Long-term retail managers will usually be familiar with X and Z reports on a cash register and card machine, but modern, cloud-based EPOS systems often don’t name them that. How do you know what they are, then? What is a Z report vs. X report?
It’s useful to consider the meaning in relation to the letters: ‘X’ comes before ‘Z’ in the alphabet (ignore ‘Y’ even though that’s in between – there are, strangely, no “Y reports”).
X reports are an anytime snapshot of sales totals and till activities at the point in time you are running the report – essentially any time before the final report of the day, the Z report. You can generate as many X reports as you like without changing anything in the system.
Shop managers may use X reports to check for discrepancies in the cash drawer at the end of a shift but before closing, to check the status of sales halfway through a day or verify e.g. how many money-outs/money-ins that need to be accounted for.
‘Z’ suitably being the last letter of the alphabet, a Z report is the end-of-day report run when you are closing the trading day.
Not only do Z reports show the final overview of the day’s sales, refunds, payment methods and more – they also reset these grand totals so a new trading day can start from scratch.
There is no redoing of a Z report. Once it is generated and grand totals are reset, any changes you want to make in the till are moved to the following trading day. This makes a Z report the key sales report of the day for accounting purposes.
What information is on an X and Z report?
Different till systems can have different levels of detail on reports, but the information on an X and Z report is more or less the same.
A cheap POS system cannot display things like voided sales or total tips if those functions are not there in the first place. An analogue cash register will not be able to distinguish between payment cards accepted by a card machine unless it has buttons to confirm card types used for transactions.
An advanced EPOS system that is fully integrated with a card terminal will be able to display a lot of details, sometimes with the option to customise the choice of information on the report.
Information on X and Z reports may, among other things, include:
Time and date of report
Staff ID of person running the report
Till point number/ID
Business name and address
Start and end of shift (Z report)
Grand sales totals
Number of transactions
Sales totals divided into product categories/departments
Number of products/items sold
Sales totals divided into tenders e.g. cash, cards, cheques
Cash discrepancies (declared vs. cash sales in system)
Card totals divided into categories, e.g. card brands like Amex and Mastercard and/or types like debit and credit cards
Totals of discounts given
Store credits issued/redeemed
Voided sales totals
Money in/money out totals
On-account sales totals
Gift cards issued/redeemed
Tips and service charge totals
Z and X reports on card machines
Another thing to highlight is reporting on card terminals. A traditional card machine, such as Ingenico’s and Verifone’s models, can print X and Z reports of the card machine’s activities only. This includes transactions divided into card schemes (Visa, Diners Club etc.) and other categories like card refunds.
If your POS system is not integrated with it, the Z report of the card terminal is important to include with the till’s Z report, because the card machine totals verify the actual card payments processed versus the card transactions manually confirmed in the POS system. Comparing the card machine totals with card payments confirmed on the till is an essential part of cashing up in a non-integrated POS system.
If the POS system is integrated with the card machine – thus not requiring manual confirmation that a transaction was successful on the terminal – this extra card terminal Z report may not be necessary for verifying actual card payments processed.
How does a cloud POS system run X and Z reports?
Now, where do you find these reports on a cloud-based POS system? In many cases, POS solutions like to talk about their “daily sales reports” and real-time sales analytics (sometimes advertised as “growth analytics”).
“X reports” used to be printed from a cash register or generated from a legacy EPOS system, but today’s cloud-based EPOS systems allow you to view a snapshot of sales totals in real time from the back-office account of the POS system without having to “generate” it.
The level of details of these business activities depend on the complexity of the POS system. Usually, the software allows you to specify what you want to look at, such as the day’s sales totals divided into payment methods.
Z reports, on the other hand, are harder to come by. Some cheaper POS systems don’t have something called a Z report, but you may be able to preset the time of day when your trading day resets.
In any case, the daily report generated in connection with the end-of-day mark, which could be midnight, may be filed as a “Z report”.
You may not be able to generate this report manually if this an automatic process, e.g. perhaps you just receive an email report at the end of each trading day which you can file. You can also export a daily report the following day when the previous day’s grand totals are final. Alternatively, you can integrate with accounting software so this is done automatically.
More advanced POS systems allow you to perform a Z report (often referred to as “end-of-day” report) manually, sometimes with a helpful tick list so you can verify which procedures have been completed so far at the end of the day.