Since the 70s, Acumen Computer Systems has been providing computer services to Geelong and regional Victoria.
While they were pretty popular throughout the 70s and 80s, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that they made their mark as one of the few Australian POS providers at the forefront of the new GST and tax reforms.
Acumen: the skill in making correct decisions and judgments in a particular subject, such as business or politics.
From Acumen Computer Systems, Alex Fotheringham says the rebrand of Acumen in the 90s was to represent their values.
“In 1995, we rebranded with the name Acumen because its dictionary term resembles what we are,” Alex explains “We started to create our own point of sales and accounting software instead of just selling time on servers.”
Their ability to customise a POS system to swiftly enable businesses such as hardware stores, manufacturers and electrical retailers to meet new standards was something that hadn’t been achieved before.
Almost two decades later, Acumen hasn’t slowed down, providing customisable, functional POS solutions to Geelong businesses.
“Our service was originally developed for the plumbing and hardware industry who have their own challenges,” Alex says, “but we have always been based in Geelong, and our ideal clients are those local or regional businesses. We have evolved to move into other industries like retail who have unique functionalities to help them with a solution that grows their business.”
“Some of the day-to-day challenges we come across with our clients include the need to have up-to-date stock levels. As customers move to web-based sales, they have less inclination to search store to store for a product… having a POS system that provides real-time updates on stock levels even with web-based sales puts businesses ahead of the game.”
As proven by web-based sales, POS Systems have moved past the act of just selling a product. Businesses are now beginning to take full advantage of streamlining data entries and saving employees time.
“Recently, we had a client who wanted to have different stock management tools for different employees and different payment pathways as they had a lot of account-based sales, but still wanted to do cash sales too for the customers who were just down the road,” Alex says.
Offering advice, Alex said: “When businesses start considering a POS system for their business, they should write down at least three things that their business does.”
Some other considerations businesses should make when employing a point of sales system is the security and how you want to price your products.
Alex highlighted that the security on certain POS systems is different to Acumen’s and that many businesses would be unable to control their pricing with ease or delegate roles to staff members with simpler POS systems.
“The simplest question is who do you want to have control of your sales and your stock, and how do you want to price your products?” Alex says.
“Even the way people are paying is changing.”
With COVID-19, cash sales are becoming less frequent, and customers prefer to use EFTPOS and Buy Now Pay Later functions such as ZipPay.
“One of the biggest trends our clients have seen is there are more split-based payments, where customers want to pay $50 with a gift card and then the rest through EFTPOS or PayPal,” Alex says.
This change in customer behaviour has had a flow-on effect to the way businesses use point of sales.
“Utilising other software packages in particular with web-based sales, people are using POS integrations to assist in stock management and sales,” Alex commented.
“Even without COVID-19, there are big changes coming to point of sales and business management. Purchase orders are now being submitted electronically (as opposed to in person or by mail) they are directly going to your point of sale system, so your order is processed faster,” Alex says.
Acumen has been working hard with their system to make it as adaptable to Geelong businesses needs as possible.
Alex commented that Acumen pride themselves on being the helping hand for rural towns and local Geelong businesses.
Over the last few years, they have become accredited partners of a variety of POS integrations. In the near future, they will be launching a mobile scanning application to assist businesses with stocktaking.
“These businesses not only have challenges that we can assist them with, but they have a more relationship based dealing whereas in city stores they’re less trustworthy of account-based customers because they don’t know them.”
Acumen is not just a Geelong business, but a business dedicated to ensuring regional Victoria has the best point of sales software the industry has to offer.