Google+ Badge

Monday, July 29, 2013

Prince George's birth proves yet again: Nimble = Profitable – Prepare your business for your next big local event-related windfall

Before and after the birth of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge in London on 22 July 2013, commentators have enjoyed an international field day (pro and con) over the explosion of limited-edition sales and merchandise that have accompanied the royal birth.  

Instead, my congratulations go out to all the printers and their creative teams around the world who have proven themselves astute, organized, and agile enough to capitalize on this temporary windfall--an opportunity comprising such diverse products as advertising and marketing collateral, books, labels, packaging, signs, and point-of-purchase displays--which forecasters have conservatively valued at around 3 billion pounds for the British national economy alone.

Clearly, even if you missed the royal-baby boat, now is the time to consider what similar new time-limited opportunities for printers are coming up next:  the Glasgow (Scotland) 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Toronto (Canada) 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games, or Canada's 2015 federal election, perhaps?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Son Steals More Than $1M From Mother's Printing Company By Forgery: How Can You Prevent This Crime From Happening to You?

On July 1st Michael Britt of Brentwood, Missouri, was charged with 13 counts of forgery resulting in the theft of over $1 million from Gene-Del Printing, a company co-owned by Mr. Britt’s mother and three partners.

The company’s internal investigation revealed that Mr. Britt’s modus operandi extended over more than five years.  It involved making at least 166 cheques out to himself and forging the names of two of the company’s owners on the cheques.  He also stole at least $25,000 through unauthorized purchases using a company credit card.  Mr. Britt later admitted to police that he had also used the company’s accounting software to conceal the theft by creating fraudulent invoices for the cheques he forged.

Since the days when I managed the Ontario Association of Quick Printers, I have heard too many similar sad stories from small-printing-business owners with first-hand experience of embezzlement at their own company.  Usually the perpetrator was someone they thought they knew well and trusted.

Embezzlement is the theft of assets or property by a person in a position of trust or responsibility over those assets.  Statistically in such cases, the average amount stolen from small companies is $120,000 (versus just $10,000 from Fortune 500 companies.)  Additionally, employers of fewer than 100 employees and fewer than three bookkeepers are 100 times more likely to experience employee fraud than larger companies.  The crime often persists over a number of years and has forced many small companies into bankruptcy.

Update on 16 September 2013:

Yet another story of embezzlement by an employee of a printing company is all over the news again:  in this case, Leona Gebhart, the 68-year-old former comptroller of Henderson's Printing of Altoona, Pennsylvania, has been charged with embezzling at least $151,000 over an 11-year period.  I rest my case.

Fortunately, many tried and true internal control systems exist to help you detect and (better still) prevent embezzlement.  Some are detailed in the on-line resources included in the links below: