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Cash handling tips for your employees

By: Eric Colamarino
July 31, 2014

When you see cashiers fumbling cash time and again, it’s surprising to realize how few businesses teach their employees how to handle it efficiently and effectively. If cash is so important, why don’t they train their employees better? Good question. Fact is, if they don’t, employers are doing their businesses a big disservice for two reasons:

  1. They’re undermining customer satisfaction. If cashiers and other employees who handle cash make avoidable mistakes or take too much time in making change, they could alienate customers so much that the customers don’t return and, to make it worse, they tell others about their bad experiences.

  2. They’re undermining productivity. Employees who take longer to make change and count currency are not efficient and are taking time that might be better spent doing other things, such as helping customers, making sales or merchandising inventory. Also, if they’re not good at handling and counting cash, they can make mistakes that can take owners and managers lots of time to reconcile at the end of a shift or day.

Below are some suggestions about how to teach employees to handle cash most efficiently in each of three areas:

  • At the register. All employees who work as cashiers need cash register training, as well as anyone who has to use one as part of their jobs, like restaurant servers.

  • To start with, go slow. For anyone who’s not used a cash register before, all the keys will be a big mystery, so first explain what each different key does before walking them through a transaction.

  • Start with simple transactions, then work toward more complex ones and exceptions like voids. Walk new employees through the steps of a transaction slowly. Repeat the steps, again slowly. Next have them show you the proper key sequence for that transaction. Then have them repeat.

  • With the customer.  Rather than handing customers a wad of cash and coin back in change, employees should tell the customer what the amount of their change is, even if the register displays it. Then they should count it out loud back to the customer.

  • Also, keeping whatever cash note on the register sill and not putting it into the drawer until after making change is a good practice to avoid disputes over what size bill customers give you.

  • If that happens – no matter whose mistake it is or even if customers are trying to scam the cashier by claiming they gave them a larger bill than what they’re getting change – the bigger problem could lie with other customers, who must witness the dispute and also wait in line while it gets resolved. It’s best to avoid all this trouble in the first place.

  • At shift’s end.  Many business owners and managers might think that counting cash is common sense, so they don’t teach new employees how to do it correctly. As a result, the employees might well take longer each time they count out their cash and make more errors in doing so.

  • First, employees should always count their cash in a relatively quiet, secure place without any distractions that can cause miscounts. They should use a calculator, too, preferably one with a tape, so any errors can be checked against the tape instead of having to do an entire recount. Many people can add columns of figures in their head, but most aren’t so gifted and need calculators.

  • Next, after counting their cash by denominations, they need to stack their bills by denomination, putting the largest on the bottom, with each smaller denomination on top. This way, anyone having to manually count the bills after them can do it much faster. Also, they should use currency bands, if their cash counts exceed 100 notes per denomination, with different colors for different denominations.

You can also help cash-handling employees be more efficient and avoid errors with GardaWorld's CashLINK. This is a closed-loop system to control your cash from point-of-sale to bank deposit. All bills are deposited into on-site “smart safes.” These read the denomination deposited and tracks each deposit by your employee users. GardaWorld then collects the data each day and transmits it to the customers' headquarters for sales auditing and banking reconciliation. Our trained messengers then pick up the cash and take it to the bank for deposit. To learn more, visit our website.