restaurant bookkeeping

If you’re monitoring these figures on a weekly basis, you can patch any cost leaks without incurring too many damages. The chart of accounts gives you a sense of your restaurant’s financial health, so you know how you make and spend money. Prime costs are one of the most essential KPIs for restaurant owners. Calculating prime costs help you find where you can cut costs, boost profits, and increase efficiency. Accounts that require reconciliation include loans, lines of credit, credit cards, bank accounts, and payroll liabilities.

Restaurant accounting can quickly become too complex for restaurant owners to handle. If you are not confident in your ability or lack the time that’s needed for accurate and thorough bookkeeping, consider hiring an accountant who specializes in that profession. One of the first places to start when handling your restaurant’s accounting is ask other chef’s how they handle their own accounting records. Knowing how a colleague approaches restaurant bookkeeping may provide insight as to how you should address your own books and records. A restaurant profit and loss statement, or P&L, keeps all restaurant accounting information organized in one concise document.

Why Make Restaurant Accounting Services Your Back Office?

Equally importantly, the P&L is a guiding post to drive business decisions such as when and where to cut costs, how to increase revenue or whether to change your business strategy. Restaurant owners have many factors to consider when it comes to restaurant bookkeeping. Ideally, your accounting software will integrate with your POS system, and you can track multiple locations, if needed, and update the cost of preparing recipes based on daily food prices. Employee scheduling, sales forecasting, and electronic data exchange with vendors are also key functionalities. Other components include payroll, automated A/P, and inventory management. Reconciling your accounts is the only way to know that you have accounted for all transactions, and it makes you aware of incorrect deposits, lost checks, and cash variances. You should reconcile all bank and credit card accounts, loans, lines of credit, and payroll liabilities.

How do you account for restaurant expenses?

Simply put, a restaurant's prime cost is COGS + labor costs. The prime cost constitutes a majority of a restaurant's expenses because it includes all of the food and beverage ingredients, as well as all payroll costs, taxes, and benefits. Prime cost is an important accounting term to know as a restaurant owner.

Rather than trying to handle the books yourself or hiring someone to work internally, we recommend getting an outside bookkeeper. This wouldn’t be a full-time position, and they’re a separate person from your business accountant. Thus, they have no control over or connection to the daily ordering and sales in your restaurant. Essentially, this is a refund of the employer’s portion of payroll taxes on reported tips. Only tips in excess of the minimum wage are eligible for the credit. Due to complex IRS guidelines, accounting for restaurant tips can be somewhat confusing. When the staff receives these payments, they’re considered wages and are subject to withholding.

Essential Accounting Principles for Software as a Service Companies

Plate IQ was our choice for the best automated restaurant accounting software because it automates processes for the restaurant owner so they can focus on other tasks. Using Plate IQ, restaurant owners and managers can automate invoices and accounts payable systems all on one platform. It can be used on its own, integrated with other products, or used in combination with other accounting software restaurant bookkeeping for restaurants. Reconciling QuickBooks accounts is the single most important piece of the entire bookkeeping process. Reconciling your accounts is the only way to know you have accounted for all transactions. You should reconcile all bank accounts, credit cards, loans, line of credit and payroll liabilities. Note that modern accounting software can automate account reconciliation.

Why Do Restaurants Need Accounting Software?

Restaurant owners typically handle accounting in one of three ways: they do it themselves manually, use a bookkeeper or accountant, or use accounting software. Unless you have a strong accounting background, keeping a restaurant’s books manually isn’t usually a good idea. A small restaurant with one location and an owner-operator with very few employees may be able to get away with keeping track of their own records and meeting with an accountant quarterly.

However, restaurants, food trucks, and catering businesses are generally better served by using accounting software. This software saves owners a lot of time and money. It helps them meet certain tax deadlines, calculate and pay sales tax, and meet payroll compliance guidelines. Accounting software for restaurants also automates bank reconciliation, processes payroll, automates sales tax payments, creates invoices, and keeps track of inventory.

For instance, what is the difference between accounting and bookkeeping? What role does an accountant play in a restaurant, among other questions. Let’s have a look at some of these questions and what you really need to know. Some restaurants set up weekly accounting periods while others do it monthly. Once you know when your accounting periods will be, it can make it easier to compare different aspects of your business. When you own a restaurant, proper bookkeeping and accounting are necessary if you want to keep your doors open. You need to know what you’re spending, what you’re earning, and whether you’re turning a profit.

Set Up the Chart of Accounts

Payroll is responsible for calculating and distributing employees’ paychecks. Payroll also keeps a financial record of deductions, bonuses, vacation, sick time, and overtime. A controllable costs report helps you determine your operating margin and calculate your prime cost – an essential KPI for every restaurateur. Use a revenue report to set sales targets for staff, make decisions about growth, and attract investors. A restaurant balance sheet lists your assets, liabilities, and equity.

restaurant bookkeeping

By building on these fundamentals, you’ll gain a better understanding of your restaurant’s financials. This is just the first step to achieving your restaurant’s financial success. The cost usually depends on the type of work, size of the restaurant, and its location.

How to Do Bookkeeping for a Restaurant

Keeping track of your revenue is equally important as knowing your expenses. Have accounting records on hand to show how much you earn from food sales, merchandise sales or catering jobs. Revenue reports display total expected revenue for a period and how the revenue is split between food and drink.

These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. These systems are organized, efficient ways to keep track of your business finances and can be used instead of or in addition to a bookkeeper or accountant.

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It offers plans for all types of operations, including sole proprietors, LLCs, partnerships, corporations, and nonprofits. Tim is a Certified QuickBooks Time Pro, QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and CPA with 25 years of experience. He brings his expertise to Fit Small Business’s accounting content. Looking at profit and loss comparisons to previous periods and years will also give you some insight as to how things are going financially.

  • Rewards Network® does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice.
  • One way of doing this is asking for referrals from other local managers or owners.
  • Select a POS system that is user-friendly for employees and customers and that integrates with your accounting software.
  • While daunting, learning what you need to know about restaurant accounting is not insurmountable.

That’s because there are liability issues and high penalty fees on the line for mistakes made in payroll. Though it’s best to be detailed and use them on a weekly basis, you can generate monthly or yearly P&L’s to your liking and include as much or as little detail as you think is necessary. You must record precise amounts of money for every expense and all revenue.