New Accounting System Confusing for Many Franchisees

National Coalition Says Improved Training is Needed

SEI has started rolling out ASI2 – which stands for Accounting Systems Improvements 2 – an accounting system which has totally changed the look and delivery of our daily reports.  While National Coalition Executive Board members are generally in favor of improvements to our systems and technology, they also recognize that successful implementation requires proper training. Right now, the National Coalition is raising the red flag because ASI2 is being rolled out without adequate training for franchisees.

Not all franchisees are currently using ASI2, but those who have been switched over are frustrated and confused and are sharing that in phone calls to NCASEF board members and other franchisee communication networks. The reports have an entirely different look and layout. The way these reports are accessed is also new and different. To date, SEI has only offered on-line videos for franchisees to watch.

“We understand and agree that an upgrade to the accounting system was necessary, but it is crucial that franchisees are able to fully comprehend the financial reports that we rely on to run our businesses,” said NCASEF Executive Vice-Chairman Michael Jorgensen. “Videos are fine, but they can’t replace an interactive model where franchisees can directly ask questions and learn from the trainers as well as each other. That is a more effective method of training and feedback garnered from these sessions could be helpful to further developing the system to meet franchisees’ needs.”

A recent error involving hand sanitizer illustrates why being able to read reports can make a big difference to our bottom line. SEI provides two hand sanitizers – one for use at the gas islands and the other for use inside the store; they differ in color so that they can be easily identified. The company was supposed to pay for the hand sanitizer used at the gas islands, which has been distributed to franchisees twice.  Not once, but twice, the sanitizer showed up as a franchisee expense on accounting reports and owners were charged.

“Those charges were eventually reversed, but what if something like this were to happen under the new ASI2 system? If franchisees don’t know how to read reports, they could easily be charged, even repeatedly, for items they shouldn’t be paying for,” Jorgensen said, adding that the National Coalition believes the new reports have made it more difficult for franchisees to recognize these discrepancies since the proper training for franchisees hasn’t happened yet.

Another major issue is that some information is missing from the DMR – Daily Merchandise Report. It does not include commissions the store received, sale of non-inventoried merchandise or receipts for scan-based technologies. This means the calculations for the gross profit in the DMR are inaccurate. “This is causing a lot of confusion and anxiety among franchisees,” said NCASEF Treasurer Jaspreet Dhillon. “These items must be included in order for the reports to be accurate and helpful.”

The recent change to 7Cloud, which will also benefits franchisees,  further compounds the issue. And although training offered was much better, it is still a more complicated process to access reports. We are hopeful corporate leaders will now listen to our calls for a more comprehensive and collaborative ASI2 training program as soon as possible.

“The insufficient training on ASI2 is yet another epic failure in SEI’s understanding of what franchisees need to be successful,” said Jorgensen.  “While there are likely benefits to this new system, it’s impossible to know yet, because the training to date and communication have been woefully inadequate.”