Skimming out of the cash register is no longer just a bills and change problem. In the age where most transactions occur with plastic, there are technological ways to skim off the top, change transactions, or simply “turn off” the cash register for full purchases with the sales tax slipping right into a shady businessman’s pocket. These have been outlawed by North Carolina most recently, joining a number of other states. While these might not be specifically outlawed in your state, outright lying on sales is a crime no matter how you do it and employees might be putting you at risk with illegal practices.
When a business gets point-of-sale equipment, certain dealers who install this equipment will offer to add on a special package that helps reduce sales reported to the authorities and instead puts it all into the hands of the business owner. There are other options too that some bad employees use that connect to the system on a USB outlet that allows the program to randomly choose transactions to override that allows the employee to steal money from the business. As a business owner who is abiding by the law and doing everything right, avoiding these types of problems can be difficult when it’s not you who’s doing this but an employee. To watch for these problems, never allow an employee access to the drive files for the software you’re using.
If possible, have a point-of-sale system that runs via a connection to another auditing computer in a back room to which only appropriate people have access. By keeping the running system away from employees and secured, you can prevent employees from using zappers to skim off of transactions. If you’re a company assisting in sales tax filing and are worried that a client might have fallen prey to these techniques, checking for imbalances between different records and inventory against sales, if you help manage other areas of finances, can help you spot tax zappers being used by employees. If you see a client ordering a product far more often than recorded sales of that item, a tax zapper might be the problem. Filing software with a verification process like ours can also help you spot problems in data that you’d otherwise miss if you didn’t verify your data.