If you are thinking of buying a cash register for your café, bar or restaurant, or if you have been using one for a few years, please take 5 minutes to read this.
Note also that you can own a fully functioning EPOS in a handheld device for as little as £30 a month.
The Dawn of The Cash Register
Cash registers are old-fashioned, analogue pieces of technology that essentially do one thing. They record cash sales.
When they were invented at the end of the 19th century, they were quite revolutionary. This was because they ushered in an era when retailers became more focused on profit. They also became more concerned with minimising waste and inefficiency.
Cash registers also made it harder for light-fingered staff to pilfer cash from the business. Although they far from made it impossible.
Connected Cash Registers
As the 20th century progressed, cash registers became more technologically advanced. They evolved from the old-fashioned, clunky bits of kit that we remember from our childhood with large heavy keys and cash drawers that were likely to cause injury.
They became more streamlined, sporting digital keypads and displays. Cash drawers opened smoothly, and receipt printers were included so that both the merchant and the customer had a record of the sale. Any taxes (such as VAT in the UK) were included.
They also aided wider tax calculations with automated end-of-day and/or quarterly/annual reports.
Cash Only in a Contactless World?
But still, they were only recording cash transactions.
Modern commerce now leans heavily upon credit and debit card transactions. Within the last 10 years, card sales have overtaken cash transactions in terms of value. So having a system that only calculates the value and associated tax relating to cash transactions has rendered cash registers largely defunct.
The Problem of Bank Reconciliation
Online accounting packages such as Xero and QuickBooks arrived relatively recently. They have automated the task of reconciling cash and card transactions against money arriving in the bank pretty successfully.
But they still rely on the transactions being easily and accurately transferred into their software from the point-of-sale. In other words, even cash transactions need to be recorded digitally at some point. But recording cash sales twice, i.e. at point-of-sale and in an accounting system, is a waste of time and is likely to lead to errors.
EPOS. A Single View For Business Owners and Means of Reconciliation for Bookkeepers
Now we get to the crux. This is the main benefit of an EPOS system over a cash register.
EPOS allows you to account for and report on cash and card transactions. All in one system and through a single interface.
Every transaction can be transferred to an accounting package to reconcile against what is arriving in the bank. Reports can also be produced to report upon and monitor what is selling best, and when, for example.
The Ability to Integrate in the Cloud
Finally, EPOS software is cloud-based so all these tasks can be monitored and executed remotely and from anywhere. Also, other software can be integrated to manage equally important business functions such as loyalty, e-Commerce, and customer relationship management (CRM).
So, a well-chosen EPOS system will effectively manage and give you a bird-eye-view of everything that is happening with your business. Whilst streamlining your bookkeeping.