Process Automation for Retail Businesses

Compared to other industries, retail businesses are used to tackling unprecedented consumer behaviour changes and dealing with a dynamic marketplace. Whether its automation during the manufacturing process or chatbots that help users find and buy products easily on your website, either case requires a business to be agile and nimble in their approach to rising to the challenge.

Boileau’s new process automation tool takes efficiency to a whole new level, saving you time and money.

What are the benefits of using Process Automation in Retail?

Business Owner

Visibility

 

Management of the process and overall visibility on upcoming commitments, individual amounts and totals of invoices due in future payment runs along with the approval status of invoices all contribute to effectively managing cash flow.

Purchase Controls – Pre purchase information controls

 

Without control of commitments, businesses cannot understand upcoming commitments until the invoice is received and they are required to pay! This reduces any company’s ability to create meaningful projections of upcoming spend, while also eliminating control over costs.

Scale – Reduced effort

 

Manual processes run on an invoice volume to staff numbers ratio, with increased volumes and business growth forcing extra staff to be required. This does not provide effective methods to scale and often shows lack of redundancy when staff are on leave or move on from the business.

Multiple Systems

 

With businesses utilising a POS to manage their stock and sales and a separate accounting package to manage the finances, key financial data is required to move between both systems. Without integrations in place the full picture required to be able to make better informed decisions lacking.

Store Manager

Repetitive low value tasks

 

Manual processes often require high volumes of low value tasks, such as routing documents or performing data entry. Studies show that repetitive low value tasks decrease employee engagement and reduce job satisfaction.

Lack of mobility

 

Paper based approvals requiring approvers to visit a central location or retrieve documents take them away from their core job roles. This not only significantly increases process costs but is often seen as a major source of frustration for management and supervisors.

Visibility during the Process

 

Often when a supplier enquires about invoice payment, the Accounts Payable team often must manually chase up invoice status and provide information back to supplier, this consumes not only the AP Team’s valuable time but also that of the approver.

Managing price variations

 

A key part of the Store Managers role is to manage incoming stock item volumes and pricing. With common industry practices of discounts and rebates in place, the time-consuming practice of matching invoices data to stock control pricing is critical to maintaining profitability. Coding is then essential prior to information being passed to accounting for finance system data entry.

Accounting

Auditability

 

Paper based and manual processes often involve signing hard copy documents or email threads being used for approval. This does not create clear audit trails of who approved a document and when, meaning large amounts of time is spent when being audited to find documents and the relevant approver information. Spot audits for regulatory requirements pose a large company risk profile.

Increase of both internal and external fraud

 

Without predetermined systems checks including ABN information, BSB and Account Numbers, business open themselves up to the possibility of fraudulent activity both by internally and external parties. The Association of Certified Fraud examiners found that businesses lost a total of $7 Billion in 2018.

Data Entry

 

With high staff costs generally focused on customer facing roles, the time-consuming requirement for large amounts of data entry is very costly as it is usually outsourced for convenience. This manual task though is very time critical as it provides information to help control stock and finances. Entry into the POS system is required to be done on site while repeat entry of this same data is usually then outsourced.

Statement matching

 

Typically end of month processes for finance team members are a mad rush to close everything off and match supplier invoices to statements. This involves manually checking through statements to find matching invoice numbers to then request missed invoices to be resent or chasing documents from approvers if required. The overall process is cumbersome, time consuming and often frustrating for finance team members.

Compliance

 

Paper based processes create the ability for processes to be expedited, when processes are not followed. This is commonly due to the process being difficult and cumbersome. Ability to expedite processes means compliance cannot be enforced and business rules can be ignored.

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