GHOST EMPLOYING: FRAUD PREVENTION

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 28 million small businesses in America that provide 55% of all jobs.  Since 1982, the number of small businesses has increased by 49 percent.  Imagine now, you’ve worked hard and spent countless hours each week locked away from friends and family to create your own small business.  It’s grown to a handful of employees and you contract out or hire a manager for your payroll services which, in turn, allows you to focus more on growing the business, instead of the administration side.  A year or two down the road, you realize money isn’t staying in the business like it once was.  You decide to check in on your payroll processes and realize your company has sixteen employees, but you send out paychecks to twenty-two employees.  You decide to investigate, only to find out you’re paying ghost employees. And to top it off, your payroll manager is skimming off the top and bulking up their own salary without telling you.  If this happens, you’re not the first business owner that has had funds embezzled from them via a payroll fraud scheme.

The estimated cost to employers related to payroll fraud is nearly $3 trillion dollars according to Ceridian, a human capital management company.  The median amount lost per fraud event is $72,000, an amount that could cripple most small businesses. 8.5% of workplace fraud is related to payroll processes and the average time it takes to discover a payroll fraud is 24 months.  There are also other types of payroll fraud other than ghost employees:

  • Falsified hours and salary occurs when employees say they work more hours than they actually do to increase their take home salary.  Sometimes managers can give preferential treatment to employees they favor or employees who give them cash in return.

 

  •           Commission schemes occur when individuals fake the number of sales made so they can increase their overall salary.  If employees are responsible for turning in their own sale sheets, they can easily fabricate the numbers to give them a higher return of commission.

 

  •       False workers’ compensation claims happen when employees fake injuries to collect disability payments.  In some cases, the employees will claim disability from one job while working another.
  •       Ghost employees refer to someone that is on the payroll, yet not an actual employee. Ghost employees can take on several forms:

 

  • Disgruntled Payroll Manager: If the individual who handles your payroll system doesn’t believe they are getting their fair share, it is relatively easy for them to fabricate payroll records and collect the funds themselves.
  • Multi-Employee Fraud: In complex payroll systems, one employee will be able to add new employees, but another must sign off on their checks.  These two employees will get together and collude to falsify time sheets.
  • Family/Friend Compensations: An employee creates a payroll account for a friend or family so they can receive a paycheck and share the funds.

Small Businesses have a couple of different routes in protecting themselves from payroll fraud.  The first is hiring professional auditors to come in and look at the business books and make sure all the financial aspects of the company are being done in a legal manner.  Professional auditors work with their client to uncover any fraudulent employees and can be valuable assets for any business.  However, many of these auditors can be expensive, in both the financial investment and the time commitment.  When these auditors come in, they can occupy work space, pulling employees from their current projects to discuss previous ones, and even lower employee morale, if the employees find out management brought the auditors in because they do not trust them.

That being said, not all small businesses can afford to have yearly audits done, so here are some key steps the business owners themselves can do to prevent payroll fraud.

  • Separate payroll duties for preparation, disbursement, and distribution.  The individual that creates the employee database and puts in their salaries, should be different from the person that prints up and signs the check.  You can also decrease the likelihood by implementing direct deposit.  To change it up, once or twice a year hand deliver your employees’ checks if possible, to make sure no one is trying to skim money from you.
  • Evaluate HR policies and make sure staff is up to date on adding/removing employees.  By being diligent and removing previous employees’ information from the dataset, you make it much more difficult for former employees’ information to be used for ghost employment.
  • Make it harder to falsify time sheets by implementing automated time tracking for employees to clock in and out.  This can be as sophisticated as swipe cards with GPS tracking software placed in them, or as low-key as a security camera at the timesheet box that takes snapshots of the time when employees check-in and out during the work day.
  • Lastly, the owner themselves, or a trusted advisor, can run internal audits on the payroll system.  These are key points to be on the lookout for:

o   Deceased person’s or previous employee’s social security numbers.

o   Paycheck without any state or federal tax deductions.

o   Employee ID numbers that are much higher than those of legitimate employees.

o   Multiple direct deposits going to same bank account.

o   Multiple checks being delivered to the same address.

 

Payroll fraud can be debilitating to a small business and run even the most successful ones into the ground.  But, by taking a few steps and implementing some standard security and business procedures, businesses can drastically reduce their likelihood of being taken advantage of and losing funds to a payroll scheme.

Good to Grow: A Health and Wellness Expo

 

 

Easy Time Clock

www.easytimeclock.com

we-event@easytimeclock.com

(405) 314-2436

Oklahoma City, OK – Easy Time Clock is partnering with the Northwest Oklahoma City Chamber to present Good to Grow: A Family Health and Wellness Expo.  On August 6th, families of 6 months to school agers are invited to the Allegiance Credit Union Operations Center from 2pm- 4pm for oodles of helpful resources and FUN! Other partners include Civil Air Patrol, Community Builders Church, Delishes Dishes Mobile Chef, Family Builders, Hearts for Hearing, InBalance Chiropractic & Wellness, Just Kids Pediatrics, OKDHS, Smart Start, Variety Care, Vizavance and more!

 

We’re excited to announce that Good to Grow is proudly benefiting the schools of the Oklahoma City Metro by collecting school supplies and providing goodie bags for all attendees! Guests will receive free books, door prizes and popcorn, and Kona Ice will be on grounds for purchase!

 

This free event is open to the public.  Confirmed events include FREE sports physicals, hearing and vision screenings, blood pressure checks and various family-friendly physical activities.  Kids will have a blast in our activity center with engaging art, cooking activities, and winding down with a storytelling session. And of course, there will be a few other surprises in store!

 

“Our hope is that Good to Grow can help highlight some of the resources, programs, and healthy activities available to families.  It’s crucial for parents to take the initiative to encourage healthy behaviors and choices – from exercise to annual physicals. I’m so happy to be working with my team at Easy Time Clock and the Northwest Oklahoma City Chamber, who shows such passion for serving their community.” – Alisha Gardner, Owner of Easy Time Clock

 

The Northwest Oklahoma City Chamber is a non-profit organization that provides trainings, Community Engagement, Business Networking, and education resources for business owners. This is the Community Engagement Committee’s highlight of the year, and they plan to host more events in the future to better serve their community.

 

Easy Time Clock is a locally owned and operated online time and attendance system with a variety of options that serve businesses of every size.  Recently, ETC debuted a new app, Lilypad: an “all in one” app for childcare providers!

FROM THE GARDNER HOUSEHOLD

by: Alisha Allen Gardner, CEO of Easy Time Clock

As most of you may not be aware, my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer in March 2016. It had metastasized to her bones with a large mass in her lung (about 6 cm). When tested, it showed it was a mutating cancer. Which is why I jokingly call my mom a mutant…

When we finally figured it all out last year, we had one option. To do an oral chemo called Irressa for about a year or so (hopefully) and then do traditional IV Chemo about a year or so (hopefully). Statistically at that point in time, people with this diagnosis had 2 years to live with 5% making it to 5 years. So, you certainly don’t want to use up the medication any faster than necessary.

The February 2017 PET Scan showed the main mass was growing back. It had grown at least a centimeter in mass or around or however you look at that. May 16 2017 scan showed the mass had grown another half centimeter all around.

Luckily, we got the year that the Irressa was supposed to give us. We were expecting to have to go to our only option left, IV Chemo.

Recently a new drug was released that was presented by a pharmaceutical sales rep in the last few weeks to our doctor. After reviewing mom’s PET scan, he called the rep to find out if mother’s circumstances are applicable.

To be applicable, her cells need to have developed an abnormality of a specific kind (I believe it has to have a specific protein but don’t quote me on that). If she is able to, she will be the FIRST for our doctor to use this drug.

In addition, due to the way her cells have mutated there is also a chance now, that we didn’t have last year, that she could be applicable for an immune therapy drug that boosts the immune system. We proceeded to do the biopsy to confirm what she was applicable for.

Thanks to the testing that was completed, my mother is eligible for an immune activator medication. She started her first treatment June 19th which will be via IV once every 3 to 4 weeks.

The cancer doctor has officially taken any amount of time left off of the table and mentioned several more options recently made available.

While we may have to keep changing medications over time, we are now relieved that we will be able to spend many more years together. 

In light of our good news we celebrated by watching Wonder Woman and sporting some WW shirts to show our Butt Kicking Cancer Girl Power!

My mom was told she was going to die in less than 5 years. A year into that we were placed with an infinite amount of time available. It is amazing what 1 year in today’s science world can make.

Here is an article that has an excellent explanation of what is happening right now-https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/health/cancer-drug-keytruda-tumors.html?_r=0&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

Fun at Geekapalooza!

The whole team joined in to present Easy Time Clock and Lilypad at Geekapalooza 2017! Geekapalooza, an annual STEAM event in OKC, is hosted by our client, Metro Family Magazine, and the Northwestern Girl Scouts.

We dressed up in our favorite Super Hero T-Shirts and met a variety of educational and exciting booth sponsors.  Visitors of our booth were exposed to the world of time and attendance by clocking in and out from one of our biometric fingerprint readers and were provided additional information on our new daycare app, Lilypad.

Get to Know Ellie!

Ellie Wright describes herself as an artist and a writer, but her team sees her as so much more than that.  Joining Easy Time Clock as a customer service specialist in 2014, Ellie’s leadership abilities and “get things done” attitude got her potential noticed quickly.  In the office, Ellie is veritably a jack of all trades; from organizing volunteering events to editing the website verbiage, Ellie is truly a crucial member of the ETC Team.  Solving puzzles in Portal and sniping psychos in Borderlands helps her relieve some of the stress of being so awesome.  Ellie loves each of her animals – two cats, three birds, and the best of all – a newlywed husband!

Learn more about Ellie by reading her Employee Spotlight interview. 

What are the three traits you would use to describe yourself?

  •       creative
  •        introvert
  •       animal lover

What is your personal philosophy?

  •        Let it be

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without? Couldn’t live without

  •       “Me time”

What is one thing you cannot resist?

  •      Being lazy

What is your greatest fear?

  •       Death

Where is the best place you have  ever traveled?

  •        Coronado Island in California

o   The beach has glitter gold sand.

How would you define success:

  •        Making a change for the better.

Greatest challenge overcome

  •       Being a parent, although I have not overcome it yet!

Easy Time Clock is a great place to work because…

  • I am able to do the things I love with a great team.

MyLilyPadApp.com Announcement!

Local Small Business Announces All-In-One Daycare Provider Tool

OKC METRO – Easy Time Clock, a local small business that provides a cloud-based time and attendance system for employees, recently announced on Friday the launch of its newest product package, Lilypad.

Lilypad is an all-in-one product that any in-home care provider or center director can use to run their business while providing live updates to parents. Providers will be able to setup calendar daily sheets, and parent information and documents. Provides are also able send real time data to parents regarding their children. Like its counterpart, Easy Time Clock, Lilypad stores data in a very secure cloud based server. With this site being cloud based, users are able to use any web enabled device to access Lilypad.

“Before my husband and I purchased Easy Time Clock earlier this year, I worked in child care, and I made many friends who have gone on to found their own in-home day cares – our 3-year-old son currently attends one! I’ve been hearing the horror stories of organizational chaos from these friends; some owners I know use as many as five different applications to help keep their businesses running smoothly, and as the owners of a tech company, this pulled on our heartstrings. Additionally, as a mom, there is so much information I wish my provider had the time and resources to provide me while our son is in their care,” said Alisha Allen Gardner, CEO of Easy Time Clock and founder of Lilypad.

Some of the features that comes along with Lilypad are:

  • Child Time Tracking – Parents can log children in by clocking them in or out on a tablet or phone. This way you always have your times for DHS!
  • Parent Communication – Provide parents with a complete online portal that allows them to make payments, check balances, access daily sheets, and more!
  • Online Daily Sheets – Lilypad makes it easy to create and edit daily sheets, which are stored on our servers where you can access them at any time.
  • Billing/Invoice System – Keep track of invoices and payments owed to you. We also offer Credit Card processing for weekly child rates.

Lilypad will be live Monday June 5th. Before the initial launch date, Lilypad is requesting beta testers who get a free 60 day trial. Those interested in being beta testers can email support@mylilypadapp.com.

For more information regarding the launch of Lilypad and its services, you can email Alisha Allen Gardner via email –alisha@easytimeclock.com.

 

EASY TIME CLOCK STAFF VOLUNTEERS AT ARTS FESTIVAL

 

On April 27th, Beth and Alisha volunteered with the NW OKC Chamber at the Oklahoma City Arts Festival. They were put in charge of running the North side Beer and Drink tent! “For me, the best part of that day was getting to relive my early twenties serving drinks again. But this time, instead of pen and paper, we were able to use a tablet! I like getting to see the variety of people, that was fun!” –Alisha, CEO of Easy Time Clock.

Beth really enjoyed the people watching and peaking at the local art. “My husband is an accomplished and talented artist. It’s hard for me to look at the paintings and not think, my husband could do that! I’m going to go home with all of these ideas and encourage him to be in the next arts fest.” Above all, the two really enjoy working with the NW OKC Chamber.  “Every time we have an event I get to see people I recognize and get to know them more. It’s like getting to work with all your friends!”

Welcome Beth Allen to the ETC Team!

  • What three traits define you?  Passionate, Creative, Dedicated
  • What is your personal philosophy? Choose Kindness
  • What’s one thing you couldn’t live without? Toss-up between Coffee or Wine?  No, really that would be my son and husband. I could NOT live without them!
  • What is the one thing you cannot resist? Target
  • What is your greatest fear? Dying young
  • Which one would you want most – flying cars, robot housekeepers, or moon cities? Tie between flying cars and robot housekeepers
  • Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why? San Francisco – It’s the most unique place I’ve ever visited. It’s artsy…It’s whimsical….all the cultures, the restaurants, the scenery, the architecture … I want to go back to explore!
  • How do you define success? Contentment
  • Tell us something that might surprise us about you.  I sing opera
  • What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far? Losing my mother at age 19 to Breast Cancer
  • What makes Easy Time Clock such a great place to work? The excitement of a growing company that values relationships with its customers, values its employees, and believes in giving back to the community.  There is no doubt that a lot of hard work happens here but there is a lot of fun and laughter here too!

Ribbon Cutting Day!

The Easy Time Clock Team was thrilled to have a ribbon cutting with the Northwest Oklahoma City Chamber! We greatly appreciate all the friends, families, and work partners who came out to support us!