How hard is it to manage books in the restaurant industry?

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Managing books for restaurants is usually very time consuming and hard. As a rule, any business that deals with a lot of cash, tips and inventory can be difficult.Especially if you add low profit margins on top of that.

Restaurants work with POS (Point of sale) that quite often don’t integrate well with Quickbooks. So when you do the monthly sell info you have to do a lot of manual journal entries. Also, restaurants deal with quite a lot of cash transactions…

As a bookkeeper or an accountant you will probably be poorly compensated for your work. There’s a small profit margin and many food businesses don’t turn a lot of profit. Therefore owners can’t pay much or don’t want to allocate, the little profit they have left, for bookkeeping.

Some bookkeepers prefer to focus on personal service clients such as attorneys, doctors etc. These kind of businesses have no inventory and no tips. So doing their books is relatively easy. Aslo they have very juicy margins!

On the other hand, you should find the niche that fits you best. While some bookkeepers wouldn’t go near a food business, other do work with restaurants and make a nice living out of it. You should have a professional approach to it.

Working with restaurant owners can be interesting and fun. First, you should make sure that you are properly compensated for the time you invest. Then create a system and a workflow and then things can be smooth. These issues must be very well organized:
– Handling tips.
– Inventory.
– Cogs.
– Clearing accounts.
– Cash drawer payouts.
– Custom reports to review key accounts – daily sales, sales clearing, gift card liabilities
If you master these areas you’re most likely to be free of trouble and the fact that most bookkeepers steer clear of the food industry can actually work in your favor.