Working in the hospitality business is tough. If the long hours, high staff turnover and draconian licensing laws aren’t enough to put you off, trying to deal with your accounts just might.
Accounting for a bar or restaurant is notoriously difficult. There are often thousands of transactions to keep track of, each with varying complicated VAT rules. Add in some super-tight margins and the fact you’ve got better things to do than crunch numbers, and it’s no surprise that most businesses will call in the accountant cavalry for some help.
It’s well-known that HMRC like to keep their beady eye on bars and restaurants, so having an expert on board will keep you on the right side when they come knocking for an audit.
But you want to be sure you’re spending your hard-earned money in the right place. So what questions do you ask when you’re looking for an accountant?
Do they understand the industry?
With a wealth of experience comes a wealth of knowledge. Accounting for the hospitality sector brings with it its own set of challenges. A primarily cash-based system needs close scrutiny, as well as an encyclopaedic understanding of all relevant VAT, licensing and tax laws unique to the industry.
Do they understand you?
…But just knowing the sector isn’t enough. A great accountant will get to know you and your business on a personal level. Beyond ‘making a profit’, the business goals for a city-centre bar are going to vary wildly from those of a country pub.
Choosing an accountant that knows what you’re trying to achieve, and doesn’t fit you into a standardised ‘hospitality business’ mould is important for your success.
Do they offer you more?
Knowing the ins and outs of the numbers is just the first step, but does your accountant tell you what you can do with them? Having an accountant at the financial heart of your business can offer you valuable insight as to where things are working out nicely or where you’re losing money. A great accountant will take your numbers and offer strategies on how you can grow your business.
Are they saving you money?
Some people are put off accountancy services by the cost, but we are always on a mission to save you money. Whether it’s pointing out areas we feel you can save on, or reducing your tax bill, it’s about going that extra mile to keep your numbers balanced. In many cases the savings made actually offset the cost of accountancy services in the first place!
Do you actually like them?
When you run a bar or restaurant, you’re going to have to meet and tolerate plenty of people you don’t really like. But if you dread having to deal with your accountant, then you’re with the wrong one! Any accountant you use should be approachable and friendly, and explain things to you in an accessible and jargon-free way. It’s a two-way relationship after all, and hopefully one that continues and grows with you and the life of your business.
For more information about how we can help your bar or restaurant, get in touch today.