How to Reconcile your Forecourt - Manual vs Automated Processes

What influence does the lack of proper reconciliation processes have on the profitability of your forecourt and what steps can be taken to address this?

Fuel variances play a major role in successful forecourt reconciliation. In the first blog post of our Blog series - The Journey to Forecourt Automation - we discussed the sources of fuel losses and why it matters and concluded that the first step in addressing fuel losses is understanding the extent of your losses and calculating your variance. This will help you to pinpoint the amount that you could be saving by eliminating unnecessary fuel losses.




For effective forecourt reconciliation, you need tight control over variances such as delivery variances, meter variances and other unaccounted variances.

In this blog post, we explore the advantages and disadvantages of manual and automated forecourt reconciliation tools and technologies.


Reconciliation: the Backbone of Forecourt Management

The process of reconciliation is derived from financial accounting practices. In financial terms, reconciliation is an accounting process that uses two sets of records to ensure figures are correct and in agreement. As an example, it confirms whether the money leaving an account matches the amount that's been spent, and ensures the two are balanced at the end of the recording period.


Unfortunately, accounting for fuel is unlike any other product. 


A White Paper from Veeder-Root addresses the analysis of today’s approaches for fuel invoice and inventory reconciliation and covers the topic of invoice reconciliation in detail. Notably they say the following:

“There are numerous reasons why a fuel invoice does not easily reconcile to a delivery and includes factors such as fuel temperature variations, improperly calibrated tanks, cross drops, carrier theft or error, inconsistent manual dips, changing tax rates and rules, and more. Reconciliation is not a onetime event for a fuel purchase; it is actually an ongoing activity that ensures fuel remains available for sale when needed.”

Manual Reconciliation


For effective fuel reconciliation, the following needs to be tracked and measured:


  • Opening inventory (ATG or Tank Dip)

  • Amount delivered throughout the day

  • Closing inventory (ATG or Tank Dip)

  • Book sales

  • Recorded POS sales

  • Variance

  • Orders placed


A manual reconciliation process should include 2 standard formulas that are needed to establish variances:


Manual Reconciliation Formula


Manual reconciliation is still a very popular method and can make a big difference to your bottom line. Unfortunately, it remains a laborious task that takes time you don’t have. It also doesn’t address any of your site activities apart from wet stock, such as shift management and pump status.






Advantage   Advantages
Disadvantage   Disadvantages
  • No investment required

  • Streamlined reconciliation process

  • Visibility of inventory and financial status

  • Input errors

  • Manual reporting

  • No real time availability of data

  • Manual data collection required

  • Cannot verify the source of fuel loss or variance



Although manual processes can suffice, if managed properly, automated reconciliation is the easiest and most effective way to optimize inventory management processes and site management activities. Business process automation and the use of technology to execute recurring tasks or processes in a business can replace manual effort and result in substantial cost minimisation, greater efficiency and streamlined processes. Technology that manages workflows, automates tasks and aids in providing a consistent experience to your customers will help you provide superior levels of service and  improve your bottom line.


Advantage   Advantages
Disadvantage   Disadvantages
  • Automated process

  • On-demand reporting

  • Insight into site, wetstock and attendant efficiency

  • Upgradable and scalable

  • Streamlined processes across multiple areas of forecourt

  • Can include additional functionality such as POS and BOS.

  • Local or remote access to real time data

  • Requires investment

  • Reporting limited to software functionality

  • Requires accurate information from equipment on site i.e. tanks must be calibrated, probes and pumps maintained


How do I choose the right AutomatION Solution?

Entry-level forecourt automation solutions offer an array of scalable technologies and solutions available in the market today. So where do you start? If you’re new to forecourt automation, a scalable solution that allows for upgrading as your business grows is the best bet. Be sure that your chosen platform provides sufficient reporting on stock reconciliation, sales, tank inventory and delivery in line with the needs of your site and your pocket.


Compass - Copy (2)

Automation not only eliminates human error and provides you with actionable data and reports, most importantly, it frees up valuable time and resources for you to focus on the management of your entire business, while the technology works in the background.




COMPASS is a forecourt management bundle that offers an integrated platform for automated reconciliation, wetstock control and site control with our TLS4B automatic tank gauge, PSS 5000 forecourt controller and LIGO embedded forecourt management software.


The DOMS PSS 5000 forecourt controller offers scalable growth by adding HIMs (Hardware Interface Modules) to grow with your needs. 


A guide to successful forecourt reconciliation ebook - Gilbarco


Deidre van Rooyen

Deidre van Rooyen

Deidre van Rooyen is the Marketing Communications Manager for Gilbarco Veeder-Root Middle East and Africa. She has more than 14 years' experience in the Marketing, Branding and Events arena.