“Show me the money!”- 1996 film Jerry Maguire
This iconic line might be one of the most widely known movie quotes ever. It is a well-known phrase uttered by characters in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire and it is arguably one of the most common feelings entrepreneurs and business professionals can experience during their careers.
When we are talking about how we handle cash in business, the implications broaden even though the feeling of “show me the money” stays the same. We could speak about the working capital aspects of cash, the sales receipts in the register, the cash transferring process from the company safe to the bank, the authorizing of employees to handle cash, and the tracking systems for accounting the cash. There are many aspects, but the focus of this article is to identify the critical policies and procedures of how a business should handle cash.
The reason why this is so important to discuss is that it is often an oversite by entrepreneurs, especially in smaller businesses that have fewer trusted employees that perform many duties. There are many stories of companies filing bankruptcy because of a trusted employee, or maybe even a partner, in a business embezzling cash. As a consequence, the company’s operations came to a halt when working capital dried up, and the business could no longer make good on the due dates for bills and loan payments owed. It’s tragic to see all of the years of hard work spoiled by something that could have been easily avoided by establishing proper cash handling policies and procedures.
One of the first pre-conditions is to determine ‘who is authorized to handle cash?’ The three major internal controls and policies that help entrepreneurs properly designate employees who are allowed to handle cash are;
- First, verify an employee’s employment history when newly hiring them. Verifying the validity of an applicant’s employment history according to their application provides confirmation that the person has integrity and is honest. Also, this new hire should only handle cash when and if their job position requires it.
- Second, request an employee background check and fingerprints when necessary. This process can include criminal background and personal credit checks. These policies should apply to all employees who touch cash in the business as it helps to ensure an employee’s trustworthiness and it also makes it possible to follow-up in cases of cash loss, misappropriation or outright theft.
- Third, file proper documentation. Employees who transfer or move cash must be held responsible and must leave a paper trail to show where the cash came from and where it is going to. While we presume trustworthy employees to whom we delegate cash responsibilities to have the best ability and intentions, the reality is that cash losses can still occur. So all transfers of cash should be documented, and individual accountability for cash should be maintained during all cashiering processes tying into the accounting systems of the business.
In our next article, we will explain the second pre-condition to handling cash in a business which is maintaining separation of job duties and having dual control and dual custody policies. We hope that you find these cash handling suggestions valuable and that you incorporate them into your business practices.
Remember, when you have debt collection issues and need someone on your side, or maybe you want a better understanding of how you can recover bad debts, know that Burt and Associates is your go-to expert. Please feel free to contact us today through our website, email, or by phone. Our representatives are available to help you today.