It’s a cash drawer – not a business!

A LinkedIn discussion recently contemplated the question, “Should cashiers be required to pay back shortages?” Here are some snippets of the excellent dialogue:

  • “Yes (They should pay back the shortages.) provided . . . only they had access.”
  • “No! This creates a condition where the employee can take a short term loan from the register.”
  • “Yes, maybe and no. A bank or financial setting, absolutely yes.” 

An unjust accusation cost the company over $400K!

 In the most egregious case, a cashier was forced to pay a $20.00 shortage which she maintains was not her fault. It led to her taking action to recoup that loss. Once she figured out how, she proceeded to steal over $400 thousand in the ensuing 8 years. 

Tills and wallets should not be interconnected

 If a cashier feels an association between the till and his wallet, you have a problem. A thousand $1 bills looks like a million to someone not used to being around cash. The quicker the employee starts looking at company cash as just another SKU, the better off you are. Until then, we recommend you treat overages and shortages as you would any other inventory problem that can be tied to an individual.

Cash is immediately fungible unlike stolen product that has to be fenced. Therefore, until management can train people to be honest, make sure to have significant controls in place, and procedures to limit the amount of exposed cash.

  • Audit new employees, often.
  • Verify turn-ins from new cashiers at the end of their shift, until they earn your confidence.
  • Reduce exposed cash by implementing technology to accelerate drops, or smart-safes that allow for the immediate verification and securing of cash.

A very wise and successful cash vault operator once told me, “We don’t hire honest people. We just hire people!” Prevent. Trust. Verify.

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