Progressive Grocer Independent

OCT 2014

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26 | Progressive Grocer Independent | October 2014 Cover Story Grocer Name we probably have 30 today," he says. "Te person in the store doesn't have to call the central ofce for a copy of an invoice – they can access it in the store. It's really working toward a paperless ofce, and we're trying to enforce it as much as possible that these are docu- ments that you should not be storing any longer once they're in the system." Operating in Real Time Te immediate availability of invoices across the system allows Strack & Van Til to essentially operate in real time. "We used to use trucks to get the documents back to the corporate ofce, but if the period ended on Sunday, it could be Wednesday by the time the documents got to the ofce. Now, efectively by noon on Monday, everything's been scanned in and we have access to that information," Bruxvoort says. Te accounts payable module provided consistency across the chain. Te accounting team can now verify and review all vendor invoices and payments across all stores, which helps eliminate any duplicates that might make their way into the system. Te accounting team also can easily estab- lish a payment schedule. Accounts receivable also was cen- tralized. Previously, each store received the payments for the accounts that were billed out from that location. For example, a church or local community group that had set up a charge account with the store would send the payment to the store where it had done its shop- ping. Te current system has all bill payments coming to the corporate ofce, giving Strack & Van Til a better handle on cash fow. Bruxvoort loves the "sheer access to the data. I can go in and get any report I want or look at any set of accounts I want in detail. Te system allows me to go back to January 1999, when we started using it. Tere's an advantage to all that history being available." Another bonus is the statistical accounting the software provides. When payroll hours are loaded into the general ledger, the program keeps the hours with those dollars, so Bruxvoort only has to go to one report to do the computations he needs, with- out having to go back into the payroll system. Further, the payroll program is set up to take into account all of the diferent contracts under which Strack & Van Til's 5,700 employees work. Te company grew from 10 stores in 1999 to the current 40 through a series of acquisitions, and each acquisi- tion brought with it employ- ees under diferent union con- tracts. FMS worked with the grocery chain to develop the software needed to account for the dif- ferent contracts and the varying lengths of time they run. Tracking Legislative Requirements Even though Strack & Van Til is large enough to have its own accounting team, it still turns to FMS to keep it up to date on legislation changes such as the new reporting required under the Afordable Care Act. Not all companies are large enough to justify an accounting team, and in those cases, FMS ofers outsourced ac- counting that enables independent gro- cers to use a proprietary accounting and payroll application that interfaces with the retailers' POS, DSD receiving and purchasing systems, the warehouses and their banks. FMS uses that information to act as the accountant or bookkeeper for a busines, cutting its checks and pro- ducing the proft-and-loss statements, as well as consulting with the retailer on how it's operat- ing compared with industry peers. Companies with fewer than 10 stores typically ft best with the outsourced program, while larger companies most likely want the control that ac- cess to the software provides. "If you're an independent supermarket, we're a ft no matter how big you are," says FMS VP Mark Ehleben. Bruxvoort adds that the provider "understands the grocery business." PGI Providing Benchmarking Data In upcoming issues, Progressive Grocer Independent will partner with FMS to bring you relevant benchmarking data to allow you to see how you stack up against the top 25 independent grocers in the nation. The data also will help pinpoint trends and offer best practices to improve operational efficiencies. For 40 years, FMS has focused solely on the independent supermarket in- dustry, offering accounting and benchmarking services to retailers operating from one to 200 locations. DePaRTmenTs Take COnTROL Department managers scan invoices as they receive them, giving strack & Van Til real-time access to its financials. ÒThe system allows me to go back to January 1999, when we started using it. ThereÕs an advantage to all that history being available.Ó ÑKeith Bruxvoort, Strack & Van Til

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