1. Service station / gas station specific – Traditional accounting systems are not designed to handle many of the industry specific complexities of service station or gas station accounting. The chosen system should have been designed from conception for service station and gas station businesses; this can avoid any unnecessary and expense consultancy fees in adapting the system for a service station/gas station business.
2. Cloud based / online – On-premise systems are not suitable for Company Owned Dealer Operated (CODO) networks due to their complex reporting requirements and the geographically dispersed nature of the network. Cloud / online systems allow all users to securely access the single source of information under strict permission rights. Cloud / online systems can be deployed rapidly and can reduce the necessity for major capital expenditure as they are hosted and managed by the software company. Upgrades and updates are automatically applied across the network reducing further hassles and complications for both the dealer and the oil company.
3. Full suite – An online software suite which includes a full general ledger accounting system for the dealer and a management information system for the oil company, will reduce the challenge of collating reports and then re-entering the data into a secondary database which is often costly and can impact the accuracy of data.
4. Track record – A proven track record is essential. The chosen system should have a history is delivering projects on time and on budget.
5. Multilingual and adaptable to the local country – Many oil companies operate in numerous geographical markets, therefore deploy multiple systems to meet the requirements of each country such as local languages and accounting standards. Operating multiple systems often result in additional support and training costs as well as consolidation challenges. All of which can be avoided through the deployment of a single “multilingual retail accounting management suite”.
6. Automated accounting – The chosen system must be able to integrate with other retail IT systems and data sources, this can deliver substantial cost and time savings while increasing the accuracy of the data, as it removes any re-entering errors.
7. Customised reporting – One size does not fit all and out-of-the-box reports will often not provide the necessary insight, it is therefore important that the chosen system has the ability to have customised reports to focus on the key areas of the business.
8. Consistent reporting – It is critical to have consistent reporting across dealers to allow for comparisons and provide insight through benchmarking to unlock value within the network.
9. Easy to use – It is imperative that the accounting system is easy to use and intuitive. A difficult system can prolong the project deployment because of additional training and support requirements all of which can be avoided.
10. Network reporting – Through deploying an online retail accounting management suite across a dealer network such as CounterBooks, the oil company will gain full transparency and a consolidated view of the network’s performance without spending an extensive amount of time and cost collating and analysing data. Network reports which can assist in the management of a dealer network include:-
- Network Profit and Loss report (with budget comparison) which shows the network profit and loss performance by dealer and against budget.
- Purchase Compliance to assess dealers spending with approved suppliers and by category.
- Network Net Worth and Liquidity report to assist in monitoring the financial stability of dealers.
11. Data analysis capabilities – Through analysing data, oil companies can identify trends and benchmark dealers which can assist in gaining a maximum return on their investment. The chosen system should have an easy to use and powerful data analysis tool to assist in “slicing and dicing” data to aid decision making.
12. Drill down functionality – Static reports such as spreadsheets and PDFs do not allow the oil company to look beneath the figures. With drill down functionality on reports, it will allow the oil company to investigate any irregular aspects of the dealer’s financial reports which could be mis-postings or legitimate exceptional items.
13. Period locking – Oil companies can struggle with maintaining the data integrity of the dealer’s accounting records. At the end of the period, the dealer will send their financial reports to the oil company, after doing so, the dealer might make adjustments to “mask” the true financial performance of the business. The “Period Locking” feature is a highly effective control to restrict such circumstances occurring. Once the dealer has finalised their accounts and reviewed by their accountant, the period is locked which restricts the dealer from making any further adjustments.
14. Budget reporting – Budget comparison reports are indispensable to managing the expectations of the dealers, providing a performance management tool while also assisting oil companies with the distribution of financial support to dealers.
If you are interested in understanding how to you can develop your dealer network into a world class retail operation, please visit our website – http://www.CounterBooks.com or speak with us today.