Over the years we have seen many accounting scandals which means there are now more calls from organisations like the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) for “Boards of retailers, suppliers and other businesses to provide investors with sufficient information on their accounting policies, judgements and estimates arising from their complex supplier arrangements”.
Companies need to adhere to their financial regulations that are in place. If they fail to do so, they will face harsh regulatory fines, at the very least. In order to prepare for this, these organizations need to take a closer look at their systems and processes for managing rebates.
Issues that can arise from poor rebate accounting include:
- Inaccurate rebate payment accounting
- Poor visibility of your rebate deals — no tracking or audit trail or transparency of deals.
- Departments trying work it out for themselves — limited financial oversight on types of rebate.
- Misrepresented numbers in reports due to no system to help check the numbers — wrong information innocently fed into spreadsheets .
Don’t rely on your suppliers when claiming rebates
We’re seeing more and more evidence of companies who rely on their suppliers or vendors to tell them what rebates they should claim. This is surprising given that rebates can be the largest contributor to profit for buying groups and a significant percentage for companies in the building materials, retail and wholesale distribution sectors.
This may raise a few Financial Directors’ eyebrows, but given the complexity of vendor rebate deals in some organisations and the lack of robust systems to track purchases against those contracts, it’s no wonder that some companies struggle to understand what supplier rebate claims they should be making.
Take a look at your internal rebate accounting processes
What we have seen is not sloppy management processes, but a real challenge to work through spreadsheets and gain an accurate picture of what should be claimed. Everyone involved in the process recognises the importance of robust rebate management and the potential negative hit on the bottom line but simply lack the right tools.
Rebate management systems provide robust governance practices that reduce the risk of manual error and strengthen internal controls should be music to the ears of Financial Directors.
Implement the right technology - a rebate management system
As well as facilitating accurate rebate claims, a rebate management system contributes positively to supplier relationship management. By providing absolute clarity on what is owed by whom companies have seen improved supplier relationships and a better base from which to model and negotiate new contracts.
An automated rebate management system like Enable provides finance and purchasing teams with the information necessary to inform their suppliers about accrued rebates rather than the other way round.
It ensures compliance by allowing for complex trade agreements to be handled correctly and put into an electronic system, this information is easy to enter and comes straight from purchasing teams once a contract has been negotiated.
Our rebate management system helps businesses manage complex trading agreements involving retrospective payments, such as rebates, retrospective discounts, royalties, purchase income and back margin. Plus it has the following features:
• A library of trading agreements in a structured data format
• Approval workflow for internal staff
• Signoff workflow for trading partners
• Online turnover submissions for trading partners
• Import of transactional data from internal systems and trading partners
• Calculation of retrospective income earned and payments due
• Financial Accruals for retrospective earnings
• Automatic invoicing of retrospective income payments due
• Customer and Product level net margin calculations
• Reporting and analysis, including year-on-year and category based reporting
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