Your auto dealership spends thousands of dollars on external security, in purchasing alarms, special lighting fixtures, and in some cases, having experts come in and design or change showrooms and inventory arrangements to prevent theft. If a prospective customer enters your dealership, he or she can shoplift, but how much? Certainly they can’t pilferage as much as a manager, sales person, or administrator.
In David Letterman count-down style, here are the first two of ten steps you can take to prevent employee fraud and theft.
10. Investigate Incidents
Investigate any type of misconduct thoroughly and immediately. You probably want to call on third party assistance, such as the police, a private investigator, or fraud investigator. A rule of thumb is if the amount in question is $500.00 or more, it is appropriate to involve the police. This is helpful to provide a record if necessary for a court to convict the employee of embezzlement, it also provides documentation for termination.
Once it has been investigated, you must terminate the employee. This is regardless of length of employment or performance status. Make sure that your dealership’s theft and fraud prevention policy is well defined and followed, and that there is zero tolerance for theft and fraud. If you don’t follow the policy, then the exception becomes the norm.
You as a manager must follow the company policy when investigating and disciplining employees. This sends a clear message of where the line lies and that theft and fraud are intolerable.
Consider using independent auditors for annual reviews of wage and hour practices, audit payrolls and ensure that vendors are not receiving kick-backs. Third party accountability makes it difficult for embezzlers to cover their tracks.
Alternatively, some dealerships set-up internal audit committees by picking employees from several different departments to review processes.
Regardless of internal or external auditors, someone engaged in fraud and theft will cover their tracks if they have time to prepare for the audit. Unscheduled audits work well to deter and detect theft or fraud.