Most links allow you to send sales, purchases, and inventory adjustment transactions from your POS accounting software to the accounting software. Keep in mind, most interfaces require you to trigger them manually or they run during the end-of-day process.
Some POS accounting software systems offer more advanced links that update information in real-time, but they all work differently. Here are the different types of links that I have seen:
General Ledger Only Interface – Some POS accounting software systems will only interface to the general ledger. This means you have to update your accounts payable manually, which isn’t big deal, since there’s not much information to post. However, it does take a little extra time and it’s prone to human error.
General Ledger and Accounts Payable Interface – This allows you to send information to both modules so you save a little time and more importantly, you reduce errors. Don’t forget that your accounts payable transactions flow into your general ledger. If you make a mistake in accounts payable, you’re general ledger totals will be wrong.
Batch Summary Interfaces – Most POS accounting software interfaces send batch summaries to the accounting software. This is an efficient way to send information and reduces general ledger entries.
Line Item Detail Interfaces – Some POS interfaces will send every line item detail (transaction) to the accounting software. This can be helpful because each journal entry usually includes more information, like the customer or invoice number. Then you can quickly trace the transaction back to the POS.
Advanced / Integrated – Some POS systems offer advanced (integrated) links to QuickBooks and other accounting packages. These advanced links update accounting information instantly (in real-time). They can also include more information, making it easier to trace information back to your POS software.
Every interface has different features, but there are some inherent advantages to using a separate accounting system.
Advantages of a separate accounting package include:
Save money – If you already have accounting software, you can save money since you don’t have to pay for the “add on” POS – accounting modules.
No re-training – If you already have accounting software, you don’t have to learn another system or re-train employees.
Better overall design – Stand-alone accounting software packages are usually designed better than the packages built into POS systems. POS Companies usually devote most of their effort to the design of the POS and inventory modules, whereas Accounting Companies will naturally focus on the design of the accounting. This isn’t always the case, but it’s true in most situations.