POS system

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Cash register system that complies with the GoBD, KassenSichV and tax regulations (CASIO V-R200)
Cash register system that complies with the GoBD, KassenSichV and tax regulations (CASIO V-R200)

A cash register system is an IT solution for integrating peripheral devices or software with a personal computer or electronic cash register .


A PC cash register uses a standard operating system and can archive the data on an internal data carrier or externally via data transmission . A proprietary operating system is often used in electronic cash registers , and the data is mostly stored on data carriers in the cash register .

The trend to outsource business data to the cloud is now also evident in cash register systems. However, there are also setbacks here, as inadequate Internet connections in companies or server failures inevitably lead to unacceptable conditions in the sales process. Since the KassenSichV and GoBD place strict requirements on the recording and archiving of business transactions (see section on tax law requirements), storage systems such as NAS or Fiskalbox serve as a security backup of the locally stored data.

Since January 1, 2020, a TSE must be used in every cash register system in Germany .

Further components of the POS hardware can be: thermal receipt printer for printing receipts and invoices, barcode scanners , cash drawers, programmed cash register keypads, customer displays, an EFT payment terminal and, optionally, label printers. Instead of programmed keyboards, touchscreen monitors are often used today . The cash register software is a program that maps the checkout process and documents the business transaction .


There are two types of POS systems, one for catering and one for retail .


In the catering industry, cash register systems are not only used as cash registers, but also serve as ordering and information systems .

The range of functions on the cash register system for gastronomy differs according to type: gastronomy with tables ( restaurants ) or fast food or system gastronomy . System catering usually has no table service and requires functions such as cash and carry. The order and payment process takes place in a checkout process. The catering with tables requires functions such as: booking a table, rebooking, splitting a table, paying a table.

With these systems, bookings are usually made to one table; these bookings can then be split (booked to another table). Furthermore, receipts are generated. A basic distinction is made between work receipts, which are used for internal process planning (creation on the bar or kitchen printer) and receipts, which are issued to the guest and must meet formal criteria. Receipts can be printed as collective receipts or individual receipts. With the use of tablet PCs in catering establishments, it is also possible to use touch-interactive tablets (or touch screens) in the kitchen or bar area as an alternative to the work receipt. The complete order or an additional order can be made or processed directly on the waiter's mobile terminal and forwarded to the various stations. Settlement of open tables and folding tables are standard in these systems today. Good systems offer enhancements here: voucher management, stand management, customer management, statistics, various payment methods and cashless payments. The first systems also offer a combined processing of instant sales and table service, including the conversion from instant to table sales. Some solutions also offer time recording tools, automatic package management, semi and fully automatic reservation platforms with a very extensive range of equipment.


POS systems are also used in retail to record the habits and preferences of individual customers. About 58% of all sales in the trade are sold on a customer card , bonus card or the like. Most of the cash register systems used in trade are related to materials management or financial accounting . These enable data to be exchanged for stock items, customer statistics and sales per product group. Sales are only made using a barcode or PLU code . Exceptions to this are sales that are billed by weight (vegetables, fruit, etc.) In contrast to a cash register system in gastronomy, no receipts are generated here, but the goods are sold directly or booked as a delivery note. Of course, good cash register systems have sales using different payment methods (cash, vouchers, credit cards), voucher management, customer account management and billing and control by the cashier, interfaces to external devices such as scales or ATM terminals.

Technical Equipment

Cash drawer
A mobile cash register in the catering industry

PC-supported POS systems consist of two components: POS hardware and POS software . Most POS dealers sell hardware and peripherals (part of the POS hardware - external devices) that they buy from a distributor - the software is also bought in. Good cash register systems have matched the software to the hardware.

Many providers offer their system as a unit of software and hardware, others restrict its use to one operating system, and others allow the user a free choice of hardware. The binding of the software to a certain hardware is usually determined by the choice of implementation of the software (e.g. apps are always implemented OS-specifically on a mobile device, web services allow a lot of freedom on the device side, but require them on the server side certain hardware and software requirements depending on the implementation).

The local IT infrastructure is often supplemented by storing the data on the providers' web servers (cloud). This is for data security and remote access, but requires a stable internet connection and the willingness of the innkeeper to leave the sensitive business data to the provider.


POS systems require POS hardware. The POS hardware is different depending on the area of ​​application. POS systems can be used on PCs (Windows, Linux, Android) with touch monitors, tablets, mobile phones, laptops, all-in-one devices (PC including touch monitor). Peripheral devices for the cash register hardware trade are: cash drawer, customer display, receipt printer, label printer, EC device, touch monitor, scanner, employee key, customer monitor. Gastronomy: receipt printer counter, receipt printer kitchen, kitchen monitor, wireless cell phone waiter, touch monitor, guest check printer, waiter lock, cash drawer.

Touchscreens are usually used here today . These are available as split (touch and computer are separate) or all-in-one (touch and computer are one unit). Serial interfaces still play a major role today, as there is a lot of communication between the individual devices (e.g. the cash drawer should open after pressing the bar button - the cash drawer reports that it has opened. Reports after the checkout process the cash drawer that it is closed and a new checkout process can be initiated.)

Mobile cash registers

A mobile cash register is a portable device with all the functions of a stationary cash register, but without any cash in hand . In addition to the simple ordering of items, these functions include, for example, billing, splitting and screen locking . The operation is mainly done with the fingers or a pen, since mobile cash registers work almost exclusively with touch screen technology . Receipts are also made on the mobile device and the order receipts are printed out directly at the receipt station in the kitchen, counter and buffet. The connection is made via a wireless local network . Mobile tills are mainly linked to a cash register system in the background. The data is saved directly in the central cash register. This has the advantage that there can be no loss of data. A mobile printer can be connected to the mobile tills so that invoices can also be printed out directly at the table.


POS systems require POS software. A cash register software contains functions for the cashing of items (e.g. commercial items or gastronomy items). The cash register software has cash register functions, the minimum functions are: The cashier's registration at the cash register terminal, the checkout process and the payment process. Most manufacturers also offer a variety of special functions. The special functions in the POS software vary according to the industry. Examples in retail: cancellation, parking receipt, cashing in on customers, cashing in euros and EC / credit cards. Examples in gastronomy: booking at the table, splitting the table, out-of-home sales.

In the past, POS systems were mainly programmed for the operating system . With the desire to store data externally and to allow remote access, the trend is towards web-based services, which are often independent of the operating system, as they are based on system-independent technologies ( Java , HTML ).

Serious providers allow the export of all business-relevant data in a format that is suitable for the statutory 10-year retention period (example text-based CSV (file format) ). Caution should be exercised in this regard with subscription systems, since after the termination of the cash register system, access to the sales data may no longer be possible.

Cash register systems should be considered particularly with regard to their security: If the systems can be operated independently of the Internet, they offer few opportunities for external attack. If a connection to the internet is required for remote access, the software should offer SSL-secured access. Regular backups should always be possible via the software or the provider in order to repair a hardware failure or software manipulation.


Peripherals include accessories such as receipt printers, cash drawers, customer displays, customer monitors, waiter locks, scanners, scales, card readers, fingerprint scanners; So everything that can be connected to a cash register. When customers requested wireless peripheral devices, the providers responded with mobile terminals and belt printers.

The printer language ESC / POS exists for receipt printers . B. also defines commands for cutting the paper.

Tax law requirements


Business transactions registered with a cash register system are to be stored as electronically evaluable data (Sections 145 and 146 of the Tax Code). In particular, a check of the legally required immutability of the data is checked during the external tax audit. Coach operations, boss cancellations and pro forma invoices without appropriate logging are not permitted.

All individual data recorded with a PC or electronic cash register, including any invoices generated electronically with the device i. § 14 of the Sales Tax Act must be kept unchanged and in full (individual record-keeping). A compression of this data or exclusive storage of the invoice total is not permitted. It is not sufficient just to keep documents that are required to be retained in printed form. The digital documents and the structural information must be available in an evaluable data format. The details are specified in the GdPdU .

Only devices that cannot be “upgraded” or can only be partially “upgraded” due to their design are exempt from the individual recording obligation. However, this exception expires on December 31, 2016. Thereafter, the device may no longer be used to determine the daily taxable income. In the absence of other possible uses, it is to be expected that the “cheap checkout” market segment will disappear.

The tax requirements are a response to tax avoidance practices found in the cash payment industry . Empirically reliable statistics are not known about the extent to which taxable sales are reduced. Based on the total turnover of an industry, it can only be estimated what potential the tax reduction has. Since the cash payment industry in Germany with around 2 million businesses generates annual sales of roughly 300 billion euros, it can be assumed that there is considerable potential for risk. The simplest manipulation with cash register systems is the failure to record a turnover in the cash register system. Some systems offer what is known as a proforma invoice. Here freely editable amounts can be printed out on a receipt. If, in the case of an actual business transaction, the registration is made on a pro forma invoice, the amount of money is not recorded in the data memory of the taxable transactions. Further manipulation options for not automatically registering actual sales are so-called training waiters or boss cancellation options. The letter of the Federal Ministry of Finance of November 26, 2010 requires that such program facilities are to be documented completely. The use of complex manipulation software (so-called zapper ) is now increasingly observed.

Other countries

In some other European countries, hardware-based fiscal storage systems are sometimes used to make manipulation of income determination and documentation more difficult ( Italy , Sweden ). There are also in these countries z. T. a cash register and subscription obligation. Other countries like Croatia and Malta have given prizes to encourage subscription. Customers send their receipts to the tax authorities to take part in a raffle. This is to prevent business transactions from being subscribed.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b BMF letter of November 26, 2010 ( Memento of the original of March 7, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Source: Federal Ministry of Finance (D) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bundesfinanzministerium.de