Amongst the other more pressing challenges faced by small business, security issues are often overlooked – but taking pre-emptive action can minimise or reduce potential fraud and criminal activity, which can be crippling for small business owners.

Fraudulent activity and theft is most often inflicted by personnel within the business.  It is important to have strategies to combat the exposure to this risk.

Cheques –

* Only allow limited and trusted personnel to sign cheques.  Where possible, limit this to the business owner, but if there MUST be other signatories, keep this to a minimum

* All cheques should be crossed as “Not Negotiable” so they can only be used by the person named as the Payee.

* Draw lines through spaces on cheques.

* Never sign a blank cheque.

* Keep unused cheques in a controlled place – not in a common drawer or somewhere unauthorised people can access them.

* Consider setting a value limit over which a second signatory is required.

Cash Handling –

* Minimise Cash Floats.

* Rotate Cash Handling duties between staff.

* Do surprise cash counts – do not make these at regular or predictable times.

Credit Card –

*  When accepting credit card payments, always check signatures.

* When taking payments over the phone, ask for the 3-digit CCV on the reverse of the card.

* Never give YOUR credit card details in a telephone call you did not initiate.

Criminal activity may be minimised by adjusting your business’s physical layout, and also your practices.

Business Practices

* Make sure people can see in, and also that you can see out – you are more susceptible to crime if the perpetrators are protected from outside view.

* Ensure line of sight within the premises, so if someone enters their movements are visible by staff members.

* Keep lighting bright, both inside and outside.

* Greet and pay attention to customers – there is nothing more off-putting to thieves than knowing they have been noticed, and for regular customers it is a nice touch to feel cared for.

* Try to minimise times when a staff member is working alone, especially at closing time.

* Know your neighbours.  A close community where everyone looks out for each other is invaluable.

* Use deadlocks, security cameras, mirrors, and any other appropriate security device.  Advertise their presence.

Every dollar you spend on Security is money well spent – potentially this can save you significantly, even if you never know it!