If you’re reading this guide, you’ve got a good problem at your business – and that’s because you have cash coming in and need to know what to do with it. Certainly, in today’s world of instant credit and wallets full of plastic, we deal with a lot less greenbacks and silver than a decade ago, but when you’re thinking about cash handling, you should think about not only the physical money, but also the valuable receipts and checks your receive as payment. All of this has to be protected. In this guide, we’ll look at the three key elements to cash handling security:
- Handling cash during the day.
- Storing cash.
- Protection during cash deposits.
If you let too much of this pile up at your business, you become a target to the criminal element and to internal theft. We’re going to get you started on cash-handling basics so that money can move smoothly and safely through your business (and into your accounts).
Keep it secure during the business day
As cash comes in during the business day, you need a place to put it. Some businesses will have invested in a quality cash register, while others may not need such an investment. If you're not using a cash register, a simple metal, locking cash box will often suffice. Keep it locked when you're not using it, and position it where someone can't simply reach across the counter and clean you out. Metal cabinets designed for during-the-day cash handling are a nice touch, too, though more expensive.
Put the box in a better box
When cash needs to be retained at a business at night, a cash security box often isn't enough security. The boxes are only fire-retardant, and the locking mechanisms are often quite simple. That's when it's time to invest in a decent safe. What to look for is a commercial quality safe with enough room to place your cash box inside. Fire-rated safes are a good buy, since you can use them to protect other essential business documents. Some will have shelves to help you organize your business valuables.
Verify incoming cash
Not all your customers are honest, and before you accept their money, it's good to know what you're getting. Counterfeit cash detection tools include pens/markers, small "viewers" and full-size light tables. The pen or marker is the most common tool; if they leave a dark black/brown mark, the indication is that the bill is a fake.
Use a cash-handling service
Businesses that deal with a lot of cash expose themselves to risk if they try to move that cash themselves. Cash pick-up and delivery can be arranged with armed guards and armored vehicles. It's a good way to ensure that your cash is protected before it makes its way to your accounts.
Install a video surveillance system
One of the challenges of handling cash is that some people have sticky fingers. Video surveillance can not only be useful to help deter or to prosecute robbers, but it can also be useful in keeping honest employees honest, or investigating what you think may be an employee stealing from you. Set up cameras so they can show what's happening at your cashier station; they should capture the view of the register as well as the employee and customer. It may require two cameras to do this.
- If you're making financial deposits yourself, vary your schedule. If you make a habit of heading to the night deposit box at your local bank around 7 p.m. every night, the local crooks can plan for that, too. Some things you can do to improve your safety include going during the day and varying your route to the bank.
- Limit the amount of cash on hand. By making deposits during the day or moving cash away from cashiers and into a safe, you make your business less tempting to thieves.