Blog Posts

Be Safe, Not Sorry

Be Safe, Not Sorry

An acquaintance of mine, who is a creative device engineer, has been using his laptop in his office to develop his designs. He has put years of effort into his work and likes the convenience of using his laptop “on the fly” when he gets a creative thought that he needs to record.

Last week, the shop was burglarized and the laptop was stolen. Although the thieves were caught the very next day, when the laptop was recovered, the designs stored in it were over-written with computer games.

Sadly, everything was lost because he hadn’t taken the time to set up a backup system, even though he had been told to do so countless times. Nothing was recoverable.

There are many options available for backup, including copying to an external drive or sending your backup to a remote, cloud-based server for storage. Cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive are also available for those who want to use them. Which option you choose depends on what it is you want to back up—your entire system, certain devices, files and folders, or your entire hard disk.

Remember that there are many events that can affect your precious information. Fires, floods, tornados, earthquakes, random-ware, power outages, hardware or software damage, and theft. Although we all like to think that these disasters can’t happen to us, they can. Being prepared for a catastrophe will eliminate the agony of reconstruction.

If you have backup questions, we are here to help you. Give us a call at 425-672-4806 or email us and we can help you with solutions to keep you safe, not sorry.

Marlene.

 

Are You Ready For EMV Security?

 

Are You Ready For EMV Security?

Before you start taking chip cards (EMV) with your NCR Counterpoint System there are a few thing that need to be done.

  • First, you must be on at least NCR Counterpoint version 8.4.6.18, although this version of the software will work with EMV, it is recommended that you upgrade to the latest version of 8.5.3 so you may benefit from any fixes and new features.
  • With 8.5.3 in mind, it is also necessary that your operating system is at least Windows 7, as of 8.5.2, Windows 10 is supported. Windows 7 and above support the latest encryption protocols to help keep your data safe. Windows XP does not have these updated protocols and will not be updated by Microsoft to include them.
  • If you are already taking credit cards but have not updated to NCR Secure Pay, that will need to be done as well. With NCR Secure Pay, it will protect you and your customers data as it is no longer kept on your system and is tokenized to further protect the data. You may also need to update your merchant account to support NCR Secure pay. CCS can work with you and your merchant services rep to get your account ready for NCR Secure Pay and EMV processing.
  • You must be using an Ingenico ISC250 Pin Pad that has the correct version of firmware to work with your software AND NCR Secure Pay EMV processing. Firmware will vary depending on NCR Counterpoint version. CCS can help find your current firmware version and update (if necessary) to the correct version.
  • Pay codes (Touchscreen and Regular ticket entry) – the following pay codes must exist and be assigned to the store setup (but do not necessarily need a button) VISA, MC (or MasterCard), DISC (or Discover), AMEX (or American Express). Also there must be an EMV pay code button to activate the chip reader when processing a chip card. Note – If a card has a chip, it must be inserted into the reader, if a card does not have a chip it may be swiped just like before. In the case of a chip that will not read, a Manual EMV button can be setup to allow the customer to manually type in their card information securely through the Pin Pad.
  • Once the above has been complete, CCS can test the setup in a test environment to be sure that all settings both on the bank and the software side are correct. Once confirmed working, CCS can setup a time to implement and go through a test transaction so you can see the flow of an EMV chip card transaction.

If you need help with any of the above, please contact the CCS Retail Systems Support Department @ 800.672.4806 or send us an email to get you started on your way to EMV processing

-Bryan

Passport Payroll ACA Reporting Requirement for 2017/2018 Years

 

Passport Payroll ACA Reporting Requirement for 2017/2018 Years

Currently, ACA Reporting is Still Mandatory

With all the confusion regarding the Affordable Care Act not resolved it is important that your Human Resources Department and/or Payroll Departments understand that the ACA Employer mandate and the requirement to report is still the law.

If you are required to file you can save lots of money by avoiding IRS penalties. This is likely to be a bigger issue this year because the IRS is working hard to identify employers who have either not filed or who at least made a failed attempted to report.

How do you fit in?

First identify your specific situation:

If your company has expanded and has hit the 50+ employee threshold, reporting is required.

While this may be new to you, Passport can help even if you don’t currently use the Passport Payroll Software.

Passport provides a fee based service to assist you with your ACA reporting requirements.

This would be handy if you need to report this year for the first time or if you are unhappy withhow this was handled for last year’s reporting process.

Passport’s Software has the best ACA solution on the market for ACA compliance reporting, including all the electronic reporting. Check them out at Capterra Reviews. They have been helping hundreds of companies meet their reporting obligations since 2015.

Passport offers everything from a one-time software license fee if you wish to run your ACA reports in-house, through to a complete turnkey service with Passport filing all your reports for you… and all of this at a very affordable cost, which is much less than the penalties the IRS is likely to impose for failing to report and/or failing to report on-time Filing deadline reminders:

Standard ACA filing deadlines apply for Tax Year 2017. Unlike in previous years, there are no automatic extensions for late filing this year.

  • Employee 1095-C copies January 31st, 2018
  • 1095-C/1094-C paper filing February 28th, 2018
  • 1095-C/1094-C electronic filing March 31st, 2018

With the deadline for employee copies not being extended as it was in 2017, this means all 2017 ACA data needs to be completed and accurate by the end of January 2018.

For more information please contact the CCS Retail Systems Sales Department.

-John

Be Proactive On System Problems

 

Be Proactive On System Problems

Are you experiencing an issue with your software? If so, don’t let it fester and create frustration for you or your team.

CCS Retail Systems is here to help, if you do not report your problems, they cannot get fixed.

I recently was speaking to a customer about a slow system, as we were going over some of the basic troubleshooting questions, the customer brought up another issue and was explaining how they were resolving it over the last few days.

If CCS was informed of the issue sooner, it would have been resolved in a matter of minutes. Now I understand, everyone is busy, sometimes calling right away is impossible or impractical, but reporting an issue in a timely matter will make those impossible times far less likely because the issue will be resolved, which will free your time up for more important matters.

When reporting issues, the more detail you can give, the better. Some of the basic information we can use is

  • Date and time the issue occurred – This information helps with looking at all the information log files keep and help narrow down issue to a few lines instead of hundreds (or thousands)
  • Were there any error or other messages presented to you – Try and get the exact and entire message, using your phones camera or taking a screenshot can be used. This also helps with log files in the same way as the date and time as well as where to look in the software.
  • What Screen were you in – Examples would be Ticket Screen or Purchase Request
  • What user and workstation received the message. – An example would be John was using the backoffice PC
  • Any information that may be helpful – For example there may have been network issue, we had a power outage, Internet was down.
  • Do you notice any pattern – An example would be, every time I click on the “Go” button an error comes up.

So, If you cannot call right away, the best thing to do is to jot down the information so when you can call you are ready for the any questions we may ask.

A good example of the above may look like this.

On 9/18/17 at 3:30PM John was receiving a “Not On File” error on the backoffice workstation every time he clicked on the Save button in the Inventory/Items screen. We were having power issues earlier in the day and the Internet went down twice.

With the above information, CCS has a good starting point at where to look to resolve the issue quickly.

You can call CCS directly at 800.672.4806 or email us.

-Bryan

PBS Version 12.05 – Some good reasons to upgrade

 

PBS Version 12.05 – Some good reasons to upgrade

Some of the most notable enhancements in Passport 12.05 are:

  • Major field expansions in AP and PR
  • Passport POS users – you will also see enhancements to credit card processing covering tokenization,
  • Payroll – Emailing of employee pay-stubs and direct deposit remittances to employees.
  • A PBS Mobile App.
  • Inventory Control graphical screens.
  • PBS Manufacturing enhancements.
  • PBS Query Builder.
  • Additional modules are in the works, which includes new entry screens, look-ups, form printing and reports!

PBS Version 12.05 is available for all customers who are PUP-current with a PUP expiration license that is dated beyond June 1, 2017. PBS Version 12.05 requires a fresh install, a data conversion process, as well as a new XDBC data catalog download. You can contact the CCS Support department (support) in order to schedule this.

Coming Soon:

CashPoint™ Version 12.05 interface to NCR Counterpoint v.8.5.2 and then 8.5.3.

TimeClick – allowing the import of employee hours worked data directly into the PBS Payroll Time Worked file,

eliminating the need for the PBS Data Import module. PBS v.12.05 Unix/Linux version.

Both Passport and CCS will update you on the availability of the above features.

Passport™ Query Builder Arrives

Powerful reporting is here! Passport Query Builder, Passports newest 12.05 add-on module, allows access to ALL PBS files for creating customized reports.

Passport Query Builder is a replacement for the older PDQ Query Function (which is no longer available in Passport as of version 12.05. Query Builder requires that MSSQL Server (or MSSSQL Server Express), MS SQL SSRS

(SQL Report Writer), and AcuXDBC be installed.

For PBS Vision 12.05 customers, the Query Builder is limited to a single workstation, with MS SQL Express, SSRS and AcuXDBC all required. For this reason we highly recommend that Vision users migrate to PBS SQL, allowing you to move to newer technology and simply purchase Query Builder for one or more seats.

Currently, PBS users who move up to PBS SQL will receive a free single-user license for the Query Builder.

Please note:

Query Builder is coming soon for Unix/Linux installations.

Query Builder for Cashpoint will be available when Cashpoint 12.05 is available.

Currently, more testing is occurring with Query Builder on Thin Client.

If you have any questions about the above. please contact the CCS Support Department.

– John

NCR Counterpoint API Release

NCR Counterpoint API Release

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NCR Counterpoint API
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Great News! NCR is pleased to announce the release of version 2.0 of the NCR Counterpoint API, which includes several new features and resolves a number of issues in the initial v1.0 release.

If you are updating the NCR Counterpoint API from v1.0 to v2.0, you can install the new version over your existing installation by downloading NCRCounterpointAPI.exe from the Partner Portal and running it on your NCR Counterpoint API server. All existing settings, users, and endpoints will be retained when you update to v2.0.

Detailed information about the functionality and use of the Counterpoint Rest API is maintained on GitHub. Please visit https://github.com/NCRCounterpointAPI/APIGuide on GitHub for more information about the Counterpoint Rest API.

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About Support Requests

About Support Requests

At CCS, we provide support to customers who have a single site with few employees, or multiple sites with many employees. Different issues can occur at any one of these sites, and sometimes at the same time. Keeping track of these issues involves assigning support ticket numbers to avoid duplication of services and duplication of billing.

It helps us to provide better (and faster) service if you supply the following information when you first request support help:

Your name

The name of your company

The specific location where the issue is happening

Your telephone number (office, cell, or any other number where you can be reached if a call back is needed)

A brief description of the problem, such as:

· Labels are not printing right

· Problem with overnight processing

· Credit card settlement problem

· PC fan is making noises

· Error message “not able to access top level directory”

· Drawer won’t open

· Question on reports

These details, when provided at the time of your call, will be placed on a numbered support ticket, and assigned to the available tech who is most suited to resolve the issue in a timely manner. A more detailed explanation of the issue can be given to the tech once you are connected.

Following the above procedure will resolve support issues faster, and will help reduce your stress and your down time.

Have a problem or a question? We can be reached at 425-672-4806, or you can email us.

Marlene

Looking for a good Accounting Package that integrates with Counterpoint?

 

Looking for a good Accounting Package that integrates with Counterpoint?

CCS has sold Passport Software since it was known as RealWorld in the 1980’s & 90’s. Passport is a full featured accounting package that stands alone or integrates with Counterpoint SQL. It covers Accounts Payable, General Ledger and Payroll for retailers. And if you are large enough and need ACA for your Payroll it can do that too.

The Cash Point version allows for a direct interface with Counterpoint. You can do vouchered receivings that carry right over to Accounts Payable so no need for double entry of your vendor’s bills. Your sales numbers can be interfaced to General Ledger with just one or two keystrokes.

Take a look at the at the website below for more information.

https://ccsretailsystems.com/application-software-products/#PBS-CashPoint

If you’d like more information or to see a demo – shoot me an email or give me a call.

Marilyn

Migrating To NCR CPSQL

So you have decided to update your V7 Counterpoint to CPSQL. CCS Retail Systems is here to help!

One of the first steps to a successful update, is to make sure CCS has all the data from your current version.

We will usually ask for a complete backup of your entire V7 Counterpoint installation. This can be from a tape backup, a USB flash drive, or even a copy of the installation directory to a Dropbox or Google Drive account.

Once we have the backup, we can start with a test upgrade that will give us a more complete picture of how much time it will take when the final cutoff date is agreed upon.

The test upgrade is an important part of the upgrade process. Not only does it give us a complete picture of what it will take to get you upgraded efficiently, it will also allow you to review the data and test your equipment and infrastructure.

For example, let’s say you have older receipt printer, this is the time to test them out to be sure your receipts look professional, your cash drawer opens, and the performance of this equipment is optimal for your business.

This is also the time to put the new system through its paces to iron out the little tweaks and changes that may need to be made so when the final upgrade is complete, we have all the settings that were made in the test to transfer over to your live database so you are ready to go on your first Live day of use. When I say “put the new system through its paces”, I mean do everything you would do in a normal day. Put a few tickets in the system, if you use orders, put a few of those in as well, test your printers, all of them, print/review the different reports offered, create a PO and receive it, add a new item, new user, new category. I think you get picture. Test, test and test some more until you are satisfied that everything is working as expected.

In the many upgrades that CCS has done, I find that the more people test the different function of CPSQL, the more the learning curve lessens, less issues with hardware and everything is in place for happy customers and a successful first day using the new system.

Are you planning on updating your V7 Counterpoint to CPSQL?

CCS has done many migrations to CPSQL, it is not an easy tasks and requires a significant amount of time to properly upgrade.

If CCS Retail Systems is helping you with your upgrade, we have plans in place to help make the process easier for you.

Part of our plan is to do a test upgrade and let you (our customers) see the end result and check that the all data that has been upgraded is there and settings are set for the way you do business.

This test upgrade is the time when you should test every part of your business in the new software, to be sure work the way you expect.

This would also include testing your hardware and your environment to be sure all your devices, network, and report printers will work.

Bryan

Back to School Expectations for 2017

Back to School Expectations for 2017

Incredible as it seems, it’s nearly time for another school year to begin and retailers everywhere are preparing for increased sales. A new flash poll conducted recently by National Retail Federation (NRF) shows that consumers are not holding back on purchasing supplies needed for this event.

Katherine Cullen, in an article for NRF, gives an explanation of how consumers are planning on splurging (or saving) for the 2017 back-to-school season based on the findings of the poll.

· Total combined back-to-school and college spending is predicted to reach $83.6B.

· Average spending per household for back-to-college shoppers is predicted to reach $970.

· Average spending per household for back-to-school shoppers is predicted to reach $668.

· Electronics, clothing, and shoes will make up more than half of the combined back-to-school and college purchasing.

Where will all this shopping take place? Most back-to-school/college shoppers plan to do this in stores, but will also look for online deals. On average, shoppers plan to use four different retailer websites for part of their purchasing.

What do kids want most for back-to-school? A superhero backpack and new fashion sneakers appear to top the list.

Now is the time to get set for the back-to-school rush. If you have questions regarding your POS system setup, call us today for answers. Don’t miss out on sales by waiting until the last minute! Our number is (425) 672-4806 or you can email us.

Marlene