Retail Accounting

Retail Accounting news – brought to you by CounterBooks –

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Integrate your POS system and focus on the more important elements of your business


If you run a convenience store you will be entering many transactions into your POS system each day. These could be in the form of cash, cheque or credit cards.

According to the British Retail Consortium, cash payments made up only £28.93 in every £100 spent at retailers in 2012 which was down from the previous years spend of £32. That means more people are using credit cards and it is important to ensure that all these transactions (from Visa or Mastercard) are recorded correctly in your accounting system.

The problem is that your POS system does not “talk” to your accounting system and so you or your bookkeeper have to spend time every day ensuring that data from your POS is accurately entered in to your accounting system.

However, there is an alternative – linking your POS system with your accounting system. In fact, CounterBooks’ retail accounting management suite does just that. We have developed a range of imports from daily reconciliation through to wholesaler e-invoices and payroll. This not only means improved data accuracy but also that you don’t have to pay additional staff to do the data entry for you. The imports can automate as much as 80% of your daily processes, allowing you to focus on the more important elements of your business.

Why not let the computers do the hard work so you don’t have to?


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PayPal Beacon to beam automatic, hands-free mobile payments

PayPal Beacon“PayPal Beacon opens the door to a fundamentally different way to use technology to make shopping more valuable and more personal for consumers and retailers,” said David Marcus, president of PayPal.

So while swiping and tapping cards may have only recently become a norm for most, PayPal is pushing for more – or less, so to speak.

“We challenged ourselves to find a better experience than swiping a credit card. We figured the only better way to pay would be to do nothing,” he said.

“Just walk in a store, and, like magic, when you’re ready to pay, money is transferred securely. No wallet. No card. Nothing to do. Not even touching your phone.”

Hands-free payment

According to PayPal, on the merchants end, Beacon is a simple add-on USB to any Point-of-Sale systems that are compatible with PayPal.

Users will have the option to set which stores they automatically get checked into (as in your usual morning coffee shop), which ones will have automatic payments and which will require approval for payments.

“Consumers will have full control of stores they will want to check in to, those they will want to get prompted to confirm payment for, and stores they will want to enable a complete hands-free experience for,” PayPal said.

PayPal also assures us that customer’s won’t be tracked and unless you check-in, no information will be passed onto PayPal or the merchant.

While all this hands-free shopping sounds very exciting, the Beacon device won’t be ready for merchants until next year.

And of course, there may also be hiccups with wrongful charges or customers walking away without paying, but we’d assume all these will be ironed out by PayPal by next year.


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WALMART Asda tests fully automated checkout in UK

Asda is testing a fully automated Wincor Nixdorf checkout in York. The machine – dubbed Rapid Scan – can read barcodes on a conveyor belt using image recognition even if the barcode is placed flat.

Asda test Wincor Nixdorf checkout

According to the retailer, items can be scanned in less than one second each – or 100 per minute. This is three times faster than scanning by hand, Asda says.

The Walmart-owned UK retailer’s new solution uses a split conveyor belt, allowing two people to bag shopping simultaneously. Once one shopper’s items have gone through the system to the bagging and payment area, the next can immediately load groceries on to the belt. When each person’s purchases have been scanned, staff push a control button to authorise a chip and PIN card reader to display the bill and take payment.

In Europe, retailers such as Rewe Group, Dia and ICA Gruppen have already been testing fully automated scanners since 2011. In the US, Kroger has been piloting its in-house fully-automated tunnel scanner, first developed in 2010.

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Co-op’s Clever POS

A great video on how to integrate c-store and petroleum sales into a POS:



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Square launches iPad-driven ‘Business in a Box’ hardware for $299

Mobile payment processing company Square announced on Wednesday its new “Business in a Box” — a product meant to serve as a full point-of-sale system for physical retailers, allowing them to accept payments and perform analytics on their businesses from one device.Square POS
Business in a Box works in conjunction with Square Register, Square’s app that allows vendors to input custom product inventories as well as accept payments with Square’s credit card reader. Business in a Box adds a cash drawer and optional printer to the formula, essentially turning a customer’s iPad into part of a cash register.

The package, which retails for $299, comes with the aforementioned cash drawer, a Square card reader, and a WindFall iPad stand from Heckler Design. That “paperless” POS emails receipts to customers instead of printing them. For physical receipts, businesses can pay an additional $300 to have a printer included.

Square’s usual processing fees apply. Square users get a free card reader compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, and the company takes a 2.75 percent fee per swipe. Businesses with heavy credit card traffic also have the option of paying $275 per month in order to eliminate the per-swipe fee.

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The Changing World of POS Systems

POS systemHow much do you know about POS systems within retail stores? POS systems (or cash registers as they have been known) no longer just process the cash you use to buy products. The POS system in a retail store now holds a vast amount of data so that retailers know who their customers are and what they want. POS systems are rapidly evolving and some retail stores are using mobiles as their POS system.

To read more on the topic visit

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Self Checkouts – when do they work?

Seven steps to Self Checkout heaven (or hell?)self-checkout

Most customers have probably been forced into trying them by now and love them or hate them. If you’re thinking of installing one to improve customer flow through the till area than you may want to consider the following:

1.    High flow, low value sales

In these circumstances the self checkout approach can work quite well. For example the lunch time rush hour where people are buying sandwiches and a drink. In large cities such as London it is not uncommon to see ranks of self service checkouts which are being utilised almost at full capacity from 12.00 until 14.00. The rest of the day they may be relatively unused and when installing you should consider how long it will take for a return on investment if the POS only boosts through flow for short periods of the day. You will of course have significant savings in the number of part time staff required to service customers at peak times.

2.    Credit card only

Couple this with a near field reader for low value purchases and things can really begin to speed up in the lunch hour. The down side is you will still need manned tills to handle sales to traditionalists paying cash.

3.    How many customers will walk out?

Some customers will refuse to use self service either from fear of the technology or previous bad experiences. In many cases they will dump and walk if there is a long queue at the single manned till and we all know that means you probably won’t be seeing them again, ever.

4.    Consider the demographics of your customers?

More mature customers are generally resistant to change but often spend proportionally more than their younger counterparts. If you are sited near a retirement village automation may not be the best way forward

5.    Age restricted goods

Alcohol and tobacco are the main items to consider. In the case of alcohol self checkout is possible in most countries but you will need staff on hand to quickly authorise the customer as being old enough to buy the product. As self checkout is being promoted as fast and easy any delay is annoying not just for the customer at the checkout but also those queuing behind.

Tobacco is more complicated as automatic cigarette machines are still commonly available in many countries but in others where restrictions are tighter and sales are either dark (the buyer is protected from seeing the product, for example in Ireland) or plain packaged (being introduced in Australia) the restrictions probably mean a manned tobacco kiosk will always be required.

6.    Are your bar codes clear?

Probably the biggest crime! If the scanner can’t read the bar code it’s unlikely the customer will be able to type the code in instead. This will lead to two problems:

  • They reject the item and you lose the sale of the item
  • It happens more than once and they dump the complete shop

The only way round this is to have enough staff available to help – but then reducing staffing was the reason for installing the self checkout in the first place.

7.    And the most frustrating problem….

The customer has managed to scan in twenty items with some difficulty. A member of staff has had to authorise a bottle of wine and the bar code wouldn’t read on a packet of meat. They come to pay and either the note reader or credit card reader refuses to work. Do you think they will come back tomorrow?


Working well in the right environment self checkouts will boost sales and reduce staffing costs. Get them wrong and you risk losing customers permanently. What you think, any other suggestions?