Opinion: Waterbury Theft Woes Not Unique
• Rotation of duties: Jobs should be moved around from time to time so new eyes can look at the books and problems discovered.
• Mandatory vacations: Many insurance companies require that personnel with authority over money be required to take time away from the office without access to the books. Lots of bad stuff has been found during vacations.
• Check-signing policies: All checks should be signed only by a partner. Use of pre-signed checks or signature stamps should be verboten.
• Software oversight: "Administrator" rights for accounting software should be available only to partners. This prevents a dishonest employee from "adjusting" an account to cover a theft.
• Outside oversight: Monthly three-way reconciliations should be done by a partner or, ideally, an outside firm. There are several accounting companies which do this for a quite reasonable fee.
• Insurance coverage: Employees with access to money should be covered by fidelity bonds or other insurance.
Bad things are always going to happen. Even the best system can be defeated by a determined and skilled criminal. But the state doesn't have to institute a policy of discriminatory targeted audits to keep lawyers and their clients safe. There is a robust body of guidance available to law and other businesses to prevent devastating events like those experienced by the poor Waterbury lawyers.•