Sunday, August 23, 2009

Be Aware of Skimming

Skimming is the theft of funds before they are recorded in the records of an organisation. Skimming does not only involve the theft of cash however. It may be the theft of cheques or other types of payments, although cash is the most common.

Examples of skimming include:

  • A sporting club running a food stall – a person working at the stall puts cash from the sales of the food in his or her pocket rather than in the cash tin. At the end of the day, only the cash that has been placed in the cash tin is counted, recorded in the accounting records as income and subsequently banked;
  • As cheques are received into the organisation, an accounts clerk takes the cheques and banks them into a bank account opened in a similar name. From that account the clerk can divert funds to any account;
  • Selling items through a shop run by the organisation, the person does not “ring up” the sale but puts the money in the cash register in front of the customer. When the customer leaves, the person takes the cash out of the cash register.

Skimming can be difficult to discover and also to investigate.

Here are some ideas that may help prevent skimming:

  • Rotate duties. This can be hard when you rely on volunteers (eg. At sporting events or at shops). Rotate the person who takes the cash, rotate the volunteers between shops or stalls or on a reasonably regular basis have someone else undertake the role and compare takings.
  • Conduct reconciliations. For example, a reconciliation may be undertaken of the cash received from a food stall (eg. To determine the number of hamburgers that were sold) to the amount of stock used.
  • As a specific example, for food stalls use tickets. A cashier receives the cash and hands the person a ticket (eg. a blue ticket for a hamburger, red ticket for a hotdog). When the item is cooked, the customer hands over the ticket to the person preparing to food who places the ticket into a box which is locked (with opening on the top for the tickets). At the end of the day, two people who have not worked on the stall count up the cash and the tickets – they should reconcile.

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