During the first three
years of operation, I signed every check and reviewed every bill. The volume increased
beyond what I could handle so we hired a full-time administrative assistant.
She was a friend of one of our employees and came from a large company located
in the city. I was so glad to get rid of this task.
We got our accounts within
10 days of the end of the month. Everything looked OK. One day I was in our
bank and ran into the local bank manager who asked how things were going. I
told him things were good and we were profitable and growing. I told him we had
a new admin assistant who had come from XYZ company. He asked her name and when
I told him, he was very concerned.
He asked if we had asked
for references. I told him we had and he advised that I start looking at all
the invoices and making sure I knew how we were paying. I wasn’t sure why he
said this, but it sounded like good advice with no downside.
I spoke to the admin
assistant when I got back from the bank and asked to see the invoices from the
last month. Right away, I noticed several new names and that one new supplier
had sent in four invoices that month. I got suspicious when I asked our
operations people about the company and they had never heard of it.
When I went to the admin
assistant, she said she just paid the bills managers signed. I took three
invoices to the responsible managers. They knew nothing about them. When I
confronted the admin assistant, she denied anything was wrong. I called phone
number on the invoice and it went to voicemail. The voice on the message was
the admin assistant’s.