Businesses use electronic cash registers to process and record sales transactions. Depending on the quality of the model you select, your business can usually use a cash register for 10 years or more before you have to buy a new one. While there are advantages and disadvantages to using electronic cash registers, even less expensive models are equipped to meet the fundamental needs of a small business.
Purchasing an Electronic Cash Register
For small businesses just getting underway, the purchase of a traditional electronic cash register is often a more affordable investment than a point-of-sale system. Even if you start out with a low-cost model, you can always upgrade to more superior equipment later as your business grows. If you are purchasing an electronic cash register for the first time, make certain it has the memory capacity to meet your business needs. Higher-end models of cash registers that offer advanced functions provide features that allow for more complex record keeping and storing more data.
Electronic cash registers offer businesses numerous benefits including tracking customer transactions and speeding checkout time. Most models are easy to use yet provide accurate record keeping. Basic models include the keyboard, display and printer. Even low-cost cash registers include functions to record sales, calculate change, provide price look-ups and print customer receipts. Generally, electronic cash registers include software in the basic cost that allows you to charge the correct sales tax, run reports and identify sales by employee. Those that offer more advanced options often require you to purchase a separate software program depending on what type of records your business keeps. Security is another advantage. The cash drawer on an electronic cash register automatically locks, allowing only authorized users to log in with a password.
Although electronic cash registers are relatively easy to use, they require some training to operate. Models vary, so training on a new register is often necessary even if you have experience working with cash registers. The instructions for operating a cash register can differ depending on the model you purchase and the kinds of entries you can make on the machine. Cash registers also differ in mechanical features such as the number of keys and type of built-in printer. Another drawback associated with electronic cash registers is that you can lose data if the machine malfunctions or lose workplace productivity during power outages.
Compared with the cost of an electronic cash register, a point-of-sale system can be much more expensive but might be worth the investment if you find a system tailored to meet the needs of your business. Retail POS systems are designed for small and large businesses that operate in different types of industries. The overall cost of a POS system includes the cost of the software license for each user in addition to the expense of a POS terminal, cash drawer, scanner, card reader and printer for every workstation you set up. Add to that the optional cost of extended warranties, which can be a worthwhile expense for protecting your investment. Despite the cost, if your business is growing, a POS system can help improve productivity, thereby increasing your profitability.
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