Retail Accounting

Retail Accounting news – brought to you by CounterBooks – www.counterbooks.com


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CounterBooks launches Billing Control System at 2014 NACS Insight Convenience Summit – Europe

CounterBooks' retail accounting management suiteCounterBooks, a leading retail accounting management suite for oil companies and convenience retailers, launched the Billing Control System as a new module of the CounterBooks suite at the 2014 NACS Insight Convenience Summit – Europe in London, UK.

The Billing Control System has been developed after working closely with leading brand owners such as major oil companies and convenience retailers, which operate distribution channels such as franchises, dealers and other partnership variations.

John Roberts, managing director, said: “Many brand owners operate complicated and highly multifaceted financial models with their channel partners, which involve thousands of transactions throughout the year. It is business critical for both the brand owners and the channel partners to ensure that all necessary transactions have been executed, on time, to the correct party, for the correct amount, for the correct items under the correct terms. One small error can become highly material if replicated over a large retail network.

“Due to the nature of the deployment of CounterBooks, the database holds both sides of the transaction, which allows CounterBooks to reconcile and match each transaction so that exceptions can be reported for further investigation. We have been working with several brand owners and already identified numerous areas which require enhanced controls within their billing processes and procedures – these initial trials already demonstrate scope for substantial cost savings which would deliver a high return on investment.”

The Billing Control System is an extension of the powerful CounterBooks’ Retail Management Information System, which provides in-depth and accurate management reporting for brand owners across their channel partners to improve performance and manage risk.

To learn more about retail accounting, please visit http://www.CounterBooks.com

 

 


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CounterBooks Announces Richard Kingston as IT Director

CounterBooksCounterBooks expands its leadership team as it establishes itself within convenience, hospitality and general retail markets.

From an idea in 2000 that the internet would transform the way businesses accessed their accounting systems, CounterBooks has developed from an MS DOS system used by single site petrol stations into an online accounting and management information system used by retail operations with thousands of outlets.  CounterBooks was historically focussed on the petrol station forecourt industry and clients today include many major oil companies across Europe. However over the past 12 months, CounterBooks has been selected as the online retail accounting management system for a range of retail businesses, including a large hair salon franchise and a convenience retailer, off-licence and post office group, which clearly demonstrates the value of CounterBooks to other retail businesses in the convenience, hospitality, and general retail markets.

Richard Kingston

Richard Kingston, IT Director, CounterBooks

This exciting expansion requires further system developments, which fall under the responsibility of recently appointed IT Director, Richard Kingston. Richard joined the team in 2003 and has seen CounterBooks grow and develop in functionality including retail systems integrations, data import processes and working with partners which include Wincor Nixdorf, The Retail Data Partnership, EPOS Freedom, IBM, VMware, Northdoor and Hansecom Informations Technologie amongst others.

“From my first role of helping overcome the technical obstacles that we faced on a daily basis as CounterBooks was rolled out to its first customers, to my current role of overseeing the ongoing development and expansion of our systems, working for CounterBooks has often been a challenge, but has always been hugely rewarding.  It is a pleasure to work with such a great team of people and I am really looking forward to the exciting opportunities that we expect the future to bring.”

“Over his 10 years with us Richard has made an enormous contribution to the development of CounterBooks and surrounding infrastructure and I am delighted to welcome him onto the Board. The next few years are going to be equally exciting and I am sure Richard will rise to whatever challenges are presented to him. ” John Roberts  Managing Director, CounterBooks.

CounterBooks delivers real benefits including, reduced costs, improved performance, and greater risk management. Congratulations to Richard for becoming director and developing CounterBooks for the 21st Century.

About CounterBooks

CounterBooks was developed in 2001 – 2 and launched on 1st January 2003 as the world’s first on-line full ledger accounting system designed specifically for retailers. CounterBooks was originally developed as a Pro-Retail MS DOS system by a frustrated computer-programmer-turned-retailer who struggled with traditional accounting systems which were not developed for retail businesses. His aim was to provide an easy to use system suitable for a retailer with no accountancy experience while still providing full easily understandable data reporting.

CounterBooks is the trading name for CV Retail Ltd.


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Redundancies in Bread Division Announced by Premier Foods

Hovis BreadPremier Foods to cut 900 jobs in the bread making division

Hovis owner Premier Foods has announced it will close two of its bakeries, putting 900 jobs up for redundancy.

The biggest impact will be in Birmingham, where 511 jobs are to be lost with the closure of a factory and distribution operation.

Another 196 jobs will be lost in Hovis operations at Greenford, west London, as well as another 95 job cuts from distribution sites at Plymouth and Mendlesham, Suffolk.

The job cuts won’t take effect before Christmas, as a consultation process will have to be completed first, but will take place next year.

The news wasn’t a surprise for most, as Premier Foods has spoken regularly about the increased competition Hovis faces in the UK market, and the troubles which have hit the price and production of bread in the past few years, such as poor grain harvests.

Almost half of Premier Foods 10,000 employees work in the bread division.

The loss of a lucrative £75m-a-year contract with a major grocery chain, reported to be the Cooperative according to the Mirror, was revealed earlier this year, after Premier said it had been unable to secure suitable conditions.

According to the Mirror, the deal went instead to Allied Bakeries, which makes Kingsmill and Allinsons and is part of ­Associated British Foods.

The Premier chief executive, Michael Clarke, said: “We recognise the impact these actions will have for our employees at the sites affected.

“Decisions will not be taken lightly, but they are necessary if we are to build a strong and successful future for the bread division and those who remain with our business.”

Premier Foods has also sold a number of its well known pickle brands to Japanese firm Mizkan in the past year, including Branston’s, Haywards and Sarson’s vinegar, as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce company debt.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/20/premier-foods-maker-of-hovis-announces-jobs-cuts-in-bread-division_n_2163166.html?ncid=GEP


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Retail Accounting 101: Profit and Loss Statement

What is a Profit and Loss Statement?

Retail Profit and Loss Statement

Retail Profit and Loss Statement

A Profit and Loss (P&L) statement summarises the financial performance of a business over time. It is a useful tool to assess how well your retail business is doing. Essentially you are calculating your profit or loss within a certain period.

Key elements are:

Sales – The amount of money you have made from selling your product.

Cost of Sales – The cost of making the product or providing the service before anything else is deducted.

Gross Profit – The sales less the cost of sales.

Overheads – Operating costs of the business such as travel, advertising, phone etc.

Net profit – Net profit is what you have left over after everything has been deducted. This includes overheads and taxes.

Example Profit and Loss Statement

  £
Sales 500,000
Cost of Sales 300,000
Gross Profit 200,000
Overheads  
–          Salaries 5,000
–          Advertising 10,000
–          Travel 100
–          Phone 70
–          Sundries 100
Net Profit (before tax) 184,730

It is important to assess your retail performance at regular intervals however the detail required will vary between retail companies.

What are the benefits to your retail business?

–          Compare your predicted performance with your actual performance.

–          Determine growth potential within retail.

–          Assess your retail business performance with retail industry norms.

–          Forecasting

What else do think is important for a retailer when reviewing their Profit and Loss statement? Please add your comments below.


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Self Checkouts – when do they work?

Seven steps to Self Checkout heaven (or hell?)self-checkout

Most customers have probably been forced into trying them by now and love them or hate them. If you’re thinking of installing one to improve customer flow through the till area than you may want to consider the following:

1.    High flow, low value sales

In these circumstances the self checkout approach can work quite well. For example the lunch time rush hour where people are buying sandwiches and a drink. In large cities such as London it is not uncommon to see ranks of self service checkouts which are being utilised almost at full capacity from 12.00 until 14.00. The rest of the day they may be relatively unused and when installing you should consider how long it will take for a return on investment if the POS only boosts through flow for short periods of the day. You will of course have significant savings in the number of part time staff required to service customers at peak times.

2.    Credit card only

Couple this with a near field reader for low value purchases and things can really begin to speed up in the lunch hour. The down side is you will still need manned tills to handle sales to traditionalists paying cash.

3.    How many customers will walk out?

Some customers will refuse to use self service either from fear of the technology or previous bad experiences. In many cases they will dump and walk if there is a long queue at the single manned till and we all know that means you probably won’t be seeing them again, ever.

4.    Consider the demographics of your customers?

More mature customers are generally resistant to change but often spend proportionally more than their younger counterparts. If you are sited near a retirement village automation may not be the best way forward

5.    Age restricted goods

Alcohol and tobacco are the main items to consider. In the case of alcohol self checkout is possible in most countries but you will need staff on hand to quickly authorise the customer as being old enough to buy the product. As self checkout is being promoted as fast and easy any delay is annoying not just for the customer at the checkout but also those queuing behind.

Tobacco is more complicated as automatic cigarette machines are still commonly available in many countries but in others where restrictions are tighter and sales are either dark (the buyer is protected from seeing the product, for example in Ireland) or plain packaged (being introduced in Australia) the restrictions probably mean a manned tobacco kiosk will always be required.

6.    Are your bar codes clear?

Probably the biggest crime! If the scanner can’t read the bar code it’s unlikely the customer will be able to type the code in instead. This will lead to two problems:

  • They reject the item and you lose the sale of the item
  • It happens more than once and they dump the complete shop

The only way round this is to have enough staff available to help – but then reducing staffing was the reason for installing the self checkout in the first place.

7.    And the most frustrating problem….

The customer has managed to scan in twenty items with some difficulty. A member of staff has had to authorise a bottle of wine and the bar code wouldn’t read on a packet of meat. They come to pay and either the note reader or credit card reader refuses to work. Do you think they will come back tomorrow?

Summary

Working well in the right environment self checkouts will boost sales and reduce staffing costs. Get them wrong and you risk losing customers permanently. What you think, any other suggestions?


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Tesco boss Philip Clarke says retailers need to ‘get personal’ with customers

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke said retailers need to “get personal” with customers if they are to stay ahead in the changing digital landscape and forge closer links with suppliers to deliver innovation.Retail Accounting

Speaking at the IGD Convention in London, Clarke said retailers should rethink their approach to retailing as the digital revolution has changed the way customers shop.

“We need to personalise our entire offer to cater for individual needs and to anticipate what customers want in the future,” he said.

Clarke said one in five online purchases at Christmas will be made via a smartphone and that the recession has increased the importance of digital.

He said digital creates new challenges for retailers, including privacy and the protection of customer data. “All brands should have one seamless relationship with customers both online or in store, the same high standard,” he said.

The development of social media has meant customer tastes are changing even more quickly, Clarke said. As such, retailers need to be more innovative, he added.

He explained that Clubcard had helped Tesco stay ahead of changing customer tastes but “success in the past doesn’t guarantee future success”.

He said retailers can’t deliver innovation on their own and relationships with suppliers are key. “We need to forge closer links with suppliers,” he said. “The pace of change is so fast, and the customer offer needs to be so personal, that we need to work closer with suppliers.”

Tesco has set up an internal online community for its global suppliers to share data and ideas. Clarke said it offers blogs, discussion forums and insight on customers to share with suppliers.

Clarke said: “If we want suppliers and manufacturers to personalise what we sell, we have to tell them what customers are telling us.”

http://www.retail-week.com/companies/tesco/tesco-boss-philip-clarke-says-retailers-need-to-get-personal-with-customers/5041564.article


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Shell UK Retail to use Voice of the Customer solution to help customer satisfaction and loyalty

The system will be used across 800 service stations nationwide to gain and analyse customer feedback and act in real time to ‘improve operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience’.

The retail division of Shell UK Oil Products (Shell), Royal Dutch Shell plc’s largest global group of energy and petrochemical companies, is using the NICE Fizzback Voice of the Customer (VoC) solution to help the company take a more customer-centric approach across its retail fuel business.

The solution gathers feedback in real time from various channels, with a focus on mobile, from across the entire UK Shell-owned retail operation. This allows the company to gain valuable insights from the voice of the customer – driving operations teams to immediately take action to address the customer experience.

“By adopting NICE Fizzback, we can listen to what customers are saying in real time and react accordingly to their needs to help provide a better level of customer service. We want to put the customer at the center of the business for ourselves and our retailers. The NICE Fizzback Voice of the Customer solution is helping us do that,” said Melanie Lane, General Manager at Shell UK Retail.

Customers who are part of Shell’s Driver Club loyalty program are prompted to provide feedback via SMS or email immediately after filling up at the petol station, while those not in the programme are encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences via other feedback channels such as Web surveys. NICE Fizzback enables Shell to assess the performance of every Shell-owned service station in the UK to ensure they are meeting Shell’s high consumer standards. All service stations have constant access to customer feedback, enabling Shell Retail to address any customer issues in real time and to improve the customer experience.

http://www.theretailbulletin.com/news/shell_uk_retail_to_use_voice_of_the_customer_solution_to_help_customer_satisfaction_and_loyalty_28-08-12/