Getting All You Can from Your Cash
It’s often assumed that it costs nothing to process cash, and for that reason it often gets less attention than more expensive payment methods like checks or credit cards. If cash is not managed properly, however, a business may be losing revenue and not even realize it.
The most recent National Retail Security Survey found that 1.44 percent of retail sales were lost to shrinkage in 2009; for all retail businesses in the United States, this adds up to an astounding $33.49 billion. What’s even more amazing is that this figure may be significantly higher because the U.S. Department of Commerce has estimated that 75 percent of internal theft goes undetected.
These losses are preventable if businesses have proper controls, security systems and tools in place to track deposits and change orders. Unfortunately, many retail businesses still rely on spreadsheets and stand-alone systems to manage their cash and don’t have a closed-loop cash management system.
On the other hand, an integrated approach to managing cash would include automated tools to create, prepare and track deposits, process change orders and centralize information for reporting. This approach automates cash management and bank reconciliation while driving financial accountability down to the store, department and cashier levels.
In our work with leading retailers, Brink’s has found that businesses without automation often count cash three times or more before it’s deposited: In many cases, this amounts to two hours a day of your manager’s time. Not only is this time not being spent on areas crucial to store operations like interacting with customers and managing employees, it’s an expense you can reduce — if not completely eliminate.
Another area that is often overlooked is the information that can be gleaned from cash deposits that can help you better manage your business. Visibility into your cash can help with forecasting, liquidity and regulatory reporting requirements. For example, what if you could “pay” for change orders with your deposits without this transaction going to your bank? This would provide you faster access to your funds, reduce float or “activity in flight,” eliminate out-of-balance transactions and reduce banking fees.
In addition, detailed deposit reporting at the department and/or cashier levels can eliminate banking fees. Deposits can be reported by their origination point and then reconciled against a department, general ledger or other sub-accounting code to help you manage deposits more efficiently from point-of-sale to back-office accounting systems and on to your banking accounts. Tracking deposits back to each till can close the reconciliation loop.
While most retailers share some similar processes, every store has specific cash handling needs. In the last 20 years Brink’s has worked with leading retailers to develop best practices for automating the in-store cash-handling process, aggregating deposit information across organizations and consolidating reporting data.