If you’re used to keeping your small business in rude financial health, then you’ll likely be familiar with the idea of an audit.This is where an aspect of your company is examined, and weaknesses and operational inefficiencies identified.At the end, the person (or persons) performing the audit will come up with a list of recommendations, which, when implemented, will lead to a substantial increase in the performance of the entire organisation.
The audit that most people envision when they heart the term involves sitting in an office for days on end, poring over the company’s finances.But this isn’t the only sort of audit possible – a retail audit involves instead analysing the company’s actual stores, and considering whether they’re doing their job: namely drawing in customers, encouraging them to buy things, and allowing them to do so without too much restriction.
Such an audit can be conducted internally, or it can be performed by a specialist outside retail audit service, usually provided by a reputable field marketing agency.Let’s examine a few of the reasons we might prefer the latter to the former.
Specialists have access to better tools
With the right technology, any task can be made easier.This is so in when it comes to performing a retail audit.If you’ve got access to the specialised hardware and software that a dedicated auditor has, then you’ll be able to get the work done more quickly – in much the same way that a store with and electronic point of sale will have an easier time than one that relies on mechanical inputs.
The bespoke database software, and the expensive tablet computers, often wielded by retail auditors makes the task of collecting and analysing information much simpler.Such things make it easier to provide information to the management of the firm being audited, too; it’ll even automatically generate a paper trail that can be referred to further down the line, and cited as evidence of the thoroughness of the audit.
As well as the technology itself, we should also consider that a specialist auditor will have the skills required to get the best possible use from them.But that’s not the only skill they can bring to the table…
Specialists are better at auditing
Like any skill, auditing is easily attempted.You might even get passable results from your own audits.But a specialist will be able to do the task much better, because they’ve built up a reservoir of expertise on the matter, and spent time analysing where they can improve their practices.If you’ve conducting an audit yourself, on the other hand, you might not even be aware that your errors even exist.
A professional auditor will likely conduct audits every day of their working lives – and so it follows that they’ll be able to carry one out better than any layman.For this reason alone, it’s worth investing in their services.
Specialists are disinterested
If you’re auditing your own business, then there will always be a temptation to exaggerate your successes and disguise your failures.This temptation might not even be felt consciously – your bias will instead seep subtly into every analysis and recommendation you make.This, of course, is bad for the business, as it’ll prevent an accurate diagnosis of failings being made.And if you don’t know where you’re going wrong, it’s impossible to know how to make improvements.
Specialists provide credible results
One of the key purposes of a retail audit is that it will demonstrate to outside parties that your business is in good health.If you’re to instil confidence in clients, staff and outside investors, you’ll want to be able to provide them with proof that you’re running things well.Naturally, the opinion of an outside party with no conflict of interest is going to carry a great deal more weight than that of someone who’s already inside the business.Few of us, after all, would eat at a restaurant which wrote all of its own reviews.
Specialists will be able to provide other services
It’s also bearing in mind that the agencies which provide retail audits might also be able to provide other services and specialists.If you feel that your business would benefit from a product recall specialist or mystery shopping service, then forming a good working relationship with an organisation which can provide all three services will be beneficial in the long run.A retail audit is something that’s worth doing well, after all – and so too are many other rarely-performed tasks that will benefit your business.