In today’s world, the payment options for consumer goods seem endless. A consumer can pay with cash, credit or debit card, gift card, PayPal, wire transfer, or check, just to name a few.

For accounting organizations, more payment types mean more
data sources, which equals more work. And more work translates into a
significant amount of ongoing manual effort to reconcile transactional data.

Unlike other accounting activities, which are performed at month-end, revenue transactions and their related balance sheet impact need to be validated on a regular basis. This ensures that issues and errors are identified and corrected in a timely manner.

Sales Audit Challenges

Retail sales audit procedures are typically completed by an
operations or accounting team, or both, and it’s their responsibility to
validate the accuracy and completeness of sales transactions. This involves
reconciling high volumes of data across disparate sources to ensure general
ledger postings are correct.

Completing this process manually, or on an ad hoc basis—in
the case of a high-volume period, for example—makes it difficult to flex
resources where needed.

You may find that just like retail stores hire seasonal
employees, the larger company also might need to hire seasonal accounting
personnel to these handle high-volume periods.

Even when it’s not a particularly hectic time for the retail
industry, the fast pace and constant stream of transactions processed through
different systems can lead to missing or incorrect data, which can result in
costly write-offs for the business.

What’s at Stake

The reality for some companies is that they haven’t freed up
resources or dedicated funds to addressing the accounting pain points
specific to their retail business
, so their current state is just to write
off differences.

A proactive approach to sales audit and other order-to-cash
accounting processes could yield operational advantages for your retail
business.

What if you could immediately follow up on discrepancies
from credit card payments, identify opportunities to reduce credit card fees,
or limit cash over-and-shorts with near real-time awareness?  

The right processes and technology make all of this possible.

Where BlackLine Fits
In

BlackLine’s entire platform is system and data agnostic,
meaning that a nearly unlimited about of information—cost center, profit
center, SKU, GL account, company code, store location, tax jurisdiction,
etc.—can be imported into BlackLine for reconciliation and analysis using
business-defined rules.

Automatically matching data in seconds, as opposed to doing
it manually, gives accountants the opportunity to focus on exceptions or dig
into identifiable trends, provide meaningful information to the business
quickly, focus on strategic initiatives, and eliminate bottlenecks.

For example, one store location might be particularly good
at getting people to use cash or a debit card for purchases instead of a credit
card. This results in fewer credit card fees for your company, and by
identifying this anomaly, you could learn that store’s strategy and disseminate
the information to other locations.

Key Takeaways

The order-to-cash process is often a pain point for retail
accounting teams, and manual steps can account for many of the unnecessary
write-offs that are incurred.

BlackLine’s Transaction Matching
solution
automates the most complex and manual processes plaguing retail
accounting and finance teams. BlackLine supports transactional data from any
source and applies intelligent, business-defined logic to automatically match
millions of records in minutes.

Read our newest Use Case Spotlight, BlackLine for Retail to take the next step in preventing costly errors and control issues for your retail business.


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