The wholesaling, retailing, and shipping of alcoholic beverages are filled with many regulations, especially in the United States. This means that any retailer wishing to sell beer, wine, and spirits must first obtain a liquor license, for which the process varies by state. Affected retailers include:
- Bar and restaurant owners
- Convenience stores
- Liquor stores
- Drug stores
- Grocery stores
- And any other establishment selling alcohol
In the beverage alcohol industry, there is a myriad of industry-specific payment regulations you need to adhere to. Failure to do so could result in closure, bad publicity, and, in worst-case scenarios, the loss of your liquor license. Alcohol retailers need tools that will help them reduce the risks of non-compliance, and prevent fines and penalties. Here’s how.
Ways to Reduce Compliance Risk for Alcohol
For instance, even as an online retailer selling alcoholic beverages, you are responsible for providing these beverages according to federal, state, and local laws. That’s because alcohol regulations affect on-premise, off-premise, and e-premise transactions.
Often, this can easily be overlooked and expose you to risks. Here are some ways to help you reduce your compliance risk and stay on top of all the regulations in the beverage alcohol industry.
Centralize Secure Payments
Because you handle alcohol, your establishment faces greater liability than the typical business. To mitigate risks, you should simplify the management of distributor payments, so you can ensure you’re always staying compliant with federal, state, and local regulations.
This means replacing manual payment methods and book balancing with an electronic B2B payment solution designed for the alcohol industry. Why? Outdated payment systems create a tedious process that can lead to miscalculations, missing invoices, and lost money caused by human error. As you remit payments with these poor records, you can create room for noncompliance.
Advanced solutions firstly solve this challenge by centralizing your invoice and payment processes. All incoming and paid invoices are processed and archived into your cloud-based system, so you and your distributors can access their details. These electronic invoices can be easily searched and retrieved through the system.
This feature can help you conduct frequent audits of your payments, invoices, inventory, and processes to check and ensure you’re maintaining absolute compliance.
The audit should include prudent inspection of the comprehensive policies already in place, as well as training your employees on the certain liabilities that your business attracts. As a reminder, you will need to check the rules that apply within your specific location as you audit to ensure that you have the right scope.
Simplify Invoice Reconciliation
Keeping up with the complex regulations pertaining to the purchasing and selling of alcoholic beverages can be overwhelming. It requires a great time investment and is costly (both if you hire outside help or if you fail to stay compliant). A solution that improves your accountability by helping you reconcile invoices saves you time, money and gives you peace of mind.
An accompanying invoice reconciliation module must help you reconcile invoice errors related to alcohol delivery, which are created when retailer and distributor or vendor records don’t match. This can happen for a myriad of reasons, including:
- Cost discrepancies
- Differing case pack quantities or general quantity errors
- Damaged or old merchandise
The software can do this by firstly matching vendor line items with your price books, so you can avoid mistakes before they occur in invoices. Invoice matching then eliminates time-consuming admin work and catches any remaining errors that might be missed with manual assessment. From there, the user can request credits and integrate their platform with Pricebook, Payments, and Analytics to improve productivity and get the full scope of use from their solution.
Finally, Vendor Scorecards can show you distributor performance according to their invoice error rates, delivery invoices without receiving records, and total credit amounts. Cost Variance Scorecards show you high-level product and vendor trends so you can see why your invoice and receiving accuracy are suffering. And strategize a path to better, more accurate invoice processing.
Lastly, software should also integrate with the systems you already have in place to effectively identify, assess, monitor, and manage your inventory and compliance.
Software as a Solution
The right software solution will help you improve efficiency and compliance and allow you to easily make payments to distributors and other vendors you work with.
As a retailer, you use Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) to make payments and direct deposits to your distributor upon alcohol deliveries. And fortunately, it’s available to all retailers regardless of the size of your business.
Why is this a good thing? Eliminating the need for cash keeps your liability down. It reduces the risk of robbery because there is no cash to steal. Distributor profits may even increase as insurance rates potentially decrease.
EFT is a time- and cost-effective way to make all your payments to your distributors while streamlining your process. And the best part? A good EFT system helps reduce your compliance risk by keeping you compliant in every state you operate in.
Additional Benefits of EFT
EFT payments for alcohol are vital. Additional benefits of investing in an EFT include:
- Convenience. Without the need for physical payment, deliveries and sales are faster and less tedious.
- Compliance. EFT processors make your life easy by helping ensure you stay compliant in every location you operate.
- Security. EFT eliminates the need to have a large sum of money, checks, or money orders within your restaurant or bar.
Finding the Right Software for Your Business
Due to how heavily regulated alcohol is, you cannot afford to be careless with your business. Doing so could result in heavy fines, penalties, and even lead to the loss of your liquor license. A software solution will save you time and money while ensuring that your restaurant or bar stays compliant.
iControl has a software solution that will reduce your compliance risk and help you with your payments. To learn more, contact us today and get a demo with iControl.