By: Carol Abel, Vice President, Education, FMI
If accelerating technology is reshaping the way grocers procure and sell products, it’s also impacting the way they evaluate and report on their businesses. Advances in financial and auditing technologies provide food retailers and suppliers with new opportunities to measure their success and determine areas for growth and improvement.
The sheer volume of data that is now available to grocers can provide a clearer picture of many aspects of their respective businesses. In addition to gleaning insights from ecommerce and digital loyalty programs to determine shopper behaviors and sales trends, grocers can use tools like AI, and machine learning programs to get a clearer picture of their profits and losses and, importantly, find ways to prevent problems and maintain efficiencies.
Even if they are accustomed to handling internal audits and third-party audit preparation in traditional ways, grocers can leverage available data and analytics to ensure that such assessments capture a business in the most accurate and optimal way. For example, digital tools can be deployed for better inventory management and asset protection, from identifying supply chain gaps to finding out where the greatest thefts happen during automatic checkout. Real-time data can pinpoint competitors’ pricing, which is especially crucial in today’s omnichannel market and inflationary environment.
Technologies also enable food retailers to see if their marketing and loyalty programs are working as planned and promised. From an HR perspective, tech-driven advances aid with task management, performance evaluation and successful retention, which are covered in audits and reporting processes. Even after financial results are released, analyzed and audits results are shared and reviewed, technologies can be utilized to provide benchmarks that demonstrate changes and improvements.
Financial professionals in the grocery industry can get more insights and advice on adapting to and benefiting from technology during the upcoming FMI Financial Executive & Internal Auditing Conference held May 21-23 in New Orleans.