In our blog post Cash Accountability: Common Challenges Faced by Vending Operators (Part 1), we discussed the challenges that operators face when it comes to Cash Accountability. They included outdated and inaccurate “pencil and paper” accounting, internal theft, balancing cash accounts from hundreds or thousands of machines, and facing cash shortages because of not knowing how much cash you have on hand. In this blog, we pick up where we left off and discuss steps you can take to ease these challenges and increase your bottom line with just five minutes per day per route.
Technology, and the use of it, is the number one thing you can do/use/invest in to make your cash accounting transparent and accurate. In order to track the performance of your machines and the amount of cash coming and going, we recommend you implement a technology solution like Cantaloupe Systems Seed Pro. With Seed Pro, you have the ability to manage every machine, every coin and bill mechanism, and have reports generated in the money room that match your cash activity. Technology provides complete visibility of your cash transactions on a daily basis.
Once you have a solution in place, here are four steps that can be taken with just five minutes per day per route to increase your bottom line, and provide transparency for you and your employees on just where your cash is within your operation.
- Establish a cash accounting process to be followed on a daily basis.
- Track shortages month-over-month at machine level to see longer timeframe accounting trends.
- Let drivers know where you are seeing shortages to inform them this information is being accounted for.
- Keep an eye out for additional gaps in accounting; dishonest employees will try to find new ways to take the money.
In our webinar on Cash Accountability, our guest, Jared Detwiler from One Source Office Refreshment Services, shared with us how he incorporated these best practices into his business routine. He broke these steps down into three segments: daily, weekly, and monthly.
On a daily basis, he goes through each route’s cash history report to find any glaring mistakes that pop out. Going route by route he looks for large shortages in collections. Perhaps a bag that was missing, maybe a driver left a bag in the safe and it hasn’t been counted. From seeing those shortages of 60, 80, 100, 150 dollars, you can quickly identify an honest mistake and solve the problem immediately before it becomes a bigger issue. This type of daily review should take about five minutes per day to get through all of your routes and just quickly look for your large shortages that are out there.
Next, Jared gave us an overview of his weekly cash accounting practices. Spending about an hour or two when the weekly collections are completed, he dives a little deeper into the reporting. He reviews the weekly cash history report looking for trends, shortages, overages, and then balances all the shortages out if they’re missing coin refills. In his operation they track what they refer to as mini banks, which is how much coin each driver is going out with on a daily basis. By reviewing the mini-banks he can tell if a driver missed entering a coin refill based on the total amount of coin that he used. If bags are missing or the driver forgot to collect the bills, he can actually give them a printout of the ticket that shows that they were expected to collect 120 bills and 20 dollars in coins and can make them aware that the bills were not collected. By doing this, the driver knows that with the next service 120 dollars needs to come back.
This is a particularly good practice if you suspect you might have a dishonest employee. Being able to run a report with this level of data and to share it with your driver lets them know that you are watching the cash flow and have access to the machine-level numbers. When a driver knows they’re being monitored, they’re much more likely to remain honest.
Then the final piece that Jared discussed is taking a look at the cash history for a route every four weeks. With the detailed cash accountability reporting, he’s looking to make sure that there are no trends of small amounts of cash shortages on a particular machine or across a large number of machines. You’re able to drill into each visit to a machine and see if there is a pattern of cash missing every time the machine is serviced. Two dollars from 100 machines every week is a loss of $800 per month or roughly $10,000 per year. That’s a direct hit on the profit margin. With this level of data, you’re able to ask yourself if you have a problem driver that needs to be addressed or perhaps there’s something wrong with the machine’s DEX reporting.
For One Source Office Refreshment Services, the results have been dramatic. Just from a labor point of view, they’ve decreased their man hours by well over 1,000% when it comes to cash accountability. In addition, cash totals on a per machine basis increased dramatically as well. Some of this increase was attributed to better scheduling practices, but they also feel that they eliminated a lot of theft within their business. They base this assumption on their per machine cash collection increasing by about 5% from before and after their Seed implementation. Drivers are much more careful and concerned with their cash accountability now because it’s visible to them and to the back office.
To learn more about Cash Accountability and how just five minutes per day per route can increase your bottom line, check out this webinar to see Seed Pro in action. You’ll get a first-hand view on how cash reporting, accuracy, and transparency can boost your margins. Are you ready to get started? Fill out the form below and a Cantaloupe representative will be in touch with you soon.