From the Sept. 2010 Review of Retail Point-of-Sale Systems.
Cougar Mountain Software (CMS) continues to be a staple for the small business owner. The Point-of-Sale module inside of CMS Professional 2011 POS software package is designed to not only work in tandem with the core accounting suite, but can function as a standalone POS software package (including Inventory). However, it functions much more effectively when used with the core CMS Professional 2011 accounting package, providing smaller businesses with an excellent front/back office solution.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS:
Cougar Mountain Software has maintained its easy-to-navigate user interface for years and continues to do so today. The home screen is clutter free, with icons representing each CMS Professional 2011 module installed. The POS entry screen is also easily navigated, with a customer lookup option at the top of the screen. Sales can be entered by customer or as general transactions without using customer information. Lookup screens are available for each item, and a series of shortcut keys provide quick item processing. Below the entry screen is a series of tabs with various options such as Customer, Detail, Tender, Paid Outs, and On Account. Items can also be scanned for even quicker processing.
The CMS Professional 2011 POS software package offers a solid selection of modules that work in conjunction with the POS application — Inventory and Data Exchange. As previously noted, the CMS Professional 2011 POS package also integrates effectively to the core accounting package (GL, OE, AP and AR). Add-on modules include Job Cost, Multi-Location Inventory, Bank Reconciliation, Payroll, GL Report Generator, BarTender Label Generator, Purchase Order and Specialty Shop.
Unique codes can be easily created for each register, and a unique password can be assigned to each salesperson for authorized access to the register. Salesperson controls are set individually and include functions such as setting the maximum check amount they can accept, maximum discount they can give, and a checklist of all features.
One of the terrific things about CMS Professional 2011 POS is its extensive customization capabilities. The Set up Sales Entry screen allows for customized header prompts, tender types accepted, column detail to display, and register close out options. New in the 2011 version is Cougar Dtails, A Sales Dashboard, which pulls data from the sales modules (OE and/or POS), Inventory and AR to display in a comprehensive dashboard, with users able to display sales summary, sales by product or sales by customer. This sales dashboard allows a user to quickly monitor their revenue status through multiple views and options by glimpsing at their current sales and historical trends. The Single Point Server add-on option, available for one to four users, can keep multiple locations on track by allowing all authorized users to access and share company data.
CMS Professional 2011 POS allows multiple transaction types to be entered from the same screen so special orders and discounts can be easily processed at the same time as the regular order. Multiple pricing for all inventory items is available and can be assigned using price type, such as list, margin and markup, with alternate pricing also available.
The optional Multi-Location Inventory module easily handles multiple warehouse management. CMS Total eCom is available for retailers who wish to easily integrate their web store transactions into their back office accounting data. CMS Professional 2011 POS will also easily handle catalog and mail order products.
Utilizing the integrated eCommerce add-on, CMS Total eCom, automatically adjusts inventory when online sales occur. The eCommerce function also offers four hours of website creation and shopping cart design to add online sales to existing brick and mortar stores. The system accepts multiple tender types including cash, check and credit cards. Debit cards can be accepted, as well.
Using CMS Professional 2011 POS with POS Back Office makes it easy to lookup customer information, including a comprehensive customer transaction history, aged analysis and credit/collection information. Retailers can track customer purchases and reward return customers with special pricing and product discounts.
With the addition of the Cougar Dtails, A Sales Dashboard, CMS makes a significant enhancement to its reporting capabilities. A wide range of POS reports includes reporting for cash receipts and credit card receipts. A Promotional Sales report highlights sales activity for all promotional products. The optional add-on product, CMS Professional 2011 POS R&R ReportWorks8 Infinity, allows for creation of custom reports based on the criteria set by the user. Selected reports can be exported to a CSV file for easy customization in Excel. The Snapshot Reports provide quick reporting options such as vital statistics like 10 best and worst selling products. Real-time integration with other CMS Professional products means automatic updates and current data in all reports.
The Inventory module easily tracks product movement so a business will always know which products are selling and which are not. Inventory sales can be tracked by month or by year, revealing which products may need to be replaced or removed. Dashboards provide excellent business financial and sales management analysis. The audit trail report provides a complete listing of system transactions including a user ID, description and account posted to.
INTEGRATION/IMPORT & EXPORT:
CMS Professional 2011 POS integrates with the CMS Professional suite of products for complete front/back office functionality. Add-on modules are available for integrated shipping options for both FedEx and UPS. The Data Exchange feature allows easy import from database or spreadsheet programs, along with export capability to a variety of file formats including MS Access, FoxPro, Paradox, Excel and other ASCII file for-mats. CMS POS offers easy integration with numerous hardware peripherals, including credit card readers, cash drawers, pole displays and barcode scanners.
Cougar Mountain Software provides an excellent Help system. The Software Assurance Plans offer maintenance releases, service packs, access to the FAQs knowledgebase, and basic e-learning. Product documentation for all recent product versions is available on the Customer Service Center website, as are software updates and patches. Customer support is available during regular business hours and is available by telephone or email. All CMS support is handled from the vendor’s Idaho-based headquarters. The vendor offers a variety of on- or off-site training solutions, and e-learning videos are available.
SUMMARY & PRICING
CMS Professional 2011 POS for a single-user starts at $845 and includes the Software Assurance Plan. POS with Back Office starts at $1,934. CMS continues to offer a solid, reasonably priced product, and is an excellent choice for small to midsized retailers who want a solid POS product with an outstanding back office system.
2010 OVERALL RATING: