Walking through the various dealerships I visit each month, I'm amazed that so many of their organizational structures have not really changed much over the years.
For example, at each dealership there is usually at least one fairly high-level office manager (controller). A multi-location dealership group will generally have an office manager in each location.
As I am sure most of you know, competent office managers are hard to find, and many times other current office staff simply do not have the skills necessary to step up to that very demanding job.
With today's computer technology, there may be a way to change significantly how certain things are done. For instance, tasks can be consolidated and performed through the use of a “remote controller.”
This system relies less on highly skilled personnel (folks who are difficult to find) while at the same time allows the use of more easily found people with clerical-level skills.
What office-manager tasks could be performed just as easily from a remote location as at each and every dealership? Got some ideas? Here are some of mine:
- Daily bank reconciliations, summary bank reconciliations along with cash position reports can be calculated and e-mailed/faxed to the general manager.
- Monthly floorplan reconciliation along with follow-up on reconciling items
- Sales tax returns
- Preparation of daily “Heat Sheet” showing pending deals in the finance office and the accounting office that have not been finalized. Reports can be generated showing average time that a deal takes to be finalized once the car has been spotted.
- Daily payoff of floorplan. Assuming that the dealership is using the computer system to monitor showroom traffic/report ups, one can determine remotely when a vehicle needs to be paid off based upon the agreement with the lending institution. This would enforce a process that puts the car deals in “delivered” status for both the Reynolds and ADP systems.
- Prepare the monthly 20 Group supplemental information (NCM would like this!) and make the submission.
- Daily report showing the differences between profit/loss on deals that clear in accounting versus the F&I recap sheets. This would also include any items posted to Cost of Sales.
- Monthly reports showing actual financial information compared to forecasted information. These reports could also show missed profits based upon industry guidelines for expenses/grosses.
- Monthly new and used inventory stocking reports based upon history, current inventory, ordered inventory.
- Preparation of the statistical analysis worksheet — number of employees, number of units, etc
- Calculate managers' bonuses
- Record the parts transfer (for General Motors stores)
- Run expense analysis. Send an “exceptions” report to the general manager for explanations.
- Call floorplan lenders for interest expense and record
- Calculate financial statement — send to the factory/banks, etc.
- Review receivables and inventory for over aged conditions.
- Review low-gross car deals.
Whoa! I need to slow down. The list could go on, but I'm sure you get the message and may have more applications in mind. Please let me know by e-mail.
Now that I am slowing down and taking the time to think, these tasks could be assigned to your automotive CPA firm.
Or this system could tap the skills of stay-at-home moms (and dads) who can't work in the dealership every day.
Don Ray is a senior member of the George B. Jones Dealer Services division of Dixcon Odom, a national accounting and consulting group for dealers. He's at 901-684-5643 and [email protected].