The risk of theft is a reality in any business. When theft does occur, it’s very often from just one, long-standing employee who knows your practice inside out. This makes noticing theft difficult, not to mention that it’s often cleverly disguised in the reams of financial and admin dealings that take place daily.
Here are 4 simple, but effective ways, to mitigate the risk of employee theft.
1. Cross-train your employees
Like most small business,you may have one employee responsible for managing all money-related matters and while this may be currently working for your practice, this set-up is dangerous for two reasons.
Firstly, what happens if they get ill, go on leave or resign? Suddenly you will find a huge gap in your collections process.
Secondly, the most common place for fraud to occur is in the back office of small businesses where only one person handles the cash and books. It’s therefore important to cross train your staff to ensure that various aspects of receiving and managing money can be dealt with by more than one person. This reduces autonomy when it comes to finances and inherently creates more opportunity to identify theft.
Worried that having too many cooks might spoil the broth? Having medical billing software in place is a great way to safeguard against this worry. Because each employee has their own unique login, you will always be able to to see which activities were performed by which staff member and at what time. Therefore, if any ‘funnies’ do arise, you can track back to the event.
2. Know the metrics that matter for your medical practice
Understanding and reviewing key metrics is crucial for any business owner, but it can be time consuming and is therefore often looked at on an adhoc basis.
Knowing which key metrics to pay attention to can minimise time required, while maximising your ability to spot discrepancies. For some examples of key metrics that you should be reviewing on a monthly basis, click here.
Still don’t have the time? Having the right medical billing software in place can be used to reduce the time and effort spent on reviewing metrics. Even if you can’t look at metrics every day, you can get a daily transaction report sent to you (see below for an example) that will give you a high-level view of how your practice has performed for the day. Understanding the patient volumes you saw, you can then make a quick judgment call as to whether or not the figures are correct.
3. Create a budget – and stick to it
As a busy doctor and business owner, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of knowing your numbers. Have a clear idea of what your practice should be making every month. Opt-in to receive daily bottom-line SMSes which should come standard with your medical billing software package. The cash amount in the SMS should match your daily transaction report and if it doesn’t, you know what needs to be investigated immediately.
The reality is that employees who are stealing from your practice do so over a long period of time simply because it goes unnoticed. It goes without saying though that your cash flow will be affected at some point, and therefore it’s best to implement a routine to easily and regularly check the financial status of your practice.
4. Make sure employees take leave
As mentioned above, employee theft can often come from the employee that you trust the most. They position themselves as a loyal team member who never takes leave out of dedication to their work. But not taking leave can be a strategic decision on their part to avoid being discovered, because if they are stealing or committing fraud, they need total control of their work. That’s why it’s essential to implement a system to ensure that every employee takes at least a two week break every year.
Keeping employee leave records and/or adopting a mandatory staff leave policy will safeguard your practice from theft because anything that is being hidden, can come to light while the individual is away.
When your focus is on treating patients, identifying theft within your practice can be difficult. However, having the right technology in place is an easy and effective way to keep track of key profitability metrics and cash flow. If your medical billing software can’t help you prevent theft in your practice, it’s time to upgrade to an end-to-end solution. Speak to us about how our medical billing solutions can help you avoid theft and help you run a profitable practice by clicking here.
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