Informing & Supporting
Conditioning Air Professionals & the Industry
Tampa, US
2:55 am, July 21, 2024
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Having a Signature Stamp is Dangerous by Ruth King

Many owners think that having two signatures required on a check prevents theft. It doesn’t if one of those signatures can be a signature stamp.

In the 40+ years I have been consulting with business owners, one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do was tell two partners that a third partner was stealing at least $50,000 a year from their business.
It probably was more. However, I felt horrible. I didn’t want to dig any further.

How did it happen?

Two signatures were required on all checks. One of the partners had his signature on a stamp which the bookkeeper partner used along with his. He wrote checks to himself and coded them to penalties, interest, and other accounts. The partners never reviewed the financial statements, after all, they trusted their partner who did the books. As a result, they didn’t question the penalties (their payroll taxes were always paid on time so entries in this category didn’t make sense). No one caught him until I investigated.

But, what if you’re going to be gone for a vacation and the bookkeeper says she needs a signature stamp?

This happened with one of my clients.

The bookkeeper insisted that she needed the signature stamp since the owner was going on vacation. I said it was ridiculous, bills could be paid before the owner left or after he returned.

She said that the owner didn’t trust her and she absolutely needed that stamp. He explained that trust is not the issue. He didn’t want any checks signed without his signature. (I had explained the dangers of a bookkeeper having a signature stamp).

Since the owner had not destroyed it yet (he eventually did), I told him to put it somewhere in his home that his daughter could find. If the bookkeeper absolutely needed to write a check, then she could explain why to his daughter, get his approval, and he would tell her where in his home the stamp was. She could get it, bring it to the bookkeeper, get the check stamped, and bring it back to his home.

Since payroll was through direct deposit, unless there was an emergency, no checks needed to be written while he was gone. This was the case while he was on vacation.

Did you check your bank accounts on line today? This is the first step in protecting your hard earned cash.

Get the tools you need to grow profitably, build wealth, and live the life of your dreams.

Ruth King is well known as “The Profitability Master.” She is passionate about helping small business owners become profitable and stay profitable. For over 40 years she has coached, trained, and helped contractors and others achieve the business growth and goals they wanted to achieve.

Contact Ruth by emailing

Visit to get your business financially fit in less than 10 minutes a month!

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Informing & Supporting
Conditioning Air Professionals
& the Industry