How much power should you give your part-time staff?


2

My company started hiring office assistants a couple years ago. The rationale is pretty straightforward: since good engineers are hard to find, free our engineers of non-engineering tasks so they can spend more time on engineering.

Most of the part-time office assistants do customer support or sales processing, but one of the office assistant positions is special: the person hired for that position does most of the purchasing and many other miscellaneous tasks that several of the full-time employees (including myself) used to do. The person in this position has everyone's corporate credit cards (which I suspect is a violation of the credit card terms, but I'd have to check on that) and various online accounts (again, possible violations of the TOS, especially for purchasing- or banking-related sites). Now I'm being asked to transfer administrative access to that person for other accounts. So far, I haven't explicitly been asked to transfer management of the employee benefits to the assistant, but I suspect I may be asked to do so at the next renewal.

The concern I have is that someone with administrative access could remove everyone else's administrative access, change the contact information, and lock us out of our accounts. If the person also eventually manages the employee benefits, they could cancel employees' benefits. I trust the current office assistant not to do any of this, but I'm concerned that a future person hired for this position might do so, especially if we continue to grow. (What if a con artist passes our interview process?)

How much power do you give your part-time employees over the administration of your company? Are my concerns reasonable, or am I just being paranoid?

Part Time Employees

asked Jan 11 '13 at 05:34
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User1662
173 points
  • Clarifications: the company is a private corporation. The assistant is not a signer on any of the financial accounts, but has everyone's corporate credit card number, verification number, name, and billing address. – User1662 7 years ago
  • why? Why not just give her her own credit card? What's the point of having names on credit cards if all of them are used by a single person? Needless to mention, that might be a violation of the credit card agreement and may make it harder to deal with fraudulent activities. – Littleadv 7 years ago
  • Believe me, I've complained about the credit card situation numerous times. My understanding is that we have a limited pool of credit to be split across everyone's cards. There are often times when no single card has enough available balance for an entire month's purchasing. If we were to reallocate credit to optimize for the assistant's use, we would still have to change the allocations every couple of months since several of us travel for various meetings and events throughout the year. – User1662 7 years ago
  • ever heard of "reimbursement"? Travel? Pay with your own credit card, bring receipts, get a check before the statement closes. Why do you need a company credit card for that? – Littleadv 7 years ago
  • Bottom line, it looks like you're not the decider on the issue. Talk to your controller/CFO on what has to be done, and if you're a shareholder - raise the issue at the next shareholders meeting. This should be of a concern to the board and the officers, as they're the liable ones in case of a problem. – Littleadv 7 years ago
  • Reimbursement works for some people, but it's a hassle because not everyone remembers to get receipts, or they forget to report their expenses. – User1662 7 years ago
  • and why don't you have the same problem with company credit cards? On the countrary, forcing people to claim reimbursment will improve your spending control and accountability, and will prevent small (or large) scale embezzlement and fraud. – Littleadv 7 years ago
  • @littleadv I don't understand the question. On a trip, they use their company cards to pay for everything, and don't have to worry about reimbursement. In contrast, without a company card, someone might accumulate 20-30 receipts that they need to keep track of, and some places only issue receipts upon request. Also, the burden of $1000-2000+ in airfare, hotel, car rental, and meals can be a bit much to ask of some employees--frankly, it isn't the company's business how much available credit an employee has on his/her personal credit card. – User1662 7 years ago
  • well, its a discussion not directly related to your question, so lets leave it at that. – Littleadv 7 years ago
  • No you are not being Paranoid, its good that you think a lot, but i am thinking that, why do you have all the credit cards and accounts of other staff with you, since this a private company , but still the credit cards must be with the employees,and i would like to suggest you that, money is the biggest cheater, so you can't rely on anyone including yourself in the matter of money. – Luis Mier 7 years ago

1 Answer


3

Never have a single person with administrative privileges on your accounts. Always have at least two (for example, the person actually doing the work, and the controller or the CFO).

Also, make sure all the accounts are in the name of the business entity. The person with the administrative access is a mere representative, if the assistant abuses the power you can fire that person and reinstate all the access privileges. Since the account belongs to the entity, some matters will require an entity decision (for example - board meeting resolution, change in the LLC operating agreement, etc). Banks require proofs of such changes before doing anything (for example, changing account ownership).

If you can set the accounts so that certain operations require more than one signature - do that. That would limit a possibility of embezzlement or fraud.

These are checks and balances that should be implemented in your company. Public companies must have certain checks and balances, but private companies are not required by law. Still, you can chose to implement some that would not make your life too complicated, yet will make you more secure. You can ask your accountant for more specifics. Many accounting firms provide advisory services to help with exactly these issues.

You're not being paranoid. You're asking the questions you should be asking.

answered Jan 11 '13 at 05:43
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Littleadv
5,090 points
  • I would also look into requiring a purchasing order to be signed by a separate person before any company funds can be used (i.e. the company credit cards). – Randy E 7 years ago
  • This is really well thought through. The only aspect I would add is to note that you should hire someone else to do regular (annually? quarterly?) audits. It might seem expensive or annoying now but it's *way* less expensive than getting sued or dealing with embezzlement. – Casey Software 7 years ago

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