There is much focus today in the “small business owner” arena on protecting assets. What are the assets of a dental practice? There are lots! In fact dental offices are asset heavy as small businesses go. You’ve got your dental chairs, your x-ray machines, numerous hand tools, televisions, and computers, boxes of gauze and rubber gloves as well as oodles of other supplies, and the list goes on. If you operated a Best Buy, your inventory would be most at risk, which is why there are security detectors and staff stationed at the doors. But your patients and staff are not likely to walk out with either your dental chairs or your latex gloves. And why not? Well the big stuff would be tough to sneak out and there’s not a lot of money to be made on reselling gloves. So what do you have at risk?
Not physical cash in most cases because that is going the way of the dinosaur. But funds from your bank account, your credit card, even from your patients and insurance providers. It should start becoming clear who is most able to perpetrate these crimes…your administrative staff. “Not my staff!” you say. You treat them well, sometimes like family. They’re loyal to you, surely. And besides, you know what a thief looks like. They act shady, wear black, probably don’t shower. Your staff are professionals, often moms and grandmothers, and they do their jobs really well.
Yep…they’re the very ones. It’s like a dagger in your heart!
So what does an embezzler actually look like? Unfortunately they look like the model employee. They typically:
- Arrive at work early and stay late
- Are extremely well-liked by other staff and patients
- Are one of the “family”
- Never take vacations
- Insist on handling everything him/herself
Almost 1 out of 6 dentists have been, will be or are being embezzled. We’ll be providing more information and tools you can implement to safeguard your practice in future blogs. Our advice for the moment: BE ALERT. Most dentists are just too busy or too content to notice the leak in their practice. If you suspect employee theft, don’t brush it off to paranoia. Those red flags may mean something.