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The Three Keys to Safe Retail Cash Management

Retailers are constantly told that the safest way to handle cash is to keep it behind the counter and out of sight. The thinking goes that money should be counted and processed in the back office, away from prying eyes. After all, when cash is kept hidden, it's less of a temptation for customers and employees. But is keeping money tucked away really the best approach for cash security?

Not necessarily. While discretion has its place, there are three critical keys that convenience stores and other retailers should focus on for truly safe retail cash management: individual accountability, cash accountability, and process accountability.

Key #1: Individual Accountability

Individual accountability means knowing who has access to your store's cash, when they have that access, and why. It requires segmenting responsibilities by employee role and seniority level.

For example, managers might handle daily cash deposits while head cashiers manage tasks like breaking larger bills for registers or grabbing cash for start-of-shift register funding. This segregation of duties creates checks and balances that prevent any one person from having too much control over cash assets.

Advanced cash solutions like the BANK IN A BOX cash management system take segmentation a step further by using proprietary backend software to let retailers easily define and modify user roles for this exact purpose. You can grant specific cash access permissions to different job roles, track employee activities in real-time through a web portal, delete old users, and create new ones as staffing changes. This way, you know who has access to what and when they have access to it.

Even better, each user is assigned a unique login to perform their designated tasks. So, you know which employees are depositing or pulling cash, when, and how much.

Key #2: Cash Accountability

The second pillar of safe retail cash management is cash accountability - knowing precisely where your cash is located at all times. This requires keeping watchful "eyes" on your money.

Visibility is crucial for deterring crimes of opportunity. Video surveillance can increase cash security by about 20%. But having real human eyes (even the feeling of those eyes) on the person handling the cash can boost security another 20%. Why? Because studies show humans are prone to act more morally when they fell as if they are being observed by others.

On the other hand, counting and storing cash strictly in a back office creates a potential blind spot. There may be limited camera coverage and foot traffic in these areas, increasing temptation and opportunity for misconduct.

This is why some major grocery and convenience store chains have started moving their cash handling operations to more open areas like customer service counters. More eyes on the cash translates to greater accountability and less chance for theft.

Comprehensive cash management systems like BANK IN A BOX offer solutions that take advantage of the additional eyes on cash with open area systems. The integrated automated cash recycler provides fast cash processing (300 bills in 30 seconds!) right at the front counter while offering the same level of security as traditional back-office solutions.

Key #3: Process Accountability

The third key to safe retail cash management is process accountability - knowing and documenting what is happening with cash assets at every step.

This means having real-time reporting abilities to track activities like deposits, splitting large bills, register fund disbursements, and more as they happen throughout the day. You should be able to run customized reports for specific locations, staff members, date ranges, and other parameters.

Again, advanced cash handling solutions are indispensable here. BANK IN A BOX offers a full suite of process accountability tools including real-time, web-based reporting dashboards that help you capture audit trails. These give you a comprehensive, easy-to-access record of all cash flows so you can verify nothing is being mishandled.

By focusing on individual accountability, cash accountability, and process accountability, convenience stores, grocery stores, supermarkets, and other retailers can maximize their cash security while still allowing efficient access for legitimate business operations. It's all about striking the right balance between prudent oversight and enabling productive cash flows.