Cash is king and debt is queen. I remember this being drilled into my head as a freshman accounting major. Little did I know that this mantra would determine my job security many years later. As a small CPG brand rapidly grows, low cash flow is constantly a risk that can bring everything to a halt. Transparency is key to managing cash flow, knowing your ROI and accurately planning expenses is critical. Unfortunately for most brands, there is little to no transparency when it comes to trade promotion management (TPM), especially in dealing with deductions. They often come in messy, hard to parse formats which make identifying legitimate chargebacks a difficult and time-consuming task. In addition to difficult formats, the volume of deductions and a lack of technological innovation results in manufacturers often being overrun. Vividly's Deduction Scanning Module (DSM) reverses this narrative and gives back power to brands through automation.
Among many other resources, cash flow is essential to growing your business. For a growing CPG brand strapped on cash and manpower, every dollar and employee’s bandwidth must be utilized as efficiently as possible. In the same way a 401K invests in your retirement, trade dollars generate life into a brand’s business. Trade budgets drive new distribution, incremental growth and trial which increases basket size and plays a key part in building a customer base. Because trade is such a large part of the annual growth plan, you’d expect each dollar to be meticulously tracked and reconciled. However, this is rarely the case.
Deduction processing lacks innovation, transparency, and accountability. Massive PDF backup files, missing descriptions, and inconsistent formats are just a few examples that lead to a painful disputing process. When your 401K dips, you know where that decrease came from and (hopefully) have a clear line of communication as to why. Accounting teams are not as fortunate here. They quickly become deduction detectives and if they cannot solve the invalid expense, your bottom line is hit. Historically there are two approaches to solve this problem; increase headcount or ignore and accept it as a cost of doing business.
Our team at Vividly was tired of this imbalance, lack of innovation, and accounting resources needed to properly manage deductions so we created the Deduction Scanning Module. With the DSM, you’re able to quickly convert bulk MCBs and other difficult deduction formats into clean Excel exports ready for analysis. The DSM is custom made to your business and how you plan trade, accessing a robust and unique library of formats (which is constantly growing) — there is truly nothing like it. Through internal audits, we’ve found a 90% reduction in deduction processing labor for customers using the DSM. This extra time can instead be spent on deduction disputes and meeting month-end deadlines. If you’re processing deductions please reach out about a free trial — your bank account will thank you.