Should you invest in a point of sale (POS) system that integrates with your inventory management and larger ERP system? Or, should you go with a standalone POS system? The right answer for your business can be determined by several factors.
First, let’s define the options.
An “integrated” POS system fully integrates with your larger ERP system that handles anything and everything from accounting to inventory management and order processing to purchasing.
A standalone POS system is usually sold by a third party (i.e., not your ERP or accounting system). Typically, a standalone POS system operates as more of an “attachment” to your accounting system and operations.
Pros of an integrated POS system
Simply put, an integrated POS system can always benefit your business — the question is whether or not these benefits are currently a priority for you. For many businesses looking to add a retail component, POS is a great option — and an integrated system will offer you all kinds of depth when it comes to functionality and sales forecasting.
For example, SalesPad Cloud is an inventory, order and warehouse management ERP system that includes POS as a component. This means that when it’s time to add POS to your business, you can simply purchase a plan and equipment, set up a POS terminal, and start selling. All your inventory, pricing and customer information flows seamlessly from your ERP to your POS stations.
With an integrated system, you’ll also save time since you won’t have to set up a new, separate piece of software. You also won’t have to worry about reconciling any data from your POS system to your accounting at the end of the day, because your POS will automatically send transactional data to your ERP, and then to accounting.
Lastly, with an integrated system, you’ll get much better reporting, sales forecasting, and customer insights, as your POS won’t be cut off from the rest of your sales channels.
Cons of an integrated POS system
Integrated POS systems can be worrying for some when it comes to the idea of POS transactions having an impact on the rest of accounting. Maybe you’re worried that something will be priced wrong in the POS system, or that somehow your POS users might make a mistake that impacts the rest of your financials.
Additionally, there are simply some people who find more security in keeping their POS system separate from all other systems. Whether they want to keep their POS users out of accounting or want certain kinds of inventory non-accessible via POS, these people might find themselves more at ease with a standalone POS.
Pros of a standalone POS system
As we just mentioned, an advantage to a standalone POS system is the security of keeping your POS users out of your accounting — you don’t have to worry about a cashier making an error that could impact your financials.
Another advantage of a standalone POS system is the control you have over what items and customers you want to be inputted into your POS. This migration of data also gives you the opportunity to do some data cleanup, as you sift through what information you want accessible in your standalone POS system.
Cons of a standalone POS system
As mentioned, while inputting inventory and customer information in a standalone POS has some benefits, it also requires time for all that manual entry.
Keeping your books in order will be a bit more complicated with a standalone POS system, since you'll be gathering summary transaction information (as opposed to line item detail) and manually entering that into your accounting system. This is perhaps one of the biggest disadvantages of a standalone POS system — you’ll have to figure out how to keep your accounting clean. For example, at the end of the day you could pull the summary transaction information from your POS system and do journal entries in your accounting system, manually recording and adjusting your inventory sold and your profits. Obviously, this could create a substantial amount of lost time due to manual processes.
The best of both worlds
As a shameless plug, SalesPad Cloud PointOfSale can give you the best of both worlds when it comes to POS. A unique fit for inventory-minded businesses, SalesPad’s POS addresses many of the disadvantages of typical integrated systems. Some of these key features include:
- Security levels for POS users, keeping your financials safe.
- Ability to approve transactional data before it posts, if you’re concerned about your POS transactions.
- A seamless connection to purchasing, sales, and inventory management, your POS users are kept out of SalesPad Cloud.
Our POS has all the security of a standalone system, with the powerful features you’d expect from an integrated POS.
What's on your wishlist for a POS system? Let us know in the comments!