Thursday, January 31, 2013

Do I need four programmable tax rates on my cash register?

Because of the trend in complex local and State sales tax rates cash registers over the last decade and a half started coming out with two tax rates however in the last 5 years or so most are coming out with four as the taxing rules have become even more complex.

I have only helped on customer set all 4 tax rates but it seems like a trend that will will not be able to avoid so when you buy a new cash register make sure it will handle the taxation requirements or your city, State and county.

The most common situation we run into is that the local sales tax will be one rate for hard goods, and another rate for restaurant and bar sales, and another for hotel/motel tax. In these areas many restaurants were surprised to find out that if they sold tee shirts, hats, souvenir glasses etc those items would be taxed at a different sales tax than the food and beverage.

Also in many places things may be taxed unless the consumer is paying with EBT which may reverse the tax status of an item.

So as you can see checking on your local sales tax regulations before you buy your cash register can be worth ding the home work. Find these things out before you buy or program your cash register for sales tax. I recommend contacting your department of revenue and giving them your address so they can tell you the rate(s) you must charge.

I think all the new SAM4s cash registers have the ability for four tax rates and so are the Sharp cash registers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What is the RA button on my cash register

The "RA" button on your cash register is a feature that allows you to receive and account for payments without increasing your sales. RA stands for "Received on Account" and is used when customers are making a payment against their account or balance with the store NOT for a purchase.

Let's say you allow customers to charge purchases to a house account. They come in to make a $50.00 payment on their account not buy $50.00 worth of goods. You would use the "RA" feature which will account for the $50.00 in the cash register and whatever media was used to pay (CASH, Check, Charge) but will not increase your sales.

Your sales were increased the first time when they actually bought the items they charged. If you going to operate this way you will need a payment key for house charge. When your customers buy something to be charged you pay it off to a house account/charge payment key. Your sales will be increased on that day but not your cash, check or credit card payments.

Some RA FAQ's

  1. Do not register sales with the RA button, it won't work, it won't tax, it won't report to a department.
  2. Most cash registers can use any media you accept using the RA function
  3. You can't use the RA function during a sale.
  4. Your cash register may or may not be able to be put under manager control.
  5. The RA function DOES not keep customer balances.
Please keep in mind the "RA" function is simply for tracking media coming into your cash register with making a sale. It does not track a customers balance, account number etc!

Almost every cash register including entry level registers have the RA function. All SAM4s cash registers I'm familiar with have one as well as all the Sharp cash registers I've worked with.

Hope that helps

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How do I use the PO function on my csh register

The button on your cash register labeled "PO" is for a function called Paid Out. It is a function on your cash register that will allow you to pay a vendor for example for a delivery right from the cash register. This function will allow you to remove cash from the drawer so it will balance however it does not lower your sales, just the cash amount.

So if you had $200.00 in sales and collected those sales in payments of $100.00 cash, $50.00 credit card, $50.00 check and you had a "Paid Out" of $50.00 your cash register report would be something like this.

Dept. 1 Sales $25.00
Dept. 2 Sales $50.00
Dept. 3 Sales $25.00
Dept. 4 Sales $75.00
Dept. 5 Sales $25.00

Total Sales $200.00

Cash   = $100.00
Credit = $50.00
Check = $50.00

Total  = $200.00

PO = $50.00

Cash in Drawer = $150.00

So as you can see the sales totals were correct, the media totals were correct and than the register adjusted the "Cash in Drawer" to account for the $50.00 paid out.

Few more PO Function FAQ's

1. No you can't perform a PO without it recording
2. You can't do a PO in the middle of a sale
3. Most cash registers will only perform a PO to cash and not other media types
4. Some registers can put the PO function under  manager control. (most simple ones can't)
5. On some registers you can disable PO on some to disable you would have to remove button if possible.

Almost every cash register make and model include a PO feature. It is probably on every SAM4s cash register and Sharp cash register on the market. Seldom used feature but a great one if you need it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Datacap TwinTran for Sharp Cash Registers

If you are looking for a Datacap to interface credit card payments directly on your cash register this is the only site I'm aware of that is currently offering all three models of Datacap Tran products so you can use the credit card providor of your choice.

They sell all three models which consist of:
  1. Datacap TwinTran
  2. Datacap IPTran
  3. Datacap DialTran

If you don't want to shell out the dough for your own Datacap you can always get one through Mercury Payments starting as low as $12.50 per month and they take care of it for you.  When you stop processing with them you send it back, easy as that!

All three major Cash Register makes in the country use Datacap for credit card interface. There are two Sharp cash registers that use something else, a few Casio models can also use the PAX unit but all the SAM4s that can do integrated credit card all use the Datacap products.

Connecting a credit card terminal to a cash register is not for a begginer and in almost every case you should not attempt it!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Where to buy a Datacap TwinTran

Ordering a Datacap can be a bit confusing because you have several different models, different applications, and whether you need an MSR or not.

Datacap Models: 

  • Datacap Dial Tran = This model of Datacap connect with dial up only. Requires phone line and has a slower transaction time compared to the other Datacap models.
  • Datacap IP Tran = This model of Datacap connects to your merchant services via an Internet connection only, it has no other connection. You must have inter-net access to connect the IP Tran to.
  • Datacap TwinTran = This model of Datacap has an IP connection as a default and a dial connection as a back up. You must have an Internet connection and a phone line. This is the most popular model of Datacap.
  • MSR= Magnetic Stripe Reader. Do you need to add a MSR to the Datacap device or will you be using the MSR on your cash register.

 Datacap Applications:

  • Standard Single Lane = One cash register only will be connected to the Datacap device.
  • Single Lane with Gift = One cash register only will be connected to the enhanced version of Datacap device that support gift card transactions.
  • Standard Multi Lane = Two or more cash registers connected to one Datacap Device. Check your cash register specifications for capability.
  • Multi Lane with Gift = Two or more cash registers connected to one enhanced version of Datacap device that support gift card transactions. Check your cash register specifications for capability.

Support Required

  • Your Datacap device will be shipped to you with your merchant parameters installed. Price does not include ANY support time at all. Connecting and operating your Datacap device and your cash register is not covered in the price of the device, is not covered by warranty. Two hours support is our recommended amount of support required for the typical installation. Every install is different and this is the amount we recommend however you may require more. 

More Information

  •  If you have any questions regarding support please contact us before you purchases a Datacap device at 1-800-863-2274

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Should I buy a cash register with the IRC feature

Inter-register communications (IRC) in cash registers is a very important feature. What is it you might ask? We in simple terms it is a cash register network which you could compare to a computer network or LAN (local area network)

Why is this important? well if you only need one cash register it means nothing at all. If you need two or more cash registers then IRC can save you a lot of time and add features.

How does it save time to have IRC? Well first it allows you to program all of your cash registers by programming just one and downloading to the other cash registers in the network. The other benefit is reports, you can go to one register and take reports from all the registers and have them consolidated all from one cash register.

Some machines have a simple IRC and some have fully capable IRC. The differences may or may not affect your choice. The simple IRC allows programming download and IRC reporting but will not allows floating guest checks and cashiers or allow a shared device like a Datacap TwinTran or kitchen printer.

Most mid level SAM4s cash registers come standard with IRC however only the highest couple models of Sharp Cash Registers offer IRC.

Keep in mind if you have three cash registers and it takes you three hours to program one of them without IRC it will take you 9 hours total to program your cash registers as with IRC you would have been done in 3.5 hours total!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cash register keyboard templates for Sharp and SAM4s cash registers

A great feature of flat keyboard restaurant style cash registers is your abilty to create new keyboards as well as update existing one. We simply use word templates and they allow you to change the color of each button, the text and a picture if you wanted. A good cash register company will provide you with the template so you can print your own on demand or make changes as needed.

Here are a few links to some pre-made keyboard templates and keep in mind many cash registers use the same template. Also little word of advice please print a blank, cut it to size and make sure it fits before you spend a few hours building a custom template only to have it not fit.

Again if your model number is close to any of those above download it, print it blank and try it. If it is close you can also adjust it in word. Some keyboard will print on 8.5 x 11 paper some will require leagal size so make sure you printer supports that. Also this are without warranty, use at your own risk. We make them available for free so please don't expect support for them as well but i can tell you we have created thousands of keyboards with these templates.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tips for programming Sharp cash registers

Some cash register take longer to program than others however they all have a few things in common. All have departments or groups (whether you use them or not). The departments or groups is a good place to start programming.

When preparing to program your register we urge people to plan your programming in writing. Start by making a list of departments or groups, give them a name and tax status. Following is a sample

#  Name                                    Tax Status

1 Taxable Grocery,                  T
2 Non-Taxable Grocery           NT
3.Beer/Wine                             T
4. Cigs                                      T
5. Dairy                                    NT

So you get the point. Make sure you know the layout of department or Groups on your cash register keyboard and that your department listings match up where you want them. Example many cash registers the bottom left hand department button is #1.

If your machine has alpha characters and not just numbers (most have alpha) we like to map our the characters we need to enter to program the text. Most cash register use a two or three digit code for each letter. So on our list above I would expand like so: (only listed one but do you entire list in advance.)

# Name Tax Status

1 Taxable Grocery, T
    084 065 088 065 066 076 069 032 071 082 079 067 069 089 (alpha code for Taxable Grocery)
2 Non-Taxable Grocery NT

3.Beer/Wine T

4. Cigs T

5. Dairy NT

You then will have to program the tax status of each department. Almost every register I have programmed always come standard as every department set as non taxable however a few new Sharp cash registers are coming out of the box with every department programmed taxable.

You will also have to set the tax rate. Most cash registers can have a tax rate or table. Unless your city, county or State requires a table for some strange reason always set the rate and don't mess with a table. oddly enough the rate setting is almost always the second choice in the manual so people try setting the table first and get very frustrated.

Our techs are available to help you program your SAM4s cash register for a fee. We find that once most people program a few things it becomes clear and they fly right through it. You can call for rates and availability at 1-800-863-2274

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sharp ER-A320 cash register still available

Sharp ER-A320 cash registers
Sharp ER-A320 Cash Register

The cash register guys still have a handful of Sharp ER-A320 cash registers left that are new in box. The ER-A320 was discontinued mid 2012 even though it was one of the best selling Sharp cash register ever.

The ER-A320 is a work horse of a machine. This machine was very simple, durable and cost effective it's a shame it is gone. This was not a result of Sharp buy rather Epson who made the printer stopped production of the printer used in the A320.

As far as I know there is not yet a direct replacement for the A320 however rumors have been flotaing around that a new model is on the way? The closest thing to a replacment right now is the Sharp ER-A247 or the ER-A347 both of which are great cash registers however pretty different from the A320.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

5 stars out of 5 for the Sharp ER-A347 cash register

Sharp ER-A347 cash register
Sharp ER-A347 cash register
The Sharp ER-A347 is the most inovative cash register released by Sharp in years. They have applied forward thing to the design and functions of this machine. When you take it out of the box and plg it in the first time it will begin a programming wizard of sorts that will ask you questions and if you keep answering them soon your register will be programmed. They also included one feature people have been asking for for years and that is a Quickbooks interface tool. Although a great feature the logistics of the tool are a bit strange. You download sales from the register to a SD card, upload the SD card on your PC into the QB transfer tool. I would have preferred a direct USB connection but it does get the job done!

Another very unique feature this cash register has the abilty to interface directly to a credit card terminal. This can connect to a specific terminal unlike other registers that require the Datacap Twintran. Not sure if this feature is a home run or not but time will tell.

Check this machine out before you buy anything else. Call for more details 1-800-863-2274

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cash register service and support after the sale

Keep in mind when you buy a cash register that you may need support someday. Buy from a company that will be around to support you when you need to change the tax programming on you cash register or make a new keyboard template.

We hear it all the time from people that call our office wanting free support on a cash register they did not buy from us and the company they bought from either went out of business or they do not know anything about the cash register. Anyone can put up a website and sell any number of things cheap including cash registers. Before you buy from anyone call them. Do they know anything about the cash register? Do they offer support free or otherwise? Have they been in business long?

A good commercial grade cash register should last you 5 to 7 years (does not mean they all do) and in that time you may need some help or a repair. Maybe you want to upgrade to integrated credit card, change your tax rate, change prices etc.

At our dealership we provide support for everything we sell. We charge for most of our support however if you bought your cash register from us we will try and support you for free when possible. So if you are looking for a SAM4s cash register check us out before you buy, give us a call and see if we know what we are talking about. We have been in business since 1972 and we sell and deploy cash registers all over North America. You can reach us at 1-800-863-2274

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is programming a cash register easy?

We are always asked if this cash register (insert model here) is easy to program and we answer each time the same way. "Easy is a subjective term" To some it is to some it is not. This answer is the same regardless of make of cash register as it applies evenly to all registers.

Some innovations have made the task of programming a cash register less difficult such has multi line displays, programming wizards, PC interface, SD card ports etc. The biggest factor of making a machine easier (or less hard) to program however remains the screen. The cash registers with larger multi line screens are the least difficult to program I'm not talking about the standard 2 line LED or LCD display we are talking 8 lines or better.

Why is a multi line display a great tool for programming cash registers? Well because it allows a more menu driven format where you are often answering questions and filling in the blanks. This format also allows you to program multiple aspects of an item all in the same screen. Most cash register with screens allow you to set the name, price, tax status, department link and more all from the same simple screen. An older cash register would make you use a program code for each of those functions.

A multi line display also make cash register credit card interfaces possible to make your system even more efficient.

Another feature that cash registers are finally rolling out of the factory with is an SD card port and flash ROM. The SD card port allows you to back up you cash register program, transfer programming to another register (same make and model) and on some download sales reports.

Cash registers are just starting to come out with USB ports and that should really help their ability to connect to a computer.

Both SAM4s cash registers and also some Sharp cash registers have machine with multi-line displays however SAM4s has many more of them in their product line up.

Need help picking a register than call us at 1-800-863-2274

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sharp cash registers

Sharp Electronics make two diiferent lines of cash registers. They make a commercial grade line and a consumer grade line.

Most cash register dealers like us only support the commercial line models. The consumer grade models are so inexpensive that often time programming and training would cost more than the register.

The commercial grade Sharp cash register models all begin with the pre-fix ER or UP while the consumer grade begins with XE

While many of the XE models have some good features they do not hold up well in a busy store or restaurant and are best suited for a owner operated smaller store.

As far as I know only the commercial cash registers can have credit card interface which can make a huge differance in profit!

If you are looking to buy or require service or support please give us a call 1-800-863-2274

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Buying a Sharp Cash Register this year?

Will you need to buy a cash register in 2013? If so Sharp is still leading the way with great features and prices. Back that up with service and support from the cash register guys and you have a great long term solution.

One of our specialties is cash register with built in credit card functions. When you interface your cash register and credit card payments you will keep more of your hard earned money in the cash drawer

Right now The cash register guys and Mercury Payments are running a special. Buy any cash register that interfaces with credit card, sign up with Mercury for merchant services and we will give you a $200.00 rebate after 90 days processing with Mercury and the Cash Register guys. Questions? call us at 1-800-863-2274

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Can Sharp cash registers take credit cards directly

When you are able to take credit cards directly on your Sharp cash register you accomplish several different things that are all good for your business. First of all is speed, it is much faster to check out a customer when you are not doing double entry of the total into a standalone credit card terminal. Second is accuracy, since you no longer have to double enter your sales total into the credit card machine you will stop making those ten key mistakes that are killing you! You know the ones where $19.99 turns into $9.99! And third it really helps stop or reduce fraud, now the cashier will have to ring up a customer sale completely before that can run a credit card. This is important because a stealing cashier will ring up a cash sale and than not ring up a sale of the same amount with a credit card however they do run the card through the credit card machine. Than the cashier takes that amount of cash out of the drawer for themselves and your register is going to balance! I bet this is all happening in your store right now and you have no idea! If not now it will as it is a matter of when not if!

There are lots of cash registers with built in credit card interface. The interface turns the Sharp cash register into a credit card machine and accomplishes everything I described above. We work with companies all over North America from our Cash Register Store in Seattle. Call us at 1-800-863-2274

We offer complete systems from SAM4s cash registers and of course Sharp cash registers. Makes no difference where you are we can help from Washington State to New York!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Keyboard templates for Sharp cash registers

When you buy a sharp cash register with a flat keyboard you want to make sure you receive a template in order to make your own keyboards when your wear out or you make changes to you register. We provide our customers with the templates for free and if you buy the register from us with full programming we even create the first keyboard for you and give you the file so you can print your own when ever you would like.

There are many Sharp registers that have flat keyboard like the following

We also have the templates for legacy models as well. If you bought your machine from us and can't locate a keyboard template let us know and we will email you one.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cash register that interfaces to quickbooks and credit card

Sharp has the ER-A347 cash register that interfaces to Quick Books accounting software and a credit card terminal. The Quick Books interface is called the Quick Books Transfer Tool and interfaces to your computer through a SD card and PC link software.

The ER-A347 is very affordable. Features a two station thermal printer, large multi-line display and serial ports to accomplish the interfaces. Unlike other cash registers that interface to credit card through the use of a Data Cap Twin Tran this register interfaces to a traditional credit card terminal.

You will like how this register programs as it will lead you through the program when you first turn it on. Great register at a great price! Call us at 1-800-863-2274 to order or for more information

Friday, January 4, 2013

Why do cash registers have non-settable grand totals?

Many cash register users overlook a powerful security tool built into their cash registers reporting system. Almost every cash register ever made features a non-resettable grand total and cumulative "Z" counters that are there for the store owners protection.

We get request from time to time to remove them, make them re-set or have them set to custom numbers. A few machines do allow modification or adjustments to these totals and counters but most do not.

A few makes including most Sharp cash registers have three non-resettable grand totals and they are a positive transaction total, a negative transaction total and a net total. I don't believe most SAM4s cash registers offer that but some may.

The "Z" counter is a simple counter. Every time you "Z" the register is counts up by one. Very simple and easy to understand. Most machines with "Z2" features also have "Z2" counters as well.

So know that we know what the counters and totals are why are they important you may ask? Well it is very simple! They can help you stop a thief! To use effectively one just needs to pay attention to the counters and totals. In our thirty plus years in business we have help numerous store owners catch managers and cashiers steal great sums of money by teaching them to use the counters and totals. The easiest and my favorite is the counter. Like we talked about every time you "Z" a machine the counter increments by one. We had a long term multi site customer come to us with concerns that there was something wrong with the their cash register that is was not counting correctly maybe? So we asked why they though this and they said because their sales volume was way off for the last few months. So we sat down with them with journal tapes and Z tapes and it only took about two minutes to find the problem. The Z counters were counting by two not by one. How could this be? What would cause this? Well it was easy for us to tell and all the evidence was there in black and white. The manager of the store closed the store alone. The manager would change the time on the register, Z the machine out two hours early and run the store for the next two hours and Z the machine again. That second Z tape would be thrown away and removed from the audit tape and the time would be changed back to normal. The manager would steal all the money the store did in those two hours everyday he worked. This was a high volume gas station so it did a fair amount in two hours.

The store owner armed with this information quickly set up a sting operation and caught the manager in the act and he was arrested. The damage he did was over $15K

These features are built into your cash register so I implore you to use them. No store or restaurant is immune. If you have employees it is a matter of when you are going to be stolen from not if. We have personally been involved with customers catching managers and cashiers from time little coffee stands to ten lane department stores and everything in between. One customer calculated and reported to the police a theft of $100,000.00 and was able to recover $30,000.00 of the money stolen over the years!

Hope this help, hope you put this advice to work for you and stop the silent unwanted partners helping themselves to your profit!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What is a cash register journal tape?

Most cash registers traditionally came from the factory equipped with a receipt tape printer and a journal tape printer, also known as a two station printer register. In the past ten years with the introduction of thermal printing cash registers the industry to save money went to a receipt printer only also known as a single station printer register.

In the newer models the journal was replaced by an electronic journal commonly referred to as an EJ. Both the EJ or the hard printed journal tape serve the same purpose to a point, however the EJ has some limitations.

Before we go into a more in-depth look at the differences are let's look at what a journal is regardless of printed or electronic. early on in electronic cash register development they began to be made with two station printers and at times the journal is invaluable and can save you hours of time or maybe save thousands of dollars. The number one function of the journal is for you to audit transactions. For you the store owner to look at exactly what was registered in the register and how, by who, when etc etc. Sometimes this information is used to locate and fix over rings or ten keying mistakes or even to catch a thief! The journal prints everything in live time just as it happened. The cashier used the void function it records it, the cashier opens the cash drawer with the no sale the journal shows it. The only thing a journal won't record is if the cashier enters some numbers on the keyboard as if making a sale and than presses clear. That would not record even as important as that can be however that is a topic for another day.

A perfect example of how useful a journal tape can be is this scenario that happens all the time. A manager X's out the register for the end of shift and finds that the register is reporting that you had sales of $1000.00 more than a normal shift and of course the drawer is short by that same $1000.00 so to solve the mystery you turn to the cashier and the journal tape. The cashier reports she was attempting to ring up 10 items for $1.00 each and accidentally registers 10 items for $100.00 instead. In her hurry to correct the mistake and finish the sale she she pressed the cash key to start over again. Than you see the next transaction on the journal where it is registered correctly backing up the cashiers story. Sometimes the cashier won't know why there is a massive overing but going through a journal tape you can discover them.

Many merchants than store their journal tapes for a period of time. As far as I know there is not a state, city, or county law that would require you to save them however always check your local regulations for clarification.

So know we know a little about why the journal tape is important lets look at the differences between a printed journal tape compared to a electronic journal tape (EJ). The EJ prints to memory and when you require the information you must go into reports and print out the EJ all at once than you have a printed hard copy of the journal just as you would have if you had a two station printer. Some cash registers even have filters so you can narrow down the information you print. Sounds great right? Well in many cases it is however the EJ has limits and the first one is memory. Most registers will have a programmable amount of space allocated for EJ storage. The EJ storage amount is almost always sized by number of lines for example a typical size is 3000 lines however I have seen them set up with 30K lines or as low as 1000. Next you must tell the register what to do when the lines of storage has been exceeded or about to be exceeded. Most registers have options such as stop the register, warn the user to run a EJ report which clears the memory and lets the user continue, that is a seldom used method. Next the register simply warns the operator but allows continued use of the register. The most common set up is just to set the register to overwrite the oldest information and never warn the operator and that is what we see most common. Now the problem with that is you come up with a situation where you need to see the audit from five days ago, chances are it has been over written and it all depends on how many lines were set up and how busy your store was over that time.

In the last few years the top manufactures have started coming back around and began offering models of registers with a choice of a single station or two station. In my opinion if you like hands on  access whenever you want it than buy a two station model.

Some great samples of models that offer choices in single station or two station are the following
So really think about whether a two station printer would help you? Is it worth the cost? Is it worth the expense of NOT having a journal tape? What expense you may ask? Well one important topic we did not even touch on is what happens if your register goes up in smoke? Maybe at the end of a busy day in the Christmas shopping season you register dies and you are left with a drawer full of cash and checks and no idea how much should be there, how much tax you collected, how much in gift cards you sold, nothing is known. If you had a register with a two station printer you could recreate the days' business. If your register had an EJ instead you history is probably gone for good. Does that happen? Not often but do you want to be the one it happens to?

If you need help selecting a cash register than feel free to give us a call. We know registers and what features and functions mean to different types of stores and restaurants. Our number is 1-800-863-2274

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tax programming for cash registers

So the first business day of the year and our phones are ringing off the hook with people looking for help programming their cash registers. We can help with commercial grade Sharp cash registers. Please don't call us if you have an XE model as we do not service them.

We charge for our support and the number is 1-800-863-2274 but before you call make sure you have your cash register manual (we can do without if need be) and your programming key. Most Sharp cash register programming keys have the letters MA on them. A SM or REG key will not get to the program mode and will do us no good! We sell all the keys as well.