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3 ways to beat the cash counting blues

Over-tired from constant working past midnight? Social life wrecked due to missed dinners and parties caused by late night cash counting or early wake ups? In this article, I compare three tried and tested solutions to speed up late night closure, whilst minimising the work involved with cash counting.

"Closing time, open all the doors and let you out into the world" - words that ring true for employees, even those unfamiliar with pre-2000 alternative rock bands like Semisonic.

Unfortunately, for many retailers, closing time is not time to go 'out into the world', it's time to count the day's takings, reconcile the till, record discrepancies and balance the books. What a pain!

Imagine, however, if you knew about some of the methods savvy retailers are now using to increase profit and efficiency by 'closing shop more effectively'. These solutions help save time, money, energy and greatly increase the customer hours you and your staff can spend on the shop floor rather than in the back-office. Let's see how many you already know.

1. Coin and money scales

Many cash management solutions remove the labour intensive method of cash counting by use of scales sensitive enough to weigh notes. Overall money scales, save time and provides retailers with up-to-date information on the till's money throughout the day but has several disadvantages. These disadvantages include substantial losses caused by incorrectly calibrated scales, training required for proper usage, daily calibration testing is required to prevent loss. Efficiently sorting the cash results in minimal cash-loss and a reduced time taken for cash lifts and drops.

2. Outsourcing

The second solution is to outsource the counting. In an outsourced solution, a courier is used to transport the day's takings to a central hub where your cash is counted, sorted and returned to you the next day. Outsourcing saves time and money. Many courier services will deliver your cash to the bank and insure your cash from pick-up to delivery at the bank.

Outsourcing has two disadvantages; the lack of up-to-date information and the lack of control you have over your cash.

Since the cash total is not received until the next day, discrepancies and till inconsistencies cannot be dealt with in a swift a manner. In addition, outsourcing means that money is not readily available for immediate/ unexpected emergencies.

3. Intelligent till systems

The third solution is to invest in an intelligent till system - a cash drawer that automatically records the notes and coins that move through it. Several benefits are achieved when integrated with your PoS (Point of Sale) system, a few include; immediate access to real-time information on the amount of cash and cheques in the till, total sales figures, whether you need more change, whether you need to perform a cash lift. As well as labour cost savings when closing, the Intelligent Till, also provides a security element to protect the store from fraud and deter against potential dishonesty.

The SMARTtill Manager software stores all cash transaction data; managers and supervisors can then retrieve this via reports or specific enquiries for analysis.

Whilst the benefits are many an intelligent till system is an expensive investment solution and will require integration with a PoS system to achieve many of the benefits.

Final thoughts

In an ideal world, the best solution is an intelligent till system integrated with your PoS, but currently there are very few manufacturers of intelligent tills and due to a lack of competition and level of in-built technology these tills are still relatively expensive. Although the return on investment can be significant dependent on the challenge your business's retail outlets are facing.

Smaller retailers may not be able to afford the initial outlay so an ideal medium is an advanced money scale that will minimise time spent on the cash counting. Whilst not providing real-time information on the till, cash lifts can be completed in under five minutes and so maximise sales' time and provide frequent information updates.