Why Point Of Sale

The most common question surrounding POS systems is: “do you really need a POS system?”   And the right answer is not always as simple as it seems.  POS systems are not for every business, nor is it always justified.

The best place to start is probably to establish whether your business needs a POS system or an Integrated Accounting system.  To establish it, you need to understand the major difference between the two.

Integrated Accounting systems:
These systems are typically used to handle your income and expenses, keeping book of financial documents and invoicing out services.  It also reconciles your bank and loan accounts.  Basically, if your business primarily renders services, it would be in the best interest of your business to implement an accounting system to issue out job cards, cost out jobs and invoicing.  Accounting systems also have basic inventory to keep stock of materials used.

Point of Sale systems:
A point of sale system is designed to manage stock and consists of till like units at the sales points.  If your company buys products with the purpose of reselling it to customers via sales points, and your main concern is to track the stock and sales of these items along with cashiers and the money handled by them, you will benefit much more from a POS system.

POS systems are generally more expensive than Accounting systems due to the complexity of POS systems. 

Typical POS clients:
Food Retailers
Restaurants & Pubs
Café’s to Supermarkets
Curio Shops
Accessory shops
Typical Accounting Clients:
Lawyer Firms
IT Companies
Accounting Firms
Service Type Companies

Is it Justified?

Implementing systems is never effortless or free.  So before a business can invest its time and money in any kind of system, it has to be justified properly.  May factors affect whether it is or not, factors like:

  • The size of your business
  • Extend of the stock loss
  • Cost of the system versus income bracket

To explain this in better detail, consider the typical growth of a small business.  When a small shop is started from scratch, and budgets are limited, it starts with the bare minimum.  These steps would follow as such:

  • Writing out slips by hand along with other manual paperwork to determine the selling price and stock holding.
  • As sales increase an electronic cash register is implemented.  This will speed up the sale and hand over a total at the end of the day, which keeps tracks of the money received.
  • Mark all the items in the shop with PLU numbers.  Ringing each item individually makes tracking sales items possible.  At this stage it is possible to manage the stock by deducting the items sold from the items bought.
  • Adding a Barcode Scanner speeds up the sales point.  It is usually advisable to add a scanner to a register before installing more registers, as the scanner can double the amount of customers being assisted in the same time frame.
  • Link Registers to a computer software package.  As soon as this step is taken, the process becomes fully automated.  Insert purchases on the computer and importing sales provides you with an automated solution to manage your business.
  • Replace electronic cash registers with computerised POS units.   Computerising your tills allows for debtors, payouts and many more features.  Many businesses skip the revious step and computerise immediately.

Now, consider that every business has different needs, sizes and stages.  A small start up company could immediately start with barcode scanners, especially butchers and supermarkets since sale speed is crucial.  Some businesses are opened up large enough to start off with a proper POS system.

Computerised POS systems are a necessity if any the following needs exist:

  • If a business is expected to achieve large turnovers, and the risk of stock loss is great
  • Large quantities of stock is purchased and is not manually manageable
  • You have accounts with customers
  • If the business is busy losing stock

Choosing the right package:
Once you have decided on a POS package, chances are that you will be using this package for a few years.  Simply because of the initial investment and the amount of time and effort invested in the set up of such a system.

Often the wrong package is chosen and then you and your staff are stuck with a system that does not comply to your every need.  It is very important to identify your current and future needs before you decide on a specific system. 

The best way to do this is by looking at your current paper trail, and list all the procedures and methods that the business is currently utilizing in order to run.  Then confirm that everything is possible within the system you are considering.

Every POS system is different to the next, depending on its experience.  Fastpoint for instance has been living its life predominantly in the Liquor, Supermarket, Restaurant, Take Away and Clothing industry and thrive within those environments.  It does not mean that Fastpoint won’t work in other industries, but it’s a good idea to lay all the cards on the table before taking your final step.