If you talk to the experts, you might expect cash to disappear soon. Talk to any retail business owner, though, and another picture emerges. People are still using cash, especially for smaller purchases. One study found that 45 percent of customers with a rewards credit card still prefer cash for transactions under $10. A busy retail store may handle hundreds or thousands of cash transactions every day.
Even if your store isn’t quite that busy, handling cash efficiently and effectively is key to your success. These five retail cash handling best practices will help you maximize efficiency.
1. Eliminate Slush Funds
If you ask your cashiers to make up till shortages from their own pocket, you might have a slush fund, which employees contribute to in order to help cover any shortages in the tills.
A slush fund might seem like a good idea, until you realize it’s merely masking the problem. If your tills are regularly coming up short, adding money from a slush fund balances them, but it doesn’t address the question of why the till was short in the first place.
A better practice is to find out why the drawers aren’t balancing, and then work to correct that problem. With a better solution in place, you won’t need the slush fund.
2. Don’t Round Your Numbers
If you’re still manually handling and counting cash, it’s tempting to make numbers easier to work with. Rounding off your figures might seem like a good idea, because it means you can make quick work of addition and subtraction.
Rounding only leads to headaches in the end. Consistently rounding up will eventually lead to a situation where your actuals are short. Rounding down leaves cash unaccounted for.
Instead, be exact. You want your deposits and ledgers to be accurate.
3. Use Technology to Help
Retail cash handling best practices also include using technology to help you. As noted, doing tasks by hand can be tedious. Manually counting and recording your cash might tempt you or your employees to take shortcuts.
Instead, use cash management technology and accounting software. A cash counter tallies up your tills in short order, and it doesn’t round off the numbers. A cash recycler or smart safe helps you rationalize deposits so you can make fewer of them.
Using the right technology makes it easier to handle cash while maintaining accuracy and integrity.
4. Split Up Cash Handling Duties
Retail cash handling best practices say no employee should have a monopoly on handling cash in a business. For each step of the process, you should assign a different employee to handle your cash.
Doing so improves accountability. The cash attendants who tally up the cash will be responsible to those who record cash in the books, who are responsible to the employees who handle deposits.
This introduces checks and balances into your cash handling, which improves security and accuracy. So does dual control, in which two employees count cash and deliver deposits.
5. Tweak the Process
If you follow these retail cash handling best practices, you may believe you’ve perfected the process. However, there’s almost always room for improvement in cash handling.
You should work to continually improve your cash handling process. If a problem arises, changing the process will often resolve it. Even if the process is issue-free, you can still make improvements over time.
You don’t need to introduce all retail cash handling best practices at the same time. You can build a better process as you and your employees adapt to the new procedures. The important part is taking the first step to creating better cash handling in your business today.