What are these people hiding? And where are the scissors?

Every parent knows the eerie silence that tells you the kids are doing something they shouldn’t. At my house the absence of noise is a dead giveaway that all is not well, and often, the misdeed-in-progress involves a scissors.  At various times (and practically under my nose) the kids have cut:

  • Their hair
  • A sibling’s hair
  • A brand new pair of jeans
  • A gym shirt required for class
  • The cat’s whiskers
  • A bedspread
  • The expensive helmet for a Halloween costume

Wow, this list is getting depressingly long. On reflection, one of my kids should probably not be allowed to so much as look at a scissors.

In business, that eerie silence could be also be a sign, but any misdeed-in-progress is likely to involve your money. Here are some of the things I’ve seen in businesses that have happened right under the business owner’s nose:

  • Skipped payroll tax payments
  • “Borrowed” company funds
  • Misuse of office equipment, inventory, or supplies
  • Unreported harassment or other employee claims that could be a liability
  • Employees who are planning to leave (and take key clients with them)
  • Favors extended by vendors in return for business

If your intuition tells you something is wrong (and you can’t turn it up yourself) it’s OK to bring in a neutral party to investigate – a human resources professional, CPA, bookkeeper, or perhaps a member of your board. Even if they don’t find a problem, they’re likely to point out some things that will be helpful to your general management of the business. But don’t ignore the eerie silence. Now excuse me while I go confiscate the scissors.

Have anything to add? Post your comment or send it to sarah@dayonebusinessservices.com – if I use it I’ll feature your business.

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