An effective office manager is an integral part of the dealership

The effectiveness of dealership management contributes to the overall profitability of the store. A key player in the management team is the office manager. In addition to having the responsibility of preparing a monthly financial statement by the tenth of the month, there are several other areas where a well-trained office manager can enhance your bottom line.

Compliance

Compliance reporting is typically the office manager's responsibility. Failing to comply with the correct procedures defined by the various regulatory bodies can result in large penalties or fines to the dealership. Key compliance areas include payroll tax, luxury tax, excise tax, sales and use tax, cash reporting, environmental regulations, and human resources.

Accounting analysis and reconciliation

Analysis of accounting reports is another responsibility of the office manager. Tracking warranty payments receivable, parts and service accounts receivable, and amounts due from the factory all need to be completed on a timely basis. Thorough follow up help ensure the money owed to the store is paid promptly.

Internal controls/asset safeguards

Fraud prevention and detection is vital to the dealership. The office manager must not only set up an effective internal control system to handle the flow of money, but also diligently investigate potential problems areas. Missing document searches must be done regularly. Exception reporting can be invaluable in highlighting specific transactions, systems, or personnel that may be part of a fraud scheme.

Cost controls

The office manager can play a role in reducing costs in the dealership. Gathering periodic insurance policy quotes can result in reduced premiums. Analysis of employee benefit plans, cafeteria plans, and other employee benefits can help the dealership retain a higher percentage of employees and avoid the high cost of hiring and training new personnel. Developing and monitoring budgets for each department can help department mangers run their departments in a cost effective manner.

Management reporting

Providing members of management with reports to help them make informed, effective management decisions is also a key function of the office manager. Exception reporting, gross profit analysis, cash management reporting, budget preparation and tracking, inventory management, trends, and employee productivity analysis are examples of information that assist management decision making. Cost benefit analysis of equipment acquisitions, expansions, and remodeling is essential given today's competitive environment and escalating cost of equipment and construction.

Traits of an effective office include:

  • Daily Operating Control (DOC) provided to the owner/managers, as needed
  • Financial statement prepared by the fifth working day of the month
  • All documents processed each day
  • All accounts that are out of the norm are analyzed
  • All schedules reviewed and edited on a monthly basis
  • Dealer made aware of any unusual transactions
  • Ensure proper approvals obtained on all transactions
  • Computer records backed up on daily
  • Staff cross trained for all functions
  • Missing documents accounted for
  • Office is neat and clean every day

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly dealership specialists can help, contact our team.