Not all company funds are kept in a checking account. At times, an employer may keep a small supply of cash on hand for simple, quick purchases. While having cash available can be convenient, there is the chance that a worker might steal some of the money, gambling that the employer will overlook a few missing dollars. There are a number of reasons why petty cash theft can easily happen to a West Virginia business.

As All Business explains, petty cash is an informal amount of cash kept on hand for expenses that are incidental in nature. These expenses may include buying postage stamps, groceries or takeout lunches, or office supplies like pens or memo pads. Because petty cash is kept in small amounts and is easier to access than money in a bank account, an employee has a better chance of siphoning off petty cash.

Since petty cash is informal in nature, it might not be monitored on the company books, so it easier for some petty cash to go missing. An employer may not task an employee with keeping track of petty cash transactions. For this reason, an employee might figure that lifting a few dollars from the petty cash supply will not go noticed by the employer or anyone in the workplace.

Sometimes petty cash theft starts off innocently. A worker may approach an employee to borrow a few dollars. Perhaps the employee does not have enough money for lunch or a soda drink and just wants a few dollars that the employee promises to pay back later. However, an employee might give in to temptation to pocket the cash, especially if there is no formal way to account for borrowed company money. This can motivate an employee to “borrow” more money or consider embezzling greater amounts of company money.

To prevent petty cash theft from occurring, an employer should consider having someone keep track of petty cash transactions, including monitoring who takes cash for purchases and keeping receipts of the purchases. Employers also might prefer to let employees use credit cards for purchases instead of cash to create a solid paper trail, plus an employer can set a spending limit on the card.

Because of the informal nature of petty cash use, it is possible for an innocent employee to be accused of stealing cash from a company. If you are confronted with such accusations, you might want to consider asking a legal professional for help and representation. Keep in mind that this article is written to inform you about felonies and is not intended as legal counsel of any kind.