Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Receipt and Journal

OK, we get this questions over and over regarding cash registers. What is a receipt and journal?What is an audit tape? What is an Electronic Journal?

So lets tackle the Receipt and Journal printer and Audit tape first

What is a receipt and journal? Well seems like a stupid question, but I guess if you are brand new to cash registers maybe you don't know. A receipt is a receipt paper that prints out the transaction to give to the customer. Right everyone knew that! The journal is the 2nd paper tape in a cash register that prints and stores the detail in the register. The journal is often called an Audit tape. The Journal or Audit Tape prints every entry as they happen. It is great to have when you need to research a problem with balancing, solving a overage/shortage, and the like. Normally it will print as you go and wind itself up on a take up reel in the machine. Most people never look at the audit tape, they just take it out and store it for years. They do seem to be seldom used but very useful when needed. Most cash registers these day are not being built with both a receipt and journal (R/J). The common phrases for this style of printer are @ station printer, R/J printer, and Receipt and Journal Printer.

There are machines that will use two ply paper to accomplish a receipt and journal printing. The top copy exits the machine for the receipt and it is usually white, the second or bottom copy remains in the machine and winds up on a take up reel or spool. The 2nd copy or bottom copy is the Audit Tape or Journal Tape. The 2nd copy is almost always yellow or canary in color. It is most often referred to as 2 Ply W/C. This practice is not as common as it was in the 80s and early 90s as the paper is more expensive.

OK, what is an Electronic Journal (EJ)

Well the Electronic Journal commonly referred to the EJ is a method of keeping an audit tape (see above if you don't know what an audit or journal tape is) with a register that only has one tape also known as a single station printer. The EJ is RAM Memory based in the register. Rather then print every transaction on a paper based journal or audit tape. Now when you need to see the audit tape or journal you print the E/J on the receipt tape, or in some machines you can view on the display. Pretty cool and does not waste paper. Again most folks never look at their journal tape and they just take up space in a closet somewhere! However that is not the end of the story! Registers can not store the E/J forever and most can't store more then a day of two worth of business if your store is a busy place. So most registers will overwrite the EJ as it fills oldest to newest. And the one biggee possible problem with an EJ is what happens if your machine dies after a busy day before you have taken reports? Well in that case you are up the creek without a paddle. There will be nothing other then your memory to recreate your sales figures. This would not be an issue with a hard printed journal tape!

But rest easy because modern machines very rarely ever fail completely! It does happen but so does lightning (ok you do have a better chance of your machine dieing then being hit by lightning) but you get the point. Modern machine do not fail nearly as often as machines from a decade ago!

Also keep in mind more stores and restaurants use computer based POS systems these days instead of cash registers with an R/J So that means they are using an EJ on a hard drive. Cash Register memory is more reliable then a hard drive!

Hope all that rambling helped!