Retail Accounting

Retail Accounting news – brought to you by CounterBooks –

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Infographic: Innovating for Convenience

A great inforgraphic from Smart Action examining what customers want from their retail experience and how cloud technology can help retailers improve business performance.

Innovating for Convenience




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Will the c-store industry be part of the winning business model for the electric vehicle charging station?

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

According to the research company IMS Research, the number of electric vehicle charging stations may reach 4.8 million worldwide by 2015. The global number of EV charging stations now stands at 75,000 according to their research. The US Department of Energy says the number of EV charging stations in the US as of this blog entry is 5,894 (a 16% increase over six months ago).

The IMS research discusses the different possible business models for the EV charging stations:

  1. Monthly subscriptions that drivers pay to have access to a network of EV charging stations
  2. Free charges for consumers who purchase other goods or services provided at the station location
  3. Pay-per-use like the current fuel fill-up model at c-stores


For the third business model, the IMS research found that consumers would require a quick charge. Consumers reported they were willing to pay $15-17 for a 30 minute quick charge.

From a fuel management perspective, longer term strategy thinking for the fuels analyst needs to include whether or not to offer EV charging stations. Retailers outside the c-store space are already offering charging stations and have announced plans to expand. Will you be part of this emerging business? Can you afford not to be?

Thanks to Price Advantage for this great article:

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PayPal Beacon to beam automatic, hands-free mobile payments

PayPal Beacon“PayPal Beacon opens the door to a fundamentally different way to use technology to make shopping more valuable and more personal for consumers and retailers,” said David Marcus, president of PayPal.

So while swiping and tapping cards may have only recently become a norm for most, PayPal is pushing for more – or less, so to speak.

“We challenged ourselves to find a better experience than swiping a credit card. We figured the only better way to pay would be to do nothing,” he said.

“Just walk in a store, and, like magic, when you’re ready to pay, money is transferred securely. No wallet. No card. Nothing to do. Not even touching your phone.”

Hands-free payment

According to PayPal, on the merchants end, Beacon is a simple add-on USB to any Point-of-Sale systems that are compatible with PayPal.

Users will have the option to set which stores they automatically get checked into (as in your usual morning coffee shop), which ones will have automatic payments and which will require approval for payments.

“Consumers will have full control of stores they will want to check in to, those they will want to get prompted to confirm payment for, and stores they will want to enable a complete hands-free experience for,” PayPal said.

PayPal also assures us that customer’s won’t be tracked and unless you check-in, no information will be passed onto PayPal or the merchant.

While all this hands-free shopping sounds very exciting, the Beacon device won’t be ready for merchants until next year.

And of course, there may also be hiccups with wrongful charges or customers walking away without paying, but we’d assume all these will be ironed out by PayPal by next year.


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Retail multi-site compliance & control

d&t and CounterBooks provide retail networks with a complete accounting and online system service.

Multi-site retailers are set to benefit from a recent affiliation between two established market leaders, CounterBooks and d&t Chartered Accountants. Providing a tailored retail accounting service and online system for each site within a network allows the head office to benchmark to better assign support to those who are underperforming against the network averages.

By putting all sites in a network on the same system ensures compliance whilst reduces the costs associated with the system, training and support. Examples of brands who have already benefited from CounterBooks include; the Post Office, Esso, BP, Shell, Esquires Coffee Houses and Scottish & Newcastle. d&t have been appointed as the network accountants by over 75 UK franchisors, with brands including; Café2U, MacTools, Snack in the Box and Dyno (Dyno-Rod).

Carl Reader, director at d&t commented, “We have created a modular approach that allows each network to have the right package of accounting and bookkeeping services for their franchisees or outlets. The services are bundled into a fixed monthly fee with a 100% satisfaction money back guarantee.”

The transition of a retail multi-site or franchise network to a shared system for both their accounting and bookkeeping can take a mix of time and careful presentation. Because the business models are already templated it makes perfect sense for all the systems to be shared by the network as well. Integrating new sites is the most simple as they can be setup with the network approved system. Established sites with a mix of providers and systems often need more convincing of the benefits, although this is an area the teams are used to dealing with and they find education and demonstration to the be the best solution.

“Both organisations have worked informally together for years so it made complete sense to work more closely and provide a joined up accounting and systems solution for multi-site retailers and franchise networks,” commented Alex King CounterBooks Commercial Director.


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Einzelhandel im Franchising: Chancen und Herausforderungen im Zeitalter des Webs 2.0

Here’s a great article from Torben Leif Brodersen (CEO, German Franchising Association, DFV) on retail franchising. It discusses how we should consider other areas of retail as well as the large supermarket and food chains.

It mentions that these other retail areas (such as clothing, electronics, furniture etc) make up 27% of the franchise economy (according to a study carried out by the DFV) and almost 30% of total sales in Germany (HDE study). However, Herr Brodersen also discusses the rise of internet and that all franchise retailers should consider this channel to reach consumers quicker and meet their needs faster.

Many Thanks to Herr Brodersen for the contribution.


Online shoppingWer Einzelhandel hört, denkt zunächst an Supermärkte und die großen Lebensmittelketten. Aber das ist längst nicht alles, wie die vielen Bekleidungs-, Möbel-, Sportartikel-, Spielzeug- oder Elektronik-Fachgeschäfte zeigen, die im klassischen Sinne zum Einzelhandel dazu gezählt werden. Dass wiederum die Franchisewirtschaft viele dieser Sparten abdeckt, ist kein Geheimnis: Laut der aktuellen Studie des Deutschen Franchise-Verbandes e. V. (DFV) zur Entwicklung der Franchisewirtschaft stammen 27 Prozent der Systeme aus dem (Einzel-)Handel.

Diese Systeme stellen damit eine tragende Säule im Franchising dar und gehören gleichzeitig zur starken Mitte des gesamten Einzelhandels, die aus inhabergeführten und selbstständigen Facheinzelhändler und Lebensmittelhändler besteht. Denn laut Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE) erwirtschaftet diese Gruppe knapp 30 Prozent des Gesamtumsatzes in Deutschland. Was den Einzelhandel – ganz gleich ob im Franchise oder nicht – eint, ist der Dienstleistungsgedanke: Unternehmen bieten ihren Kunden Services und Angebote, um sie zu gewinnen oder zu binden. Hierzu zählt seit Jahren beispielsweise auch das Online-Shopping. Die Entwicklung macht es deutlich: Wurden laut HDE vor rund zehn Jahren „nur“ 2,5 Mrd. Euro Umsatz erzielt, so liegt die Quote momentan bei rund 29,1 Mrd. Euro. Und für 2013 wird der E-Commerce-Umsatz noch weiter wachsen.

Der Onlinehandel ist auch für das Franchising wichtig, da sich Kunden immer mehr vorab im Internet informieren. Wenn Kaufinteressenten dann noch die Möglichkeit haben, den gewünschten Artikel bzw. das gewünschte Produkt direkt online zu beziehen, sich Verbraucher in der Regel schneller bereit, zu kaufen. Darüber hinaus ist es eine Tatsache, dass Online-Käufer öfter einkaufen und auch mehr Geld ausgeben. Dieses Potenzial sollte die Franchisewirtschaft nutzen.

Allerdings wird im Franchising zu diesem Thema immer wieder ein vermeintlicher Konflikt heraufbeschworen: Es heißt dann, dass von den Gewinnen aus einem Online-Shop beim Franchisenehmer nichts ankommt. Viele Franchisesysteme, die bereits auf einen Online- bzw. Multi-Channel-Vertrieb setzen, beweisen allerdings das Gegenteil. Eine etablierte Möglichkeit ist, dass Franchise-Unternehmen im Internet generierte Umsätze in einen gemeinschaftlichen Werbepool einfließen lassen – zum Vorteil von Franchisegeber und Franchisenehmer. Dieses Beispiel hat bereits etliche Nachahmer gefunden. Franchisegebern, die sich mit dem Thema noch nicht auseinandersetzen, rät der DFV, sich der Entwicklung nicht zu verschließen, da die Bedeutung des E-Commerce sicherlich noch weiter zunehmen wird. Wichtig ist auf jeden Fall, dass Franchisegeber gemeinsam mit den Franchisepartnern Lösungen finden, von denen alle profitieren.

 Torben L. Broderson (DFV)