It’s something you never think could happening to your dental practice. Your employees would never do that. You trust them. They work hard. They care about the dental practice. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
According to David Harris, a dental fraud expert, research shows that a dentist has a more than 50 percent chance of being a victim of dental practice fraud. Even worse, these figures don’t account for the fraud that goes undetected. These statistics are usually the symptoms of an ineffective dental practice management approach.
Tips for Preventing Dental Fraud
So what are some things to look for to make sure this isn’t happening to your practice?
- Have an employee manual with a strict written policy against theft. Be detailed and specific, especially about what the consequences will be.
- Watch out for the overachiever. If you have an employee who often wants to work through lunch, come in early, stay late, or skip vacations, this may be a red flag. On the surface it seems as if he or she is going “above and beyond” for you, but they could actually just want to stay at work as long as possible so nobody can catch their fraudulent activity.
- Have an internal control system in place so you don’t have the same employee process payments, write checks, and do the bank reconciliations.
- Perform background checks on all new hires.
- Install a surveillance camera in key areas at your dental office.
- Follow through with action if you suspect unusual activity. Do not automatically assume there is no way this could happen to me.
- Mandate vacations. If an employee can’t be there to cover up his or her theft at all times, it could be caught when he or she is away from the office.
- Look for inconsistencies in employee behavior. Are they all of the sudden showing up to work an hour early? Has their mood changed drastically over an extended period? Are they suddenly driving a Corvette?
- Meet regularly with your CPA to go over financial information. If your collections or cash are low, you should know about it and be able to explain why.
- Trust your employees, but with caution. Dental practice theft often costs dentists hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your dental practice’s livelihood is at stake. You work hard, and don’t deserve to have money stolen from you.
Dental Practice Fraud Help
By implementing these strategies, you can decrease the threat of employee theft at your dental practice. Taking these steps now can keep your business from becoming another fraud statistic. If you need additional help in determining how keep the risk of fraud down at your dental practice, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of Dental CPAs can counsel you on best practices, and show you how the steps mentioned above can be put to good use.