Face It, DEDUCTIONS Are a Form of Payment

Adesso-Deductions Are a Form of Payment
Download Blog

Deductions come across as evil to many in the industry. They go by a lot of different names: chargebacks, MCBs, short pays and a host of others, but the common name for decades is simply Deductions

And believe it or not, these were originally driven by CPG manufacturers! 

You see, when trade spending was in its infancy 30+ years ago, manufacturers moved from ‘off invoice’ payments to ‘bill back’ payments. Hence, the retailers had to ‘bill back’ the manufacturer to get reimbursed for the dollars they used to discount the manufacturers’ products. Yes, that’s what the dollars were used for back then.

The manufacturers (who had a lot more clout in those days…) would debate whether the dollars were worth it or drove enough cases, which delayed reimbursing the retailer. In this day and age, the retailer was out the money!

As manufacturers became increasingly dependent on this extra volume and revenue, retailers became rather impatient and realized they had more leverage, and soon the balance shifted. It was a lot quicker to take the dollars spent last week or the week before off of the next invoice.

That addressed 2 issues:  

1. The retailer got their money faster.

2. The retailer also shifted the proof and incremental volume responsibility to the manufacturer.

And as soon as one retailer did this, everyone followed!

This is how, somewhere in the 1980’s, deductions became a form of payment for trade spending.

Therefore, if you are a food manufacturer entering this arena, be prepared to address this in a logical, effective manner. Because, in addition to all of the legitimate deductions, retailers and distributors will assume they are always accurate, and place the burden of proof on the manufacturer. Though some are more effective than others in assuring accuracy.

The reality is this is a clear form of payment in this industry. Profitability and effectiveness are therefore dependent on your ability to address this quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.

DID YOU KNOW that many manufacturers – large, small & emerging – now address deductions in 30 days or less? And they account for everything at the same level of granularity as any other item in their P&L!

The ‘Pink Elephant’ is a Major Expense on Your P&L

The Pink Elephant in your P&L chart.
Download Blog

Trade Spending is the ‘Pink Elephant’ on Your P&L – 

Time to talk about trade spending – a major expense in your P&L. You are a team of professionals, who manage a small business with tenacity and care. You can account for your Cost of Goods, your HR expenses, G&A and others down through the line item level. In some cases, you can even account to fractions of a penny – yes every dollar matters!

Knowing these is critical to managing your business. Furthermore, you also analyze these, make decisions where to invest more, cut back some, or spend the same to get a better bang for the dollar.

In fact, not only does your internal management teams drill into these numbers regularly, but your investors have a keen interest what the returns are as well. We all know the drill at a small or emerging company.

THE BIG QUESTION IS: Can you account the same for your trade promotion spending in your P&L?

Undoubtedly, this area confuses and challenges many Natural-Specialty-Organic manufacturers. They don’t analyze it, and many simply ‘sweep’ all of the distributor deductions into broad categories to clear the short-pays too! Every trade promotion expense has (or should have) a contractual agreement with a distributor or retailer.

Similarly to every other line item on your P&L, your finance team should be able to account for every dollar deducted by a distributor or retailer.  You should have the same level of scrutiny & granularity as any other GL area.

In sum, maybe it’s time to address the ‘pink elephant’ on your P&L, a.k.a. trade spending – and have your team make better and more effective decisions with these significant dollars. Our other client partners do!

We can be assisting within weeks with practices, processes and systems. It will save you time and it’s extremely affordable.