How to use a PC as a cash register

Written by mike andrews
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How to use a PC as a cash register
Computer point-of-sale systems integrate customer purchases into a lifetime customer history. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Enter virtually any retail establishment and the odds are good that you'll see a PC being used as a cash register. Cashiers touch screens and enter information via keyboards, and the computer does the rest; it calculates the price, adds taxes, removes the item from inventory, enters the relevant information into the accounting system and sometimes adds the transaction to the customer's purchase history. Computerised cash-register systems allow businesses to serve customers faster while operating smarter.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Computer
  • Point-of-sale software
  • PC-compatible cash drawer
  • Receipt printer (optional)
  • Connecting cables (included with hardware)

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  1. 1

    Choose your point-of-sale software. QuickBooks Point of Sale is the most popular retail option, ranging in price from £650 for the basic version to £975 for the Pro version, as of October 2010. There are also industry-specific POS programs, as well as a number of free point-of-sale programs available.

  2. 2

    Buy a computer cash drawer and receipt printer. Most are available in at least black and tan. Cash drawers may connect by serial or USB connectors, and receipt printers connect directly to the cash drawer. According to Nextag, cash drawer prices run from £45 to £520, and receipt printers cost £61 to £325, as of October 2010.

  3. 3

    Choose the location in your business for the point-of-sale system and set up the computer there. The register should be placed in such a way as to be convenient for both customers and staff. Be sure to place the keyboard, mouse and other peripheral items in such a way that they don't obstruct the cash drawer when it opens.

  4. 4

    Connect the cash drawer to the computer, plug it in, and add it to the computer set-up. Then connect the receipt printer to the cash drawer, plug it in, load its paper and place it alongside the drawer for ease of use.

  5. 5

    Install your chosen point-of-sale software on the computer by inserting its disk and following its on-screen instructions. Read and follow all prompts carefully to ensure proper installation. Then configure the software with your own sale items, prices, tax rate and other business-specific information.

  6. 6

    Test your new cash register system by entering a few sample transactions into the system. Note whether or not prices appear correctly, taxes are correctly calculated, the cash drawer opens and the receipt printer is working for each transaction. Consult the software's user guide to troubleshoot problems with performance.

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