How to Keep Track of Sales in a Small Convenience Store
Convenience stores generally depend on high sales volumes and rapid inventory turns to compensate for inherently low profit margins. These factors, combined with the wide variety of items available in even the smallest convenience store, make an efficient, organized system for tracking and reporting sales essential. Although the size of the store and the size of its budget may eliminate convenient but somewhat costly point-of-sale software from your options, there is a less costly, but equally effective way to keep track of convenience store sales.
Sales tracking starts when cashiers key in customer purchases at the cash register. A basic cash register and “no frills” tracking system involves a process by which the cashier selects a specific register key to identify the department and then keys in the purchase amount. Total sales and adjustments, such as returns paid out from the register, over-rings or under-rings, are most often read and reconciled at the end of each shift. This information is then combined into a sales recap report, either at closing or the following day.
Information from daily summary tapes becomes source documentation for creating daily and weekly sales reports, most often using a manual or computerized spreadsheet or a sales ledger. Daily sales reports include transaction details, such as the date, time, transaction number, product number, description and sale amount. Convenience store owners use this information not only for sales tracking but also as a way to determine whether cashiers are adhering to internal control procedures. Weekly reports most often include a summary of daily sales activity, such as totals for each department or simply a daily sales total. This information is often used to compare sales volumes over time.
Sales are also tracked, usually weekly, in general ledger accounts. The general ledger includes not only sales data but also data from any asset, liability, revenue or expense account included in the business’s chart of accounts. Each general ledger account follows a debit and credit format, with cash always being a debit and sales and sales tax payable being credits. For example, a weekly recording for sales totaling $250,000 and sales tax payable of $8,000 would be recorded as a $258,000 debit to cash and credits of $250,000 and $8,000 to sales and sales tax payable.
As a final step, sales information is incorporated into monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements. Sales data, including both sales and sales tax payable, is presented in the convenience store's income statement and is used to determine whether the store experienced a profit or loss for the reporting period. Cash data is presented on the store's balance sheet and is used as part of the data required to determine the financial position or health of the store for the reporting period.