Lynn Skurla Perkins

Lynn literally grew up in the point of sale and cash register industry – and is now at the helm of the family business. She enjoys working with local Alaskan businesses, especially restaurants, grocery stores, and retail operations - helping them control costs and increase revenues through well managed point of sale solutions. Besides running the company, Lynn has also served on the Board of Directors, and as Chairman of the Board, for the Retail Solutions Provider Association.
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Recent Posts

A Truck Collides with our Building and a Major Earthquake

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Dec 5, 2018 1:13:51 PM

It was quite a month for many Alaskans - like surviving a major earthquake, just to name one thing. 

(Click here for the  link to see Jesse "saving" his coffee during the quake).

We have had over 1,800 aftershocks as of yesterday, roads are being repaired, schools are still closed, but no one suffered serious injury - amazing.

At Skurla's, we also started the month with a "jolt" - literally. On November 19th, a truck careened into the front wall of our office.  It destroyed the conference room wall, many of the contents, and part of Jeff's office. We are so grateful that this happened before we opened - the outcome could have been much different.  See pictures below!

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Visa Purchase Return Authorization Mandate

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Nov 20, 2018 1:08:00 PM

From TSYS and VISA:

Visa is introducing an authorization requirement for return (cardholder refund) transactions. Authorizing a return enables the card issuer to validate the cardholder account, decline potentially fraudulent cards, and minimize chargebacks if the account does not exist or is closed. The return authorization message is intended to improve the return process by enabling cardholders to view a credit/return on their online banking statement in real time, as well as support other issuer services such as text alerts, in order to improve the cardholder experience and minimize return inquiries.

Important Dates:

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Thomas is Attending the Alaska CHARR Convention This Week

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Sep 24, 2018 2:09:32 PM

Thomas is in Sitka, Alaska this week, attending the Annual CHARR Convention. (For those of you that aren't familiar with this organization, it is the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association - a non-profit corporation, dedicated to serving the needs of the hospitality industry in the state of Alaska.)

Here is a preview of one of the featured speakers:

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Understanding Your Risk - Use Strong Passwords and Change Default Ones

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Sep 12, 2018 1:11:32 PM

Over the next several months, we will be sharing the PCI Council's advice on How to Protect Your Business With These Security Basics.

This month's topic:  Use Strong Passwords and Change Default Ones

According to  the Council's Guide - About 80% of breaches involved guessed or stolen passwords!

Here is what they recommend:

CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS REGULARLY. Treat your passwords like a toothbrush. Don’t let anyone else use them and get new ones every three months.

SEEK HELP. Ask your vendors or service providers about default passwords and how to change them. Then do it!

For more information on managing passwords, click here.

MAKE THEM HARD TO GUESS. The most common passwords are “password” and “123456.” Hackers try easily-guessed passwords because they’re used by half of all people. A strong password has seven or more characters and a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols (like !@#$&*). A phrase can also be a strong password (and may be easier to remember), like “B1gMac&frieS.”

To see how fast it takes to crack a password, click here.

DON’T SHARE. Insist on each employee having their own login IDs and passwords – never share!

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Understanding Your Risk - Exploring the PCI Council's Small Merchant Guide

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Aug 20, 2018 11:52:06 AM

“Small businesses are particularly at risk from the costs and opportunity loss associated with a data breach. Implementing the guidance published by the PCI SSC Small Merchant Taskforce will help a small business improve its data security practices and reduce the risk of data theft.“ - Michael Christodoulides, Barclaycard, PCI Small Merchant Taskforce Co-Chair

Security risks are everywhere these days - everyone up and down the chain is affected.  At Skurla's Point of Sale Solutions, we take security very seriously - and wanted to share some resources from the PCI Security Council.  

But first, here are some frightening data points shared by the PCI Security Council:   

  • 71% of hackers attack businesses with under 100 employees (Verizon 2012)
  • 60% of small businesses experienced a cyber breach (HM Government)
  • $20,752 is the average cost to small businesses due to hacking (NSBA)

If this scares you too, keep reading below to learn more about how to protect your business - 

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How To Do Prices Changes in the Aurora NCC System

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jul 31, 2018 1:36:25 PM

We thought we would share this video from the Point of Sale Team - how to do price changes on your NCC system (if you don't have the back office software):

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Updated Phone Tree

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 28, 2018 10:21:41 AM

You know the drill -  

Please listen carefully as our options have changed.

Call 907-243-2683 during our normal business hours, M-F 8-5 p.m. (Alaska Time)

  • For support, press 3
  • For the office, press 4

(You can also now dial your party’s extension at any time.)

For after hours:

  • If you need emergency MICROS support, please hang up and dial 855-412-2838.
  • If you need emergency support on all other systems, press 3 to be connected.  Or call 907-444-0559.
  • To leave a message for the office for a call back on the next business day, press 4.
  • If you need support for a call back on the next business day, press 5.
  • To repeat these options, press 0.

If you don't love phone trees, you can also fill out the form below, and we can contact you!

Please Contact Me!

 

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Good News! Update to the Global Thermal Paper Roll Shortage

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 28, 2018 9:18:32 AM

Update to the post earlier this month (see below).

Good news!  We will be receiving 11 pallets of paper on July 3rd!

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to work through this issue.  Next time you come by our office, you will probably see stacks of paper lining our hallways!  

Earlier this year, we shared information about the global thermal paper shortage. Up to this point, we haven't seen many changes in the industry that affected pricing or availability of paper rolls. However, that has now changed. 

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TLS Updates - Thank You!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 28, 2018 8:31:31 AM

We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for all the hard  work (and your patience) in the effort to get the TLS updates applied to your point of sale system and equipment. 

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Global Thermal Paper Roll Shortage

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 8, 2018 10:47:20 AM

Earlier this year, we shared information about the global thermal paper shortage. Up to this point, we haven't seen many changes in the industry that affected pricing or availability of paper rolls. However, that has now changed. Paper vendors are warning of impending price increases and shortages. We have seen some prices quoted as much as $120 for a case of thermal paper and 2-3 weeks delay in receiving paper orders.  Being Alaskans, we have the added difficulty of freight charges and long shipping times on heavy items, such as paper.

We know how critical it is for you to have a reliable supply of credit card paper and receipt paper at a reasonable price, and we are doing our best to work through this (hopefully) short term shortage.

The reality is that there will be price increases, and paper will need to be allocated and rationed at times.  To help with the shortage, here are a few ideas to consider:

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Using Your Point of Sale System For More Than a Cash Drawer

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 31, 2018 11:48:07 AM

Workplace with keyboard cup of coffee and graphsTraditionally, retail point of sale (POS) systems were primarily used to control cash and record sales. Retail has become more competitive than ever - consumers are using the Internet more than ever to research products, compare prices and shop online.

Today's point of sale systems use data in ways never possible before - and savvy business owners are learning what to do with that data to increase revenues, capture market share, become more competitive, while still controlling their costs and capturing vital sales information.  

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Reminder: How to Protect Your Point of Sale or Cash Drawer from Theft

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 30, 2018 10:09:00 AM

Tips and Tricks from the Point of Sale World:

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Warning - You May Not Be Able to Accept Credit Cards Next Month!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 29, 2018 11:26:46 AM

In reference to last month's article about the TLS issue, we just want to remind everyone again that if you have not updated your point of sale system, most likely your integrated credit cards* will stop working in June.  While the official deadline is June 30th, many gateways are proactively switching over before then.

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Understanding the TLS Issue & Why Your Credit Cards May Stop Working!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 30, 2018 12:00:00 AM

Yes, credit cards may stop working on your point of sale system this summer!  We are providing you with more information on this important issue - please take a moment to read.

First some definitions and background on this topic:

TLS: Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a cryptographic protocol used to establish a secure communications channel between two systems.

SSL: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private.

On Feb. 13, 2015, the PCI Security Standards Council announced that SSL, a protocol designed to ensure that data provided between a web server and a web browser, such as credit card information, remains secure - is no longer an acceptable way to provide strong cryptography, due to a number of known fundamental vulnerabilities. The deadline is June 30, 2018. 

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PCI Council Announces Changes to Qualified Integrators & Resellers Program

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 25, 2018 7:18:11 PM

In March, the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) announced new changes to the PCI Qualified Integrators and Resellers (QIR) Program in response to industry feedback and data breach report findings. The program changes are designed to increase the number of QIRs and equip them to help merchants reduce risk by mitigating the leading causes of payment data breaches. 

The PCI SSC QIR program offers specialized data security training and certification to individuals that install, configure and/or support payment systems. PCI SSC maintains a listing of PCI QIRs on its website for merchants to use in identifying and selecting trusted partners. Since the program was established in 2012, breach reports highlight that smaller merchants are increasingly under attack, and that the majority of merchant payment data breaches could be prevented by addressing three critical issues: insecure remote access, weak password practices and outdated and unpatched software.

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Great Education at the Rural Small Business Conference

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Feb 27, 2018 4:44:52 PM

Thanks to all of you who visited us at the Rural Small Business Conference! And a big shout out again to Pacific Alaska Wholesale - what a great partnership!

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Take 5 Minutes to Read About PCI & Security - It Could Save Your Business

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Feb 20, 2018 7:16:00 AM

Data Breaches, ID Theft, Credit Card Breaches - we hear this all the time in the news.  And this is the last thing you as an owner or manager want to experience for your business!

Please take time to read this!  It could save your business!

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NIMA Store Excited to Implement Their New Grocery System

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 25, 2018 10:08:03 AM

NIMA Store replaced  their grocery scanning system this year with the Aurora Alaska Tough Point of Sale system from Skurla's Point of Sale Solutions., and the manager, Clara Ivanoff, said she couldn't be happier.

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Save the Date for the Rural Small Business Conference

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 24, 2018 1:44:31 PM

It's the beginning of a new year - which means the Rural Small Business Conference is right around the corner.

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Convenience Store Retailers Cite Top Trends for 2018

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 24, 2018 1:32:44 PM

Insight Retail Software recently shared this article from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) about convenience store retailers' predictions for the Top Trends for 2018.

 

Here are some of the highlights:

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A Must Read for All Business Owners - How To Avoid Charge Backs

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 24, 2018 11:11:01 AM

If you accept credit cards in your business and want to avoid charge backs and/or reduce credit card fraud,  we strongly encourage you to read this article from TSYS, one of our favorite preferred credit card processors:

" Charge Backs, Why They Happen, How to Prevent Them"

Credit-Card-Security-000049484164_XXXLarge.jpg

See the list of the questions about charge backs answered in this article:

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Update from the Paper Industry - January 5, 2018

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jan 5, 2018 11:16:00 AM

Thermal Paper Roll.jpg

Update from one of our major paper suppliers:

January 5, 2018 – Thermal paper supply continues to be allocated by the mills due to the on-going leuco dye shortage.  Mills continue to search for alternative sources of supply to meet customer demand.  These sources often come at a price premium driving up prices for thermal paper.  A thermal paper surcharge was just passed to the market and will be in effect at least through the first quarter of 2018.  

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From All of Us at Skurla's - Happy New Year!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Dec 26, 2017 9:42:16 PM

We want to thank you for your continued support and business this past year - and wishing you the best for the New Year.

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Paper Industry - Good News and Not So Great News

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Dec 14, 2017 4:44:41 PM

So the good news first - the pricing of bond paper (non-thermal paper often used in kitchen printers) has gone down, and we have lowered our prices accordingly.   We like lowering our costs, and passing the savings on to our customers!

And now, for the not so great news from the thermal paper industry:

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Good to Know If You Use a Scanner At Your Store or Retail Outlet

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Dec 7, 2017 10:01:18 AM

If you use a scanner at your store, the State of Alaska has reminded us of the following:

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Discover Also Says "No More Signing on the Dotted Line"

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Dec 6, 2017 11:07:24 AM

From a press release today:

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Galena Liquor Store Gets a New Point of Sale System!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Nov 30, 2017 9:02:26 AM

Galena, Alaska is situated on the north bank of the Yukon River, 270 miles west of Fairbanks in the heart of the western Interior.  Galena is the hub for smaller central Alaskan communities who depend upon Galena’s capacity to deliver health, education, cultural, social, and other services and conveniences.  Every other year, Galena is one of 26 checkpoints for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

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Don't Forget to "Fall Back" on Sunday - Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Oct 31, 2017 9:13:16 AM

Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday, November 5th.  Don't forget to set your clocks back so that you can get that extra hour of sleep!

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Mastercard Says "No More Signing on the Dotted Line"

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Oct 26, 2017 8:27:24 AM

I just read an article by Linda Kirkpatrick - Executive Vice President, U.S. Market Development at Mastercard - "No More Signing on the Dotted Line".

According to the article, Mastercard will no longer require signatures at checkout for any credit or debit purchases in Canada and the U.S. starting April 2018.  Right now the card brands (VISA, Mastercard, Discover, American Express) have thresholds for transactions that don't require a signature, typically $50.  But starting next April, Mastercard won't require a signature for any retail transactions at checkout.  I imagine that the other card brands will follow suit at some point.

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He Answers to Many Names, Just Not Tom

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Oct 23, 2017 4:32:50 PM

Thomas Greenman came to Skurla's 9 years ago from Alabama.   (How weird is it that we have two employees from Alabama - yes, Jesse hails from that state, too.)  Thomas was originally hired as our Service Coordinator, moved up to Service Manager, then Operations and Sales.  

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Eye Opening Article - Anatomy of a Data Breach

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Oct 4, 2017 1:49:25 PM

 

Data breach - those two words can (and should) scare the heck out of business owners.  It is everywhere in the news.  I think on some level, people are just throwing their hands up in the air at this point.  However, we don't want our customers to go through this experience - no one wants the CIA showing up at their back door or having their funds frozen because of a suspected breach.

 

To help you understand the impacts, we wanted to share this article by Justin Zeigler, the director of product development and marketing at Datacap Systems.  (Datacap Systems develops integrated payment interfaces for any type Point of Sale Application - so they are very in tune with security for point of sale systems.)  In this article, he discusses:

As a business owner, it is vital to understand the effects of a breach on your business, your customers and your employees.

Read this eye opening article below:

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Back Office Software for Grocery and Convenience Stores

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Sep 29, 2017 4:55:31 PM

Large retailers like Walmart use powerful merchandising software to compete and profit in today's aggressive retail market. Insight Retail Software provides the same features to small retailers at a price they can afford, so they too can benefit from the use of software technology. backOfficeprovides the tools you need to Do Better.

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Tourist Season - Yes, It is a Thing in Alaska

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Sep 14, 2017 9:38:07 AM

It's September. What does that mean to many Alaskans? (Besides the fact that termination dust was sighted on the Chugach Mountains this morning.)

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Online User Manual for your Insight Software

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Aug 23, 2017 3:51:17 PM

Insight RS - your backoffice software for your NCC Aurora Point of Sale system, has an online user manual that we would like to share with you.

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What Can You Say About Jesse.....

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Aug 23, 2017 2:49:43 PM

Words that come to mind when we think about Jesse Dison, our Senior Implementation Specialist:

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The Importance of Checking Your Credit Card Batches

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jul 23, 2017 11:46:21 AM

In some businesses, credit sales account for over 80% of their daily sales.  If this is your business, you are depositing very little cash every day.  And while most of us count for and reconcile the cash, are you reconciling your daily credit card deposit to the credit card batches that actually go into the bank?  It seems easy and automatic, but here are a few tips and tricks we have learned over the last couple of decades installing integrated credit card systems.

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Your Aurora NCC  System Goes Mobile with Reporting

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jul 23, 2017 10:34:07 AM

The Aurora NCC  System Adds Mobile Reporting:

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4th of July Weekend and Office Hours

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 30, 2017 11:45:05 AM

Our office will be closed on Tuesday, July 4th in honor of Independence Day

  A reduced staff will be working remotely/on call to handle the needs of our customers on Monday, July 3rd.

However, we understand the importance of customer service and issues that may arise during this busy retail holiday.

 If you have an emergency, please call us at 243-2683 and follow the prompts to page our after hours technician.  For support hours and information, click here.

Have a safe and Happy 4th of July.  From the team at Skurla's!

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How Out-of-Scope Payment Solutions Help Prevent Data Breaches

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 27, 2017 12:41:48 PM

Data breaches pose threats to consumers ranging from cloned credit cards to identity theft. For merchants, the threats include stiff financial penalties and a tarnished reputation.

With your NCC Aurora system, your credit/debit cards are considered Out of Scope (OOS).  An Out of Scope Payment interface is one in which cardholder data never comes into contact with the point of sale (POS) system. In the OOS model, the POS sends a transaction total to the card-reading device, which communicates directly with the card processor and sends only the authorization information back to the POS.

Read the rest of the article here.

 For more information or questions on your system, please call us at 907-243-2683.  Or fill out the form below:

Get More Information About Our Alaska Tough POS

  

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eWIC is coming to Alaska

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 27, 2017 11:41:32 AM
Women, Infants & Children
Here is a notice from the State of Alaska regarding new food submissions/product changes:

"The Alaska WIC Program is preparing to implement eWIC in our state. We will review all WIC eligible food products that are distributed in Alaska for additions to our eWIC Approved Foods List (APL). We are not reviewing new or changed food products at this time. The 2016 Allowed Foods booklet will remain in effect until we transition to eWIC.

For questions, please contact the WIC Vendor Management Unit at (907) 465-3100, or email wic@alaska.gov."
 
We will continue to keep you updated about changes and what will need to be done to your Aurora/NCC system in order to use eWIC at your store.
 
What is eWIC?  EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. WIC EBT is an electronic process where the food benefits are automatically added onto a card, similar to a debit card. This card, which will be known as the eWIC card, replaces the current paper vouchers/checks
 
For any questions in the meantime, please call us at 907-243-2683.  Or fill out the form below:
 
Get More Information About Our Alaska Tough POS
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Why Mobile Payments Haven't Taken Off - With Merchants or Customers

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Jun 27, 2017 11:24:24 AM

I wanted to share an article by Datacap Systems and their take on why consumers aren't using their mobile wallets.  (I know that I don't use mine, even when the option is available.) And most merchants aren't offering these payment options, even though they have the capability to do so.

Datacap Systems develops and markets innovative integrated payments solutions for many Point of Sale Systems.  At Skurla's we use Datacap devices with our NCC/Aurora Point of Sale systems. Theirintegrated payment devices allow merchants to do mobile payments, EMV, NFC (Near Field Communications - supporting “contactless” payments, enabling plug and play support for Apple Pay®, Google Wallet® and Samsung Pay.

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Add the Power of the Cloud to Your NCC Aurora System

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 19, 2017 12:09:21 PM

Add NCC’s RHQ program to your NCC Aurora Point of Sale System to give you the power of the cloud.

While other companies struggle with their POS systems and servers going down, your business is safe, thanks to Reflection POS and RHQ.
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We have a Superhero - and his name is Jeff

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | May 19, 2017 11:42:01 AM

 Meet Jeff Wood - one of our superheros .  Jeff joined us in 2012 - and knows point of sale inside and out.  One of our fundamental core values is Teamwork - and Jeff embodies that value in everything he says and does.  

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The Importance of a Backup!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 17, 2017 10:46:16 AM

This is the most important security rule of all. Back up your drive with all of your data, weekly or daily (or even more frequently), depending on the volume of transactions. A rule of thumb: You should never be in a position where reentry of data requires more than a day’s work.

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MasterCard is adding a new range of card numbers that begin with a ‘2’

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 14, 2017 4:05:07 PM

 MasterCard’s new 2-series cards will work the same as the current 5-series cards that begin with a “5.” Card issuers can begin issuing the new version of MasterCard. The first six digits of a credit card number, otherwise known as the Bank Identification Number (BIN), determine how transactions are routed and identify the issuing bank. All parties’ payment applications/solutions m
ust be able to accommodate this new BIN range, including those utilized by: acquirers, processors, issuers, and merchants.  Merchants have until June 2017 to get their systems ready.  

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Emergency Supply Kits - Be a Hero!

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Apr 4, 2017 10:04:00 AM

It's Friday night - your store or restaurant is packed.  Things are humming along nicely and you're thinking - we are busy, life is good!

Then you get the call - we are out of receipt paper at the register - can you bring us a roll?

You look, you panic - oh man - you forgot to reorder last week after they used that last roll!!!!

But you, being a smart manager/owner - know that you have that emergency supply kit tucked away for times just like these!  Viola!  Crack open the kit, and all is good.

Ok, but for those of you that don't have that emergency supply kit, well.....

So here is our advice.  First of all, make your point of sale supplies stock is something you inventory and check stock of on a regular basis.  If you purchase your supplies from us, we can even get you accurate sales history of how much you go through on a regular basis.  Preorder for a couple of months or even a season and take advantage of our quantity discounts!

But the unexpected can still happen.  So, for that reason, we suggest you create an emergency point of sale supply kit that only you or your managers know about and have access to.  Make this a part of your disaster plan!

Here are some suggestions of what to keep in that kit:

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Friendly Help When You Call Our Office

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 30, 2017 1:40:54 PM

I think it is always nice to put a face with a name.  For those of you who haven't met her in person, we wanted to "introduce" you to our amazing Office Manager, Mandy Richards.  Mandy has been with us since 2015, and we couldn't be happier.

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Are You Ready for the Busy Season?

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 29, 2017 2:41:20 PM

You know what we are talking about - that busy season - summer, tourists, people in general just out and about more.  And businesses get busy!

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Electronic Data Interchange - EDI Manager

By Lynn Skurla Perkins | Mar 29, 2017 1:02:52 PM

Tired of spending tons of time with paper invoices and constantly updating your Pricebook? Almost every vendor can supply you with an electronic invoice of your order, and our EDI Manager allows you to import these invoices directly into backOffice.

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