Since most veterinary practices fall in the SME group, they’re highly prone to fraud and theft. Over 70% of veterinary practices and pet hospitals experience fraud, theft, or data embezzlement. According to the AVMA, one in three workers steals on-duty, contributing to an annual loss of $200 billion.
It’s important to be aware of common fraudulent practices to avoid being swindled by your staff—and surprisingly, the biggest weapon you have to protect your veterinary practice is offering comfort and safety to your employees. Continue reading to learn the five most common types of embezzlement in veterinary practices.
1. Cash Drawer Theft
Have you ever suspected that dollar bills were going missing from the cash drawers at your facility?
If you do, an employee could be stealing on-duty— and surprisingly, it’s the most trustworthy and experienced employees who often steal at work, because they ten to have entitlement issues.
2. Accounting Discrepancies
Is your practice fully-booked? Do you still have an inexplicably low cash flow? That’s a major warning sign of potential veterinary embezzlement. Your office or account manager may be stealing on-duty, leading to bookkeeping discrepancies and trouble paying bills.
3. Unusual Transactions
Mounting credit card bills and unusual purchases also indicate potential fraud. Your employees may be charging personal expenses on official accounts, using your business’s cash flow for payments and clearing dues.
Moreover, they could put your pet food or medicine supplier’s name, while transferring the money into a different account—and deleting the invoices later.
4. Inventory Frauds
Inventory embezzlement is the most common type of fraud that your veterinary business could encounter. Storage spaces are highly susceptible to theft because they’re so easy to access, especially if you have non-automated procedures and lax documentation.
Fraud Prevention Tips
Some useful fraud-mitigation tips are mentioned below:
- Run background checks on all your employees before hiring them.
- Use a digital time clock to prevent fake overtime entriesand manual payroll submission fraud.
- Try assigning check and balance tasksto a different person instead of the account manager.
- Avoid bonding too closely with your staff—as many embezzlers tend to have a closer relationship with the veterinary practice head/owner.
- While losing small items or company belongings may seem inconsequential, the cumulative impact can be quite significant. Therefore, implement a strict anti-theft policy at your practice.
Read this summit veterinary advisor publication for more tips and tricks to avoiding veterinary embezzlement.
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