Sunday retail business management advice: 16 ways retailers can reduce employee theft

  1. For everyday items, items most people will use or could convert to cash, use stock control. Enter new stock as it comes in, scan all sales and only reorder based on what you software says. Every month do a stock take. Take cigarettes – Tobacco stock discrepancies are an indicator of theft. Had one newsagent been doing this they would have caught their $250 a day employee theft months earlier.
  2. Scan everything you sell. Do not use department keys as this makes it easier for employees to steal since they know there is no trackback to stock on hand. Using department keys is an invitation to steal.
  3. Do your end of shift through your software and have a zero-tolerance policy on being over or under. Reconcile banking to your computer software end of shift. One newsagency where this was not done was being skimmed regularly for $200 a day.
  4. Do spot cash balancing. Unexpected checks can uncover surprises. One newsagent needing to do a banking during the day uncovered a $350 discrepancy that lead to discovery of systematic theft.
  5. Change your roster. Sometimes people work together to steal. One newsagent found a family friend senior and their teenage daughter stealing consistently.
  6. Check your Audit Log. Look at cancelled sales, deleted sales and items deleted from a sale. Leaving a cash drawer open from the previous sale, scanning items, taking the cash and cancelling the sale is the most common process used by employees to accrue cash they then take from you. Good software tracks cancelled sales and what was in them. This can be matched with video footage.
  7. Check GP by department. If GP is falling outside what you expect, research it further.
  8. Setup a theft policy. Put this on a noticeboard in the back room. Get staff to read it and sign up to it. See the last page of this advice.
  9. Keep the counter clean. A better organised counter reduces the opportunity for theft as it makes detection easier.
  10. Have a no employee bags at the counter policy. This makes it harder for them to hide your cash.
  11. Beware employees who carry folded paper or small notepads. These can be used for them to keep track of how much cash is in the register that is theirs – i.e. not rung up in the software.
  12. Beware of calculators with memories at the counter. One newsagency employee used the memory function to track how much cash had to be stolen prior to balancing for the day – cash from sales not rung up.
  13. Do not let employees sell to themselves. If they want to purchase something make them purchase it from the other side of the counter.
  14. Be professional in your management of the business. The more professional your approach they less likely your employees will steal as they will see the risk of being caught as high.
  15. Advise all job applicants that you will require their permission for a police check. From the outset this indicates that you take your business seriously. In many situations applicants who have been asked for permission to do a police check advise they have found a job elsewhere.
  16. Do not take cash out for your own use in front of employees. If they see you take cash for a coffee or lunch some will see this as an invitation.
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Helping small business retailers manage to reduce theft

cuttheftRetailers using the Tower Systems POS software are embracing our latest online training opportunities including the How to cut theft in your retail business live and interactive workshop coming up on August 7.  This session will fill up. We have more coming on the schedule.

Tower Systems demonstrates its commitment to consistent access to free post-installation training with workshops like this one, workshops that are valuable to retailers using our software.

Theft – employee theft and customer theft – continues to have a high cost for small and independent retailers. Tower Systems actively helps retailers to recent the impact of theft through personal training like this latest workshop. Being for owners only, we have a safe place where we can take people deep into the theft mitigation facilities in our software.

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Helping small business retailers cut employee theft

Employee theft can hit a retail business hard, especially if the business does not have a retail business theft policy in place. For many years we have advocated to our retail business customers about theft and how to manage the risk for the benefit of the business and those who depend on it. yet, unfortunately, too often retailers ignore what they must do until they have discovered theft.

We are on a mission this week to encourage and guide our almost 3,000 small business customers to manage their businesses for theft, especially employee theft.

Our POS software has excellent tools and facilities through which the retail business owners can reduce the cost of theft and more easily discover possible theft situations. We back this with advice on best practice theft management in retail. Our advice draws on our own experiences in retail as well as our considerable experience helping others through work with the police and prosecution in court cases.

We understand the role evidence plays and have tuned our software over the years to provide evidence necessary to discovering and prosecuting instances of theft.

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Free retail theft check service uncovers employee theft costing a small business $100s a day

For many years Tower Systems has offered a free Theft Check service to retailers using its Point of Sale software. We have advised lawyers, police, insurance companies as well as our retail customers. Our goal is top help retailers cut the cost of theft, especially employee theft.

A theft check that uncovers evidence of theft will result in a detailed report. Here is the text of a recent email to a customer from one of our theft expert witnesses advising what their research found. Attached to the email was detailed evidence:

Please find attached results of you theft check.

I have attached the following,

A PDF that summarises by hour the total number and value of Cancelled sales and deleted sales from January 2013 until January 2014 for the hours you specified.
A spreadsheet of the raw data used in construction of the table for further analysis if you require.
3 links Spreadsheets detailing the transactional flow for the period in question. It is in this format to reduce the size of the overall table.

I have analysed your data and can see considerable numbers of Cancelled Sales and Deleted Sale Items. Both of these transaction types are of similar nature. Cancelled sales are when an entire sale is removed uncompleted from the POS screen. This is done by pressing the CTRL+F2 button on the keyboard or corresponding Touch Screen or Programmable keyboard button. A sale items deleted is when individual sale items are deleted from the the POS screen using the F5 key. This is different from the Cancelled Sales button as it removes items one at a time rather than line by line.

I refer you to the summary PDF. The most concerning aspect of this is how similar the the values are per day for both cancelled sales and deleted sale items.

Average Value per Sale Item Deleted $11.91
Average Dollar Value Per Day Sale Item Deleted $100.55
Median Value of Sale Item Deleted per day $78.40

Average Value per Cancelled Sale $15.39
Average Dollar Value Per Day of Cancelled Sales $97.30
Median Value of Cancelled Sale per day $113.40

The nature of these similar values suggests that the staff in question are targeting an amount of approximately $200 per shift. However this figure could be slightly inflated due to the fact of staff using these facilities to price check items in the POS screen, for example when excise increase require cigarette prices to be increased. Also you need to take into account accurate use of this button for actual sale that were cancelled.

Also you can see the hours of the day that are targeted more frequently. Nearly 60% of all the transactions cancelled or that have a sale item deleted occurred in the period of 1pm – 2pm and 2pm – 3pm. This indicates that that perhaps during this time the staff was at the counter alone or had little supervision.

In looking at individual sales I refer you to Thursday 19th December on the attached spreadsheet, as a good example of suspicions behaviour being performed. The best way to look at this is to view the audit data is to view it in-conjunction with the sales that have been performed. This gives you the best idea of transactional flow. Between the hours of 12 and 4 pm there were 26 Sales that had sale items deleted or had sales cancelled. Looking specifically at Audit events created 2:50pm I note the following

  • There are 2 sale items deleted, one second apart. This means that the Sale Item deleted button was pressed consecutively indicating that the items were one sale.
  • There is no sale before this time for a six minute period.
  • The proceeding sale is 30 seconds later and contained none of the items that have been cancelled.
  • The proceeding sale contained no similar items, which indicated that it was just not an incorrect scan
  • The items that have been purchased, drink and cigarettes are convenience based items, and would be unlikely that customers decided against purchase.

If you apply the logic above to the other transactional that happened in that day a pattern emerges to sales throughout the period you indicated.

It is clear that you have a serious problem, that will require from you a further investigation. I terms of determining an exact quantum this will need to be calculated by you using some of the evidence I have provided. If you would like more information of have nay questions please let me know.

We are proud of the free Theft Check service we provide and the value it delivers to our retail partners in terms of savings, prosecution and asset recovers.

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Surge in employee theft in retail businesses

With Christmas retail activity in high gear it is no surprise that there has been a surge in reports of employee theft. We have received several over the weekend and yesterday. Each report is taken through a proven process we have stablished for gathering and verifying evidence and considering an appropriate course of action.

In one case we stepped in for the retailer, at their request, and terminated employment of one staff member and laid out a framework for money being returned to the business.

While the vast majority of retail employees are honest, there are some who steal from their employer.   Here is our advice for retail business owners for cutting the cost of theft by retail employees:

  1. Change the passwords that provide access to the most sensitive data right away and do not given them to anyone unless absolutely necessary.
  2. Change the roster, shake things up.
  3. Remove all handbags, phones and personal items from the counter.
  4. Get employees out of any non-uniform clothing with pockets.
  5. Implement random end of shift cash balancing several times in the day unannounced.
  6. Use employee cards for tracking sales by employees – these are better than a three code employee code.
  7. Stop employees ringing their own purchases up.

Treat your business as you would a large bundle of $100 notes. The more serious you are about managing your cash the more of it that will make its way to your bank account.

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Helping retailers reduce the risk of fraud

Tower Systems has shared fresh advice with retailers this week on how to reduce the impact of shopper and customer fraud in their businesses. With Christmas being fraud season in some retail channels the advice is timely and has been well received.

This latest advice is based on recent experiences in several retail businesses.

Our Point of Sale software has excellent fraud mitigation facilities that retailers can use themselves to reduce fraud and detect fraud. These continue to evolve based on field experience and feedback from fraud prevention experts.

Our work as expert witnesses in theft cases and work with police on investigations continues to inform our moves in this space.

Retailers properly using our software and following our advice can reduce the impact of fraud in their businesses. 

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Enhanced integrated POS software CCTV security solution

securitycamOur software development and hardware teams have been working hard in recent weeks to bring to market a new POS software / CCTV integrated solution, an enhanced solution beyond what we have offered for many years.

We are thrilled to advise that the latest work is paying dividends with the new security bridge close to launch, delivering better and more useful security solutions integrated with our Point of Sale software.

The new security bridge is a best-practice solution, integrated with our Point of Sale software, delivering small business retailers tools with which they can better track and manage employee and shopper theft and through which they can expect to drive a better bottom line for their business.

The photo shows one of our many installations where the shop is monitored from the POS screen.

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How to use POS software to cut employee & customer theft

One of the most valuable benefits of Point of Sale (POS) software used by any retail business is a reduction in employee and customer theft.

Used properly, good POS software can significantly cut the cost of theft.

Theft reduction is achieved through consistent use of the software throughout the business. The less consistent a business the less likely they are to uncover theft. Those most likely to steal will notice how the software is used and through this reach a conclusion as to the likelihood they will be caught.

Tracking stock from when it enters a business to when it leaves is the key to detecting and reducing theft by employees and customers. Too often, small and independent retailers do not fully track and manage stock – making them appealing businesses for people likely to steal.

Here are the steps involved in tracking stock and reducing the cost of theft:

  1. Enter all incoming stock into your POS software. Include the quantity received to ensure that the current quantity on hand is accurate.
  2. Write off stock that is thrown away.
  3. Scan-out all stock that is returned to the supplier for any reason. Good software will have
  4. Sell items by scanning the barcode. Too often items are sold using department keys and therefore not tracking each specific item sold.
  5. Reorder stock by producing a reorder report using your software. This can usually be done by using a desired quantity on hand as the guide for the software to reorder to. Note: this process alone will highlight stock on-hand discrepancies.
  6. Undertake a spot stock-take: count the quantity on hand of an item and enter that into your POS software and compare this against what the software thinks should be on-hand. A discrepancy can indicate theft.

Once all stock is setup in your software, the time taken for spot stock-takes is minimal. This time is funded from the reduced theft that will certainly result.

Employees who see you track stock movement through spot stock-takes and other activities listed here will be deterred from stealing from the business as they will see the risk of being caught is higher.

Manage your business professionally and consistently and theft will cost less.

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Checking out new security solutions for retailers

One of the areas members of our leadership team investigated when in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show two weeks ago was retail security.

For many years we have offered security camera system integration through our POS software.  We have also provided expert witnesses in police investigations and for court cases pursuing employee theft.

At CES we got to see and interact with a range of new technology, some POS software integrated and others free standing. The CES event has enabled us to be more aware of the latest developments in the retail security and theft prevention in the US, the country most advanced in this field.

The most valuable measure retailers can take against employee theft remains the facilities in their software. Tower Systems is renowned for providing access to comprehensive and professional theft management / reduction facilities in its Point of Sale software. From deep level password protection of key business data to secret tracking of user activity, our software enables retailers to better protect their businesses and thereby reduce the cost of employee theft.

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Working with police to cut theft in retail using smart POS software

We have been working with police and other authorities on theft matters in two states this week. Each case has taken up considerable time as we have sourced evidence to be used in cases being pursued against the accused, evidence that will stand the test of cross examination in court.

Each time we do this work we learn more about the processes of the police and, through this, ways we can guide and help our retail business customers to better manage their businesses for theft minimisation.

Next week, a senior member of our team will be in court on behalf of the prosecution as an expert witness.

Why is this relevant to small businesses considering our Point of Sale software … we’ve got your back when it comes to cutting the cost of theft to your retail business.

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Helping retailers cut employee and customer theft

Every couple of days we seem to be helping one of our retailer customers resolve an employee or customer theft challenge.  While we don’t have firm evidence, it feels like theft is on the rise.

Here are simple steps you can take to cut theft in any retail business based on years of experience in the area:

  1. Track everything you sell from ordering goods to the shop floor to the sales counter to returns. You can only manage what you track.
  2. Scan every item sold. Do not use department keys – allowing staff to enter the value of an item purchased.
  3. Track all sales by employee: using a code or barcode. This will cut mistakes.
  4. Undertake regular spot stock takes. In more than half incidents of employee theft this action would have revlaled the theft sooner.
  5. Reorder stock using your software. It’s fast, accurate and stops poor buying decisions.
  6. Set an end of shift cash balance target of $5.00. Many retailers achieve this – it takes discipline.
  7. Change your system passwords regularly. Make it a condition of employment that these passwords are never shared.
  8. Do random, during the day, cash balance checks.
  9. Use your software to check and report on behavior which could indicate employee theft. Good software will reveal employee activity likely to indicate fraud / theft.
  10. Establish rules for discounts, returns and refunds and use your software to manage these.
  11. Integrate your EFTPOS with your Point of Sale and reduce fraud opportunities.
  12. Follow your suspicions regardless. Put your business ahead of friendships.
To many retailers are losing too much money due to theft.
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Advice on how to cut customer and employee theft in retail

Retailers too often struggle with cutting the cost of employee and customer theft. They ignore opportunities to block theft and turn their backs on understanding the cost in their business.

Here is best practice advice which, if followed, will reduce the cost of theft in any retail business.

  1. Only sell what you arrive, bring into the store, through Point of Sale software. If you track it you can know if it has been stolen or not. If you do not track it who knows if it is stolen.
  2. Track ALL sales – by scanning, touch screen button or PLU (product look up code), a hot key on your computer screen.
  3. Stop all department sales, sales where the employee gets to enter the amount of the item.
  4. Scan out ALL returns, products which are returned to suppliers.
  5. Undertake regular spot stock take throughout the business. The discrepancy between what you have and what the system has reflects theft.
  6. Reorder stock using your retail management software. This stops poor buying decisions. It also identified stock theft and employee fraud around stock.
  7. Use employee initials, codes or bar codes against each sale. Yes, this adds time to each sale. The benefits far outweigh the time cost.
  8. Set an end of shift balance target of $5.00. Many retailers achieve this – it takes discipline.
  9. Change your system passwords regularly. Make it a condition of employment that these passwords are never shared.
  10. Do random, during the day, register balance checks. Check that the cash your computer system thinks should be in the cash drawer is what is actually in the cash drawer.
  11. Use your software to check and report on behavior which could indicate employee theft.
  12. Follow your suspicions regardless. Put your business ahead of friendships..

The cost to any retail business of customer and employee theft can be significantly reduced. The keys are retail owner and management engagement, full use of the software and relentless application of a zero tolerance approach.

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Why Cutting Theft is Mission Critical for Retailers

Any retailer complaining about tough times ought to look at what they are doing to mitigate the cost of theft in their business.

Turning attention to theft has an immediate impact on the business. It almost certainly cuts the bleeding of cash and the cost of lost or damaged inventory.

We have seen retailers save as much as $25,000 in the first year of a co-ordinated theft management program. The cost of such a program is negligible if they are running our Point of Sale software.

So, just by following our advice and properly using our software, retailers can expect to save at least the equivalent of 1% of sales. This as good as if they increased sales by 1% without doing anything.

This financial benefit goes straight to the bottom line.

While everyone is talking retail down, we are showing our retail customers how to improve their circumstances through a more complete embrace of the facilities in our Point of Sale software.

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Steps For Cutting Retail Theft by Employees and Customers

The risk of capture is a big deterrent to any type of theft. This is especially true in retail where customer and employee theft can hurt a business financially and emotionally in a short space of time.

Anyone who thinks they may get caught is far less likely to attempt theft. This is what police and retail theft experts around the world say. It reinforces the value of a professional, properly setup and fully utilised theft management solution in a any retail business.

Thanks to smart theft management tools and our integrated security camera system, Tower Systems is able to help retailers cut the cost of theft by enabling a reliable in-store deterrent.

Shoppers and employees are regularly reminded in a number of ways that the business is monitored, cash and inventory are watched and processes are followed to reduce the opportunity for theft without arrest. From the obvious in-store monitors to more subtle ways, the presence of monitoring and possible theft tracking helps retailers to cut the cost of theft.

We have been working in the theft management space for many years with retailers. Our latest retail theft management tools continue the evolution and deliver best practice to our retail customers regardless of size or business niche.

Using our theft management tools, retailers using our Point of Sale software are able to better manage their businesses and cut theft at the same time. The two goals go hand in hand.

From the sales counter to the back office and on the shop floor we track activity and connect this with actions in our Point of Sale software. At the sales counter, for example, we lay transaction details over vision from the security cameras. This can be vital in helping prosecutors build a case against an employee as is provides a court with another item of evidence which is not open to speculation.

Theft can kill a retail business. Here at Tower Systems our goal is to help our retailers to cut theft to the barest minimum. In addition to excellent software can an integrated camera system for achieving this, we provide regular training and assistance in this area.

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Using a Security System to Cut Retail Theft

With the prevalence and cost of theft in retail by employees and customers remaining high, more retailers are looking for smarter solutions to address the scourge.

A camera system integrated with your Point of Sale software is ideal in that it directly marries Point of Sale software register activity with visual evidence of what was happening at the same time.

By connection vision of what happens at the sales counter and other key activvity points in a retail business with transactions put through the Point of sale software, the business owner has access to valuable data which could show:

  1. Sales being canceled and cash being pocketed by the employee.
  2. Fraudulent activity around receiving goods into the business.
  3. Theft during the end of shift process.
  4. Fraud by a customer in handling change during a sale transaction.
  5. Inappropriate discounts being given to customers.
  6. Sales being deleted to build a pool of ‘unrecorded’ cash available for theft.
  7. Items being deleted from a sale during the sale process and thereby freeing ‘unrecorded’ cash for theft.

Connecting your Point of Sale software with a camera based security system could provide the evidence which is essential to capture and prosecution of people responsible for stealing from your retail business.

Tower Systems offers an integrated smart security solution for retail businesses.  It has been used successfully in the detection or retail employees engaged in criminal activity against their employers.  We have experts on our team who can and do help retailers cut the cost of theft.

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Employee Theft Can Kill a Retail Business

We have been working this weekend with a retail business owner on an Employee Theft situation.  In this case, the employee theft appears to have cost the business around $8,000 over the last two months.

Our years of experience in this field is that the actual cost of employee theft to a business is closer to double what the initial evidence suggests.

What started as a support call soon became an investigation into fraud against the business when we found evidence theft.

While we offer business owner training on how to use our Point of Sale software to reduce the exposure to theft, we cannot force our customers to use the software to achieve this.The same is true for car makers – they cannot control how their cars are driven.

For our part, we will continue to offer retail business owner training on how to reduce the opportunity of theft, provide advice of=n business specific situations and provide help where there is suspicious behaviour.  In the worst case scenario, we work with police and prosecutors to bring to justice those against whom we uncover evidence of illegal behaviour.

Retailers can reduce the cost of theft – if they use the suite of tools available to them.

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Retail Theft on the Increase

We are seeing an increase in theft in retail businesses, especially theft by employees.  Employee theft is more easily detected and controlled than customer theft, especially in retail bsinesses using our Point of sale and Theft Management solutions.

Earlier this week we provided retailers using our Point of Sale software with refreshed advice on managing the theft challenge.  This advice coupled with our free theft check service help equip tower Systems retailers with tools with which to minimise the cost of theft.

Our assistance around theft goes beyond the traditional training and support assistance.  In a few weeks, for example, one of our senior management team is being flown interstate as an expert witness for the prosecution in a complex employee theft case.  While the cost and disruption to our business from providing this resource is considerable, our involvement demonstrates a level of expertise and commitment which is unique among Point of Sale companies.

Retailers using our software have access to excellent tools with which to manage and cut theft.  If is far better that these tools are used than relying on us to act an as expert witness after a theft event.

Here is a summary of tools and support assistance we offer to retailers for managing and reducing theft:

  1. Theft management advice for using tools within our software.  Check out Advice Sheet BA05.
  2. Robust theft tracking reporting within our software including our Audit Log which has been instrumental in facilitating convictions.
  3. Free Theft Check service. Our experts check business data and can identify potential theft situations.
  4. Business operations audit.  This fee based on site service can assess a business from a theft perspective and provide operational recommendations.
  5. Online training workshops.  We provide live training in the theft management and security facilities in our software – for business owners only.

These are other services combine to provide a whole of business service in the area of theft management and reduction.  The results speak for themselves.  Discovery. Theft reduction.  Convictions.  Business owners recovering stolen cash.

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How to Cut Employee Theft in Retail

Employee theft can cost a retail business tens of thousands of dollars a year yet it is a business challenge which is all too often ignored.

Retailers tend to prefer to think that it does not happen to them.

Employee theft is real.

Tower Systems has experienced it itself in its own retail stores. These experiences and experiences helping our retail customers have enabled us to develop better software and infrastructure for supporting our customers in tracking and eliminating the cost of employee theft.

Retailers using our Point of Sale software have at their disposal tools which absolutely reduce the opportunity for employee theft.

From the sales counter to the back office, our Point of Sale software provides for secure, tracked and consistent processes for protecting the assets, including, cash, of the business.

The key for retailers and retail managers is to engage with the theft reduction tools available in the software.

We encourage our customers to take a zero tolerance approach. Employees stealing from you need to manipulate data in some way. For example, if their sales per hour worked are far lower than others then they could simple not be using the computer system. However, you would have detected off behaviour from your inventory system when reordering stock.

Good management processes followed with commitment and care will uncover theft quickly. Businesses without these are at greater risk. Is your retail business at risk?

Use our Point of Sale software, embrace and engage with every opportunity it presents for tracking and reducing employee theft in your retail business.

Through our Tower Advantage TM program we offer a range of services to our customers for identifying and cutting the cost of theft in a retail business.   This includes our free Theft Check service  to determine if our software has evidence of your business experiencing theft.

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Expert Witness Role in Another Retail Theft Case

One of our team members has been called as an expert witness in a criminal case involving alleged employee theft.  Thanks to years of work in this area we are able to speak to the integrity of the data captured by our Point of Sale software and provide evidence around patterns of behaviour shown through analysis of the data.

Almost every day we find ourselves helping another customer on a case of suspected employee theft.  We have seen more instanced reported so far this year than for the same period in any year past.  This is most concerning.

We will be sharing insights and advice on dealing with employee theft at our face to face user meetings planned to start next month.  We are also preparing a new training video on the issue of employee theft, to help our customers take steps to better protect their businesses.

While we are happy to help our with police investigations and to have our experts called for court appearances, we would prefer to focus on helping our retail customers avoid theft altogether.  This is where our advice can help retailers avoid the problem altogether.

Retailers using our software can have their risk assessed through our free Theft Check service.  This is another Tower Advantage TM service.

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Helping Retailers Reduce Employee and Customer Theft

With theft in retail businesses almost at epidemic proportions and employee theft accounting for the majority of this, our free online Retail Security and Theft workshop next Tuesday is most timely.

In the retail business owner only session we will cover how retailers can use our Point of Sale software to reduce the impact of theft in their businesses.  We will show off theft tracking as well as theft reduction facilities.  Participants will be left with an action plan for investigating and reducing theft.

Smart retailers who engage with the proven theft management tools in our software are able to better insulate their businesses against the cost of theft and better investigate and deal with any suspicious behaviour.  Our online training shares vital knowledge which helps more of our retail customers get to this place.

In addition to this regularly run online training workshop, we offer a free Theft Check service as well as assistance helping retailers navigate theft situations.

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Employee theft expensive in retail

Employee theft can cost a retail business thousands of dollars a week. It is one of those business ownership or management experiences which is all too often ignored until it has happened to you.

Employee theft is real, take it from someone who has experienced it firsthand.  In my case, over fifteen years as a retail business owner, I have experienced three occasions of serious employee theft costing thousands.

The tragedy is that retailers usually have at their disposal tools which, if used properly, reduce the opportunity for theft and thereby protect the cash within the business.

Retail store managers and owners need to take the risk of theft seriously rather than thinking that it could never happen to them.  This means considering that everyone working in your retail business is a potential thief. Tough as this is, it is the only way to operate.

At every opportunity, make it clear that you have a zero tolerance approach to theft.  This will separate you from your employees, so be it.  It is essential that you put your desire to cut theft ahead of friendship with an employee.  Your business is at risk after all.

Everything in your business with value must be treated with respect.  Every day. And you, as the owner or manager, need to demonstrate leadership on the mission to keep theft at a minimum.

Cash.  Be obsessive about balancing every day. Ensure that your processes are water tight.  Eliminate opportunities in your processes for fraud.  Consider engaging a third party not connected with the business to audit your processes.  Review video footage regularly. Have yourself and your manager expertly trained in detecting employee theft at the cash register. Consider bringing in an investigator to assess the team of team members.  Best of all, use the facilities in your software.

Track stock.  Manipulating stock is one way employees steal.  By obsessively tracking stock on hand you are more likely to discover employee theft sooner. Use your Point of Sale software to track all stock in and out, do spot stock takes and reorder stock.  Making your POS software the heart of your stock management makes it harder for an employee to manipulate stock in stealing from you.

Data.  Accurate data is an excellent way to detect and resolve an employee theft problem.  Data in your Point of Sale software can provide the evidence which you denied would exist.  Be open to what the data proves.  Take time to learn about the theft tracking and management tools in your Point of Sale software. Be committed to using these. 

Take a zero tolerance approach here.  Employees stealing from you need to manipulate data in some way.  For example, if their sales per hour worked are far lower than others then they could simple not be using the computer system.  However, you would have detected off behaviour from your inventory system when reordering stock.

Good management processes followed with commitment and care will uncover theft quickly.  Businesses without these are at greater risk.  Is your retail business at risk?

Use your Point of Sale software, embrace and engage with every opportunity it presents for tracking and reducing employee theft in your retail business.

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Using Point of Sale software to protect against customer fraud

Our Point of Sale software can help retailers protect against customer fraud.  Using our software, our retail customers are able to better protect against common fraud conducted at the counter by skilled criminals.

Here are just some of the ways our software is helping retailers reduce the cost of customer fraud.

  1. Receipt checking.  By scanning a receipt, a past sale is immediately brought up for verification before a refund is considered.
  2. Refund management.  Thanks to clever search tools, retail employees are able to verify when an item was sold – in case a receipt is not returned with the goods.
  3. Checking change.  Users can setup the system to require that receipts always show change.
  4. Security controls.  Sophisticated security facilities within our software deny employees the ability to process a refund unless they have been explicitly granted security clearance.
  5. Eftpos integration.  Using the integrated Tyro broadband eftpos solution, a processing step is eliminated, meaning an opportunity for fraud is eliminated.

The most important way to protect against customer fraud is to have well defined and understood operational processes at the retail sales counter.  These processes can be better managed and driven thanks to facilities in our Point of Sale software.

Retail businesses hit by customer fraud tend to have a lazy approach to managing the sales counter, inviting financial harm to the business.

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How to Use Point of Sale Software to Catch People Stealing From Your Retail Business

We were recently asked to write an article about how retailers can cut theft using good Point of Sale software because of the considerable work we have done in this area helping customers, the police and insurance companies.  We though the atricle may also interest readers of this blog…

Cutting employee theft and customer theft in your retail business starts with commitment from the business owners and managers to this goal.

Too often, retailers accept that a certain level of theft will occur and think that it is not as bad in their store as it is in others.

Here are three steps for cutting the cost of theft in any retail business.

Step one: understand the problem.

The first step to dealing with theft, by employees or customers, is to understand the value of theft.

You can understand the value of most customer theft by undertaking either a full business stock take or spot stock takes. The stock your Point of Sale system thinks should be on hand compared to what is on hand reflects the value of stock theft, usually by customers. Good POS software offers stock take facilities designed to track theft.

Understanding the value of employee theft is more difficult since it can involve cash not even put through the computer system.

Step two: get serious about business processes.

Theft occurs usually because of weak business processes. Strengthen a few of your business processes and you dramatically cut the cost of theft.

Sales. Have every sale tracked by an employee code. This brings discipline to the sales process.

Refunds. Only allow a manager to do these.

Deleting sales. Ensure that only the most senior people in the retail business have permission through the POS software to do this.

Discounting. Setup rules in your POS software on the volume of discounting which is permitted.

Cash balancing. Establish rules for end of shift cash balancing. Make all sales employees accountable to a zero tolerance target.

Use security reporting tools. Good POS software will take you behind the scenes in the business and report on concerning behaviour such as selling items below cost, cancelling sales, deleting sales or adjusting customer account balances. These are all indicators of employee fraud.

Step three: act on evidence.

Thanks to reporting from your Point of sale software you ought to gain a good understanding of the scope of theft in your retail business. Embrace this information for the benefit of the business and all who rely on it, make decisions.

If stock is being stolen off the shop floor, understand which stock is affected and either increase security or move the stock to a better location. The more likely someone stealing feels they could be caught the lower the chance they will actually steal from the business.

If employees are taking even small amounts of cash from the business, act immediately within the law to protect the business. This removes the problem from the business and it sends a message to others in the business that you will act on evidence of theft.

Use your Point of Sale software to its fullest to help cut the cost of theft in your business. Imagine how much better off the business would be with an additional three percentage points of net profit. That is your motivator – a healthier profit for the business and therefore a more sustainable business.

Cutting employee and customer theft can be achieved. Us your Point of Sale system to understand the problem and then help manage it.

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How to cut employee theft in a retail businesss

We are often asked for advice on how to cut employee theft in retail – because of the theft management in our Point of Sale software and the work we have done with police and other investigators in several states on this issue.

To help retailers cut the cost of employee theft we created some guidelines which we have found useful. These are shared at various training forums and workshops in which we participate. We felt they would be useful to the broader audience here.

Employees can steal from retail businesses in a variety of ways. Often, such theft goes undetected because of poor or unmonitored business processes.
The best way to cut employee theft or fraud is to commit to a consistent approach to theft management:

  • Ask prospective employees if they object to a police check. Those with something to hide will let you know they have found a job elsewhere.
  • Implement zero tolerance for abuse of systems. For example, ensure that every item sold is scanned.
  • Implement zero tolerance for an end of shift discrepancy of, say, $5.00 or more. Once employees know you will be fierce about this sales will be more accurate.
  • Reduce manual eftpos transactions – connect your eftpos terminal to your point of sale.
  • Change responsibilities – sometimes changing who handles money can uncover fraudulent behavior.
  • Change your timing. Habits are what allow people to think they can get away with theft.
  • Modify your counter policies:No refunds;  No credits without management approval;  No employee bags at the counter;  No jackets or cardigans with pockets;  No calculators with memories – I have seen these used to record how much cash in the register is theirs.
  • Track every sale by employees – using a card with an employee barcode and making it harder for an employee to use the system as someone else.
  • Track all cash movements from the sale through to your bank account. Many retailers do not do this and open themselves to blatant and regular theft.
  • Employees do it because they know they can get away with it.

Employees do it because they know they can get away with it

Cutting employee theft can be achieved with vigilance. A small time investment in developing and following processes will find you with more money in your bank account.

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