
which may be used in the prosecution
of any wrongdoing.
Apart from dismissing the dishonest
employee where justified, a report of
the theft ought to be made to the po-
lice in the event that the latter wishes
to prosecute the employee under the
criminal law, and for purposes of re-
cord, in the event that future certifi-
cates of good character are sought.
At the end of each business day, all
cash and sales should be balanced. A
company policy of random drug testing
of each employee and terms and con-
ditions which include such a provision
reduces the risk which misuse, abuse or
addiction may contribute to the larger
picture of loss.
Signs of a potential
or budding thief?
The "gut" feeling that something is
not right with the work product of an
employee, or several inconsistencies in
explanations of questionable behaviour
should be heeded. For example, some
bad-tempered employees capitalise
upon this trait to avoid having to an-
swer or be asked questions about what
he or she has or has not done.
• Those employees who display ex-
pensive lifestyles and habits, spending
more than they earn, habitually bor-
rowing (with or without the permis-
sion of the employer or co-employee)
for no reason whatsoever or for every
other reason but the support of such a
lifestyle and habit.
• Employees who frequently com-
plain and are secretive and clandestine
in holding conversations within earshot
of others or discontinue them when
• Excessive loitering around the busi-
ness by off-duty employees should be
discouraged. A constant eye should be
kept on habitual return to the work-
place, well after normal working hours,
under the guise of retrieving something
which was forgotten.
• The discovery of shortages between
cash and sales and offers by the same
employee to make good these shortfalls
as well as the existence of increasing
voids of cash sales on any one shift
and cashiers who hold bunches of re-
How to catch the culprit?
All who handle cash are likely to make
mistakes. However, repeated and more
costly ones denote some form of habit.
Employers ought to limit the number
of people having access to cash and
beware of extra money in the drawers
of cash registers.
Limits on "cash over and shortages"
ought to be strictly set and enforced.
Random and unexpected cash counts
and cash audits should be conducted
during the business day, keeping a
lookout for money "appearing" in the
wrong places over and over again. All
of this feeds the habit.
Obviously, all cash must be locked
away after removal from the register
and before it is conveyed to the bank,
preferably in a dual combination safe,
accessible by two signatories.
The chamber trusts that the infor-
mation contained in this article offers
some insight and also provides greater
understanding of controls are necessary
to minimise losses to the business.
WEST INDIAN ROOFING COMPANY LIMITED
The Receiver of West Indian Roofing Company Limited is offering for sale the commercial property
located at #90 Eastern Main Road, Laventille comprising the following:
11,930 sq. ft. (approximately)
680 sq. ft. (approximately)
2,865 sq. ft. (approximately)
First Floor Office
750 sq. ft. (approximately)
Total Space on Main Building
4,295 sq. ft. (approximately)
1,660 sq. ft. (approximately)
1,100 sq. ft. (approximately)
1,320 sq. ft. (approximately)
To obtain a site visit please contact:
Mr. Varune Mungal
Receiver -- West Indian Roofing Company Limited (In Receivership)
c/o Business Recovery and Advisory Services Limited
86, Seventh Street, Barataria
Conditions of Sale
1. Terms of payment are 10% down on acceptance of offer with balance in ninety (90) days.
2. The Property would be sold on an "As Is Where Is" basis subject to all outstanding Rates, Taxes
and other outgoings.
3. The Receiver does not bind himself to accept the highest or any offer.
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