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The Top 10 Reasons You Need A Computer Point of Sale System For Your Business

by: Jerry D. Wilson

10. If you have employees, you need a point of sale system.

If you have employees you are open to theft, sweet-hearting and careless mistakes. You need a point of sale system to manage your employees, enforce your policies and insure that your money gets to you.
Of all distressing situations that can occur in a workplace, none is as likely to trigger emotions more consistently than an incident of theft, fraud or embezzlement. The 2003 National Retail Security Survey discovered that nearly half of all losses can be attributed to employee theft, adding up to billions of dollars annually. Some small business owners regard the pilfering of notepads, pens, paper clips, and even co-worker lunches as minor incidents, unworthy of disciplinary action. Consequently, if an employee feels invincible, they may raise the stakes and steal something of greater value, believing they will not be threatened with termination or prosecution.
The best defence is careful supervision and security solutions that remove easy opportunities. Human resource experts recommend having more than one person doing inventory and bookkeeping so no single employee has too much authority. Shifting responsibilities from one person to another, i.e., rotating opening and closing, enables employees to check each otherís work for accuracy and suspicious activities. It also makes collusion between employees, or between an employee and an outside source, such as a distributor, considerably less likely.
Small business owners should emphasize that there is no such thing as an ďacceptable amountĒ of employee crime, and that none at all will be tolerated. The Small Business Administration recommends that all violators be disciplined, regardless of how important the person or how small the infraction. Though employee theft is a real threat, the National Federation of Independent Businesses advises against becoming hyper-vigilant - that may antagonize your honest employees and lower morale. Proper security measures and a set of common sense procedures are the best ways to protect your small business. Examples of employee theft include: Forging receipts: Salespersons can charge a customer one sum, ring up a receipt for less, and pocket the difference. Hiding receipts: When bookkeeping has little supervision, employees can keep cash and receipts without raising an eyebrow. Stealing merchandise: Purchased goods may never even make it to the shelves. Fraud: Employees can declare themselves suppliers of non-existent goods, and subsequently reimburse themselves handsomely.

9. To reduce or eliminate pricing and maths errors, you need a point of sale system.

It is still amazing how many businesses still use a calculator and hand written tickets. According to studies done by various institutions you are open to maths and pricing mistakes totalling in excess of 1% of your annual volume. In a business doing as little as $1,300 per day that would add up to $4,700 per year. To eliminate pricing and maths errors you need a point of sale system.

8. If you want to control your payroll, you need a point of sale system.

Employee payroll is one of the most overlooked and most easily managed portions of your profit and loss statement. If you have 12 employees and each of them clocks in 5 minutes early a day, that equates to 1 hour per day of extra payroll. Even with minimum wage plus benefits this could add up to $6 - $8 per day or over $2,900 per year. This figure doesnít take into account the total man-hours it takes to compute time cards and then report on the hours worked for each employee. This is time that you could be spending elsewhere. If you have a few as 5 employees you need a point of sale system. Most point of sale systems have a built in time clock feature. Some time clocks are specifically designed for specific industry needs. Features designed to control your employees and conform to the strict regulations imposed upon your business. For instance, restaurants have far more restrictions placed on them than a retail operation. Managing employees and a time clock can be difficult with some systems. When looking at different point of sale systems make sure the one you chose has the features needed by your specific industry requirements. Taking advantage of the built-in time clock feature can bring big results. Additional profits can quickly be the result of this easy to use feature.

7. If you want to reduce employee theft in your business, you need a point of sale system.

This is the original reason for the invention of the cash register back in the late 1800ís. Even when most of the businesses were family owned and run there was a need for a cash register to reduce theft. In todayís world of hiring employees to help staff and manage your store there is even greater need for this type of control. For years we have known about the tendencies of people with regard to theft. 10% of the people wouldnít steal if giving the opportunity. 10 % of the people are going to steal no matter what safeguards are in place. 80% of the people will steal if given the opportunity. Point of sale systems are put in place to guard against the 80% and make it more difficult for them to steal from you. Frequently used schemes Having an elementary understanding of the more common forms of employee theft can help business owners formulate a strategy for subverting them. Pocketing loose change. Small sums of money, such as fees or petty cash, may not be missed at all. Knowing how much an item is with tax and making change from an open drawer without ringing up the item. Accepting coupons for items not rung up. This is known as coupon stuffing. Fictitious payroll. Personnel managers authorize salary for fictitious workers, then keep it for themselves.

6. If you want to speed up service, you need a point of sale system.

In a restaurant there is only 1 thing we can think of that will drive customers away faster than bad food and that is slow service. When a customer places their order their own internal clock is running in overdrive. No matter how long they took to look over the menu and to place their order, once they have given your server or cashier their order their hunger clock is speeding along faster than a fan on high! You need a fast, reliable way to get orders into your system. This should mean a terminal that is fast, easy to understand and quick to respond to the touch of the server, cashier or bar tender. The system should also distribute the order properly to the kitchen prep station or bar. Your point of sale system should also measure your speed of service and report on how you are doing. Reducing the time it takes to get your customerís their food is critical and can even make up for less quality. For proof I give you some of the major fast food chains. Is their popularity based upon the best tasting, best dressed and best served burger or speed of service? Speed of service is critical to every business, not just restaurants. If you want to speed up your customer service you need a point of sale system.

5. If you want to know more about your business through enhanced reporting, you need a point of sale system.

What is the use of having a computer and not taking advantage of the power? If all you need is to have a total amount of cash in the drawer that sometimes matches to the amount of sales shown you probably donít need a point of sale system. However, if you want more detail and information to help manage your operation and make it more profitable then you need a point of sale system. It used to be that having a good product was enough to get you by. Now it takes a lot more information in order to compete with all the other restaurants in your market that are all looking for the same customer you have seated in your restaurant. You need to understand the buying habits of your customers. What are they ordering? When are they ordering it? What is your most profitable item? How many of it did you sell? What items on your menu are not selling? If you cannot answer all of these questions with total confidence in your answers then you need a point of sale system. If you hesitate to correctly answer (without guessing) any of these questions you need a point of sale system.

4. If you want to share data with other software systems, you need a point of sale system.

Even most small businesses today have some form of electronic accounting in place either in their operation or through an accounting service. In addition, most businesses have an electronic payroll service or software that creates payroll. Point of sale systems capture critical data for you and then export this data in formats that automatically put this information into accounting and payroll packages, eliminating hours of tedious manual input that often leads to mistakes and human error. If you have an electronic accounting or payroll service/software or even if you want to track your sales in Excel, you need a point of sale system.

3. If you want to securely take credit/debit cards as forms of payment you need a point of sale system.

If you are not currently taking credit cards as a form of payment you need to start today. Never mind the fees. The loss of business that you are suffering in todayís plastic minded economy will more than compensate for the fees charged. If you are currently taking credit cards through a stand-alone terminal you could be being charged exorbitant fees for the terminal when you could be processing through your point of sale system. In some cases, the elimination of the terminal rental will pay for the credit card interface in less than a year. With integrated credit card processing you are assured that the amount of the sale will match the amount charged on the credit card, eliminating the need to go back and match individual sales when the credit card batch does not match credit card sales. When high-speed Internet connections are used to process credit cards we receive approvals in less than 2 seconds. No longer is slower speed of service an excuse not to take credit cards. If you want to quickly, accurately and smoothly process credit cards you need a point of sale system.

2. If you want to better and more competitively market your business you need a point of sale system.

Frequent Diner Modules. Who are your customers? What do they buy? How often do they visit? Of your frequent visitors, who hasnít been in to see you during the past month? Of your frequent visitors, who has a special day coming up this month? These are questions that you should have the answer to. All the major chains and all of your competitors are after the people who come to your restaurant. They want to take them for themselves. How are you going to compete with the billions of dollars being spent to draw your customer away? By marketing your operation and your menu. Your point of sale system should be able to manage your customer base, keep up with their buying habits, how often they visit, when was their last visit and what special occasions they have coming up. Your point of sale system then should be able to sort these into groups that should be sent mailers, coupons, invitations to special events or simply told that they are appreciated and asked to visit you again. If you have competition you need a point of sale system. Gift cards have become the norm for so many businesses today. An entire industry has been formed around the old concept of giving a paper gift certificate. Today, you will find gift cards at most major checkout lines. A point of sale system should be able to sell, redeem and control balances for your own gift card program. No longer do you need a book of certificates that are kept in the safe. Today, all you need is a stack of blank plastic cards with your colorful logo on them. These cards carry no balance and have no cash value until sold and a balance placed on account. As an owner you should keep a few of these cards with you. Each of these cards might have a small balance on them for you to hand out to pull customers to your restaurant or to give in case of a poor experience to help bring someone back. Think of these cards as your personal marketing tool. When the customer looks in their purse or wallet and sees your logo they will be reminded to come visit you. If you use gift certificates or gift cards you need a point of sale system.

1. Since you donít need any more ĎPartnersí, you need a point of sale system.

Sure you need gift cards. Yes you need to better understand your customerís buying habits. You absolutely need to have credit cards integrated with your point of sale system. You need enhanced reporting and export of these reports to electronic accounting and payroll services. You need to eliminate errors, reduce mistakes and keep track of your payroll. But more than any of these you donít need any more partners. Especially the ones that take their portion of the profits before you get yours. We are talking about the servers, waitresses, bartenders and cashiers who: Undercharge customers in order to enhance their own tips. Show a $5 tab and a $50 tip. (Yes, I have seen this!) Deliberately void or delete an item after it has been paid for. Stuff coupons into the cash drawer in exchange for cash. Donít charge customers for soft beverages to enhance their tips. Ring up a lower priced item (well brand) and serve a higher priced item (premium brand) Give discounts to their friends. In a buffet line, ring up a buffet and a tea. Reprint this ticket 10 times and sell and collect for themselves these reprinted receipts instead of ringing up new customers. If you want to stay in business, you need a point of sale system.

About The Author
Jerry D. Wilson
Mr. Wilson has over 25 years experience consulting businesses and installing point of sale systems. He has been a guest speaker at various conventions, industry functions and has served on the Dealer Advisory Board for Panasonic.