Abstentions re-opens early after accounting update

Abstentions, the Rideau River Residence Association’s (RRRA) convenience store, has re-opened two months earlier than expected after an accounting system upgrade.

In April, RRRA announced that the store, located in Residence Commons, would be closed until September to update its accounting system.

However, RRRA vice-president (administration) Jacob Howell said the update took much less time than expected. As a result, the store re-opened more than two months early, on June 26.

The new system, Vend, uses an iPad to better keep track of purchases, costs and profits, Howell said. He added that a subscription to Vend costs $80 per month.

“It’s more of a tool for us to use to serve our students,” he said.

Besides a “more efficient speed” for customer service, Howell said Vend will also allow Abstentions to offer more competitive pricing and deals.

“We can better track our inventory and our sales, so we can actually tell if the store’s turning a profit or not,” Howell said.

According to him, RRRA previously compared bank statements to invoices to determine profit margins. The new system will help executives track all store finances in one place, he added.

Before switching to Vend, RRRA executives would “just look on the shelves and sort of guesstimate” which products to restock, occasionally resulting in inaccurate ordering, Howell explained. He said the system helps keep track of orders.

“[Now] we’re ordering in a timely manner, where we have enough but we’re not ordering more than we need to,” Howell said.

According to Howell, RRRA is considering changing Abstentions’ store layout and expanding their products based on customer feedback.

“We are working with our suppliers to get better rates for products, so it’s cheaper for students,” he said. “It’s more about trying to find a wider variety that appeals to a greater amount of students.”

In May, RRRA announced an open logo design contest as part of upgrades to Abstentions. Howell said the contest has closed and the results will be revealed during frosh week in September.

“I personally see [that] a huge focus needs to be on Abstentions, because it is a student store but it is also a source of constant revenue for the association,” Howell said. “If Abstentions does well, then RRRA can do more for students.”

Photo by Trevor Swann