On Wednesday April 13th, Insightful Accountant hosted our regular monthly QB Talks Webinar, with guest speaker William English, who just happens to be ‘our Contributing QuickBooks Point of Sale Guru Author.' Will was speaking on the relatively new QuickBooks Point-of-sale powered by Revel Systems, an iPad, cloud-based, point-of-sale software that has been available under Intuit branding for 15 months or so.
William English, who you may know as ‘Will’, is President of English Management Solutions, Inc. located in San Diego, California. Will’s company has been serving clients across the United States including Hawaii since 2002. Will was one of the first employees Intuit hired when they released the very first version of QuickBooks, then a DOS based product. In fact, in those early days at Intuit he worked with Jacint Tumacder, who by happen stance has overseen the incorporation of the Revel powered application into the Intuit Point-of-sale product line, including the integration with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop.
Will was not only among Intuit’s trusted resellers introduced to the Revel offering back in 2014, but was also one of the first people who went through Intuit’s training on the QuickBooks Point of Sale powered by Revel product. He also chose to go to Revel’s Headquarters for more in-depth training on every aspect of the product.
Will is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, a Certified QuickBooks-Point of Sale ProAdvisor, a Certified QuickBooks-Enterprise ProAdvisor, and a Certified QuickBooks-Online ProAdvisor. He is also Certified in QuickBooks Point of Sale powered by Revel, and is a member of the Intuit Reseller Program in addition to being a Revel Certified Reseller.
Will is the author of numerous articles and texts on Point-of-sale and Retail business operations, including a ‘just released’ handbook: ‘The essential guide to taking physical inventory’ which describes best practices for using QuickBooks Point of Sale and Portable Data Collection Terminals when conducting a physical inventory.
So What About QuickBooks Point of Sales powered by Revel?
The makers of Revel founded the company in 2010 for the purpose of meeting the needs of a local restaurant. They recognized the deficiencies in the operation centered around the inefficiencies of their point-of-sale system, so they set out to develop a convenient on-the-go Point of Sale that would streamline order taking and processing. In so doing they chose to make use of the Apple iPad as the appropriate hardware for their solution. They set about developing a unique solution that is a mix of ‘cloud’ and local data’. They did this because the database is actually downloaded to each iPad and regularly syncs to the cloud based server. Unlike other mobile device based products, Revel also chose to run their application on a different WiFi spectrum than the standard frequencies used by most products, this provides greater security and freedom from potentially intervening traffic.
Intuit and Revel partnered together in November of 2014 to offer an Intuit branded version of the Revel product, which also would support Intuit Merchant Services. The resultant product, QuickBooks Point-of-Sale powered by Revel Systems, was launched in March of 2015.
The product initially offered seamless integration with QuickBooks Online, but Will was among the many ProAdvisors who support QuickBooks Point-of-sale (desktop) and let Intuit know that if Revel was going to have to appeal to larger markets, they Intuit needed to offer integration with QuickBooks desktop products, like QuickBooks Enterprise. Last fall, the integration with desktop came on-board.
Revel is also an ‘always on’ product. It can operate even when internet connectivity is lost. This is in part because of the ‘hybrid’ technology of cloud and local data I eluded to earlier, but also because of the ability to process credit card transactions within ‘administrator’ defined limits. The system administrator can determine how much ‘risk’ they are willing to take on individual sales that occur when internet connectivity is down. During the web seminar Will also pointed out that some situations might warrant putting the system into off-line mode even when internet connections are available; he noted that the system will actually work up to 14% faster in this mode, than on-line, thus allowing ‘order takers’ to speed up service delivery. Even with this unique functionality, QuickBooks Point-of-sale powered by Revel Systems is fully PCI/P2PE compliant right out of the box. No waiting on software updates or hardware changes to get compliant.
It was easy to tell that Will had given considerable thought to the applicable uses of QuickBooks Point of Sale powered by Revel within the marketplace. His ProAdvisor Practice has pretty much centered on the ‘retail’ side of business, with many QuickBooks Point-of-sale systems of variable sizes and configurations in place. Small mom-n-pop retails stores to multi-store, multi-terminal retailers, Will has done them all, but he always shied away from the more non-traditional uses of QuickBooks Point-of-sale. This means he has had to turn down opportunities like Full-service, fast food and quick-serve restaurants. Now he thinks that QuickBooks Point-of-Sale powered by Revel Systems has given him the solution of choice for these customers. Will is first to admit that the new product is not appropriate for every use, in fact he presently is limiting his installations to those clients with just a few thousand (2500 or less) SKUs. He isn’t convinced that ‘huge inventories’ of tens or hundreds of thousands of SKUs is a reasonable functionality. (You have to remember that the iPad memory has to be able to support the database download, as well as ‘stream data’ back-n-forth to the cloud based server).
Will’s list of ‘Best use cases for QuickBooks Point-of-sale powered by Revel include:
Revel Best Uses
At present this Intuit solution is only being ‘managed’ through the Intuit Reseller Network. IRPs must be certified in the product to be qualified to install, configure and support the solution. QuickBooks ProAdvisors can ‘partner’ with one of Intuit’s Revel Certified Resellers if they have a prospect for the software. Insightful Accountant has requested a list of those individuals or firms and we will pass that information along as soon as we have it.
There is a lot of complexity in the configuration of Revel. In the 10 or so minutes Will demonstrated some of the setting and configuration options, I was able to identify what seemed to be hundreds of options to set as yes, no, NA or with specific information. Because this Point of Sale is featured for restaurant use, one of the features asked about during both webinar presentations was the ability to send ‘food orders’ to different kitchens or preparation stations. Will demonstrated how each item’s configuration permits tickets involving those items to be printed at, or posted to kitchen (or other locale) displays. As a result, all of the drinks can be sent to the bar, while salads or cold foods sent to a salad/cold food station, and hot foods sent to the kitchen or even a particular section of the kitchen.
When you see the level of complexity, in contrast to the configuration requirements for QuickBooks Point of Sale (desktop), it is easy to see why you need to be thoroughly trained and practiced in this application before representing yourself to the public as qualified to install and set-up the product. With respect to just the installation aspects, Will noted the importance of sight-surveys and pre-planning to insure adequate WiFi coverage for the iPad clients, especially if ‘order takers’ or ‘sales personnel’ will be using the iPads on-the-go as opposed to stationary locations. Will made several comments to me that installation and connectivity of this system is very 'IT' intensive, far more so than QuickBooks Point of Sale (desktop), even when working in a multi-station, multi-location environment.
Will was very open with the audience, answering questions regarding his own experiences with Revel support, and related complexities. It appeared that our audience felt they got the honest answers to some tough questions. I too, felt that I had learned a lot more about this product, some of its limitations, and many of its best uses, from an expert who has taken the time to not only learn the product, but consider all the contingencies.
I have by no means covered all of Will’s presentation in this summary, but I am confident that he gave us as many details as possible within the limited time constraints of the two Webinar sessions. You really will want to view our recorded archive if you are interested in QuickBooks Point of Sale powered by Revel for your Point-of-Sale clients.
“Thanks again Will for a great Webinar presentation.”