Hardware Retailing

SEP 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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I 've been writing columns for this magazine for nearly 15 years—that's roughly 180 columns. If all works out, I will probably write another 180 or so columns before I retire. Given these numbers, I hope you might excuse me if, every so often, I get a sense of déjà vu about a particular topic, the overwhelming feeling that I have been here or done this before. Well, in this case I am going to come right out and say it … I have written this column before. But before you prepare to turn me into the principal for copying previously published work, please know that I am doing so with a purpose. There are simply some topics that are worth addressing more than once, and no, I haven't actually written this exact same column. So here it goes … As a retailer, you are likely a people person. You probably didn't get into this vocation because you love to pore over reams of data or sit in your office and crunch numbers. Like most careers though, you just don't get to pick and choose which parts of it you engage in. You might be able to skew your time more toward the activities you enjoy, but there are still other tasks that require your attention. After all, that's why they call it "work." Like it or not, basic accounting and number crunching certainly fall into the list of job requirements for retail managers and owners. These aren't just soft skills either. A basic understanding of how retail accounting works can be incredibly important for someone trying to guide a successful retail operation. The wealth of data that retailers can discover in their financial reports goes well beyond the two figures that most every business owner is familiar with: top line sales and net operating profit. In fact, the "other numbers" in the reports can give you keen insights into the health of your operation and even help create a pathway to greater profitability. In this month's feature, titled "Hidden Figures" (starting on Page 44), we take a look at how a group of retailers analyzed their financial data, found areas that needed improvement and developed and worked a plan to improve these areas. Hopefully, you can learn a bit about how to identify and act on information revealed through financial and performance analysis from these retailers' stories. Beyond that, however, we also want to provide you with some assistance with the basics of understanding retail accounting. That's why we are introducing our new Basic Retail Accounting training program. This program is designed to help any level retail management employee gain a better understanding of how to read and understand income statements and balance sheets. This program provides you with the basic tools you will need to make even deeper dives into your financial performance and begin working these performance measurements into your business improvement plans. For more information on this program, please turn to page 16. So while you are busy brushing up on your retail accounting skills, I'll just be flipping through old volumes of Hardware Retailing to see which columns are due for a comeback. Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org Know Your Numbers, Part II Taking Care of Business " Like it or not, basic accounting and number crunching certainly fall into the list of job requirements for retail managers and owners. " HARDWARE RETAILING | September 2017 10

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