In the wake of the recent Tesco half-year profit overstating scandal, businesses and their professional advisors are being urged to look far more closely at how they handle rebates. Says Leanne Bonner-Cooke, MD of Evolve, "Rebates and the way that they are managed are high on the agenda of many businesses, their accountants and auditors following on from the Tesco issue.
The main issue for many businesses is that rebates continue to be managed with a lot of manual intervention typically using excel spreadsheets and other such solutionsprogrammes. We have discovered, after years of developing bespoke solutions to meet our customers rebate management needs, that there is an estimated 20% – 30% error rate in manual rebate calculations which generally results in loss of profit."
With few businesses being able to handle that size of profit loss Evolve have built a cost effective rebate management solution progamme named e-Bate. "e-Bate brings together uses our years of experience building bespoke rebate solutions for our clients across multiple sectors, whilst making it affordable for a wider client base," says Bonner-Cooke.
"e-Bate ensures that best practice exists between buyers and supplier. There's no more guesswork around paying or charging rebates on best endeavours or relying on your suppliers. For the first time businesses have total overall visibility in one auditable solution, of all rebates owed or owing payments a supplier makes to their business. They can be complex and mutli tiered based on value and volume or including generic value rebates and one-off rebates," adds Bonner-Cooke. "e-Bate can also be used as a single repository for rebate information including documents, contracts, orders etcetera. The system solution facilitates the tracking of performance versus targets and as much of the information as businesses wants can be shared with their suppliers/buyers. Additionally, because the process is automated there is a reduction in administration costs associated with managing supplier payments."
Not only that but Bonner-Cooke points to e-Bate as being the single source of truth within any business. "No more multiple excel spreadsheets sitting in different teams e-Bate ensures that proactive decisions can be made and as such relationships between commercial and finance teams will be improved. Finally, and crucially, e-Bate provides the information to drive future negotiations between buyers and with suppliers."
Bonner-Cooke believes that in the wake of the Tesco debacle it won't just be auditors demanding improved visibility but business owners, shareholders, and boardroom directors. "Whatever the size of your business the Tesco issue has brought laser sharp focus to the issue of rebates. Businesses of all sizes need to look at how they can reduce risk whilst improving visibility and, ultimately, gain control over a vital piece of their financial health."
With interest in e-Bate already expressed from businesses in construction, retail, logistics and banking both here in the UK and from multi-nationals, as well as the professional services sector Bonner-Cooke says that Tesco has served as a timely wake-up call to businesses and their advisors.