Skip to main content

Research insights revealed by professional private investigators highlight interesting facts regarding the opportunities or motivators for employee theft.  Factors such as ease of access to cash, an inherent lack of integrity, personal financial circumstances and an organization climate conducive to dishonesty, all create a sea of temptation for cash-strapped South Africans to steal from their retail industry employers.

The retail industry in South Africa estimates that 5-7% of turnover is lost to shrinkage, in the form of four main types:

  1. Shoplifting
  2. Employee theft
  3. Administrative errors
  4. Fraud

Included in employee theft, is theft of cash from the cash register.  Without a timeous and robust reconciliation protocol in place, cash theft can go undetected for an extended period of time, contributing to mounting shrinkage.  Addressing this exposure for our retail clients, this is one of several business risks that our Ecentric development team has successfully targeted with our ReconAssistTM software.  In this blog, we dive into how this feature supports our retail clients to identify cash shrinkage at cash register level.

How ReconAssistTM works

Arguably one of the most onerous finance and administrative processes in the retail space revolves around reconciling transactions between the systems that trigger upon a sale.  Starting with the point of sale (POS) event, to payment by cash or card in a matter of seconds, a successful transaction relies on the interaction between the POS, the switch and the bank settlement to ensure the merchant is paid the correct amount due for the goods sold.  Ensuring payment of the correct amount is in the domain of the finance and back office administrative function; this is achieved through a reconciliation process that confirms whether the retailer has been paid the correct amount according to the transaction fundamentals.

ReconAssistTM automates the reconciliation process to deliver an exception-only outcome for resolution by the respective retail teams.  For retailers that are processing thousands of transactions daily, this software is not only a practical, but a very much welcomed addition to their internal control arsenal, as it reconciles at the most granular transaction level. Retailers are now able to resolve discrepancies at transaction level, thanks to the performance speed of this software.

Let’s talk about cash

According to 2020 research by FIS, 53% of POS purchases in South Africa are in cash.  Due purely to the volume of cash handled at POS, the level of cash-associated business risk inherent in the retail environment is high on the risk management radar.

Apart from the reconciliation capabilities of Ecentric’s ReconAssistTM software, it also develops a summary by tender type of store takings at cash register level.  In simple terms, this means that aligned with the shift schedule of the cash register operators, an exact determination can be made of the tender type and total (by type) that should be banked, again by operator.

It is this determination that positions the retailer with the insight required to assess whether cash shortages on the takings are purely incidental or consistently reflect shortfalls associated with one or more operators.

Apart from the granular view on cash tenders, the software delivers a similar view for the reconciliation of:
  • Bank cards
  • Value-add services
  • Corporate payments
  • Mobile payments
  • Bank statements
  • In-house cards (including charge- and gift cards)

The software has been developed to deliver:

  • Accurate and fast exception information
  • Integration with all major banks
  • Ease of use, with minimal training
  • And much more
  • Scalability and customization features