Retail Accounting

Retail Accounting news – brought to you by CounterBooks – www.counterbooks.com


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PRESS RELEASE: CounterBooks and RCS Announce Partnership

PRESS RELEASE
CounterBooks and RCS (Retail Consulting Services) Announce Partnership
Experts in fuel and convenience retail accounting

CounterBooks, a leading online retail accounting management suite for the fuel and convenience industry, announced today that it is partnering with RCS. RCS is one of the UK’s leading accountancy service providers to the fuel and convenience industry. This partnership brings two market leading firms together, who are committed to helping fuel and convenience retailers thrive across the UK.

RCS has a nationwide team of senior accountants with extensive industry experience who cover the length and breadth of the UK, from Scotland to the Channel Islands. The CounterBooks’ cloud based system allows for improved communication and collaboration between RCS and their clients, as the system can be accessed from anywhere with an internet enabled device such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. This reinforces RCS’s focus on developing meaningful relationships with their clients which plays a crucial role in helping to improve the retailer’s performance.

CounterBooks’ online retail accounting management suite strongly supports RCS’s value of improving retailer performance. This is implemented through automating the accounting process (EPOS and electronic invoices) and in providing accurate, business specific and real time reporting. These features allow retailers, with the support of RCS, to make informed decisions, thereby driving the performance of their fuel and convenience businesses.

This cooperation will offer fuel and convenience retailers the combined benefit of a local and highly experienced retail accountant with immediate online access to the CounterBooks’ market leading retail accounting management suite which is specifically designed for fuel and convenience retailers.

John Roberts, Managing Director, CounterBooks said ‘We are very excited about our partnership with RCS and look forward to working with them to support fuel and convenience retailers in improving business performance. Our first joint project includes an interface from the Micros Prism 2 BOS and I am sure this will be the first of many that we will do together.’

Mark Royle, RCS said “We are delighted to form this collaboration with Counterbooks. Quality Information is key to the successful retail operation and with the seamless flow of data from EPOS through to the Accounting System helps to make this information available in a timely fashion and leaves the retailer free for operational decisions. CounterBooks together with the expert accounting knowledge of RCS can only add value to a business”

To learn more about CounterBooks and RCS, please visit www.counterbooks.com and http://www.retailaccountants.co.uk/counterbooks.html.

About RCS
Retail Consulting Services (RCS) are one of the UK’s leading accountant consultancy service providers to the forecourt, convenience and hospitality sectors. RCS work with owners, operators (such as HKS Retail Limited) and EPOS companies in fuel and convenience retail. They provide accounting and consultancy services across the UK and help clients to manage a seamless flow of information from EPOS through to the accounting system.

About CounterBooks
CounterBooks was developed in 2001 – 2002 and launched on 1st January 2003 as the world’s first on-line full ledger accounting system designed specifically for retailers. CounterBooks was originally developed as a Pro-Retail MS DOS system by a frustrated computer-programmer-turned-retailer who struggled with traditional accounting systems which were not developed for retail businesses. His aim was to provide an easy to use system suitable for a retailer with no accountancy experience while still providing full easily understandable data reporting. Last month, Counterbooks was shortlisted in The Association of Convenience Stores Technology Showcase.

For further information about CounterBooks, including case studies, images or interviews, please contact, Laura Shafer – Marketing Assistant:-

Telephone: +44 207 099 1050
Email: lshafer@CounterBooks.com
Website: http://www.counterbooks.com

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On-Trade = On Trend?

pub trends

As with all industries to be truly successful you need to stay ahead of the game. So what do you think the next big trend is for the pub industry?

We’ve seen brew pubs, gin palaces in the Victorian era as well as carverys in the 80s. The big trend at the moment is gastro with food pubs serving a wide range of options from value meals for families through to Michelin star meals at cosy countryside pubs.

So how do you identify what the next big thing will be? There are numerous ways to spot trends; one of the biggest is through social media. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter offer pubs an insight into their customers like never before. You can use these marketing tools to interact with your customers as well as attract new customers through promotions and offers. It’s never been easier to identify what promotions you should go for as EPoS and cloud accounting systems such as CounterBooks can offer you real time reports to enable you to spot sales trends quickly and make improved business decisions.

Don’t forget that customers want an overall good experience – the price has to right, the pub has to look good and service needs to be with a smile. I went to a pub recently in Cornwall who offered locally sourced gastro food in a great pub ambiance with local speciality ales and really friendly staff who knew our names by the end of our meal – a great pub experience.

To read more about how to stay ahead in the pub industry check out ontrade’s article: http://www.ontrade.co.uk/Leaders/leaders.html

 


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Creating a Fuel Retail Cloud-Based Ecosystem

Cloud-based EcosystemOne of the key benefits of using CounterBooks is its ability to integrate a number of (otherwise disparate) systems that the retailer already has access to.

When CounterBooks was first conceived and developed, it broke new ground by being the first major UK-based accounting product to be available over the internet.  This brought immediate benefit to our customers in that they became responsible for just the usage of the system, and did not have to worry about managing the installation and support of this key part of their business.  Being able to access their data from anywhere, anytime, was merely an additional bonus to many early adopters.

Several years after the initial launch, we introduced the ability for CounterBooks to import sales and invoice data generated by the existing Point of Sale and Back Office systems already in use at many of our customer’s retail sites.  POS systems that we have developed interfaces for include Wayne Nucleus, Torex Prism, Huth ITAS Vision, Background 2 Flow and Wincor.  This import process now accounts for approximately 80% of all data input into CounterBooks and not only saves our customer many valuable hours of book-keeping time, but improves data accuracy and reporting as well.

We have recently rolled out a further enhancement to this import process that allows us to autonomously collect data on the customer’s behalf and upload it into CounterBooks directly.  The retailer then simply has the responsibility to review and accept the uploaded data before it is saved into their accounts.

We have been able to do this because of recent developments in Cloud-Based ePOS systems that, like CounterBooks, are based on a central data store which is accessed over the internet by the retailer and are designed from the outset with the ability to exchange data with other systems.  These upgrades have also given us the ability to import data from the retailer’s biggest suppliers in a similarly centralised manner.  Providers that we currently work with can be seen here, and we are adding further names to this list on a continual basis.

The upshot of this is that we have enabled the retailer to become part of and to make use of an ecosystem that they may not have realised existed previously.  In fact the process is often so transparent that many of them no doubt remain unaware of its existence even once part of it!  Hopefully, though, all of our customers quickly appreciate the benefits we are bringing them in terms of reduced overheads and staffing costs, improved accounting practices and a better understanding of their business’ financial position.


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Restaurantdiary & TISSL partnership launches new dining reservations and EPoS integration

The forthcoming Restaurant Show (8 – 10 October 2012, Earl’s Court 2) will be the showcase for a new partnership, and for the integration that two hospitality software specialists have built between their EPoS and restaurant reservations solutions.  TISSL and Restaurantdiary have created an interface they claim is “market-beating” in terms of data exchanged and reporting and intelligence generated.  Each company will supply the new integration interface free of charge to any company purchasing its solution at the Restaurant Show.

TISSL hospitality EPoS excels in fine dining, casual dining, fast food, pubs & bars, hotels and members clubs.   Demanding chef-patrons such as Heston Blumenthal, Rick Stein, Jason Atherton and Alexis Gauthier use TISSL, and in Restaurant Magazine’s independent survey of 2,000 establishments, TISSL EPoS has been voted ‘Chef’s Choice’ for the past three years.

Restaurantdiary is a web-based application, accessible from any browser or via the company’s BooktoEat.com consumer portal.  Providing multi-user, real-time access, it gives restaurateurs complete control over every aspect of reservations.  It supports client communications via email and SMS, and also collects detailed data which can be used improve service, table utilisation and operating profit.

Explains Kevin Coetzee, co-founder and managing director of TISSL Limited: “This is the latest addition to our portfolio of third-party, ‘best-of-breed’ solutions. Our open-platform technology enables us to easily interface with other solutions where they have something to add to our customers’ experience.   Restaurantdiary is a perfect fit.  Interestingly, it was a mutual client, chef Martin Wishart (The Honours, Edinburgh), who suggested the integration.”

Continues Coetzee: “We’ve already proved the benefit of interfacing TISSL to restaurant reservation systems when it comes to turning tables.  The customer and reservation data is displayed from the moment the wait staff open the table. Staff update our EPoS system as they move through each course with each table and this information feeds into the reservation system, allowing the maitre d’ or hostess to see in real-time what’s happening on the floor.”

Adds Mike Conyers, founder and managing director of Restaurantdiary: “We have a number of mutual clients, including a Michelin-starred group of restaurants in Edinburgh, a chain of Thai restaurants, and a fine dining restaurant in Bristol, so it made sense to integrate our solutions. Whilst interfaces exist between a number of EPoS systems and dining reservations systems, we feel we have with TISSL one of the best, if not THE best, in terms of functionality.”

“Our integration tracks every stage of the customer ‘journey’.  The data produced gives a complete trading snapshot and intelligence on each customer, which is invaluable for marketing and for personalising service.  This also helps operators to improve table and yield management,” he observes.

Integrated systems have been proven to generate extra covers in ‘outside’ periods, by enabling restaurants to take more late bookings.  Not only is table utilisation increased but queues, walk-ins and bookings are managed more smoothly and wastage is minimised.

Continues Mike Conyers: “In the past, restaurants focused on the effectiveness of the booking process.  Now they’re more concerned about mining booking data in order to fine-tune customer service.  We’ll be able to pull through the items ordered from TISSL and hold this data in Restaurantdiary.  Our clients will be able to record spend and drill down to individual customer likes and dislikes, so they can offer the ultimate in personal service.  After all, who could fail to be impressed by a waiter recommending a dish or wine that you enjoyed in the past? And what a great tool for upselling.”

Kevin Coetzee concludes: “We aim to give our clients time to do what they do best.  Whilst they’re working their magic in the kitchen and making customers feel at home, they can be confident our solutions are taking care of the business.  Restaurantdiary helps to increase yield; TISSL makes workflow and data capture more effective.  Combine the two and you create an extra dimension – the ability to really know your business and know your customers, to forecast, budget and plan more effectively.”

http://www.retailtechnologyreview.com/articles/2012/10/02/restaurantdiary-and-tissl-partnership-launches-new-dining-reservations-and-epos-integration/


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Till -> EPOS -> cloud POS -> Square – what’s next?

Is it me, or does it feel like things are moving really fast? For those which are not regulars visitors to our blog, we are raving fans of cloud POS, mainly because it offers a low entry cost and flexible platform for retailers.

Over the weekend, while watching the news, I came across Square (https://squareup.com) which is an electronic payment service. I have no doubt in making the statement that this will be a “game changer”.

Square was setup by the successful entrepreneur, Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter) and funded by eminent angel investors such as Marissa Mayer, Kevin Rose, Biz Stone, Dennis Crowley, Shawn Fanning, Ed Cramer, and Esther Dyson. In the A, B and C Series it was funded by well-known VCs such as Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital and from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Square allows business users (USA only) to accept credit cards through their mobile phones, either by swiping the card on the Square device or by manually entering the details on their phone.

So what are the functions of Square?

  • Card Reader – this is where the name ‘Square’ originates, the merchant has a small plastic square which is plugged into the audio jack on an iPhone, iPad and Android based mobile devices. This allows the business user to swipe the credit card.
  • Square Card Reader – is an app which allows the business user to take payments, it can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store and Google Play Store.
  • Pay with Square – is an app which allows customers to setup tabs and pay with their names plus receive electronic receipts.
  • Square Register – is available for the iPad, which provides a POS credit card management system.

Why do I think a UK version of Square will be successful? For start up or small retailers in the UK, it is an excruciating process of form filing and agonizing bank delays (sometimes up to 3 months). While with Square, you can be live, trading and taking money within minutes. The existing system used in the USA does not use chip and Pin security however I am sure a UK and Europe version using this type of security would be easy to develop.

The application of Square is wider than purely retail, however with the signing of Starbucks (plus a $25m investment and their CEO joining the board of Square), it clearly indicates one vertical where Square will gain immediate traction. In the UK, there is a growing trend of “pop-up shops”. Square would provide these retailers with an immediate payment service and a very basic cloud POS with minimal expense.

Going beyond the benefits of being mobile and flexible with low entry costs, we expect to see much more functionality which will allow retailers to develop closer relationships with their customers – such as loyalty programmes and promotional activities driven by consumer behaviour.

Lets us know what you think? Is Square, cool or just square?


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New Toshiba POS provides low cost, high speed solution for retailers

Toshiba TEC’s new WillPOS M30 provides an affordable, high-speed Point of Sale system in a sleek, compact unit designed for retailers wishing to connect with consumers in the new world of multi-channel retailing. POSCombining cost-effectiveness with the high performance usually associated with business PCs, it operates at five to 20 times faster than the competitive top-of-the-range POS systems currently available, making it the ideal choice for both busy food and non-food retail operations.

POS Systems

The powerful, affordable WillPOS M30 is based on the latest Intel AMT technology, offering up to 16GB of memory, plus a range of processing options to suit every budget and the most demanding of applications. This superior processing power makes the new retail-hardened M30 suitable as a back-office PC server or a Kiosk engine box, with inventory control, stock taking, ordering, customer management and sales management, all within its capabilities.

An estimated life span of a retail hardened system is 5+ years compared to that of a standard PC product, which is normally in the region of 12-18 month. This, combined with essential future proofing upgrade options, ensures that retailers will receive a positive return on their investment. Toshiba POS systems are known for their ease of maintenance and the WillPOS M30 with its front-loading design for quick and easy replacement of the hard drive is no exception. Plus Raid mirroring support offers reliable data storage. A full remote management package ensures that even a novice can change the software without intervention from an engineer, saving on downtime.

Toshiba’s power-saving ‘green credentials’ and future-proof upgrade options also lead to a positive ROI and set the WillPOS M30 apart from other PC-based POS systems. Its embedded ‘Hibernation’ or ‘Deep Sleep’ mode reduces its energy consumption dramatically when compared to the traditional ‘stand-by’ mode, further reducing cost of ownership and boosting its environmental credentials. Toshiba is committed to offering POS platforms that are designed, manufactured and tested to meet the demands of the speciality retail market.  The organisation understands the needs of retailers and focuses on providing POS systems that are reliable, durable and can operate under extreme conditions. All Toshiba products are designed to strict ecological policies that are mindful of the environment and help to further strengthen a retailer’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme at no extra cost.

http://www.retailtechnologyreview.com/absolutenm/templates/retail_epos.aspx?articleid=2360&zoneid=4


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Nearly two thirds of retailers considering mobile EPoS

Nearly two thirds of retailers considering mobile EPoSCybertill’s recent customer survey found that 59% of retailers were considering rolling out mobile EPoS in their stores over the next 12 months. The types of retailers interested in rolling out the technology were wide and varied, they included: sports, furniture, charity, fashion, footwear and cycles.

Retailers’ confidence levels are high and many are positive about the future with 54% of respondents replying that they are ‘very confident’ about the next year. Only 9% of respondents stated they were ‘not very confident’ and all the responses for the latter cited the economy and the cost of living as the reason for this.

Central themes driving the high confidence that resonated across the responses included: ecommerce driving growth, providing excellent customer service and operating in retail sectors that were thriving. Such sectors included charity retail and cycle retail. When asked if the Olympics would affect their business, 54% of respondents replied it would have none or minimal effect on their business. The 19% that said it would increase sales were predominately either based in the London area or sold sporting goods.

Ian Tomlinson, CEO of Cybertill, commented: “It was interesting that 59% of customers are thinking about mobile EPoS. I believe mobile EPoS systems are a great tool for added customer service, but I also believe that mobile PoS should be deployed to add value and not just as an expensive gimmick. However, I think when this question is asked in twelve months’ time, mobile PoS will have gained greater traction in the retail environment and be a proven solution that more retailers will be looking to deploy across their business.”

Cybertill surveyed their customers, in excess of 600 retailers nationwide, throughout May and June 2012. Tomlinson continued: “The results from the survey are a fillip for retail but also highlight that there are businesses doing well and that are confident despite the on-going negativity surrounding the economy. It was refreshing that there were a variety of reasons for the confidence. It also highlighted that if retailers do the simple things well – excellent customer service, backed by knowledgeable and well trained staff – they can thrive in this environment.”

http://www.retailtechnologyreview.com/absolutenm/templates/retail_epos.aspx?articleid=2246&zoneid=4