Tuesday Tip from Pride Institute: Embezzlement – Are you one of the 60%?

The frightening statistics reveal that three in five dentists have been or are being embezzled. There are some warning signs, and there are steps you can take to keep your office from falling victim.

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That’s right – three out of five, or 60% of dentists have been or are being embezzled, and those are the ones that are reported. If you don’t believe me, Google it. The average loss is $105,000 taken over an average period of two years. The results of being embezzled are financial loss, time loss, loss of relationships, destroyed trust, and health issues. In the past several years dental embezzlement has become rampant.

Sneaking Off With MoneyDavid Harris, CEO of Prosperident, says that long-term staff members with no criminal record and no adverse employment history typically carry out embezzlement. The problem comes when need meets opportunity. When we think of embezzlers, we typically think of front desk personnel. They are not the only ones.

Embezzlement includes not only money, but also the theft of dental supplies and medications that are on hand (then often sold on eBay or Craig’s List), and time clock and bonus manipulation.

What good business practices do you not have in place? Being lax in these measures can set you up to be embezzled. Consider these preventive areas. Are you being a responsible business owner, as well as a well-educated clinician? Do you do background checks and call references before hiring? Are you knowledgeable about your practice software and accounting software? Do you have unique passwords for all team members in your software? Do you review daily and monthly reports and run audit trails on your practice software?

Consider these questions concerning early detection. Do you have an employee who has too much control, i.e., no separation or splitting of duties that involve the financials of the practice? Does one person handle filing of insurance and posting of insurance checks? Does one person order your dental or office supplies and unpack and put away supplies as they are delivered? Do you have an employee who is super dedicated, who stays late and comes in early, never takes vacation, and needs no help from others? Do you have a team member who is having financial difficulty? Do you have an employee who strongly resists and protests hiring a consultant?

If you suspect that you have an embezzlement issue, don’t confront the person nor make your suspicions known. Speak to a consultant, ask for a referral to a dental fraud examination firm, and contact your attorney. In other words, seek professional help now!

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Tuesday Tips from Pride Institute are provided weekly on their Facebook page as well as in this column in DentistryIQ. To ensure you don’t miss any of Pride Institute’s proven methods to take your practice to the next level, visit prideinstitute.com, and like them on Facebook.

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