Despite advances in card technology, many patients still choose to pay by coins & banknotes, making cash still very much in the game. However, when it comes to handling cash, you can never have too many fail-safe protocols in place to ensure that what you earn, is exactly what’s making its way into your bank account each month. Here are 5 ways you can protect your hard-earned cash:
1. Set a simple and effective cash handling policy
A cash handling policy is a set of rules that employees have to follow. Without cash handling policies, staff may cut corners and/or adopt bad habits that put your cash at risk. And left to their own devices, it is all too easy to skip processes, make mistakes, waste time and make tracking cash near impossible. Even if you trust your staff implicitly, it doesn’t mean that they can be left to manage cash without protocols.
What to include in a typical cash handling policy is outlined as follows:
- Keep the amount of cash in the ‘till’ to a minimum. If petty cash must be kept at the practice, set a limit of R5 000, for example. Don’t let cash sit around at the payment desk or in the back office. Cash has a funny way of growing legs.
- Deposit excess cash in a Point-of-Sale (POS) safe. Do this daily or even twice daily depending on the amount of cash you typically accumulate on an average day at the practice.
- Cash drawers must be locked when they are not in use.
- Only authorised personnel should be allowed to handle cash.
- Two authorised personnel should be present when cash is transported or counted.
- A cash log should be kept with all money collected. Be sure that 2 people count all cash and that totals balance every time.
Once you’ve developed a cash handling policy, it’s a good idea to print out the policy and place them around the back office and payment desk to remind staff what is expected of them when accepting cash payments.
2. Implement counterfeit prevention processes
Google ‘counterfeit cash in South Africa’ and the stories just stack up. Even though counterfeit money is big business, counterfeit prevention is largely neglected in small businesses. A good place to start is to get familiar with the basics so your staff can manually check banknotes for counterfeits. Download the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) app for everything there is to know about genuine South African banknotes and advice on how to detect counterfeit banknotes.
If you want complete peace of mind it may be worth investing in an automated counterfeit detection machine. Or alternatively, there are UV detectors available which can identify most counterfeits. Whatever method you decide is best for your practice, it is essential that staff are actively looking for counterfeits when accepting cash payments – your bottom line will thank you.
3. Store cash securely
It goes without saying that cash needs to be stored securely. Ideally you should have a POS safe and a back office safe. POS or drop safes are mounted underneath a countertop to securely store excess cash from the till. You simply drop banknotes into the slot for safe keeping. Appointed staff will need a key to dismount the safe when taking it to the back office for cash up. Management then holds a different key that opens the safe to access the cash.
If you don’t have a system to store cash securely or your system is out of date, POS safes are a proven way to increase the security of cash on the premises.
4. Final confirmation: Check your bank account online
An important part of your cash handling process is to do a final check of where your cash ended up. Reconciling your practice’s cash record with your bank account statement can confirm whether the amount you sent to the bank is the amount that made it into your account. Bearing cash deposit fees in mind, any additional shortages – even if just a couple of hundred Rands here and there – will soon add up. Be sure to check on a regular basis to stay on top of cash and handle any discrepancies quickly.
5. Start accepting alternative payment methods
Despite more than half of SA consumers using cash to make payments, consider your specific patient base and offer them alternatives to paying in banknotes. There are several safer, easier and more convenient ways to collect money from patients – investigate the most popular cashless methods and encourage patients to use them.
To find out more about choosing payment methods for your practice, read this blog for more insight: https://www.healthbridge.co.za/blog/patient-payment-methods. Alternatively, click here to request a chat with one of our skilled Business Consultants.