About 1 in 6 dental practices will experience embezzlement during its lifetime. There are many reasons why this can happen, but it is your job as a practice owner to take what actions you can to protect yourself, your team, and your business. Implementing a few basic safeguards can prevent opportunities for embezzlement and help keep your practice on track for success.
Why does embezzlement happen?
There are several reasons why so many dental practices face employee embezzlement. Most dental schools spend little time preparing students for the business side of their career. This often leads to practices being built around clinical systems, which can provide team members too much access and not enough accountability. You may want to trust each of the people who work with you daily, but unchecked opportunity can make temptation seem irresistible. Limiting opportunity and increasing accountability in your practice can help make the idea of embezzlement seem unthinkable.
How do I protect my practice?
First, schedule time with your dental CPA to discuss embezzlement prevention. Review your current internal accounting controls and how they might be improved. If possible, segregate billing, collection, and adjustment responsibilities between multiple team members. Limit access to systems that are not part of a team member’s responsibilities. Talk with your insurance agent about having your employees bonded or purchasing employee theft bonds.
There is a very old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to protecting yourself, your team, and your practice from the financial and emotional pain of embezzlement, this axiom is, if anything, an understatement. Contact our office to schedule a meeting to discuss your internal accounting controls and how you can prevent employee theft in your business.
100 West Road suite 410
Towson, MD 21204