Cash Registers vs. POS Systems

What are the differences between a cash register and a POS system? Do you run a small business using a cash register or are you just about to launch a business and are torn whether to get a cash register or a POS system? Read on and find out which one would work for you and benefit your business in the long run.

Cost Considerations

For a start-up business, the choice of cash register or POS system could simply rely on the budget of the owner. The use of a standard cash register is ideal for smaller businesses where sales, menus or product lines are only limited or small in volume. A cash register becomes appealing to start-up businesses because it is less expensive, it is easy to operate and it’s very simple to use.

While it is true that you will have to shell out the high initial expense involved in getting a cash register or a POS system, stop to consider that your business can expect many years of service from the first machine purchased. A cash register has a life span of about 10-15 years with upgrades around 5-7 years.

Desired Features

The deciding factors whether to get a cash register or a POS system vary by the type of business a person is running. Before you select which one to get, you must first determine what your business needs, the cash management options and POS hardware available. These factors can help you make an educated decision.

In getting a POS system, you will get a more detailed report of all the transactions on a daily, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. Tracking your inventory is made easier and the accuracy of every transaction is more improved. A POS system easily grows with the business. On the other hand, a cash register entails a lower cash out which is beneficial for start-up businesses. Most of the models that they have are very easy to use and have fewer components. A cash register does feature the basic functions that an owner needs plus it can also aid in reporting.

However, if you really want to keep track of your entire inventory, it would be best to go for a POS system. A cash register is not as costly as a POS system but the features are so basic, it will not be able to help your business for more complex auditing especially if you plan on expanding your product line in the future. Certain kinds of upgrades might allow your cash register to aid you in the inventory aspect of your business in some way, however, tracking and inventory is only one of the many features that a point of sale offers which can help you and your business grow.

The bottom line is, going for a cash register or a POS system really depends on the scope of your business, as well as any future expansions that you have in mind. If your intention is to keep your store at a minimum, then a cash register might work for you. But if your goal is to have a big establishment someday, start the business right with the help of a POS system because it might get you to where you want to be in the future easier.