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How to Balance a Till

Lauren Valensky
27 Jul 2023

Since the start of the pandemic, a large number of businesses have made the move away from cash, towards ‘less risky’ payment methods such as contactless credit cards and Apple Pay. While these methods are great for making sure money is the only thing being transferred between customers and staff members, this huge increase in their use has driven the notion that cash is becoming completely redundant.  

However, since 81% of Europeans strongly feel that having the option to pay cash is a human right, and 20.5% of point of sale transactions globally are still being paid for with this method, coins are the only real change you’ll be seeing in the demand for cash [1].

As a result, tills aren’t going anywhere fast, and while it might seem these electronic calculators do all the work for you, they require close monitoring to ensure they’re working alongside your profits, rather than against them.

Whether you own a retail or hospitality business, the best and most reliable way to make sure your transactions are adding up is by balancing your till. This balancing act could make or break your business, so it’s important you do it properly. Luckily, we’ve created a guide on how to balance a cash register till, so you can preserve your pennies and prevent your business from hanging in the balance.

Why do you need to balance your till?

Quite simply, balancing a till ensures the correct amount of money has been collected from customers. This is important for two reasons: 

Firstly, it protects your business against theft. Secondly, it guarantees that you’re charging the correct prices for the goods and services you provide.

If you don’t balance your till regularly, not only are you at risk of losing money, but you could also end up overcharging your customers. This not only damages customers’ trust, but it can also lead to them taking their business elsewhere. 

The how-to

The process of balancing a POS till is actually very simple and can be done in a matter of minutes, all you need is your till float.

This is a set amount of cash in different denominations used to provide change for customers. When you’ve taken the money from your float and placed it into the till, follow these steps:

Have one person per drawer:

If you have a till being operated by multiple employees, make sure to have only one person assigned to each drawer. It can get confusing if everyone is trying to balance the till at the same time, so having one person per drawer is the best way to go. 

Start your day by counting cash:

Before you attempt to balance your till you must establish your starting amount.

This will help you determine how much money is in the till, and where you need to make adjustments. 

This way, you can be proactive about fixing any imbalances instead of waiting until the end of the night when it might be too late.

Count the amount of cash in your hands, and write it down. This will be your starting point for the day.

Start with the largest denominations:

When you’re counting your cash, start with the larger denominations and work your way down. This will make it easier for you to keep track of how much money is in each drawer.

Check each drawer against the starting amount:

Once you have counted all of the cash in each drawer, compare the amount of money you have against your starting number. If you are short, this means that transactions from previous days were not added to yesterday’s total. You can also check these in a till report or EPOS sales report, which can be easily printed out at the end of each day.

Correcting imbalances:

If your drawer is over the starting amount, this means that transactions from previous days were not taken out of yesterday’s total.

These could have been caused by items that were returned, or even mistakes during a refund.

To make sure your tills are balanced at all times, you should have a set procedure in place.

One way to do this is having specific employees assigned to go through refunds and process returns each day before you balance your till.

Deposit cash throughout shifts:

Deposit your cash into the till throughout your shift. This will help keep things steady, and you won’t have to worry about a huge influx of money at the end of the night.

It can be tempting to wait until the end of your shift to deposit all your cash, but this is usually when mistakes are made.

Run an X read:

If you’re still having trouble balancing your till consider running an X read. This is where you take all of the cash out of the till and place it into different piles, each representing a certain denomination. By doing this, you can easily identify which denominations are missing and need to be added to your till balance.

Conduct the physical count:

The physical count is the final step in balancing your till. This is when you count all of the money - cash and coins - to make sure that it matches the amount in the computer system.

This is a key part of till balancing, and it’s important to do it accurately.

Make sure to have at least two people conducting the physical count, so there is a second set of eyes to help catch any mistakes, and to minimise the opportunity for employee theft.

Cash drop: 

If you’re doing a cash drop, make sure to factor that into your calculations. A cash drop is when you take money out of the till and put it in a safe place - usually in a locked drawer or alarmed cabinet.

Restore work/life balance - let an EPOS system manage your money

Financial management is a huge part of running a business, but it doesn’t have to be stressful and time-consuming. By choosing the right financial software for your small business, you can turn your attention to other areas of your business, like operational efficiency and taking care of your customers. 

Let your point of sale (POS) system handle things like reviewing sales, bookkeeping, and accounting tasks. Epos Now offers state-of-the-art POS systems for businesses in various industries. We let you choose from a wide range of tools and insights, to help make your business achieve its goals. You can do everything from process transactions and print receipts to take inventory and manage staff. 

With Epos Now, you can also:

  • Review profitability reports based on individual product performance, trending items, best and worst sellers, and employee sales
  • View sales analyses on profit margin, cash flow, and other expenses
  • Access multi-award-winning inventory management systems that sync online sales and in-person sales for the most up-to-date stock levels
  • Automate stock purchasing so you never miss a sales opportunity
  • Save customer contact details and shopping preferences for more targeted marketing on our CRM system
  • Integrate with the business automation apps that are right for your business
  • Simplify employee management for more efficient scheduling and payroll

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