In the world of business software, there are certain fundamental tools constantly used. One of these is a POS, or Point of Sale, software. Whether you are a retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer, or a producer, the right software is an integral cog in the wheel of success. The following are 5 features your POS (Point of Sale) absolutely must have.
It may seem obvious, but a POS software that accurately tracks sales is the number one priority. It is shocking how many POS systems are unable to calculate a sale, apply a discount, or apply a tax correctly. These are just basics.
Coming in at a close number two on the priority list is customer support. It is arguably just as important as revenue tracking. In an ideal world, we don't need help from others; however, the world is far from perfect. More often than not, support takes a backseat in the exploration process.
At some point in the lifespan of a POS system, you will undoubtably need assistance. Whether you have immediate questions about getting everything set up, or a year later once the system is fully integrated, a helping hand gives peace of mind. Accordingly, there are certain attributes you should expect from your support team.
First, 24/7 availability is a must — via phone, email, or live chat (our preference). At any time of day, a human needs to be available to answer your most pressing questions within a reasonable amount of time. Not having the necessary support could result in an inability to accept transactions and a loss of sales. There is absolutely no excuse for missing out on revenue. Secondly, support should be unlimited and included in your subscription. Be weary of companies trying to charge additional fees for their support.
Another crucial function of a POS system is inventory management. Inventory "leakage" and lack of tracking remains one of the biggest vulnerabilities for businesses that hold a stock of products to sell. Employees steal and customers are not always honest about what they receive. These sad truths ultimately lead to reductions in your bottom line. The best way to keep a handle on this is with good inventory tracking features and protocols that limit losses.
Whether an operation is making products, buying products, or selling products, inventory is at the core of every transaction. The POS system must have the ability to keep track and list all products. It should run reports that give inventory valuations on a cost basis, and it should notify when it comes time to order more. While looking around for options, be sure that the POS software can differentiate products with variations like size and color.
There but two certainties in life, and we know them all too well; death and taxes. Sales tax is complex, especially when selling goods in multiple states that have different rules and rates. A POS must have an accurate and up-to-date method of tracking sales taxes at the time of sale.
An important note to remember; sales tax is a "trust" tax. This means it is not a tax that a vendor pays, but a tax businesses are "trusted" to collect from customers on behalf of the state. What does this mean? It means that if an entity underreports sales, the state considers that act as withholding their tax revenue. Unlike income taxes, "trust" taxes can endanger owners' personal assets and livelihood. For this reason, sales tax payments are calculated and paid with the utmost care.
Missing payments and penalization from the inevitable audits can not only jeopardize a business, it can threaten everything owners' have built to this point. All businesses should hiring a professional to assist with tax payments and filings. Spending money on these experts could save thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.
Without reporting, management is like a ship lost at sea with no compass in a stormy night. Consequently, sales reports, cost of goods reports, tax reports, and inventory reports are just a few of the must-haves in a POS's reporting system.
Other reports to look for are ones that help with your receivable accounts. That is, money owed from customers that did not pay up front and have payment terms. Knowing who owes what, when a payment is due, and how long it takes to receive payment will secure revenues, both in past and in future. It is essential that there is a system in place to track these fundamental accounting reports.
Similarly, payable account report show is owed to vendors. Like receivable reports, taking into account the payables report will give a realistic picture of what is being made or lost. Often, businesses neglect including payables in the balance sheets and the change in payables in income statements. This exclusion of information could skew profits and be detrimental to management's decision-making abilities. If a company doesn't realize its debts, profits are irrelevant.
Some tracking and POS systems will link to accounting software account(s), export excel sheets, and integrate with other useful systems like employee time tracking. These integrations make workflow more efficient and save valuable time.
That being said, beware of how systems integrate. Many business owners and managers think the perfect solution lies in linking software, only to find the developer of the POS was not competent. Sometimes mistakes are made in linkage, and if someone is not monitoring the imports and exports closely, it can completely ruin all the data that kept the books accurate.
If you are looking for a reliable solution for your selling and tracking woes, and you feel overwhelmed by the features and options available, reach out for a consultation. NATIVE RECORDS has worked with the best and the worst. Being masters at assessing software, we can point you in the right direction.
Starting a new business on your own can be both intimidating and rewarding at the same time. Hopefully with a solid business plan and proper guidance those stepping-out on their own will be successful — and as any experienced business owner or investor knows, it’s not just what you earn, but how much you can keep after tax. To make this process a little easier, here are some basic tax considerations a new business owner should take into account.
Pay yourself a “fair” salary
If you are the owner of a successful business that elects to be taxed as an S-Corp, there are significant advantages once you reach a certain threshold of income. Let’s say that your business has a net profit of $100K for the year — the IRS would allow a portion of those earnings (let’s say $40K) to be exempt from self-employment taxes (15.3% federally). Keep in mind, however, that you still have to pay income tax on the income that flows through to your personal return.
Take advantage of depreciation
The idea of investing in a rental property is nothing new. Real estate has historically retained its value well over the years with the exception of a few areas in the wake of the mid-2000’s housing crisis. The tax is relatively low on your rental income — as a passive investment, the profits are not subject to self-employment taxes. Furthermore, rental property owners are allowed to deduct a non-cash expense called depreciation. Residential buildings are depreciated over 27.5 years and commercial buildings over 39 years — so the former category gets a higher deduction for the depreciation. Notwithstanding all the tax benefits of owning a rental property, it should also be mentioned that the IRS basically forces you to take the depreciation expense because if you sell your building at some point down the line, they decrease your cost basis by whatever depreciation you have claimed at that point. This concept of “depreciation recapture” can be avoided by doing what is called a 1031 exchange and can get a bit complicated.
Under Section 1031 of the code, a taxpayer can defer the realization of capital gains and associated federal income tax liability on the exchange of certain types of property. This means that you can save yourself from paying capital gains tax on your asset value gain if you buy another property. From the time you close on your sold item, you have 45 days to find an applicable property, and then another 135 days to acquire the replacement property.
Invest in your state’s AMT-free municipal bonds
While interest rates are still quite low by historical standards, these investments may make sense for high earning individuals. The interest income (but not capital gains) you generate from the bonds are exempt from taxation. Calculate your tax equivalent yield to determine whether investing in your state’s AMT-free municipal bonds make sense.
At the time of this writing, the IRS is allowing people that are self-employed to save up to $56K per year for retirement. You can then deduct your contributions from your taxable income, thereby deferring the taxation.
For those interested in becoming self-insured, the tax code offers a nice incentive. In combination with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), individuals are able funds that are not taxable if the proceeds are used for qualified medical expenses. These HDHP contributions are deducted from your taxable income on your return.
For those who are self-employed, but need money to be more readily available — there’s a way. The IRS allows business owners to deduct their health insurance premiums as an adjustment to income.
A major misstep many new business owners make when starting out is failing to plan well for their end-of-year tax bill. This is especially a problem for individuals leaving work as an employee where their income tax was withheld by their employer.
In order to avoid making this mistake a small business should pay estimated taxes to the IRS if it expects to owe taxes of $1,000 or more for the year ($500 if you operate as a corporation). Not only will paying estimated taxes help you avoid IRS penalties, they will prevent (at least some of) the sticker-shock when you file your tax return.