Cash turnover in trade (p.1)

Cash turnover in convetional trade – a description of the process and vision of its development (p.1.)

    Conventional trade today refers to all these forms of trading that involve physical contact between the customer, the product and its reseller. Data provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce clearly show that the traditional trade is still 94.6% of the total U.S. trade turnover (link). This suggests that trade in its conventional form is well and will be so for a long time. The article about the circulation of money in economy (read more…) allows drawing a similar conclusion about the future use of cash in circulation. If this is so and still will be for long, you might want to ask yourself the following question: how does money in the form of cash circulate properly in the traditional trade and is this process is already fully optimized?

This and other questions concerning this issue can be answered if you are familiar with the current situation and development trends in the "cash processing" industry. But before we proceed to describe the current functioning of the system, for better orientation in this hermetic little world, it is worthwhile doing a brief insight into its history.


We will not go back to distant times; a description of the system just 10-40 years ago should be enough. In fact, matters connected with money do not usually change too quickly - changes are slow and allow easy tracking. Thus 10-40 years ago (differently in different countries), cash and checks (still very popular, especially in the West), upon acceptance by the cashier, ended up in a shop safe or vault, where they were first counted by the cashier, who had to settle the takings, then a second count was made by an internal department (for large networks) or the store manager (for small commercial units). Accordingly to the technological capabilities and accepted standards, the "safely" packed money was deposited in a safe or vault, where it awaited the arrival of the bank convoy. The armed convoy receiving it belonged to the bank; the central on or a large bank whose client the store was. After receiving the packaged cash, which involved meticulous counting and simple acknowledgment of receipt by the convoy and the store employees, cash was transported to a larger bank branch, including branches of commercial banks, which had the so-called sorting rooms. There, qualified bank staff recalculated each cash deposit or from a small customer or brought together the deposits, prepared by big stores. After doing this, the sorting staff entered the data of these calculations to the relevant internal and external (for the customer) protocols and the counted cash was forwarded to the sorting vault, only to be pulled out after a while, to carry out an order of some other customer for the preparation of the so-called "allowances". The excess cash over the limit allowed by the relevant provisions (in Poland issued by the Central Bank) should be immediately deposited into the vault of the nearest branch of this institution. It often happened that a convoy of surplus cash from a branch of a commercial bank has not yet reached the branch of National Bank of Poland, when another already left carrying out a reported, urgent customer order of a large branch of a commercial bank. In addition to the general provisions, since there was not even a semi-automatic system of coordinating activities of subordinate staff at that time, the system was extremely costly and inefficient.


Going back to the description of the cash turnover, the sorting room of a commercial bank had to prepare cash shipments for their clients who had ordered it for the next day. The costly counting and packaging of the ordered packets took place again, often consisting of various denominations including coins. After packing the cash in the bank sorting room, the convoy delivered the ordered packages to the bank customers. It happened so often that there was only one customer in remote small towns, and in accordance with the provisions, the convoy had to reach them, wasting time and money. Needless to say, another bank would send its own convoy to the same town but different client. When the convoy had reached its destination, the procedure of transfer or receipt of cash would usually require the physical presence of the bank customer's representative responsible for these issues, which in turn limited the convoy's work during to the opening hours of commercial establishments and thus raised the convoy's operating costs. Moreover, the mere transmission of cash was associated with physical counting of packages and protocoling the fact. The cash taken by the bank's customer, in our case, a commercial chain, ended up in store vault. At the appropriate time, while maintaining strict procedures, officers would prepared and issue for a receipt the so-called cashier benefits to all cashiers working several shifts. Cashiers had an obligation to count them and acknowledge the accuracy of the declared amount. Here again we had to deal with another costly process (time, technical infrastructure, salaries of dedicated employees). At this point, the cycle would close for a while, just to start anew immediately upon the checkout receiving cash from customers for their purchases..


The situation described above with its various local variants, took place in our country until the late 1990s and the first years of the new millennium. It had changed primarily due to the emergence of a number of large foreign retailers and convoy businesses in Poland, escorting and clearing cash (Securitas, Group4, etc.). At this time, there has also been rapid development and consolidation of companies in the home sector, initially security companies, who would very quickly fill the new opening segment: Cash in Transit (CIT) and Cash Processing (CP).



What happened then and why?


The main driver of change were the expectations of foreign investors from the trade and banking sectors and the stress of political factors in Poland to introduce systemic changes in the cash handling to follow a model that has operated in the West for many years. These changes were downright revolutionary for our country. Firstly, the National Bank of Poland, along with large banks, has lost its monopoly to conduct have rooms/vaults in favor of the newly established private counting and escorting companies. After a brief adjustment period, commercial banks quickly abandoned the independent exercise of convoy and counting services for their clients, recognizing these actions as too costly. The already mentioned private companies have taken over the support of their clients in two main areas: called Cash in Transit (CIT), which is escorting cash, and Cash Processing (CP), which involves counting and cash management. The latter activities are taking place in the so-called Cash Center (CC).

We already know what happened but why? That still remains unsaid. In fact these changes resulted from economic calculations, first carried out in the West, and later implemented in our country with the entire imported, ready system. A system that had already had the time to consolidate and overgrow with proven methods of work and related procedures.


Have these effects already completed the revolution in the organization of the cash turnover in? The answer, of course is, NO! This was only the beginning of changes that (and this must be stated clearly) could not have taken place without the first fundamental change in the philosophy of cash turnover, i.e. PRIVATIZATION OF THE PROCESSES MANAGING THIS CYCLE. To be continued……



You are here: Home Cash turnover in trade (p.1)