When we began to expand and grow our business operations at Bob's Stores to a chain of more than 50 retail stores in northeastern US, which includes outdoor apparel brand Eastern Mountain Sports, it became obvious that our standard practices weren't enough to maintain efficiency when it came to cash management and – more importantly – finding ways to keep our cash secure. While we certainly see the trend of digital payments evolving in our stores, we wholeheartedly believe that cash isn't going anywhere. Managing cash can be costly, time-consuming and risky, so we took the opportunity to operationalize with the right partner and free employees to focus on customer service.
Our partnership with Cash Connect began four years ago. We use their Smart Safe solutions and it has brought our business tremendous benefits, especially with the challenges we've faced in retail this past year. Smart Safes help to deposit cash to your business' bank account quickly. Employees take cash from a customer and put it right in the safe, where it's counted and verified.
As we continued to deal with changing restrictions: opening, closing or relocating stores; and – at times – pivoting our business model, it became even more critical to identify areas for productivity and security to ensure our continued success.
The full suite of Smart Safe solutions offered by Cash Connect has given all of our stores the ability to effectively and efficiently leverage important operational features like ACH credit, which has helped us to expedite cash flow and improve our reconciliation processes. Cash Connect's Armored Carrier Management program has eliminated the risk of transporting our cash to the bank. Below are some key reasons I'd encourage other retailers to consider leveraging these tools to help their businesses:
1. Reconciliation is faster and simpler, leaving less room for
Across all of our stores, associates have found that the Smart Safes are easy to use and give a greater level of visibility into what is deposited from day to day, making the reconciliation process much easier and increasing the ability to spot errors or discrepancies earlier on. With expedited cash flow through Same-Day ACH, we can monitor cash deposits each day and reconcile them with our POS. This creates internal efficiencies for our treasury team to manage cash across multiple locations.
2. Streamlining everyday activity frees up staff to focus on other areas of business and customer service.
Ease-of-use was a critical consideration for our team, especially in seeing the benefits of implementing a cash management solution. A Smart Safe solution provides increased visibility and associate accountability. Without the need for manual tracking or deposits, there is less need for unnecessary oversight and allows for store personnel to spend less time in the back office and more time to focus on what really matters, our customers.
3. Increased safety and security through improved operational efficiencies.
From our perspective, it is a huge relief to work with a solution provider that manages our cash logistics. Our associates no longer have the risk associated with taking cash to a local bank branch, and the cash is secure while receiving daily credit for validated funds. Additionally, many retailers serve as the direct contact with an armored carrier company; having a partner that serves as the liaison between us takes the onus off our team and puts it onto the experts. Leveraging a full-service partner that makes cash operations streamlined and increases the security of our associates has been a tremendous asset.
Another consideration when looking at these features and the various options available to you as a retailer, I would advise you to ask questions about how iterative potential partners can be and their approach to customer service. We all know that payment technology and capabilities change constantly so a provider's ability to make updates to their products and services is key in ensuring the relationship works for the long term.
When determining what is the best solution for your business, keep in mind that your needs should be not only your priority but also your partner's priority. In order to keep your business and staff safe, look to identify the right partner with the right solutions who knows your business and will be by your side every step of the way.
Kerry Williams is a Certified Treasury Professional and has been with Bob's Stores and EMS for almost 20 years. First in Accounts Payable and working her way through various Accounting and Treasury roles.