Simplifying Your Taxes Using a POS System the possible exception of some CPAs or IRS employees, there aren’t a lot of people who enjoy tax season. And if you own or run a business, it’s very likely that you really hate tax season. Given the complex nature of taxes in business, this isn’t surprising. As just a partial list, many companies have to deal with business income taxes; sales taxes; payroll taxes, including matching FICA contributions; self-employment taxes; unemployment taxes; and other applicable state and/or local taxes. Keeping track of and paying all of these taxes is enough to leave anybody’s head spinning, even with the help of their accountant. One way to simplify your business’ taxes and help mitigate some of the stress involved with tracking and paying those taxes is to utilize a POS System.

Tracking the Right Information

Unfortunately, many companies use POS systems as little more than an expensive, glorified cash register. In these instances, the system is almost exclusively used to ring up or cash out orders and collect sales tax when applicable. However, these systems can do so much more. When properly configured and used, a POS system can track many different factors that affect your taxes. Some of these factors include hours worked, tips collected, inventory purchased, sales tax collected, accounts received and more. This allows you to have all the information you need right at your fingertips. On a side note, POS systems are designed to record your sales and other information for your business and tax purposes. Sadly, some companies choose to use illegal software, commonly called zappers, to falsify or suppress these records in a misguided attempt to evade paying some of their taxes. These types of programs should be avoided at all costs.

Integrating Accounting Software

Tracking information is great, but having the right information will only get you so far. You also need to be able to use that information. Integrating accounting software into your POS system allows you to access and use the information to your greatest advantage. These integrated systems can not only track the information, but also collate it into reports that can be used to make preparing and paying your taxes simpler and easier for both you and your accountant.

As you prepare for this and future tax seasons, make sure you have all of the information you need. That means don’t cut corners on your POS system. Take advantage of all the features you need for taxes that apply to your business.

Choosing an Effective Restaurant POS System

Planning the menu and gaining a healthy clientele are not the only things you’ll need to worry about when opening or expanding a restaurant. A profitable restaurant also has a great point of sale system to keep everything running smoothly. As you search for the best POS system for your restaurant, consider these important features. 

Upgradeable and Supported

As you’ve probably noticed, technology is constantly evolving, which means that your POS system will need to be upgraded at some point. It’s important to look for a POS system that you can easily upgrade so that you can stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest features. You’ll also want the option of full tech support available 24/7 in case of glitches. You can’t afford to stop running your business to repair your POS system when it breaks down.

Labor Monitoring Capabilities

The best POS systems will have the ability to track your labor percentages and employee accuracy. Always knowing your labor percentages will help you to keep costs associated with your business to a minimum, increasing your success. It will also be very helpful to keep a record of each employee’s till and computer use to help you distinguish the good employees from the bad.

Hardware and Software Packages

Though you can use any hardware compatible with your software of choice, buying it in a package provides a smoother, more affordable option. Usually when you purchase the hardware and software together, the license fee you would normally have to pay for each computer is waived, making it a very cost-efficient choice.

Great Inventory Tools

An accurate inventory is the most important aspect of running any restaraunt, and using a sub-par POS system will make it that much more difficult. Look for a POS system that will accurately keep track of money lost on wasted food. This way, you can track food use and waste so that you know what to reorder and what to boot from your menu.

Handheld Option

It’s always a great idea to have a handheld version of your POS system handy when you’re running a restaurant. It makes it easy to monitor sales, keep track of inventory, and run credit cards without being tied to a computer.

Reasonable Cost

The cost of a really good POS system can be astronomical, making it very difficult to see a lot of profit in the beginning. The good news is, the cost of the system doesn’t have much to do with the effectiveness of it. In fact, a great option for a new business would be a used POS system that has all the features you need without the cost. Provided it has all the necessary features, a used system will work just as well as a brand new one, and you can begin to see profits much sooner in your restaurant dealings.

Who Should Offer Gift Cards?

As a business owner, do you want to miss out on even a tiny slice of a $31.74 billion pie? If you’re not providing gift card services, that’s exactly what you’re doing. As gift cards grow in popularity, it becomes more and more critical for every business that sells food, goods and even services to provide gift cards for their customers and have reliable gift card processing integrated into their Point of Sale (POS) system.


 Gift Cards – The Gift of Choice

For many years, gift cards were deemed impersonal or were mainly bought because they were convenient. However, they have now become a practical gift choice for millions of holiday shoppers. A survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) showed that a staggering 62% of shoppers would like to receive a gift card. Far from being considered impersonal by the recipient, they have actually been the most requested gift item for eight years in a row.


The NRF started tracking consumers’ intentions to buy gift cards for holiday gifts back in 2003, and total spending on gift cards since that time has increased by 83%. If you think your customers are too old, too young or too whatever to buy gift cards, you’re probably wrong. Adults 65+ years old actually spend the most on holiday gift cards ($204.59 on average), but even the group projected to spend the least on gift cards this year (18-24 year olds) will spend an average of $113.75 on them this holiday season.


 Why Gift Cards?

Beyond the huge amount of money that is spent on them each year, you may be wondering what other benefits gift cards offer. For starters, we’ve found that restaurants that switch from paper gift certificates to plastic gift cards typically see a 50-100% increase in sales. Additionally, most gift cards are used within 60 days of being issued, and 72% of customers using a gift card will actually spend more than the value originally loaded on the card.


 Make Money the Easy Way


On the other hand, did you know that 27% of gift cards are never redeemed and about 40% of those that are redeemed aren’t redeemed for the full value? As a store owner, you’re going to want to be able to capture at least some of the unused balances left on gift cards. The simple solution is to choose a system that doesn’t process your gift cards through a third party company. This also saves you from having to pay swipe fees and transaction fees.


People have many different reasons for purchasing gift cards, including allowing the recipient to choose their own gift, fast and easy purchasing, and sticking to a holiday budget.


No matter what their reason for buying is and no matter how you look at it, choosing to offer gift cards to your customers just makes sense. The holidays are upon us, and the big holiday shopping season kicks off soon. Don’t miss out on your slice of the gift card pie.





The 2014 Restaurant Innovation Summit

restaraurant Innovation SummitIf you have ever wondered how you could better put data to work for your business, you should attend this conference. If you are looking for ways to integrate social media with your operations, you should attend this conference. If you are looking to find out what your customers want more of from a loyalty program or get more participation, you should attend this conference.

The 2014 Restaurant Innovation Summit promises to be positively brimming with industry innovations and insights! 

What is it?

The Restaurant Innovation Summit is a gathering of restaurant professionals put on by the National Restaurant Association to discuss emerging technologies and their application in innovating restaurant operations. This year, the summit is focused on data alchemy—how data stewardship can lead to innovation that can provide better hospitality experiences. In other words, data alchemy is harnessing the power of the customer information you can collect. Data can hold immense decision-making power if you know how to collect and use it to improve restaurant operations and outreach.

What to Expect

At the Summit, there will be 9 dynamic breakout sessions that you can attend in addition to two keynote presentations. The topics of these sessions will be:

  • Mobile Payments
  • Data Stewardship and Privacy
  • Collaborative Economy
  • Behavior Science and Loyalty
  • Innovative Use of Social Media

This event is meant to excite and inspire its attendees by presenting a positive exchange of ideas and innovations that are applicable to the restaurant world using data and new technologies.

According to the NRA’s chief innovation and member advancement officer, Phil Kafarakis, “The ideas presented at this year’s summit will help operators be more efficient, cost effective and achieve business success.”

Who Will Be in Attendance?

Let’s just say that last year, there were Chief Executive, Marketing, and Financial officers in attendance from a variety of well-known companies and organizations. There are 26 exceptional thought leaders scheduled to speak at this year’s summit. Coming from a wide range of technology, marketing, business development, and operations positions and experiences, those in attendance should prepare to have the fire of innovation lit from these great speakers.

When/Where is it?

The summit is held in Atlanta, Georgia, and will be held on October 28th and 29th. The registration fee is $395 for active NRA members and $895 for non-members.

A Day in the Life of a Shop Owner in the 1950s

A Scene of the 1950s

In the early 1950s, the shopping scene was much different from the operations of store owners of today. The way people lived was changing, in part because:

  • The television was a new and powerful way of exposing Americans to an "ideal lifestyle" through tv programs. This led to the desire to mimic the lifestyles portrayed on these tv shows.
  • More and more people had access to automobiles, and new highways were constructed.
  • Much of the population moved into new, low-cost development areas, allowing the birth of suburbs.
  • The rise of shopping centers contributed to people being able to get more shops and services without needing to travel into the big cities.
  • Credit cards were invented, gaining popularity and use through the 50s. This was leading people to a “buy now, pay later” mentality.

Shop in the 50sA Day in the Life

Let’s look at a day in the life of a retail shop owner in the 50s. Let’s say our owner is named Jim. Jim owns an appliance store in a shopping center in rapidly expanding Miami, Florida. Business was good as people were seeing the new appliances in the television programs and wanted to achieve this new standard of living.

Jim would come in early to start the day by accounting for his inventory and figuring the number of toasters, refrigerators, and washing machines he would need to re-order soon. This was done by walking through the showroom and the back room where the rest of his inventory was stocked. Jim would then check the sales data from the previous week since the last shipment had come in and then check the cash register to find out how much cash he was starting the day out with. Once completed with his rounds, the time would come to open his doors.

Cash and checks were the gold standard as Jim had gotten into the industry, but credit cards were the new payment method with which he was becoming well acquainted. Charging for products was becoming the norm during Jim’s era, and he was able to take advantage of this because more people were able to buy his expensive appliances than ever before. Jim would keep track of his sales and new orders in his logs. At the end of the day, Jim would have to add up the cash in his cash register, the checks, and the credit card payments with which the customers had paid with. Keeping track of the income for the day with the accounting skills that he would have had to know, Jim would deposit the money at the bank and go on his merry way.

Back in 2014…

Looking back on this time period, we can realize the changes in the economy and the way that society functions today. Similar to the leaps that credit cards made on the shopping experience, we as a people have made many advancements in technology that are game-changers. Our appliance store owner had many hats to wear and jobs to do throughout the day. Technology allows many of those barriers that Jim had to deal with to become smaller. With modern technology, shop owners can now rely on different operating systems to take care of the day-to-day business while they have the opportunity to focus on what they truly excel at: selling their products.

Different Implementations of POS Systems

What is something that retailers, restaurants, and hotels have in common? They all use a point of sale (POS) system. A POS system is essentially the place where a transaction is made. The checkout stand at a grocery store, the front desk at the hotel, or the computer where your server rings in your food are all POS systems. They allow businesses to instantly track inventories and compile sales data. As technology has advanced, more and more ways to implement a POS system have become available.



With all of the amazing advancements that have been made in technology, traditional POS systems are often said to be on their way out the door. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. As long as there are brick and mortar stores, there will be a need for traditional POS systems. However, that isn’t to say that these traditional systems don’t keep up with the times. These systems provide all of the hardware necessary for completing a transaction at one stable and secure place. Early POS systems often consisted of a computer, a cash drawer, a monitor, a programmable keyboard, a receipt printer, and a barcode scanner. More updated POS systems use touch screen monitors instead of the monitor and programmable keyboard combination.



Just as technological advancements have provided for updated versions of traditional POS systems, they have also provided ways to handle business transactions anywhere you go.



POS systems that are designed to function on tablets are becoming increasingly popular for small businesses. They provide the ability for your staff to go directly to the customer and can usually be found at lower prices than a traditional system. They are lightweight, space saving devices that can be used as docking stations in a restaurant or as a handheld device to search for inventory and product information for retailers.


Mobile Phones

Let’s face it, mobile phones have become like little computers you can hold in the palm of your hand. You can do essentially anything from your smartphone. We also live in a time when the majority of people use a debit/credit card as their preferred payment method. Mobile phone POS systems allow you to cater to any customer no matter where you are. Restaurant owners who have a booth at the state fair don’t have to turn away any customers that don’t have cash on hand. The data from these sales is just as easily tracked as data from a computer-based system or a tablet-based system.



No matter which POS system you choose, the hardware is just half of the equation. There is necessary software no matter which type of hardware you decide on using. The type of software that is best for your business depends on the industry. Software is where you really are able to customize your dashboard to fit your needs and reflect the products or services you offer. Restaurant software provides you with the ability to select the menu item to see the recipe, implement discounts and promotions, track sales, clock employees in and out, and send order information to the kitchen. Retail POS software allows you to instantly pull up inventory data and track sales data based on time frames or inventory type. POS software is incredibly user friendly and easily adjustable to accommodate changing products and services.

No matter the size of the business or industry, there is a POS system to fit your wants and needs.



Updating BPA Payroll Tax Information | Business Software Solutions

Each year Business Software Solutions releases an update to the federal tax tables for our payroll module. This update will ensure that your FICA tax tables are set up correctly. In addition to updating the FICA tables, there are additional federal rates that may need to be changed manually. This year the employee contribution to social security will be increasing from 4.2% to 6.2%. Be sure to update this rate before you run payroll for the new year. To change this rate, do the following:

  1. 1. Open the BPA software and go to Business System>Payroll
  2. 2. Click Change Federal Tax Limits
  3. 3. Ensure all rates are updated to the follow: SS Wage Limit – 113700.00, SS Employee Rate – 6.2, SS Employer Rate – 6.2, Medicare Wage Limit – 9999999.99, Medicare Tax Rate – 1.45, FUTA Wage Limit – 7000.00, FUTA Tax Rate – 6.000.


  1. 4. Once you have updated the rates simply select F3 to exit.

We also suggest that you check your SUTA tax rates by clicking Change State Tax Limits. Check with your state to enter the correct value here.

Please note that these rates may change at any time due to new federal legislation. Please check IRS Publication 15for updated rate information.

Bring Back the Bread Basket | Business Software Solutions

What do Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Texas Roadhouse all have in common? If your taste buds reminded you of the very first bite of fresh bread you can experience at each of these locations, you answered correctly.  In this economic downturn many restaurants have shied away from complimentary bread to start a meal.  Maybe the real questions should be can you afford not to offer a fresh baked complimentary introduction to dinner?  Read more at Restaurant Management Magazine and you may change your mind.


Breaking Bread (Traditions)