Convenience stores generally depend on cash-intensive sales, so they need a set of well-defined cash out procedures for effective security and cash control. Although the register system a convenience store uses may determine what happens once cash-out procedures are complete, the process of closing a register at the end of each shift typically is similar regardless of whether the system is manual or electronic.
A strong cash control policy and procedures designed to increase accuracy and accountability in recording cash receipts are essential for every retail convenience store. For many stores, segregation of duties, an authorization system and cash reporting procedures are basic components of control. For example, most stores assign each cashier a single cash drawer. Shift managers are responsible for authorizing special transactions, such as voids and register pay-outs, and for running end-of-shift sales reports. While shift managers also might be responsible for conducting an initial register cash-out, the store manager or owner often verifies each count before preparing a daily bank deposit.
Cash handling starts when cashiers verify the starting cash drawer amount before each shift begins and continues as cashiers ring up each customer purchase. This most often involves selecting specific register keys that identify the department or departments followed by entering the purchase amount. From there, specific procedures depend on whether a cash-out takes places during or at the end of a shift. For example, while a mid-shift cash-out might only consist of a cash count, total sales and adjustments, including payouts, over and under-rings, may be read and reconciled at the end of each shift and at day’s end. At closing or the following morning, reconciliation information for each cashier and each register is then further combined into a daily sales recap report.
Mid-shift cash-out procedures work to improve security controls by removing excess money from registers and depositing it in a more secure location. A mid-shift cash-out also works to discourage employee theft and limits the amount of money that could be lost in the event of a robbery. Procedures most often bring the register back down to its starting amount. Both the cashier and shift manager participate, with one responsible for counting the money and the other responsible for serving as a witness. The amount of the cash drop -- or cash drops on a busy day -- is recorded and reconciled during the post-shift cash-out process.
Full cash reconciliation at the end of each shift balances the register and reveals any cash discrepancies. Cash, checks, credit card receipts and amounts from mid-shift cash drops are entered on a post-shift cash reporting check-out sheet. Once complete, the check-out sheet is compared against the register report to verify whether the amounts are the same. Discrepancies most often require a register recount to find out if the discrepancy is simply the result of a miscount. Even a minor discrepancy is serious, regardless of whether the discrepancy is an overage or a shortage. It indicates carelessness or, in some cases, can point to employee theft.