The Recent Updates In Accounting
We just came back from a very successful convention and trade show in Chicago, which many of you are no doubt still buzzing about. For the first time in many years SEI upper management attended the event, including President and CEO Joe DePinto, who came to the first day of the trade show and spent the afternoon with franchisees, taking pictures and listening to our concerns. It was great to have the corporate executive team there reaching out to franchisees. SEI Accounting and Asset Protection conducted a seminar during the convention and had booths at the trade show to answer franchisee questions and discuss our issues.
We had some excellent seminars throughout the convention, like the “State of the Coalition” with the NCASEF executive team and “Legal Talk” with Eric Karp. Both were very informative and provided franchisees with opportunities to speak directly with the NCASEF officers and legal counsel. SEI’s Accounting seminar conducted by SEI Vice President and Controller Alicia Howell and Vice President Asset Protection Mark Stinde was also a highlight of the convention. They covered the latest developments in accounting and asset protection, two topics that are very near and dear to franchisees. They even held an open forum session during the seminar to receive comments and questions from the audience.
On August 18, after the convention, Alicia Howell brought the Accounting team to the Northern California United FOA meeting and provided an accounting update for the six northern California FOAs. Among the topics they covered was the creation of the Accounting Escalation Desk, which allows franchisees to talk to live accounting staff if the resolution you received for your case is not satisfactory and does not address your concern. You can now call a number or send an email to communicate with someone and escalate the issue. This solution came about because many times accounting cases were getting closed without proper resolution, which caused much frustration among franchisees. The Escalation Desk is now live, and its phone number and email are 1-844-711-0711 and Gmfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Another topic covered was some of the changes that have been made to billbacks, which have always been confusing. There will be separate billback and scanback reports, and both will include the invoice dates, supplier info and include rate information. The same information will be on MO1, which will make it simpler to co-relate and reconcile MO1 and billback and scanback reports. The changes in billback and scanback daily and weekly reports will be available by the end of September, and will make it easier for us to track what’s happening at the store and what’s coming in as money back.
They also revealed that the Accounting Department is developing a new software system that will allow for more flexibility. The present accounting system is built on a very old platform, which is very restrictive on what you can and cannot do. The new system being developed, called ASI 2, will provide better flexibility and improved reporting, and is expected to be rolled out in 1st quarter 2017.
One of the most important issues discussed was the need to have all McLane BT ordering windows open for 48 hours. Presently, the ordering windows for some of the categories close after 12 hours or the day you receive your McLane order so you don’t get the opportunity to add to your order, which creates many issues for franchisees. In meetings with management we requested that the ordering windows for all categories be open for 48 hours. It’s a huge request, but it will simplify our ordering. In light of the minimum wage increases impacting how we schedule our employees, this will allow stores the flexibility to order when it’s most efficient to do so.
These are some of the accounting system enhancements that we’ve been seeing, and the latest update from Alicia Howell’s convention seminar and our most recent meeting with Accounting. We hope to continue to work with Accounting in a collaborative way.
I can’t end this article without thanking all of the franchisees who took time from their busy schedules to attend the convention and help us celebrate the NCASEF’s 40th anniversary. I would also like to extend a special thanks to all the vendors for their generous support of the event, which is greatly appreciated, and to SEI’s executive team for their participation. Last, but by no means least, I would like to recognize the NCASEF Convention Committee for all of their hard work and dedication to making the convention a success. We’ve already started planning next year’s convention, which will take place in Las Vegas, and we hope to see you all there. More details will be available soon.