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HighTower, Inc. — HighTower Point Of Sale Professional

the Nov. 2006 Review of Point-of-Sale Systems

Point of Sale Professional from HighTower Inc. is a little different than some
of the other products in this review, as it requires a specific third-party
software product (Sage MAS 90) in order to function properly. HighTower POS
is sold as a product enhancement for the Sage MAS 90 accounting module.

EASE OF USE — 4 Stars
The HighTower POS module interfaces directly with Sage MAS 90 and Sage MAS 200.
The main screen is similar to Microsoft Explorer, with system modules found
to the left of the screen. Clicking on the POS module will bring up the main
grid, which contains Main, GL, POS Entry, Report Setup, and Recaps tabs at the
top of the grid. Setup options are selected here, as well as choosing the MAS
90/200 modules with which to integrate, the current fiscal year and cash register
numbers. A default cash drawer total can also be set, which will apply to all
active registers. The POS entry screen contains a series of fields on the left
side of the screen, and a summary of the transactions entered is displayed to
the right. HighTower POS can handle a variety of transaction types including
cash sales, returns, layaways, customer payments, orders and quotes.

As previously noted, HighTower POS is a program enhancement designed to work
with Sage MAS 90 or Sage MAS 200. As a result of this integration, users have
complete access to all of the modules included with either Sage MAS 90 or Sage
MAS 200. This enables users to obtain real-time inventory totals, post point-of-sale
transactions to the GL, and maintain customers in the AR module. Sage MAS 90
is designed for small to midsize companies, and Sage MAS 200 is for larger,
enterprise-level businesses that have a need for quick performance and remote
access to the program. Sage MAS 200 is the logical upgrade for current Sage
MAS 90 users who need to expand their system.

New features in the most recent version of HighTower (Version 4.05) include
the option to allow managers to view unencrypted customer credit card numbers,
the addition of monthly recap reports, and the option to print voided transactions
from either the point-of-sale entry screen or the transaction history inquiry
screen. HighTower POS easily handles multiple store locations, with the option
to set up different options for each location. The point-of-sale entry screen
can process a variety of transactions including sales, orders, quotes, customer
payments, layaways, returns and rental transactions.

Customer contact information can be entered or edited on the fly during sales
transactions. Quantities on-hand can be displayed on-screen when entering a
sales transaction, and cashiers can look up item pricing without interrupting
their current transaction. Miscellaneous charges can be processed, as well,
with information entered on the fly. Discounts can be created as transactions
are being entered, by percentage or as a specific amount. Users can also view
the total amount of discounts taken for the current accounting period, year
to date or prior year to date. HighTower easily handles club or membership discounts,
as well.

HighTower POS is a program enhancement, not a standalone product. As such, it
is designed to work exclusively with Sage MAS 90 or Sage MAS 200. While the
Point of Sale module leaves the integration option to be determined during setup,
there is really no reason to not choose to integrate the product with the financial
system. Currently, data tables are shared with Sage MAS 90/200 AR, Inventory
Management, Bank Reconciliation, Sales Order and GL modules. HighTower also
integrates with popular hardware peripherals including receipt printers, pole
displays, credit card processors, barcode scanners and cash drawers.

HighTower provides excellent tracking of multiple registers, with the ability
to see which cash drawers are currently functioning, view details of all system
transactions, track customer spending habits, and maintain a database for club
or rewards card members. The Recap feature processes excellent system recap
reports including customer, receipts, location, division or warehouse reports.
Users also have access to layaway reports, sales tax reports, a detailed transaction
history, and credit card reports. HighTower also integrates with Crystal Reports
for increased reporting capabilities.

The cost of purchasing Sage MAS 90 or Sage MAS 200 in order to use HighTower
might be prohibitive. But if you are currently a user of either of those products
and in need of a point-of-sale module, you should consider looking into HighTower.
HighTower Point of Sale Professional currently costs $2,995. The following modules
are also required: the Register License ($149) and the HighTower Library Master
module ($395).

2006 Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars