Friday, July 18, 2014

Your Platform Should Be More than just a POS Point of Sale System

And you know what we mean by POS.

Multi-channel sales is the way of the world today. 
Traditional brick and mortar stores are looking at shopping cart add-ins. Paypal is raking in the dollars with processing fees for businesses who know no other way. Most retail companies sell online or wish that they could, but the industry is not making it easy for them to start, grow and remain compliant.

As a firm that specializes in accounting technology and business processes, we absolutely dread the process of revising systems for clients with multi-channel sales. 
We love to help our clients, which is why it so frustrating when you cannot find the right tool to lead your client to growth and success. Many of these businesses need multiple features like an in house POS, a mobile POS, a webstore, and inventory management. Some limitations that we see in many of the current options are:
  • Scalability - platforms with all of the features are out of the price range for growing businesses or they are 'overkill'
  • Customer Tax Rates - taxibility is a simple yes/no or a stagnant, pre-assigned rate that does not auto-adjust by shipping address
  • Sales Tax Reports - reports are too narrow, have to dissect income numbers to categorize the taxable income amounts
  • Offline Availability - we are huge advocates of the cloud, but business cannot stop if the internet is down

Your 'industry specificity' could be holding you back. It is awesome to have solutions that are the perfect solution for an industry. But what about everybody else? What about that group of features that don't cater to a specific industry, but cater to almost everyone else? For example, Lettuce is a beautiful system that is great for wholesale and inventory - but they are missing retail customer management. Vend is a lovely solution that we use for brick and mortar stores with multiple locations, but they are limited in shipping and tax management. Lightspeed is a great solution for most everything multi-channel, but their limitations in sales tax are the one thing that prevents me from being able to implement them as the perfect solution.

The biggest problem with today's multi-channel sales systems is that they do not support complex sales tax situations.
Even if you are in one of the 4 states with no local or state sales taxes, it is still very likely that you should be remitting sales tax to somebody, somewhere. Some may say that complex sales tax situations are rare and that those companies should just shell out for an overkill solution to handle their own problem. Anyone who lives in a state with multiple sales tax rates by jurisdiction knows that it is very easy to find yourself in a 'complex' sales tax situation...

There is a very simple answer to improving your multi-channel POS system, and it's called Avalara. Aside from providing an awesome platform that links up with shopping carts, inventory and a local register (preferably iPad with offline availability), you must offer a solution to handle the sales tax complexities that come with multi-channel sales. The financial repercussions of a sales tax audit with a poor tracking system far outweigh any benefits that your solution can offer operationally. I don't care how many bells and whistles your system has, if it cannot survive the most rigid sales tax audit then it has no value to my multi-channel sales clients. 

Do you have the perfect solution? 
Tell us about it below to tweet to the world @PetersonBizSvcs