What to Do When Your Business Bank Deposit Goes Missing

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A common business practice for retail stores and other establishments is to have a manager or other agent of the business deposit all cash and check after the close of the business day. This is often completed after the bank has already closed. The agent usually drops a pouch in a deposit box for this purpose.

Troubles ensue when the deposit goes unaccounted for, normally first noticed by someone in the business’ accounting department. The first step in this situation is to try to discover what happened to the deposit and when.

Policies Regarding Checking Deposits

Many banks require two bank employees to check deposits from the drop box and sign a log that states the date, time and integrity of the deposit. Business owners should ask the bank’s branch manager about policies related to checking the deposits so that the process that was used can be reviewed. This may turn up a log that shows whether one or more employees came in contact with the deposit. If there is no such record, it is possible that an employee lost or stole it or a bank employee may have.

Additionally, the business owner can inquire about the process the bank uses to count the funds to be deposited. If the deposit is left out in the open and in easy grasp of any potential thief, the bank may credit the business account due to violating its own policies regarding the handling of cash deposits.

There may be a significant time lapse between the time when a deposit is logged and when the contents are actually verified. Again, if the bank discovers an error on its part, such as delaying the verification process which shows all the cash contents stolen, it may credit the business’ account.

It is also possible for money to get lost in transit if the bank takes deposits to another location to count them. Security measures may be put in place to help ensure a reduction in the instances of theft, such as by using video surveillance on cash count cages. However, a review of this site may show security risks, such as security systems not being used properly, security footage being poor or allowing workers to have personal belongings in their work stations. If a bank concludes that its internal policies or noncompliance may have caused the security breach, it may agree to refund the business’ funds.

Locating Funds

In some instances, the money may actually be found in an unexpected location. For example, an employee may have forgotten to indicate the name of the business when making the deposit and the funds wind up in an unclaimed funds classification. Business owners should contact the bank and ask if there are any unclaimed funds for the day of the missing deposit. Banks may have such funds on hand for up to one year, so it may be possible to reclaim funds well after they have gone missing.

In other instances, the entire deposit bag may go missing because it gets stuck or falls between the building and the box.

Business Reaction

A business can take a number of steps to protect itself if this situation arises. First, it can call a business meeting with all staff members that could be involved in the missing deposit and explain that the police would be called. This can provide a warning to employees who may have stolen the funds so that they return the funds and only risk losing their job and not their freedom. Then, the business should follow through and make a report about the missing funds.

Involving the police may also help motivate the bank to help resolve the issue because it may not want the police conducting an investigation into its own internal policies and disrupting its operations. The business owner should contact the branch manager to help resolve the issue. By having a thorough conversation on the issue, the bank may learn about its own security breaches or problems with internal policies. Additionally, the bank may agree to credit the account because the banking relationship is important for it to preserve.

Businesses can take special care with dealing with deposits in the future. Key personnel should collect daily bank deposit receipts and match this information with the deposit log. When employees know management is completing this process, they will be less likely to attempt to steal.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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