BlackLine Blog

April 23, 2019

How Retail F&A Teams Can Modernize Traditional Order-To-Cash Processes

Modern Accounting
2 Minute Read

Molly Boyle


Elizabeth Milne

Share Article

In today’s world, the payment options for consumer goods seem endless. A consumer can pay with cash, credit or debit card, gift card, PayPal, wire transfer, or check, just to name a few.

For accounting organizations, more payment types mean more data sources, which equals more work. And more work translates into a significant amount of ongoing manual effort to reconcile transactional data.

Unlike other accounting activities, which are performed at month-end, revenue transactions and their related balance sheet impact need to be validated on a regular basis. This ensures that issues and errors are identified and corrected in a timely manner.

Sales Audit Challenges

Retail sales audit procedures are typically completed by an operations or accounting team, or both, and it’s their responsibility to validate the accuracy and completeness of sales transactions. This involves reconciling high volumes of data across disparate sources to ensure general ledger postings are correct.

Completing this process manually, or on an ad hoc basis—in the case of a high-volume period, for example—makes it difficult to flex resources where needed.

You may find that just like retail stores hire seasonal employees, the larger company also might need to hire seasonal accounting personnel to these handle high-volume periods.

Even when it’s not a particularly hectic time for the retail industry, the fast pace and constant stream of transactions processed through different systems can lead to missing or incorrect data, which can result in costly write-offs for the business.

What’s at Stake

The reality for some companies is that they haven’t freed up resources or dedicated funds to addressing the accounting pain points specific to their retail business, so their current state is just to write off differences.

A proactive approach to sales audit and other order-to-cash accounting processes could yield operational advantages for your retail business.

What if you could immediately follow up on discrepancies from credit card payments, identify opportunities to reduce credit card fees, or limit cash over-and-shorts with near real-time awareness?

The right processes and technology make all of this possible.

Where BlackLine Fits In

BlackLine’s entire platform is system and data agnostic, meaning that a nearly unlimited about of information—cost center, profit center, SKU, GL account, company code, store location, tax jurisdiction, etc.—can be imported into BlackLine for reconciliation and analysis using business-defined rules.

Automatically matching data in seconds, as opposed to doing it manually, gives accountants the opportunity to focus on exceptions or dig into identifiable trends, provide meaningful information to the business quickly, focus on strategic initiatives, and eliminate bottlenecks.

For example, one store location might be particularly good at getting people to use cash or a debit card for purchases instead of a credit card. This results in fewer credit card fees for your company, and by identifying this anomaly, you could learn that store’s strategy and disseminate the information to other locations.

Key Takeaways

The order-to-cash process is often a pain point for retail accounting teams, and manual steps can account for many of the unnecessary write-offs that are incurred.

BlackLine’s Transaction Matching solution automates the most complex and manual processes plaguing retail accounting and finance teams. BlackLine supports transactional data from any source and applies intelligent, business-defined logic to automatically match millions of records in minutes.

Read our newest Use Case Spotlight, BlackLine for Retail to take the next step in preventing costly errors and control issues for your retail business.

About the Authors


Molly Boyle


Elizabeth Milne