Cash Management Devices: Registers and Point of Sale Systems

How to Choose the Best Cash Registers and POS Systems

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Every store needs some sort of cash management system to handle purchases at the point of sale (POS). When deciding what to buy, it's critical to learn the parts of a POS cash register, understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of various POS systems, and even know how much money to keep in the till.

Your cash management resources also can include POS software and POS hardware vendors. Alternatively, you can take a simple approach, such as using a printable form for balancing your cash register daily.

Choosing a Cash Management System

The cash register is one item a retail store business owner cannot live without. Whether it's the traditional, electronic cash management system or an elaborate computerized point of sale system, every store needs a machine to process sales.

To choose the right point of sale system for your business, you first need to understand the parts of the POS cash register.

The basic POS system consists of a cash drawer, receipt printer, monitor, and an input device. Retailers can use touch screens, programmable keyboards, scanners, or other handheld devices to enter data into a POS system.

Point of sale software processes the basic customer transaction for a retailer. This includes providing item descriptions and prices, adding taxes, and other cash register functions. POS software with more advanced functionality includes the ability to process returns, coupons, price overrides, inventory tracking, and retail accounting reports. This software works with the hardware in your cash management system.

Online Applications

A growing trend for small businesses has been to use the online software from companies such as Intuit, PayPal, and Square to handle sales. For businesses that have accounts with one of these companies, inexpensive (or free) hardware that can be attached to a cellphone or tablet allows businesses to swipe credit cards or debit cards for purchases. Information also can be entered into the programs manually to record cash sales, and electronic receipts can be sent instantly to customers.

Your Business Needs

When considering all the options that come with different cash management systems, also consider the specific needs of your business. A business in a fixed location will have different needs than a vendor who frequently travels to trade shows and needs a more mobile POS system. For example, if you operate only out of a storefront and all of your customers come to you, a desktop workstation may be preferable. If you are on the road a lot and frequently traveling to your customers, you may prefer a tablet-based or phone-based system.

How Much Money Should You Keep in the Register?

The question of petty cash should be addressed during the business planning stage while you're creating internal procedures. The amount of money a retailer should keep on hand will vary by the volume of sales, the ability to safely store the money, and the types of payments the retailer receives from customers. For safety reasons, you never should keep more cash on hand than you need.