Progressive Grocer Independent

OCT 2014

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24 | Progressive Grocer Independent | October 2014 Grocer Name Case Study N umber crunching may be the least exciting type of crunching going on in a grocery store, but indepen- dent grocers with good ac- counting systems can make the best decisions for their companies. In 1999, Strack & Van Til — a chain based in Highland, Ind., that had 10 stores at the time — was look- ing to consolidate its accounting team into one location rather than have staf scattered among the corporate ofce and three satellite bookkeeping ofces. Te multiple ofces meant the team had to compile the satellite ofces' information into one company-based report to get the overall picture. Keith Bruxvoort, VP of fnance, hunted for a solution that ft the gro- cery business' unique requirements and found FMS Solutions, a third-party fnancial services provider based in Baltimore. FMS' proprietary software was integrated into each store, allow- ing Strack & Van Til to close the three satellite ofces and consolidate the accounting team into the corporate ofce. "We were able to cut labor substan- tially," Bruxvoort says. FMS is a member of the Center for Advanc- ing Retail & Technol- ogy (CART), which has partnered with the Na- tional Grocers Association (NGA) to help indepen- dent retailers fnd relevant technology solutions and provides 2,400 independent grocery stores with accounting and fnancial services to help spur growth and manage organizational changes. Strack & Van Til, which has grown to 40 locations operating under the Strack & Van Til, Town & Country Fresh Food Market, and Ultra Foods banners, with 22 stores in northwest Indiana and 16 in the Chicago metro area, uses a hosted fnancial suite that consists of general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, billback and payroll. Tracking Both Sides Te software "is completely integrated with unique things to the grocery busi- ness, like retail accounting," Bruxvoort says. Te retail accounting component allows him to record both the purchase price and the retail price at which he'll sell the product. "I can record both sides of it, so I have a margin-based cost coming in. Ten I can track every time I have a markdown, and I have an inventory adjustment of what I lose from my normal retail dollar," he adds. When the stores run an ad with a reduced price on a product, Bruxvoort can track how much the promotion cost in actual dollars by comparing what the stores brought in at the reduced price with what they would have collected had the product remained at its regular retail price. "Tat's one of the things that the software does that traditional accounting software can't do," he notes. To collect the data needed for the seamless number crunching, the soft- ware interacts with Strack & Van Til's POS system, time clocks, direct-store delivery system and warehouse to pull in all of the information. Te cloud- based data allow store and department managers access to relevant reports, such as proft-and-loss statements, as soon as they're generated. Additionally, when stores scan invoices, the system attaches the images to the relevant accounts and reports. Te imaging process also eliminates the amount of paper Bruxvoort needs to store. "We had 150 fling cabinets fve years ago just for accounts payable; By the Numbers A cloud-based accounting system gives Strack & Van Til real-time data. By Katie Martin "We had 150 fling cabinets fve years ago just for accounts payable; we probably have 30 today." —Keith Bruxvoort, Strack & Van Til CenTralIzInG DaTa Proprietary software from FMS allows the 40-unit Strack & Van Til chain to consolidate its accounting data into reports that are accessible to all managers.

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