Retail Accounting

Retail Accounting news – brought to you by CounterBooks –

Leave a comment

Video: An introduction to the balance sheet


Leave a comment

POR Calculator

The POR (Profit On Return) Calculator is a tool available on all product pages to help you work out how much you should charge perPOR calculator product to make your desired profit margin.

Fill in the fields in the calulator and press the calculate button to work out your unit prices. You can try it out here below.

Leave a comment

Retail is Detail

ProfitIt’s a phrase that is perceived to be obvious, however under used. Certainly within the hospitality industry, having and interpreting the performance numbers of your business could be the difference between success and failure.

There are many challenges faced in this difficult trading climate, however those demonstrating success are those making clear and timely actions based on the statistics their accounts and stock takes present.

Increased profitability comes from dissecting the results and understanding both how they were concluded, but more importantly what can be done to positively influence them on-going. In most cases, the answer lies with physical actions, conducted firstly by the business leadership, and as importantly by engaging and developing the skill and knowledge of their teams.

 Successful and Proactive business leaders engage and influence a multitude of behaviours that continuously refine sales and profitability. The primary business focusses have to be those that organically influence year on year performance and exceed customer or guest experiences.

I am currently doing a series of liquor stock seminars within a major pub group. My aim is to clearly demonstrate that by investing in good accountancy, stock taking and business consultancy; you will in most cases more than recover the cost of investment and impact cash profitability significantly.

An average profit increase scenario was compiled with the delegates in each of the 6 seminars conducted so far. The average cash profit increase calculated, ranged from +£14,000 to +£31,000 per business. More incredible was that it is established through influencing the leadership and team behaviours, and without increasing footfall. Imagine the impact of increasing footfall as well!!

It’s amazing to see the pace of change and team buy in, where you can clearly demonstrate profit enhancement in cash value. Reward and recognition as a tool to influence positive profit focussed behaviour is really powerful.  I wonder how much has been lost by businesses where they removed such incentives in a bid to save what is first perceived to be a labour cost?

It’s clear and obvious, that those businesses having quality information, understanding the detail and positively motivating and engaging their teams, are not only winning loyalty and business from their competitors, but have a stable foundation to year on year profitability.

The benefit of getting into the detail therefore is obvious – and if you don’t have enough detail, or understand how to influence it, then it’s time to contact us and invest!!

Nick Chadwick.


Leave a comment

Accounting News: FRC opens consultation

AuditingThe Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has opened a consultation on new rules that would compel auditors to write a “commentary” flagging problems, risks, or disagreements with management at audited companies. Chairman of the FRC’s audit and assurance council, Nick Land, said: “It has been a waste of time to read 99 out of 100 audit reports. Although shareholders got a set of accounts that were true and fair there was no point in reading any of it.” Mr Land admitted that the new rules could make life more difficult for management teams, but suggested he had little sympathy for them, pointing out that an auditor’s primary responsibility was to a company’s shareholders. “It will also act as a hook for investors to ask questions if they want to. Without this, shareholders don’t have an idea where to start,” he said. The consultation will be open until the end of April.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1

Leave a comment

Credible accounting – Who needs it?


I recently asked a very successful business man what his secret of success was. – His answer was “hard work, a fantastic team of people and superb advice”.

You will be amazed on how many clients we obtain, who have either invested in cheap number crunching accountants or more alarmingly cut out accountancy altogether!!! Clearly this is false economy.

The information provided by credible hospitality accountants, especially one who specialises in maximising your sales and profitability is invaluable – as I quote nearly every day of the week, “the advice we give, in most cases, exceeds many times over your investment in us.

How can you make commercial decisions and consistently refine your business without having credible timely information, support and advice?

You could easily categorise our clients and referrals into 3 headings.

1. Prosperous businesses – Our client is competent and a professional who requires more from their accountant than simply producing their VAT returns and annual accounts. They understand the value of investment in quality accounts and advice and use the information from their profit and loss to make informed decisions about their business. They challenge costs in line with developing year on year sales growth and coach their teams to be more profitable with their out puts – detail only accurate figures, analysis and credible operational advice can give.

2. Stable businesses – In this circumstance, our existing and newly referred clients run a stable business. Ultimately their goal is to prosper, distancing themselves from the risks the current trading climate present. They have historically received accounts and are legal with HMRC. However they realise that receiving a legal service is not enough in the current climate. They require a skilled operational professional to visit them on site to discuss not only how their business has performed on paper, but give coaching support and advice on everything from marketing, back bar display, perfect products to the customer journey. In this case we exceed expectation and provide coaching advice and support to our client in making a 90 day sales and action plan that addresses who, how and what should be happening in their business to maximise sales and profitability.

3. Risk Businesses – When we receive business here, our 1st concern is ensuring we can do all we can to rescue them from financial ruin. The businesses and the leadership here have had in most cases minimal support, have reduced costs so significantly they have stifled sales and may have asked for help too late.. But not in all cases!! It is of paramount importance to us to get representation in on site ASAP, understand its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as well as the financial position and skills of the leadership.

We create a snapshot of the businesses weekly costs, establish their break-even point and an immediate focussed plan that delivers quick and timely wins. Without doubt, we pride ourselves in turning around and supporting these businesses back to success.

The overriding questions to be considered are

  • Would businesses and their investors be in this position if they had the information and advice from us in the first place?
  • Wouldn’t the investment in us be far less than the costs and effort now required to turn businesses around.
  • What is the true cost of failure?

It’s the clarity, frequency and accuracy of the information produced, that supports any business to success. Investing wisely with credible industry professionals will, without doubt, be one of the best decisions you will make this year.

Nick Chadwick 07713 442650 InnProfit

Leave a comment

Moving to the Cloud: A ‘Rational’ Choice for McDonald’s

McDonald’s saw the cloud as a way to cut costs and enhance flexibility for its development teams, which standardized on the IBM Rational toolset.McDonald's

When Scott Farnum of McDonald’s saw the opportunity to move the fast-food chain’s application-development tooling environment to the cloud, he did not hesitate.

Farnum, who is global infrastructure lab manager for McDonald’s Corp. and is responsible for the company’s application-development strategy, saw the cloud as a way to cut costs and enhance flexibility for his development teams, which have standardized on the IBM Rational toolset.

Like many other companies contemplating moving parts of their business to a cloud-computing environment, Farnum and his team weighed many factors, including the amount of downtime the company’s developers have between projects.

The decision to move to the cloud made sense, considering the nature of application development with McDonald’s IT department.

“There are several months where we do very little development, and then there are several months where things are very busy,” Farnum said. “So the challenge for me is when I’m trying to provide an environment for my application teams to deliver a product and they need XYZ tooling, I have to buy enough tooling to cover everyone in that peak moment, which ends up being really costly.

“Then, outside that peak moment, we are not using those tools, and in some cases we will slow down development accordingly,” he continued. “So we needed a model that was going to be flexible to any business condition and any development condition. Sometimes, we have big development years, and sometimes we have big deployment years. We needed this model to be flexible enough to handle that and go from there.”

Once the decision to move McDonald’s application-development needs to the cloud was set, the company tapped IBM partner CloudOne.

CloudOne specializes in taking IBM’s Rational toolset to the cloud, and that is all the company does, said CloudOne CEO John McDonald, who spoke to eWEEK during IBM Innovate 2011, IBM’s annual conference for Rational users.

CloudOne’s Rational expertise is critical for Farnum since McDonald’s uses Rational legacy tools, including ClearCase, ClearQuest and RequisitePro. The company is also evaluating Rational’s newer tools, such as Rational Software Architect, Rational Application Developer and Rational Asset Manager.

More importantly, with the CloudOne solution, McDonald’s can pay only for what it needs when it needs it.

Farnum chose Rational because McDonald’s required tools that cover the entire software-development lifecycle and have a particular focus on application-lifecycle management. He also said an independent study by McDonald’s found that the Rational toolset was “best of breed” and had the best opportunity to go “end-to-end”-from requirements to deployment to maintenance.

“Flexibility and elasticity are the key words here,” said David Locke, director of worldwide marketing strategy for the cloud at IBM Rational.

However, being best-in-class comes with a price. The Rational toolset is not inexpensive, which made the cloud option even more attractive.

“McDonald’s is a hamburger company; we don’t want to be in the IT business,” Farnum said. “We want to focus on what we do best. And we are always on the lookout for firms to come in and provide consulting services on their respective technologies to help us do what we need to do from a business perspective.”

CloudOne was in a unique position in that it had begun providing consulting services to McDonald’s in a different capacity. CloudOne then offered a cloud-computing solution to McDonald’s, and Farnum jumped at the opportunity.

“At the time, we could not find another supplier that provided this and was able to also provide the SAAS [software as a service] model that we needed,” he said.

From an implementation perspective, to prepare for the cloud, Farnum said IT managers need to be in the most flexible mode prior to going to the cloud, such as having primarily Web-based systems. “So, in our environment, we are leveraging CCRC [ClearCase Remote Client] as much as possible,” he said.

Since moving to the cloud, McDonald’s has seen “huge benefits,” Farnum said.

For instance, the company has gotten a 50 percent improvement in the performance of the products.

“When we went to CloudOne, it became easier for them to support the products if they siloed each one onto its own server set,” he said.

“That sped all those applications up, and made them easier to support,” Farnum added. “And we could do things like upgrade that one product for Windows 7 if we needed to and leave the others alone. Other benefits are easier pilots. I’m not dependent on internal infrastructure folks to spin up a box and grant me administrative rights.

“I don’t have to worry about all these aspects that go into a pilot or proof-of-concept. And, frankly, if we wanted to do a six-month pilot instead of a 30-day pilot, we have that flexibility. We can even do a pay-as-you-go pilot if we need to, because it’s that flexible,” Farnum explains.

Meanwhile, CloudOne’s McDonald said the capital cost of getting into the Rational tools is prohibitive for many companies. The infrastructure to run the toolset and the people to set it up, monitor it and maintain it is beyond the reach of many companies.

An example of this is a customer that has a project requiring 20 people on it, but the company only owns 10 licenses. At this point, a company’s options are limited.

The IT department and development teams either have to pony up the money for the extra licenses, cut costs in other areas, or change tools and maybe go with an open-source technology that is less expensive from an up-front cost level. But with CloudOne, they have another option that lets them use what they want but only pay for what they use, McDonald said.

“What we do at CloudOne is we offer up a way they can literally get into this with no money down,” McDonald said. “We lower the transom of entry to zero, and it allows people who may not otherwise be able to use Rational tools or use as many Rational tools as they want to to be able to do that.”

Leave a comment

Creating a Fuel Retail Cloud-Based Ecosystem

Cloud-based EcosystemOne of the key benefits of using CounterBooks is its ability to integrate a number of (otherwise disparate) systems that the retailer already has access to.

When CounterBooks was first conceived and developed, it broke new ground by being the first major UK-based accounting product to be available over the internet.  This brought immediate benefit to our customers in that they became responsible for just the usage of the system, and did not have to worry about managing the installation and support of this key part of their business.  Being able to access their data from anywhere, anytime, was merely an additional bonus to many early adopters.

Several years after the initial launch, we introduced the ability for CounterBooks to import sales and invoice data generated by the existing Point of Sale and Back Office systems already in use at many of our customer’s retail sites.  POS systems that we have developed interfaces for include Wayne Nucleus, Torex Prism, Huth ITAS Vision, Background 2 Flow and Wincor.  This import process now accounts for approximately 80% of all data input into CounterBooks and not only saves our customer many valuable hours of book-keeping time, but improves data accuracy and reporting as well.

We have recently rolled out a further enhancement to this import process that allows us to autonomously collect data on the customer’s behalf and upload it into CounterBooks directly.  The retailer then simply has the responsibility to review and accept the uploaded data before it is saved into their accounts.

We have been able to do this because of recent developments in Cloud-Based ePOS systems that, like CounterBooks, are based on a central data store which is accessed over the internet by the retailer and are designed from the outset with the ability to exchange data with other systems.  These upgrades have also given us the ability to import data from the retailer’s biggest suppliers in a similarly centralised manner.  Providers that we currently work with can be seen here, and we are adding further names to this list on a continual basis.

The upshot of this is that we have enabled the retailer to become part of and to make use of an ecosystem that they may not have realised existed previously.  In fact the process is often so transparent that many of them no doubt remain unaware of its existence even once part of it!  Hopefully, though, all of our customers quickly appreciate the benefits we are bringing them in terms of reduced overheads and staffing costs, improved accounting practices and a better understanding of their business’ financial position.