|Focus:||Credit Card Reconciliation, Exceptions Reporting|
Calgary Co-op is a member owned retailer operating food, pharmaceutical, petroleum, home health care, liquor, and cannabis outlets. Founded in 1956 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada the cooperative has grown from a venture of farmers and independent producers into an established and recognizable retail brand in Alberta, Canada. The company has strong roots in the local community and consistently upholds a culture of inclusion, social responsibility, and sharing. In 2019, the company reached over 440 thousand members, nearly 75 stores across Calgary area, and annual sales of over $1.2 billion.
In expanding its operations, Calgary Co-op saw a substantial increase in transactional volumes which required automation of transaction matching, more refined aggregated reporting, and better visibility into outstanding items. The legacy tools and the manual spreadsheet-driven approach were not sustainable under the growing data volumes of more than 3.5 million transactions retrieved monthly from accounts payable vendors, accounts receivable partner, bank account statements, credit card processors, third party issuers, and the ERP. The team aspired to increase clarity and accuracy across the reconciliation process and they understood that quickly identifying unresolved items was at the heart of the issue.
The first recon process the client sought to rework was essentially credit card reconciliation – the payments reported through their merchant account statement against the cash arriving at their bank account. The 3-way match had to be performed at transaction and batch level in two consecutive steps. First level of comparison – batch to payments details arriving at the bank. Second level of comparison – all entries processed through the POS system compared against the statements of credit card providers.
Calgary Co-op envisioned full automation of all essential reconciliation steps – scheduled file import, hands-off matching and comprehensive reporting of the outstanding items. Following thorough user investigation, the exceptions had to be exported into a spreadsheet out of the system for booking to the ERP. It was crucial to the team that the system of choice integrate seamlessly with current business infrastructure.
The client had a very structured and practical way of going about this transformation project – both business and technical expertise involved, clearly defined product requirements, simple and straightforward vendor selection procedure, and a realistic timeline to roll out the selected solution. ReconArt entered a competition with 4 other recon software providers but stood out with its advanced high volume matching capabilities and its intuitive user interface. A proof-of-concept exercise with the client data clearly demonstrated ReconArt’s functional and technical advantages. In commercial terms, ReconArt also proved to offer the highest ROI with straightforward and comprehensive pricing.
The enrichment functionality embedded in ReconArt allows for data transformation and standardization – from simple changes like dates and decimal settings to sophisticated user-defined rules intended to clean up the data. These rules govern recurring data import, paving the way for consistent matching results.
The 3-way transactional matching is performed in consecutive steps – detail to batch, and then batch to batch. First POS data is checked against credit card provider details. Then the resulting matched total is compared to the credit card batch. Finally, the matched results from the previous step are compared to the bank receipts. The users configure and adjust the matching rules themselves as needed – like many customers performing this type of reconciliation, common matching factors include invoice number, amount and value date in addition to business-specific business logic.
The client has multiple locations with their own POS data and bank accounts where the cash from all centers is accumulated. ReconArt can present a breakdown of cash inflow per location as long as the individual transaction bears a unique location identifier. This capability makes ReconArt a central reporting tool for the business.
Exception management also benefits from automation – the system is taught to identify patterns in records and flag them so that their investigation and resolution is sped up and streamlined. The export of outstanding items as journals can now be pushed through a scheduled system task or manually.
Results & Benefits
ReconArt has lived up to the client expectations around platform reliability, security, performance metrics, and product evolution potential. Our solution became a good fit in the client environment.
Working with the ReconArt team has been a pleasant experience from implementation to after go-live support. Their knowledge of the product and learning our environment and needs as a business has proved to be very valuable. The system is extremely intuitive and easy to teach to new users. We have not experienced any issues with integrity and appreciate the audit trails that are tracked within the system. We have been very happy with this product selection and see the value that it could add to other key areas of our department.
Vicki Archibald – Accounting Manager / Functional Project Manager
Throughout the implementation phase, Calgary Co-op’s administrator team took a hands-on approach and collaborated closely with ReconArt’s Product Specialist during every step of configuration. This successful hands-on train the trainer program left them in a great position to continue onboarding additional reconciliation processes within their ReconArt environment long after initial go-live. The implementation of the ReconArt matching solution quickly proved the value of its investment.
Many products promise the ability for users to manage configurations themselves, ReconArt is the first product within my experience that lives up to this promise. Our users can manage building new reconciliations, adjusting rules and import/export processes, along with rolling back imports that need to be adjusted with little to no IT involvement. My involvement is exclusively training.
Thomas Walker – IT Enterprise Applications Analyst (Finance)
As a happy client, Calgary Co-op has provided references for its experience with ReconArt’s solution and services. We look forward to supporting their future growth and needs.