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QuickBooks Point of Sale Pro for Retailers 4.0
If you're ready to hang the shingle on a new business, Intuit offers a turnkey software and hardware package that's worth a look for mom-and-pop retailers. The QuickBooks Point of Sale Pro for Retailers 4.0 software and hardware bundle is like a cash register with smarts. It includes management software, a bar code scanner, a credit card reader, a receipt printer, and a cash drawer. This system automates the drudge work that small retailers often do manually: tracking inventory, creating purchase orders, determining sales taxes, and the like. The Point of Sale 4.0 software ($700 for the Basic version, $1,000 for the Pro version) has a revamped interface cribbed from the popular accounting app, and it's much easier to navigate than its predecessor. QuickBooks Point of Sale comes in a variety of pricing packages that differ depending on how many shops you own or how much hardware you want to buy. After testing QuickBooks Point of Sale Pro for Retailers, we find it affordable, especially given the start-up costs of a small business.
Plan to spend a weekend setting up QuickBooks Point of Sale Pro 4.0. While the initial hardware and software setup moves quickly--about an hour in our tests--inputting your own company's details, inventory, and sales-tax information could take much longer.
Hardware installation is a snap, taking us only 20 minutes, thanks to a handy setup poster. The bar code scanner and credit card reader share the computer's PS/2 port with your keyboard; a poster diagram makes this easy to configure, and Intuit thoughtfully provides all the necessary cables and connectors. You plug the cash register into the receipt printer, which in turn connects to the parallel port on your computer. You may not even have to buy a new power strip, because only the receipt printer requires an additional AC connection.
The downside? The hardware bundle hasn't changed since the last version, and we wish the optional $720 Physical Inventory Scanner (a wireless device that makes scanning bar codes a thousand times easier) came with the $1,500 Basic pricing bundle or the $1,700 Pro bundle.
Software initiation for Point of Sale took us about 40 minutes. During the thorough setup interview, a series of screens ask dozens of questions about your business, from its name to the nitty-gritty (such as what pleasantry you want printed on customer receipts). As with other Intuit apps, the interview links to help pages that explain sales-tax codes and other perplexing terms. We particularly liked the ability to import company data directly from thebookkeeping app. You can also import data from Microsoft Excel 2000, 2002, or 2003.