6 Reasons to Invest in Bookkeeping Management Software for Restaurants

A day in a restaurant is as hectic as you can imagine. Everyone working both front and back of house carries out activities to keep the business running including purchasing raw materials, food preparation, customer service, cleaning, accounting, reporting… and the list goes on! 

A restaurant manager is the one who ensures that things run smoothly and efficiently. The manager usually focuses on customer service and team management during opening hours. Yet they’re usually the one who ends up doing bookkeeping and reporting at the end of an exhausting day. The tedious and monotonous bookkeeping task is often overlooked and much more likely to fall to the very bottom of the priority list. This can lead to confusion and chaos when one inaccurate record occurs. 

Why do you have to make it hard when you can make it smart? Let’s make bookkeeping tasks less tiresome with the aid of bookkeeping management software. 

In this article, we’ll look into the importance of bookkeeping in a restaurant business, examine six reasons a restaurant business needs bookkeeping management software, and guide restaurant owners or managers in finding the right application to fit their business.

Why is bookkeeping important to a restaurant business?

What is bookkeeping?

We all know what bookkeeping is to some extent, but let’s break down what exactly we mean by bookkeeping before diving into why it’s important for restaurant businesses.

  • Bookkeeping is the practice of recording all expenditures and incomes, which demonstrates the cash flow in a business. 
  • Bookkeeping management involves recording all financial transactions such as material expenses, service expenses, payroll, as well as income (like customer or client payments for goods and services).
  • Bookkeeping is carried out regularly so that managers can track all information and money movements on their books to make key operating, investing, and financing decisions.

A bookkeeper is a person responsible for bookkeeping. Without bookkeepers, companies wouldn’t be aware of their current financial position, as well as the transactions that occur within the company’s walls. Many restaurant owners and managers take on their businesses’ bookkeeping management to save costs. The success of this task lies in restaurant owners and managers’ bookkeeping experience. 

Why should restaurants do proper bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping management is a crucial function in the restaurant business for both legal and financial management purposes. It allows you to track every detailed report about the restaurant’s revenue, food, labor, and operating expenses. Based on these, a bookkeeper calculates precisely how much the restaurant is taxed and processes it on time. 

It’s the restaurant’s legal obligation to pay tax and any restaurant owner and manager wants the tax procedures to go as seamlessly as possible. Proper bookkeeping management will save you plenty of time and work. It also ensures your business violates no obligations when it comes to money affairs. 

Restaurant owners and managers often overlook the importance of matters such as keeping records of every penny spent. Over time this leads to confusion or even huge losses for any restaurant business. 

Proper bookkeeping gives restaurant businesses a reliable measure of their performance. Thanks to that resource of information, you can get a snapshot of the business’ health and whether or not to adjust any operational activities. 

Make the switch to bookkeeping management software

Bookkeeping management software which can do the same job as a bookkeeper and costs only a fraction of a bookkeeper’s salary is considered a good solution for restaurant owners and managers. Thanks to such software’s efficiency, thousands of restaurants have switched to these digital tools  instead of hiring a bookkeeper .

6 reasons to invest in bookkeeping management software for restaurants 

1. Storage

A study has shown that restaurants generate more than 1.5 billion pounds of paper waste per year on receipts alone. Your business does contribute a part to that huge number. 

Paper receipts from customers and vendors can take up to 25% of a restaurant’s office space. Like other restaurant owners and managers, you may be keeping two or three copies of some documents and filing them in different places. This duplication creates waste and makes the workplace environment cramped and uncomfortable. 

By digitizing receipts and storing them in bookkeeping management software, you don’t have to worry about storage anymore.

2. Waste

Every business should be conscious of the environment. With many tree-based products being used and wasted, there’s an estimate that the majority of Earth’s rainforests will be completely gone within the next 100 years. Going paperless is every business’ responsibility to help save the environment and protect the Earth. 

Much of the paper waste produced by restaurants are customer bills and vendor receipts. You can help reduce these sources of waste by using bookkeeping management software. 

3. Supply cost

Paper-based records include the cost of paper and several sources of indirect supply costs. The indirect supply costs include costs of filing cabinets, printers and ink, and other stationery. 

Such costs for restaurants change depending on the season, with more papers issued during the busiest periods and fewer papers issued during off-peak seasons. 

With bookkeeping management software, the supply cost remains the same through different points of the year, thus saving a lot of expenses for restaurant owners.

4. Productivity

It’s hard to find the right piece of paper in a pile containing thousands of others. Even in the most organized workplace, it can still puzzle anyone searching for things, which slows them down. It can go from bad to worse if you’re in a rush and have to deal with difficult customers or merchants. 

A digital document archive with a powerful search function will greatly improve one’s productivity. Bookkeeping management software helps restaurant owners and managers cut off lots of time on finding documents, thus staying focused and engaged in more important tasks.

5. Accessibility

Easy data accessibility is one of the key qualities that restaurant owners and managers look for in their bookkeeping management software. With a huge customer and vendor database, extracting and analyzing information done by a bookkeeper for one specific request is nearly impossible. 

With bookkeeping management software, customer and vendor data has been extracted and stored in a place where you can search for it with a click. Thanks to this highly accessible feature of bookkeeping management software, now restaurant owners and managers can search their database in seconds. 

6. Security

Paper documents are susceptible to risk. Keeping piles of files on-site can introduce several risks, including an incident of fire, poor environmental conditions, and even theft. 

If your business office catches on fire, your paper records could go up in smoke. Floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters can also result in the loss of important business documents. If records are stored in moisture-prone areas, they’re subject to mold. 

Therefore, off-site storage is a solution to protect important documents that many businesses look for. Unfortunately, restaurant records are not as secret and confidential as other financial documents, and restaurant owners and managers could not afford to pay a place at a professional records storage provider. Chances are they’ll look for something which can store documents safely and cost a reasonable price. 

Bookkeeping management software is an optimal solution. Files digitized and stored on the cloud are much safer than in their physical form. Besides, digital documents are protected using multiple security solutions, encrypted, and restricted to limited users who have been granted access. 

What is the best bookkeeping software for restaurants?

Now that you know about bookkeeping management software and its benefits, it’s time for decision making. Choosing the right one is essential because you’ll use it every day to track the money coming in and going out of your business. 

However, the variety of software available in the market can confuse and overwhelm any decision-maker. Ask yourself these questions and you can eventually come up with a clear picture of what you’re finding.

Identify your needs

Do you need a platform that allows you to track inventory, receipt, and sales tax or more direct concerns? Do yourself a favor by making a list of your bookkeeping needs and prioritizing them from least to most important. Understanding your needs before you start researching solutions helps you find the right software without any doubts or concerns.

Look for features that meet your needs

It’s easy to get starry-eyed about features. Don’t blame yourself for this because some software is made to catch the eye of many people. Escape distractions, return to your list of prioritized needs, and evaluate only the software that meets the majority of those needs.

Check your budget

What if bookkeeping management software is amazing, but it’s beyond your budget? Or you may find a hot deal that does not come up with the features you wish to have? All in all, you should figure out the ideal software you wish to have and evaluate whether or not it can fit your budget.

Make bookkeeping management software part of your business operation today

Bookkeeping management software developed by Shoeboxed is an ideal tool for professional accounts and small business owners.

With Shoeboxed, you can turn your receipts into data and organize, make reports and analyze your current financial position at any time and anywhere. 

To get the most out of your bookkeeping management, get started with Shoeboxed for free!

Your Ultimate Guide to Travel Expenses

Keeping track of travel expenses and deductions can be so confusing that you may find yourself tempted to throw in the proverbial tax towel and forget the whole thing. Before it gets to that point, use our comprehensive guide to travel expenses to learn what to deduct, what to write-off and more.

What to deduct when you’re on the go (and how to keep track of it all)

Keeping track of travel expenses and deductions can be so confusing that you may find yourself tempted to throw in the proverbial tax towel and forget the whole thing.

But for small business owners, the write-offs you take while traveling can make the difference between owing money and getting a refund at the end of the year.

Our Ultimate Guide to Travel Expenses will teach you:

  • What counts as a deduction and what doesn’t

  • The portion of each expense that can be deducted (Newsflash: it’s not always 100%!)

  • How to keep track of it all and still enjoy your trip

Can I write this off?

US INCOME TAX FORMSExpenses vs. deductions

If you are going to create an expense report, submit it to your boss or partner, and be reimbursed for that expense on your next paycheck, the expense is not a deduction. It may very well end up being a deduction for the company come tax time, but since you’re not truly paying anything out of pocket, you can’t claim it as a write-off.

If, however, you are a small business owner and are paying out of pocket travel expenses for your hotel room, rental car and airfare, those expenses definitely qualify as deductions.

Local vs. out of town travel

Knowing the difference between local travel and out of town travel will help you determine how to calculate your travel expenses and write-offs.

The IRS considers travel expenses to be completely separate from the day-to-day costs incurred while running your business.

The van you bought for deliveries, the mileage accrued making said deliveries, parking fees and tolls are all considered transportation costs, even if you have to travel hundreds of miles on any given day.

So how does the IRS determine whether a write off is a transportation deduction or a travel deduction?

Easy. They want to know if you’re spending the night.

Out of town travel means that you’re far enough from home that an overnight stay in a hotel is a necessary business expense (and no, shacking up at your hometown’s nearest 5-star resort just because you feel like it does not count as a travel write-off).

Once that airfare is booked and a few nights at the Best Western San Diego seem imminent, you can begin tracking your expenses as travel deductions. The Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker makes it easy to track receipts to write-off or deduct later, and it even allows you to track your mileage!

Business vs. personal

If you’re off to a conference or event in a snazzy city like Paris or Puerto Vallarta, you may be inclined to bring your significant other, spouse or family along for the ride.

Generally speaking, unless your posse is also employed by your company, none of their travel expenses will be deductible.

Let’s say you’re going to Paris for a four-day conference and you’re bringing your husband. The plan is to attend the conference for the first four days, then gallivant around Western Europe for another 10 days.

  • Your airfare is deductible, but his is not.

  • Your hotel room is deductible, but only while you are attending the conference. The remaining 10 days are considered a personal vacation and you’re on your own.

  • 50% of the cost of your meals and entertainment is deductible, but only during the conference. If you and your husband go to dinner during the business portion of your trip, half of your meal (or 25% of the bill) can be taken as a deduction. The same rules apply if you bring additional family or children.

While your hearts may be joined, your travel expenses are not. Track your deductions exactly as you would if you were traveling alone, and make sure to keep personal vacation expenses completely separate from business expenses.

Can I write all of this off?

Just because something is a write-off doesn’t mean it’s 100% deductible. Confusing?

Think of the IRS like an airline who’s forced to put you up for the night when your flight is delayed. Sure, they’ll offer you a decent hotel room and transportation to and from the airport. But what’s up with that $15 food voucher? What are you supposed to buy with that, a Snickers bar and a bottle of water?

The IRS wants you to be well-rested, but they don’t really feel like footing the entire bill for dinner at a 5-star restaurant.

In general, you may be able to deduct up to 100% of the following business expenses while traveling:

Airfare

The cost of your airfare is up to 100% tax deductible. If you decide to take a train or a bus, that counts too. Uncle Sam will even pay for those pesky baggage fees, but see below before trying to write off those pre-flight cocktails.

Yes, you can fly first class, but be ready to prove that doing so is “regular and necessary” for your business. Extremely lavish expenses tend to raise red flags.

Internet access

If you fall victim to one of the many airports or hotels that still doesn’t offer free WiFi, fret not. That 24-hour Boingo Internet pass is a deductible travel expense, as is anything you spend in the hotel business center. If you find yourself racking up printing, faxing and copying costs while traveling, those are also 100% deductible.

Transportation costs

Once you arrive in Phoenix (or Vegas, or Tahoe), you’ll probably have to leave the airport. Your rental car, cab fare and/or public transportation costs are all 100% deductible. The same goes for any extra expenses you accrue while driving the rental car like gas and tolls.

Make sure to ask for a receipt when taking a cab!

Go ahead, give him a big fat tip.
Go ahead, give him a big tip.

Hotel room

In most cases, the cost of your accommodations are 100% deductible. If it makes sense, you can certainly choose a 4 or 5-star hotel if you don’t mind fronting the initial extra cost. Just make sure your choice falls within the realm of “regular and necessary” – the IRS doesn’t accept deductions that it deems “lavish or extravagant.”

Since one person’s “lavish” is another person’s “meh,” you have some wiggle room here. If the 5-star hotel is 30 miles from your work site and you’re not only staying there, but taking a personal helicopter to and from your digs, and you’re not Bill Gates, you might want to tone it down a notch.

Hotel expenses

You tip the bell hop, you tip the valet driver, you pick up your dry cleaning and before you know it, your hotel expenses are starting to creep up towards the total cost of the room itself.

Happily, anything that costs you money while you’re in the hotel is deductible, as long as it’s regular and necessary for a typical person in your line of work.

Tip: Since it might be a little awkward to ask the bell hop for a receipt after tipping him, just make a clear note of how much you spent on the top of a related receipt from the same day.

Meals and entertainment

50% alert! 50% alert!

When calculating travel expenses from meals and entertainment, you have moved away from 100% Write-Off World, and into the Land of Half Off.

A whole lotta eating goes on while you’re traveling, and Uncle Sam understands that it’s not particularly practical to live on microwavable pizza pockets from the hotel vending machine for a week.

You can deduct up to 50% of your meals while traveling, whether you eat alone or with business associates. Be careful when calculating dinner write-offs, however. If you happen to be staying in the home town of your old college buddy, dinner with him or her is not a deduction.

Other forms of entertainment are only deductible if you can demonstrate how they are necessary for the growth of your business. Jot down the names of potential clients and business associates on the back of your receipts before scanning them to your Shoeboxed account.

If you want to write off your tickets to Wicked, go ahead – as long as you actually work in the entertainment industry, that is.

Keeping track of it all

Phew! With all of those travel expenses to keep track of, you may want to simply throw in the towel and take the standard deduction for meals and other travel write offs.

But wait! Being your own mobile bookkeeper while traveling is a breeze thanks to receipt scanning apps and portable receipt scanners.

Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker

Our handy app (available for iOS and Android) lets you keep track of every travel expense in the blink of an eye. Just snap a picture of each receipt and let us do the rest! Shoeboxed uploads each receipt to your account, digitizes the data for editing, and lets you recycle that paper scrap before it can begin collecting dust in your carry on.

Fujitsu ScanSnap

What if you acquire an exorbitant amount of receipts while traveling, or you have a ton of paper that needs to be digitized while you’re on the go?

The Fujitsu ScanSnap scans stacks of paper receipts and large documents in a snap! With its USB port and ability to create editable Word and Excel files, your long distance work site will feel like a home office offshoot. At just 12 ounces and 34 inches long, you’ll be able to slide the ScanSnap into your carry on and focus on what really matters – finishing that final Words with Friends move before the flight attendant makes you turn off your phone.

Now that you’re a travel expense expert, get out there are start tracking those write-offs already!

References:

1.  http://www.irs.gov/publications/p463/ch04.html

2. http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc511.html

photo credits: businesstravelalmanac.com, www.blogto.com

New Android App Released!

Hey Android Shoeboxers!

We’re excited to announce that we just released the new version of our Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker App for Android!

New Shoeboxed Android Receipt AppNow Android users can enjoy a bunch of new features on the go! The new version of the Android app features a fresh look and awesome new features like envelope tracking. As always, you can use the app to effortlessly submit receipts, track expenses and generate expense reports, anytime, anywhere– and it’s still free!

The app also includes a direct way to access your account on shoeboxed.com to enjoy all of our great features and numerous export options. All of the receipts you captured with the Android app will be right there waiting for you!

To download the new version of the Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker for Android for free, click here.

If you have any feedback or questions about our new Android app, please reach us 24/7 at help@team.shoeboxed.com or give us a shout on Twitter @ShoeboxedHelp.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated as more upgrades and awesome new features are released!

Stay Organized,

The Shoeboxed Team