Contributing Writer

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Dental office embezzlement prevention tips

1. Make sure your deposit slip matches the cash/checks for the day. This is where you are most vulnerable. 

2. Signs of embezzlement in end of day adjustment report are a. Patient refunds b. No cash payments c. Non-approved adjustments/write-offs.

3. Put refund checks in the mail yourself. 

4. Lock down your credit card terminal with a code so only the practice owner can issue refunds (thanks Alex). 

5. Take note of any employee working unusual hours, living beyond their means or who rarely takes vacations. They may also be unusually territorial or evasive when discussing practice finances. 

6.  All staff should have individual log-ins with user access limited to their specific job function.

7. Don't allow anyone to use petty cash as an ATM including the practice owner. Have some kind of written log/slip system to record cash in/out and use a safe/lock box of some sort with only those who need access having a key or the combination. 

8.  Direct deposit for insurance checks cuts off one embezzlement avenue.

9.  Have one person open mail and a separate person enter the payments. 

10. Install security cameras, not just to keep an eye on staff, but for their safety as well. 


Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at 

Petty cash in a dental office
Training dental office staff