Automated (Credit Card) Accouting in webshops

POSTED ON: January 30 2019

The Challenge of (Credit Card) Accounting in an Online Shop

With the increasing success and size of online shops and the increasing number of orders, companies are faced with the challenge of how to improve and automate their processes. Particularly in industries with high cost pressure, retailers face the challenge of automating their processes. For many retailers, this raises the question of how to the accounting processes of credit cards and other means of payment (PayPal, PostFinance, TWINT) in your online shop can be automated. Today I want to give you some answers to these questions.

With the progress of digitization and the associated opportunities of automation, retailers of all sizes can save massive amounts of time and money if they recognize and implement automation potentials. I am of the opinion that there is massive potential, especially in the area of accounting. The booking of many means of payment, such as credit cards, poses great challenges for merchants. We explain why and point out possible solutions.

Digitalisation and automation potential

Surveys of companies in German-speaking countries repeatedly show that there is still massive potential for digitalisation in various sectors. Digitalisation as the creation of digital representations has the purpose of storing information digitally and making it available for electronic data processing.

Source: Statista, 2019

Digitalization is also often used as a synonym for automation. Thus, the digital representation of processes and information enables their automation. Exactly this potential of automation also exists in the accounting of payments, which are processed in online shops by merchants. I am talking concretely about the automation of VAT accounting, the booking of sales and fees, which are realized via the various payment methods, or the automation of returns processes and associated payment flows.

Challenges

The processing of credit cards poses great challenges for merchants for various reasons, which require a lot of manual work as the volume of orders increases:

  • Payments from credit cards arrive delayed and as bulk transactions on your account. This makes it very difficult for you to establish a connection between the money on the account and the business transactions / orders responsible for it.
  • If you deliver to different markets in different currencies, sales of different VAT classes will be hidden in the bulk transfers. Therefore, you cannot simply book the amounts paid out by the acquirers as revenue. Simply because of the fact that the gross sales are relevant for the value added tax. The credit card commissions must be shown as a reduction in income.
  • The relevant VAT rates cannot be determined from the incoming payments. It is time-consuming to assign the payments to the correct VAT rates.
  • Payments from the acquirer do not arrive on the bank account until a few days after the service has been rendered. This leads to problems.
  • Different fees are charged depending on the card type. The more you’ve accentuated when you bill in the Interchange++ model the bigger this problem will be. The fee structure of credit card acquirers is highly complex, even for seasoned experts.
  • Your customers have the possibility to challenge transactions, so-called chargebacks. In the case of a chargeback, the money is retained by the acquirer and offset against your payout. This increases the reconciliation effort and you may also have an interest in collecting this claim by other means.

You cannot simply post the deposits to the bank account as sales. Except you have guaranteed only one VAT rate (thus also no export) and you recognize the correct commission amount directly simply by looking at the booking.

Correct posting of credit card transactions

From my point of view, there are two methods how to book the turnover of credit cards in your online shop correctly. Anyways, in each case, you set up a separate account in the accounting department for each payment method (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, PostFinance, TWINT, etc.). Alternatively, you can create one account per acquirer (e.g. Debitor Six Payment Services, Debitor Swisscard, PayPal).

Individual Booking method:

Each transaction in your webshop is booked individually in the accounting department. When you sell, you open a customer account with the corresponding acquirer or payment method. If there’s a payout to your account, all acquirers provide so-called payout reports. These reports contain information about the order and the payout amount. You use this information to close the customer and post the credit card payment.

Example:

Sales Debitor SIX Payment Services / Revenue CHF (8% VAT) 200 CHF
VAT Debitor SIX Payment Services / VAT to be paid 16 CHF
Payment Acquirer Bank ZKB / Debitor SIX Payment Services 216 CHF
Commission Acquirer Commission expenses credit card / bank 5.94 CHF

This method is time-consuming because at least 4 posting records are required for one business transaction. In addition, it leads to an inflation of your ledger.

Subsidiary ledger:

Alternatively, you can view the webshop as a subledger. Here, you post the sales revenue broken down by value-added tax at the end of each period (for example, a month). In most cases, the sales data comes from the export tool in your sonline shop or the connection of your shop to your accounting software (alternatively, you can use a PSP such as wallee, which can also give you this information - more on this below).

The payments you receive are then booked directly to the accounts receivable. In the booking record at the bank transfer you will usually also find the commission amount.

Local Sales Debitor SIX Payment Services / Revenue CHF (8% VAT) 20’000 CHF
Sales Export Debitor SIX Payment Services / Revenue CHF (0% VAT) 45’000 CHF
VAT Debitor SIX Payment Services / VAT to be paid 1’600 CHF
Payment* Bank ZKB / Debitor SIX Payment Services 756 CHF
Commission Commission expenses credit card / bank 15.94 CHF
You will receive multiple payments from your acquirer which can then be booked against the Acquirer Account.

The big problem with this method is that you have no control at the individual transaction level and therefore no information about chargebacks. In addition, these are flow accounts, which are very difficult to reconcile. Furthermore, there are still many manual postings and the associated reconciliation effort. Of course, you can set the number of payments made by the acquirer to a high limit, provided that the liquidity allows you to reduce the number of bookings.

Automated booking with wallee reconciliation

wallee now offers the possibility to activate automated accounting and to automate everything we have described above. When you’re processing transactions via wallee, we have all the information of your order on line item level including VAT rate. So, we know exactly what your customers buy at what tax rate and gross amount. If you process the transactions via wallee, we can also read the payout data of the credit card acquirer and assign them to the transactions automatically.

In other words: You save yourself time during the manual booking of sales and you have also realized a simple integration of your accounting for your web shop.

Transparency:

We show you for each transaction whether it has been paid or not. In wallee, you will find information on when and to which account the money was transferred and for what fees.

For each transaction you will find more information about the payment state.

Automated subledger:

We keep a fully automated subledger for you. Process your transactions through us and we will provide you with a detailed statement at the end of the period, which you can then hand over to your accountant or transfer to your accounting program yourself. You’ll reduce the effort and costs and have time for more important things.

You can export all the transactions splitted by VAT categories and outstanding amounts in order to export them into your book keeping tool.

Security / PCI

Of course we know that the data you share with us is highly confidential and sensitve. This is why we store everything encrypted in our PCI certified application.

Integration

I hope you followed me this far. Activating the reconciliation feature is very simple and can be activated per one click. As soon as reconciliation is active, wallee generates the corresponding booking records automatically. If you process credit cards via a direct wallee, payouts should be processed into your space automatically. We are working hard to integrate additional payment methods and acquirers. Currently we support the following payment methods:

  • Credit card via SIX ACQUIRING
  • PayPal
  • ISR invoice
  • Invoice via MF Group
  • PostFinance e-finance and card (Mid of February 2019)
  • TWINT (end of February 2019)

It is not necessary to integrate your webshop into the accounting system. You can simply transfer the subledger to your accounting system at regular intervals. We will show you this within the next blogpost using the example of Bexio.

Enormous savings potential

In the explanations above, we have shown you two methods for posting credit card transactions. If you assume that you or your accountant need approx. 5 minutes to create a booking record, this corresponds to an hourly rate of approx. 50 CHF and a booking costs approx. 4.10 CHF. If you process the payment via wallee, we take over the booking of the turnover as well as the account reconciliation in the subledger of the individual payment types automatically for 2 cents / booking. Find out how we can solve your problem.

Multichannel / Terminals

To be honest, the solution only works if you don't already book the sales via your webshop connection. In addition, only e-commerce transactions can currently be booked. However, we are already working with partners with whom we can solve such challenges and help you holistically.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our support team at any time.

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