6 cash handling and reconciliation tips for retail employees


Did you know that 40 per cent of retail shrinkage in 2017 can be chalked up to staff mismanaging cash? This number comes from The Australian Retail Association. Further, the trend looks to be increasing, as the number was at 25 per cent in 2015, as reported by Inside Retail Australia. Whether by human error or intentional dishonesty, the number is staggering – even a small amount of shrinkage can cost you thousands of dollars.

While cash can be mishandled at multiple points throughout a work day, a strong reconciliation process can eliminate the possibility of shrinkage while also helping you to identify where, and by whose hand, it’s taking place. Here are six ways you can implement more efficient cash handling and reconciliation systems in your retail business.

1. Documentation is everything

Creating a paper trail helps to identify discrepancies down the line. 

Whether you use physical forms or a digital reconciliation sheet, it’s important to keep a record of everything. Your point-of-sale platform records every transaction, so it wouldn’t make sense to then count the day’s takings without making a permanent note of it. This not only helps to reconcile the cash you’ve taken during the day, but it also creates a paper trail for easy reference should there be discrepancies down the line.

2. Don’t count cash at the counter

This is risky for two primary reasons. Firstly, if your counter is visible from outside the shop, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to robbery. Secondly, at the end or beginning of a shift, other staff may be around, and have easy access to the cash. Cash reconciliation is a process that requires your attention. If you have other staff, customers, or even loud music in the background, it’s easy to lose concentration. Further, your presence at the counter may indicate that you are available for other tasks, and interruptions should be avoided at all costs.

How can a cash management system improve retail operations?It’s best to keep your cash counting to the back office and use the counter for sales and service.

3. Use a calculator with tape

This may seem archaic, but bear with us. We outlined the importance of a paper trail, and this is the reason a printing calculator is still an excellent tool for retailers. Having a print out of your totals makes it much easier to check against your existing reports. Of course, there are digital tools that can do this as well (Microsoft Excel, for example) but printing as you add means you can check your work in real time, and use less paper. When you’re done, you can file your calculator print out with your other physical forms, which also makes the inevitable audit easier.

4. Take it one day at a time

Not all retail businesses have huge amounts of staff, and since cash reconciliation for retail businesses is often a time-consuming process, it can seem like a burden to complete on a daily basis. Depending on how you have your floats organised, it’s possible that you could do your cash counting every other day, but the important thing to note is that you should complete the previous day’s reconciliation before you tackle the next.

Why should retailers reconcile one day's takings at a time?A mountain of cash seems fun until you have to separate it based on when purchases took place.

5. Keep your petty cash processes simple and transparent

Petty cash can be extremely problematic if you don’t manage it well. It’s a good idea to restrict the use of petty cash to trusted staff members, and to have a clear system in place. If you can, keep your petty cash fund entirely separate from your register even though it may seem convenient to replace cash taken from the float with a petty cash receipt. An error here may not be distinguishable from any other kind of cash handling error and could make potential issues harder to track.

6. Eliminate the possibility of error with Gunnebo Cash Management Solutions

Discrepancies are inevitable when humans are handling cash, regardless of how good your system is or how reliable your staff. Human error is a fact of life. Gunnebo’s Cash Management Systems are designed to reduce shrinkage, protect against robbery and counterfeit bills and shorten transaction time.

Gunnebo have a variety of solutions to suit your business needs, giving you security and visibility of cash in your business. Take the pain away from counting, recounting, validating, reconciling and reporting cash by improving efficiencies in the cash cycle and make the whole cash handling process more secure. Gunnebo Solutions are used extensively by Casinos, RSLs, Supermarkets, Petrol Stations, Liquor Stores, Quick Service Restaurants, Speciality Retailers and more.

Our total cash handling offering includes back office systems, cash recycling machines, simple cash deposit units, software, service and integration solutions to make the complete cash handling process safer, faster and cost effective.

To find out more about how Gunnebo Retail Solutions can save you time and money get in contact with us today.