Although long term there has been a trend for increasing numbers of retail purchases to be made using credit cards and now mobile payment methods (see also https://retailaccounting.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/the-wallet-is-dead-long-live-the-wallet/) a large number of transactions are still made using old fashioned cash. Unfortunately for a retail business cash can be very easily “go missing” between the purchase and the bank.
Here are our top recommendations for making sure cash losses are kept to a minimum. Please take note of the ALWAYS at that start of each recommendation. Unfortunately if you don’t take care of your cash you will find that your staff will.
1. ALWAYS perform a cash reconciliation for each day of operation.
Remember Cash In = Cash Out
Small differences are normal where many transactions take place each day. This is due to miscounting of change by the staff operating the till. Large differences or systematic differences (say a £20 short every Thursday) need monitoring and investigating promptly.
2. ALWAYS count the cash at the end of the day.
3. ALWAYS count the cash held in an on-site mini safe. It’s not enough to think that you have £200.00 in coins and notes stored in the safe. Make sure it’s there. Even if you don’t think staff have access to the safe key you may find they have.
4. ALWAYS reconcile cash sent to the bank with the cash received by the bank as often as possible. Use internet banking to review receipts daily. Unfortunately it is all too common for either cash to not be banked or a short amount to be banked. If you don’t check for several days the first sign that cash is missing will be a missed direct debit payment or a bounced cheque, and of course the site manager will now be taking a long holiday!
5. ALWAYS be suspicious of zero or positive cash differences. Positive cash differences mean that a member of staff is short changing the customers and in most cases will be pocketing the difference. Your customers will always be aware of this so keep an ear open for complaints. In practice zero cash differences hardly ever happen and it usually means the cash reconciliation is being fixed by the cashier or manager responsible.
And one more thing….
Watch out for sales not being rung into the till. Typically a customer comes into the shop in a hurry, throws down the money for his purchase and rushes off. The problem here is that the item hasn’t been scanned and therefore if the cash finds its way into the cashier’s pocket rather than the till you won’t miss it. If you suspect this is happening installing CCTV directly above the till position will usually help.