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You think it will never happen to you but it could be happening right under your nose!

As HR professionals we work with a number of medium sized businesses through New Zealand and Australia.


In the past 12 months we have had three serious cases of theft which have cost companies in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The business owners were so busy working in the business generating sales and business development that they trusted their accounts person to do their job.  In each case the employee had been with the company for many years and had full responsibility for the accounts and potentially developed a sense of entitlement.  The majority of cases of theft in businesses in New Zealand are long term employees.

What would cause an employee to do such a thing?  Some of the underlying causes that we have identified is people that have financial issues through only having one salary in the household, gambling, alcohol addiction or a family member of the business that thought they were entitled.

Generally speaking it starts with something small like buying personal products when ordering office supplies, stealing petty cash or ordering products online using the company credit card.  It then escalates to creating fake invoices and in some cases opening bank accounts that the company isn’t aware of.

A number of companies that have been affected have experienced personal financial pressure bringing the business close to liquidation.

An obvious clue to be aware of are employees that don’t take leave.  They are concerned that if they take leave and someone takes over they may find anomalies. 

Employers need to be more vigilent when it comes to their finances.  Some believe having a good Accountant and an accounts person is all they need.   However how often have they had either their own Accountant or an independent Accounting company complete a review.  Most companies expect their Accountants to deal with the high level transactions and have trust that their internal accounts person will  handle the day to day transactions.

To assist in controlling the security regarding a companies financials it is wise to outsource the payroll and have a bi-annual or annual review by your Accountant to ensure that your financials are in order.

It is a significant breach of trust and unfortunately the clients that were affected now sec