Clip and Copy: Keeping tabs on practice finances

June 6, 2003

Use this form to audit your financial systems and discourage embezzlement.

Use this form to audit your financial systems and discourage embezzlement.

"Every year I discover embezzlement in medical practices," says Keith C. Borglum, a consultant with Professional Management and Marketing in Santa Rosa, CA, and co-author, with his colleague Diane M. Cate, of Medical Practice Forms: Every Form You Need to Succeed.

The form, from Borglum and Cate's book, helps you stay on top of how money and money-related data are processed in your office. "A 'No' check doesn't necessarily indicate a serious problem," Borglum says, "but it means that there's a weakness in your system that could be exploited by a dishonest person."

Embezzlement typically starts small and mushrooms over time. "A staff person gets into some kind of financial trouble and 'borrows' money with the intention of paying it back," Borglum notes. "Once he or she crosses the line it's easy to keep going. This is less likely to happen if staffers know that accounts are being reconciled, records are being spot-checked, and someone is paying attention to the process."

Borglum recommends going through the checklist monthly until compliance is achieved two months in a row, then quarterly. Resume the monthly routine when you take on new staffers who will be handling money. "You have to make sure that they're familiar with the controls," he says.

Medical Practice Forms sells for $59.95. To order, call 800-MED-SHOP. The authors can be reached at 707-546-4433.

—Gail Garfinkel WeissSenior Editor

 

To view the form in Word you must have Word 2000 or better. If you don't have this program you can download the free Microsoft Word 97/2000 Viewer. (You cannot edit an open document in Word Viewer. However, you can copy text to the Clipboard to paste it in other applications).

Other forms and patient handouts are available in the Clip and Copy section of our Web site at www.memag.com .

 



Gail Weiss. Clip and Copy: Keeping tabs on practice finances.

Medical Economics

Jun. 6, 2003;80:104.