What is an over/short?
Let's start out with a brief explanation of how an over/short gets recorded. At the end of the shift (or at least once per day) each register should be closed. The system knows how much cash should be in the register, and it will ask the employee to enter how much cash they actually count in that register. The difference is an over or short.
Once this is recorded, you'll see it on your reports - including the Store Summary, the Register Report, and the Over/Short report.
You may also see an over/short recorded during a driver or server close, although this is less common as typically any cash shortage is deducted from tips paid before being recorded as a short.
Why do shorts occur?
Cash discrepancies can occur for all sorts of reasons, including mistakes, lack of procedures, and theft. Some questions to ask are:
- Is the staff properly trained on how to count change?
- Is the staff careful about entering the amount tendered properly ? Entering a $20 when the customer gave you $10?
- Are we following procedures to always record transfers in and out of cash drawer? If a cashier needs change or a manager needs cash to pay a driver's tips, is this taken out of the cash drawer without recording it?
- Are we always recording paid-outs for small purchases and other expenses?
- Is the staff taking tips out of the drawer when the order is placed? If so, are we sure that all the credit card tips are getting entered onto the tickets?
- Do we pay tips out of the drawer that the order was rung into?
- Are we closing the register after each shift, counting the cash, and having a manager verify the count?
It's important to train your staff and hold them accountable for cash management practices.
- Consider doing register closes more frequently throughout the day - certainly at every shift change. This will help you pinpoint when problems are occurring.
- Use the Register Assign feature to tie a particular employee to a register. This holds them accountable for cash totals. When anyone can get into any drawer, it is too easy for cash to slip away.
- If you have driver or server activities going into the drawer, you may want to try separating these to a different cash location. This way you can pinpoint if the shortages are occuring due to cashier activities or with some sort of procedural issue related to driver banks or drops.
- Train your staff on the right way to handle cash transactions and the importance of accuracy in entering tender amounts and counting change.
- Establish good cash management procedures, including manager oversight and sign off for register closes and cash counts.
- Review shortages and correlate them to the staff working that day. If a particular employee is often short, investigate further.
- Consider adding video security for your cash drawer.