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Microsoft Business Solutions — Point of Sale

From the November 2005 Review of Point-of-Sale

Recently released in June of 2005, Microsoft Point of Sale is aimed at small
retailers with single-store locations.

EASE OF USE — 5 Stars
Immediately upon installing Microsoft POS, users will be taken to the Store
Setup Wizard, which will assist in entering store owner information, employee
information (including passwords), store information (including business name
and address) and other location details. This is also where sales tax rates
will be entered as well as the tender types that will be accepted, such as cash,
check, VISA, American Express, MasterCard and Discover. Department and category
names and codes can also be entered, along with supplier information and codes.
All information can be edited later if necessary.

The main POS transaction entry screen is easily navigated. The top displays
the current date and any customized information desired. To the left is a search
box, where users can search for items or customers. The Task Pane on the left
side of the screen features one-click access to commonly used functions such
as Items by Description, Discount Transaction, Hold/Recall, New Customer, Time
Clock and Cancel Transaction. A function bar at the bottom features function
keys that provide access to common POS functions. Items can be scanned into
the system or entered by item number. Discounts can be easily applied, and new
customers and items can be added, placed on hold or recalled. Transactions can
also be edited, and the F12 key on the function bar will tender the sale.

Microsoft Point of Sale Manager is the back-office module. This is where inventory,
customer, employee, and store information is entered and managed. The Point
of Sale Manager screen contains a drop-down menu at the top that offers access
to various components, including Inventory, People and Reports. The rest of
the main screen resembles Outlook with a navigation pane and button area, a
content pane, a status bar at the bottom, and a preview pane to view current
transactions. Windows users will be immediately comfortable with the layout
of the screens, and an excellent Help option found in each screen option will
make new users comfortable quickly.

Microsoft Point of Sale contains two modules: the Point of Sale, where all retail
transactions are processed, and the Point of Sale Manager, where back-office
information is stored and tracked. The Point of Sale Manager module contains
customer, inventory and employee functions, as well as a place to process purchase
orders. Wizards are available for Inventory and Purchase Order processing.

Microsoft Point of Sale features real-time inventory tracking for accurate inventory
control. New users can opt to use the practice mode to gain experience with
the system prior to using the actual software. The intuitive interface allows
cashiers to look up information on the spot, including customer purchase history.
New customers and inventory items can be added on the fly, and discounts can
be given during purchase. Users can choose to use Microsoft Point of Sale with
their PC or with touch-screen technology. Integrated credit and debit card processing
allows transactions to be processed quickly and without unnecessary steps. The
search box can be used to find customer, item or transaction information, or
to display lists. And the entry screen can be customized to suit individual

Microsoft Point of Sale integrates with QuickBooks Accounting software as well
as Microsoft Office Systems. Microsoft Point of Sale also integrates with common
POS hardware such as cash drawers, receipt printers, barcode scanners, check
readers, PIN pads, magnetic strip readers and signature capture devices.

Microsoft Point of Sale easily tracks inventory items. The Import Wizard assists
with importing inventory information from other systems. The Physical Inventory
Wizard helps with item counts, and the Inventory Transfer Wizard makes it easy
to move and record inventory where needed. All purchase orders can be listed
and viewed individually for easy editing. Purchase orders can also be exported
or e-mailed for more efficient processing. Customer histories are easily accessible
and include personal data such as total number of visits, total sales, total
savings and the date the customer last visited the store.

Reporting options are excellent with reports available for sales, customers,
items, orders and miscellaneous categories. Reports include Daily Sales by Category,
Department, Employee, Register, Supplier or Tax Collected. Also available are
Physical Inventory Detailed and Summarized reports, a Price List, a Quantity
List, a Supplier List and an Item Movement List, which provides detail on items
sold, including quantities, total sales and cost. Miscellaneous reports include
a Batch List, Cashier Log, Register Analysis and Tender Summaries.

Microsoft Point of Sale starts at $799 for a single-user system. Microsoft Point
of Sale is a reasonably priced, easily navigated system that is designed to
help the small retailer tender sales and get a handle on back-office management.
With its excellent back office options, including a terrific tracking/reporting
system, I would say that it succeeds.

2005 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars