November 10, 2016

Walmart shifts accounting jobs to customer service

 back office accounting


When we tell you that automating currency management means you can move your employees to customer-facing positions instead of cash-counting positions, some people think that’s just code for “You don’t need those employees at all anymore.” And that’s not the case. Reallocating your high-value employees to customer service is the right move.

In fact, Walmart is taking steps to get its workers out of the cash office by eliminating 7,000 back office and support positions domestically. Rather than letting those 7,000 people go, it plans to offer the displaced associates other positions throughout the company. Associates whose accounting and invoicing positions disappear will have the opportunity to transition into roles that impact customer experience.

But if you’re wondering if this approach will work for you, a word of caution: The way in which Walmart is going about getting its employees customer-facing is far from best practice.

To move the employees back out on the floor, Walmart is moving invoicing functions to a new North Carolina central accounting office and will handle stores’ daily cash management with recycling safes.  While Walmart is betting on increased efficiency, it might actually opening itself up to risk at the same time. Without immediate corporate oversight of store reconciliation, Walmart won’t be able to spot loss quickly, making it harder to stop patterns of shrink and recover lost cash.

If you’re looking to shift focus to the customer, consider the following potential pitfalls of removing store-level accounting and reconciliation:

  • Will you be able to quickly manage cash shrink?
  • How will you track and analyze reporting across locations?
  • What is your plan for managing other devices like self-checkouts?
  • How will you handle physical cash office functions like pickups, loans, deposits and change orders?

By shifting work to a centralized location, Walmart is putting its people where they count — but what will happen to its dollars in the process?




Image: iStock