Yesterday I blogged about ten important questions you need to answer in selecting a cash register for your business. Now we are going to go deeper into the questions and answers starting with question number one. Do I need a cash register with a receipt and journal?
Many people buying a cash register today have no idea what the journal is so lets address that. Back in the day all cash registers came with a two station printer or could use two ply paper. The two stations are made up by the receipt and the journal printers. The receipt of course is printed and fed to the exterior or the register for you to tear off and give to the customer. The journal is the second tape that also prints all the details of the sale but is rolled up inside the cash register and must be removed and stored time to time. Why does it do that you may be asking? Well a Journal Tape is also known as an audit tape allowing the owner/manager to audit the transactions one at a time if needed. That is not the same thing as a sales report. A sales report (X or Z) are totals for the entire day NOT a transaction by transaction audit of sales. The journal/audit tape does not really have anything to do with sales reporting but all about auditing. Why is that important you may be asking now? Well for a couple reasons is can be nice to have an audit tape. Let's say as the manager you are closing the register for the day, you take an X report and notice the report indicated you have about a thousand dollars more than normal in sales and you know that can't be the case. With the audit tape you could begin to investigate what happened at the register sale by sale until maybe you find a cashier made a sale for 100 items @ 10.00 each when they meant to be 10 @ $1.00 and rather than fix the mistake they just cashed out and started another transaction. With the audit tape you can find that and make the changes on your register before "Z'ing" out! That is just one example of a journal tape use but I'm sure you can now see the possibilities. In my opinon I would always buy a machine with a journal printer in most cases. A journal or audit tape may seldom be used however when you do need one they are worth their weight in gold! They help you run your business with more security, make it faster to correct mistakes and possible to rebuild records after a catastrophic failure.
Modern machines will either have a receipt and journal or they will have a receipt and Electronic Journal (E/J) which is a topic for another day. An E/J is a very close substitute for a real journal but falls a little short in some cases.
In my 20+ years experience I have never come across a city or state law requiring you to have a journal, receipt yes journal no but always check your local laws and regs!