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October, 2012 - Issue #96
Avoiding Business Pitfalls
Smart Ways to Prevent Fraud & Theft
While the majority of employees are dedicated and honest, some are not. Unfortunately, there are those who turn to fraud and theft as an answer to their own financial struggles. Businesses should be mindful of some easy ways to help ensure the security of company finances from fraud and embezzlement. No matter if you're a small, mid-sized or large business, here is a simple checklist of easy steps you can take immediately to protect you and your company from employee theft.

• Store blank and imprinted check stock in a secure, locked location.

• Sign checks only by the business owner or manager.

• Deliver bank statements un-opened to the business owner or manager for initial review within 48 hours of receipt to confirm that all transactions are legitimate.

• Reconcile statements by someone other than the person responsible for issuing checks and ensure that any discrepancies are immediately reported and resolved.

• Practice "Separation of Duties" among those employees that handle receipts and those that record accounts receivable.

• Closely monitor petty cash and receipts.

• Carefully select staff and do background checks on all new hires, including credit checks on staff members responsible for handling cash.

No one wants to think that it can happen within their own company, but it can. During tough economic times, it is even more prevalent. These simple steps can help to keep honest employees honest and protect you from those who are not.
Mission Valley Bank 877-394-2306, 775-4112 www.missionvalleybank.com

Train your Team
Consistent, effective training is vital to the health of your business. Santa Clarita Technology & Career Development Center (SCTCDC) can help your business by training your team to be more proficient. SCTCDC teaches the skills necessary for everyday operations, offering classes in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access training, along with internet instruction and QuickBooks. For those that require more skill, they also offer Microsoft Certification Classes. Courses are small, prices are reasonable and the returns are noticeable.
Santa Clarita Technology & Career Development Center 287-3599, 467-1850 www.sc-tech-center.com

Manage your Portfolio Better
If you're like many people, your retirement accounts are spread out in many places. As a result, it may be hard to see how things fit together. We can help you toward a better view of your complete financial picture - to and through retirement.

Because it's easier to deal with one or two accounts rather than many, consolidating your retirement savings will make it easier for you and your Financial Advisor to see whether your holdings are properly diversified. If you are over-weighted in a particular investment, you and your Financial Advisor can reduce that holding and select others to better help you reach your goals and avoid unwanted risk.

Another issue if you have numerous accounts is keeping the assets up to date. As your life changes or market conditions shift, you may want to make adjustments. The choices you made regarding the investments for your retirement when you started may not be the choices that make sense today. Bringing assets together can make it easier for you to monitor your portfolio to see whether the investments in it today are the right ones to take you into the future.
This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Janelle M. Koester, Financial Advisor in Woodland Hills at 818-226-1480 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC
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