Re­tail So­lu­tions

Ex­pense man­age­ment so­lu­tions are help­ing re­tail­ers to man­age the chal­lenges of daily ex­pen­di­ture at the store-level

Progressive Grocer (India) - - News - By Varun Rathi

With the over­whelm­ing de­vel­op­ment in the e-com­merce mar­ket, the re­tail in­dus­try is al­ways on its toes, keep­ing up with com­pe­ti­tion. The ri­valry is sim­ply fierce; busi­nesses and brands are for­mu­lat­ing new ways to stand out by cre­at­ing value-added con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ences – both in-store and on­line. In this ex­pe­ri­ence-driven world – on the fore­front are speed, con­sis­tency and op­ti­miza­tion; the ele­men­tary blocks that add up to a great cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. Ev­ery­thing from in­ven­tory lev­els, fix­tures, and sig­nage, to pack­ag­ing, and point of sale ser­vice has to work in great tan­dem and it all comes down to the money used to run these in­ter­con­nected pro­cesses. Store staff needs to have ac­cess to money at the right time to run all pro­cesses ef­fi­ciently.

The curse of cash man­age­ment in re­tail

For multi-chain re­tail­ers, man­ag­ing day-to-day ex­pen­di­ture at the store-level is quite chal­leng­ing. How of­ten have you had an ex­ec­u­tive from the

head-of­fice phys­i­cally vis­it­ing each store dis­tribut­ing cash, only to find out later that the sum he handed over was in­suf­fi­cient, caus­ing fur­ther pay­ment de­lays; or in ex­cess, caus­ing the money to just sit there idle for weeks.

There are three very ba­sic but crit­i­cal prob­lems in this sce­nario: 1. The cost and time spent by an ex­ec­u­tive

phys­i­cally run­ning around be­tween stores 2. Lack of vis­i­bil­ity of how much petty cash a

par­tic­u­lar store would re­quire 3. Risk of funds fall­ing short or re­main­ing idle

re­sult­ing in weak cash flow man­age­ment Then there are mis­steps in the man­ual process, like store staff for­get­ting to main­tain re­ceipts, los­ing cash or not be­ing able to sub­stan­ti­ate pur­chases. Too of­ten, the store staff reaches out to the petty cash “drawer” for re­cur­ring op­er­at­ing ex­penses, rather than rais­ing sep­a­rate cash re­quests and sub­mit­ting ex­pense claims. Since petty cash bills and vouch­ers are typ­i­cally sub­mit­ted by store em­ploy­ees at the end of the month, fi­nance teams spend days match­ing the cash given at the start of the month ver­sus cash spent and claimed by store em­ploy­ees at mon­thend. De­lays in rec­on­cil­i­a­tion re­sult in de­lays in fund trans­fer for the next month – the vi­cious cy­cle con­tin­ues. Man­age­ment too has a 30-day de­layed vis­i­bil­ity into store ex­pen­di­ture.

Now imag­ine this chaos across not one but 100 stores. The tra­di­tional and man­ual ex­pense man­age­ment sys­tems fall apart as the num­ber of stores in­crease re­sult­ing in cash leak­ages, ac­count­ing er­rors, in­ef­fi­cient cash dis­tri­bu­tion and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Tak­ing back the con­trol of cash

As a multi-chain re­tail owner, the first thing you can do to solve the prob­lem from its root is to take cash out of the equa­tion. How do you do this? Re­place the cash with pre­paid cards. Switch to new age ex­pense man­age­ment so­lu­tions in the mar­ket that help you to not only trans­fer cash dig­i­tally on cards but also con­trol and track the cash spent across stores from an easy-to-use on­line plat­form. Let’s take a close look at the ben­e­fits such so­lu­tions of­fer.

Petty cash cards to dig­i­tize fund trans­fers and track­ing

With the right dig­i­tal petty cash so­lu­tion in place, you should be able to load petty cash funds on each store’s card, on­line. As soon as your store staff starts spend­ing the funds, you as a com­pany ad­min­is­tra­tor can track ex­penses and card bal­ances via real-time data feeds. You are al­ways on the top of ex­penses and you know ex­actly when to re­plen­ish funds on a par­tic­u­lar store’s cards. With real-time fund trans­fer avail­able at your fin­ger­tips, you don’t have to trans­fer all funds at one time. You can pace out the fund loads as per each store’s re­quire­ments thus keep­ing your cash flows in check.

Tech­nol­ogy to sim­plify petty cash re­port­ing

Take ad­van­tage of the state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy and mo­bil­ity of­fered by dig­i­tal so­lu­tions. Em­power your store staff to sub­mit their petty cash spends and bills on-the-go. En­able store man­agers and fi­nance teams to ap­prove ex­penses on­line and com­plete rec­on­cil­i­a­tion within hours in­stead of weeks.

Spend analytics for bet­ter de­ci­sion mak­ing

The an­a­lyt­i­cal dash­boards of­fered by dig­i­tal ex­pense man­age­ment so­lu­tions can give you a good overview of your or­ga­ni­za­tional ex­pen­di­ture at any point in time; you can even drill down into spends on the ba­sis of spe­cific spend cat­e­gories, time du­ra­tion, em­ploy­ees and stores. With analytics, you can track the av­er­age fund re­quire­ments of each store and man­age your cash flows more ef­fi­ciently. You can also de­tect anom­alies in spend data and take cor­rec­tive ac­tion.

Dig­i­ti­za­tion of re­tail cash man­age­ment also helps you re­duce your op­er­a­tional costs. Com­pa­nies that use dig­i­tal so­lu­tions save roughly 80% of the cost spent on hir­ing peo­ple to spe­cially man­age man­ual pro­cesses and save 75% of cost spent on travel and courier.

The an­a­lyt­i­cal dash­boards of­fered by dig­i­tal ex­pense man­age­ment so­lu­tions can give you a good overview of your or­ga­ni­za­tional ex­pen­di­ture at any point in time.

The writer is co-founder and COO of Hap­pay, a Fin­tech com­pany of­fer­ing state-of-the art busi­ness ex­pense man­age­ment so­lu­tions to cor­po­rates. Hap­pay helps com­pa­nies au­to­mate man­ual pro­cesses and man­age store-wide ex­pen­di­ture cen­trally, from an easy-to-use cloud-based plat­form.

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