Insights / A guide to accounting and finance for restaurant operators
A guide to accounting and finance for restaurant operators

Restaurant accounting and finance tallies, tracks, and ultimately optimizes every dollar that comes in and leaves your restaurant. Keeping that record — of transactions, tips, payroll, inventory and more — will let you keep your business humming along, while providing data that you can use to analyze your restaurant’s performance and make it more profitable. Without the right systems in place, keeping track of revenue and expenses can be an incredibly burdensome task for restaurant operators. The right accounting software solution will be tailored specifically to the needs of restaurant operators, helping to make sure all your data is seamlessly tracked in one place, giving you efficient, accessible insights into your finances.

What are the benefits of accounting and finance for your restaurant?

  • Managing profit and loss (P&L): Building consistent P&L statements enables your restaurant to succeed. Tracking revenues and expenses is the backbone of running a budget. As the operator, you’ll also want cash flow reports, which can be tricky things in the restaurant world, particularly with cash tips. A week-to-week cash flow will tell you where your restaurant finances stand at any moment.
  • Managing inventory: The pandemic has led to higher food and product costs, so knowing the price of ingredients, of preparation, and of every product you sell will help you manage your entire operation. An accounting system specifically for inventory can help you to cut down on waste, to staff properly, and to design a profitable menu. Plus, who likes throwing away food?
  • Managing payroll and employee benefits: Generating weekly accounting and payroll reports will help you track what you spend on staffing. It also makes managing payroll taxes easier for your accountant (or your accounting software), and helps you schedule your most cost-effective staff for particular shifts or days of the week.

How to use accounting and finance for your restaurant?

If you’re opening your first establishment, your best bet is to begin using accounting and finance software from the get-go. Pick one that plugs easily into your POS system. Some heavy hitters to consider are Restaurant365, QuickBooks Online, TouchBistro and ZipBooks.

Even once you're established, it’s still worth exploring new ways of managing your accounting and finances. This can be as simple as consulting a bookkeeper / accountant or launching a trial with FreshBooks. Sourcing and implementing a system that works for your restaurant is always important. But these days, when every dollar counts more than ever, it’s critical.   

[Photo by Ron Lach via Pexels]

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