One way employees steal from a retail business is through smart cash registers or Point of sale
Here are the most common ways retail employees have been found using Point of Sale software to facilitate their theft:
- Cancelled sales. The most common approach is to leave the register drawer open from the previous sale, scan items for the next sale, advise the customer of the amount and then cancel the sale. This leaves no record of the sale other than depleted stock count which will not be discovered for some time. The cash paid by the customer is then able to be removed without affecting the cash balance at the end of the shift. Employees using this technique will need to either remove the cash immediately or keep a note of the amount of cash in the cash drawer which is ‘theirs’. They will either remember the number, use a calculator with a memory, write the amount on a note or record it somehow on their cell phone. This is why removing these items from the counter is important.
- Deleting a past sale. In some Point of Sale systems, deleting a sale from earlier in the day can have the same impact on cash as cancelling a sale – it leaves more cash in the cash drawer than recorded in the computer system.
- Refunding an item. By using a refund process in the Point of Sale software or entering -1 (or more) as the quantity and scanning the sale can trick the software into showing an amount to be given to the ‘customer’. This is an amount which can be removed from the cash register without impacting the cash balance at the end of the shift.
- No Sales – false claims. Some software programs allow you to enter an amount to be removed from the register and to record a reason. Depending on the processes for auditing no-sales, it may be possible that an employee is able to use this to take cash for personal use.
Each of these methods for accessing cash can be stopped by using the right processes in the Point of Sale software to block the actions. Use passwords where possible and change them regularly. Ensure that only people in trusted roles have access to the most at-risk facilities.
Regularly audit the business processes and watch for opportunities to remove cash in a way which does not impact the end of shift balance for the business.
Even the smallest theft each day can add up to a considerable cost for the business.
Employee theft can be reduced through better understanding and tight business processes.