What Does POS Mean? Discover the Basics of POS Systems.

Discover the POS system

If you run a retail business, you know how important it is to ring up sales efficiently, track and manage inventory effectively and be able to gain insights from your customer and sales data. The best way to streamline these business operations is an integrated point of sale (POS) system. For those who have not used a POS system before or for those who may need a refresher, let’s go back to the basics and define what a POS system is and what features and efficiencies you can expect by using one.


What is POS?
The acronym POS stands for “point of sale.” In a general sense, a point of sale can be defined as the place in a retail store where a transaction takes place between a customer and a vendor.


What is a POS system?
A POS system is specifically the hardware used to ring up sales and the software that helps with inventory management, customer relationships, and reporting.


With QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale you get all this, and in addition, it syncs automatically with your QuickBooks Desktop software to streamline your reconciliation at the end of the day and accounting.


Why use a POS system?


Improve Inventory

Understand Your
Customers and Reward
Them With a Loyalty


Gain Insights Through

What features and efficiencies can you expect by using a POS system?
With a good POS system you are able to maintain up-to-date inventory levels, keep track of what and when to order as well as ring up sales, manage discounts and maintain a customer loyalty program and CRM. It also speeds the time ringing up customers if you use a barcode scanner and an integrated credit card payment account. Inventory reports can pinpoint what items are flying off the shelves and which are sitting in the warehouse gathering dust. Additionally, a POS system can show the busy days and times of the year which allow you to order the inventory needed and staff your store correctly.


How does a POS system work?
There are two components to a POS system, the hardware and the software. Before diving into these, let’s first understand the process of using a POS system. A fully integrated software and hardware system like QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale can include a barcode scanner, a credit card machine, cash drawer, receipt printer, and a tablet or computer to host the POS software. When a customer buys something, you can either use the barcode scanner or key in the item’s information into the system. With QuickBooks Point of sale, you can use a Microsoft Surface® Pro 41 anywhere in your store to ring up the sale. Returning to the counter, the customer then pays for the item. With credit card payments integrated into your POS system, you can run the credit card directly on the hardware that is linked to the POS software.2 If you use a third-party credit card service, you have to manually key in the total from the POS system into the credit card reader. Using an integrated system saves time and reduces accounting errors.


How does POS software work?
The software component of the POS system is a key part of making the system effective in helping to improve your business operations. The software calculates totals for the customer, but also can do more advanced tasks such as automatically update inventory levels, calculate discounts, and track your customer loyalty program. Best of all, if you use QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale, the software will sync automatically with your QuickBooks Desktop account at the end of the day.3


What POS hardware and equipment do I need?
Choosing the right equipment can be daunting, especially if you are just starting out.


When deciding on hardware, it is best to think through your needs and then decide what to purchase. There are different kinds of hardware that you can use depending on your business’ needs, your store layout, and your personal preference. For example, if you are likely to move about your store, or take your goods to a tradeshow or market, then a tablet-based POS system is ideal. If you have a store with lots of inventory, having a barcode scanner will speed up taking inventory and ringing up sales.


Key Benefits and Purpose

EMV Ready PinPad

Customers can pay with a credit or PIN debit card

An integrated Credit Card Payments Account makes it easy to streamline sales


Receipt Printer

Print receipts when a sale is complete


Barcode Scanner

Ring up sales faster and track inventory more accurately


Cash Drawer

Keep cash safe and ring up sales efficiently with an integrated cash drawer that locks when not in use and automatically opens when you complete a sale.


Pole Display

Display prices to your customers as you ring up sales


Tag Printer

Print your own inventory tags and barcode labels


Wireless Barcode Scanner

Scan faster with a lightweight and wireless scanner



Get the freedom and flexibility of a portable tablet.

QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale is compatible with Microsoft Surface® Pro 4.


Did you know that QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale sells a bundled hardware package? Call us at 1-(877) 282-0782 and we can tell you more about your hardware options and help you configure the best POS system for your business.


What’s the best type of POS for my business?
QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale is versatile and can meet the needs of many different types of retail businesses. It also scales with your business. Whether you are a new store owner or manage a multi-store business, we can help you. With QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale, you know you’re getting the quality and support of the QuickBooks brand with every transaction. The best part? QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale software is a one-time purchase.


Find out what our customers are saying about QuickBooks Desktop Point of Sale.

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