Show Me the Money

Retailers sweat mishandled cash, theft, counterfeit bills: survey

Erik J. Martin, CSP Correspondent

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- Handling money inefficiently and cash shrinkage continue to concern convenience store owners in 2013, while external theft persists as a problematic matter for c-store operations. These are the top-line results of CSP's third annual cash-management study.

Posen, Ill.-based Corporate Safe Specialists/FireKing Security Group commissioned the CSP 2013 cash-management study, which was conducted in February. A majority of respondents were single-store operators (51%), followed by those with two to nine stores (23%); 12% operated 10 to 49 outlets, and 14% ran 50 or more locations.

(Note that respondents to the 2013 survey may differ from those who participated in the past two surveys.)

Results of this year's study reveal several key findings:

  • Operators can't shake shrinkage and cash-handling issues. For the third year straight, the two most serious cash handling/management problems facing c-stores are inefficient cash handling, at 62% (e.g., counting, recounting, reconciling discrepancies, making bank deposits); and cash shrinkage from internal theft (57%); however, the good news is that both have registered 7-percentage-point decreases from 2011 to 2013.
  • Nonemployee theft is the No. 3 most serious concern. More than one in four ranked robberies/burglaries third on the list, up from No. 4 in 2012.
  • Fears of funny money may be shrinking. Counterfeit currency was ranked by 26% as the fourth most-serious issue, down from 31% in 2012 and 30% in 2011.
  • Some niggling worries have spiked in seriousness. The three areas that have seen the highest increase as among the most serious cash handling/management problems over the past three years are lack of information for cash forecasting (25%, up 9 points since 2011); inability to track cash flow between point of sale (POS) and safe (21%, up 8 points since 2011); and safe not linked to bank allowing for provisional credit (12%, up 7 points since 2011).
  • One-store operators feel the heat. More single-unit operators rank inefficient cash handling as a more serious issue (62%, up from 58% in the past two years) than multi-unit operators (59%, down 17 points over the past two years). Single-store operators also voted cash forecasting (21%) as a more serious cash management issue than their multi-store counterparts (11%).
  • No change in the top tools. The top four cash-management devices/tools/processes that c-store have in place remain, for the third consecutive year: low cash in registers (86%); secure business-rated safes (81%); manual drop safes (75%); and separate coin/bill storage and access (62%).

For a complete review of the CSP 2013 cash-management study, see the May issue of CSP magazine.