You don’t need us to tell you that running a bar or restaurant is tough. With so many plates to keep spinning at once, accounting can be one of the tasks you dread the most. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some top tips to make things easier.
1 – Use tech to save time and headaches
We now have access to a whole host of technological gizmos that can make accounting life much more simple. The first is finding the right point of sale (POS) system that works for your business. The right equipment will log all of your transactions and provide your numbers in a range of different formats – allowing you to see where your biggest sellers are, or to spot emerging trends.
In many cases, if you have accounting software like Quickbooks, these can be directly linked with your POS system, which reduces both the time, hassle and the possibility for human error of transferring the numbers manually. And with Making Tax Digital just around the corner, it’s more important than ever to digitise!
2 – Keep excellent records
Whilst clever use of tech is a great way to help you keep all your numbers in one place, not everything will be digitised and there will be an awful lot of paperwork/receipts. Running a restaurant or bar involves a mind-boggling number of transactions, both in and out, from many different sources, and these all need to be logged. It might be the last thing on your mind after a busy shift, but ensuring all relevant records are in the same place, in some semblance of order, will make your life much, much easier.
3 – Stay on top of things
If you’ve managed to file all your papers in one place, well done! But now you’ve got to actually crunch the numbers. Doing this regularly (you might want to do this weekly when you’re first starting up, but most set some time aside for monthly bookkeeping sessions), ensures that you know exactly where you’ve got money coming in and out, and allows you to make direct comparisons and fine-tune your business model if necessary. Finding out you’re haemorrhaging money from an unexpected source 8 months down the line is a real kicker, not to mention completely avoidable.
4 – Learn all you can
Most people go into the restaurant industry through an intense passion and talent for great food. You may have years of experience in a bustling kitchen or behind a bar, but preparing to do your accounts can be just as daunting as facing your first service! If you’re tackling things yourself, it’s essential you know the ins and outs. There are specific rules that apply to the industry including rules around: VAT, tips, gaming/gambling machines, splitting personal and business costs if you or anyone else lives on the premises, employee benefits and accommodation, amongst many others! Ignorance will not be an excuse if the HMRC auditors come a-knocking.
Thankfully there are loads of great resources, but it will take some time to plough through and absorb them.
5 – Know when to draft in outside help
If having to deal with the numbers all gets too much (and it is no mean feat!), outsourcing some or all of your accounts to the experts can take away the hassle, give you time to run your business, and in many cases, even save you money.
To chat to us about your hospitality business, give us a call today – 01257 368 963.