Monday, October 26, 2009

Does your accounting firm adhere to these best practices? Important tips for new restaurant owners.

You may have read about the basics of restaurant accounting and bookkeeping in one of our previous posts. Owing to the large amount of queries that we receive from the new and existing restaurant owners, we thought of touching base with the other elements that are directly or indirectly connected with restaurant accounting and bookkeeping. There is a very thin line which separates the success or failure of a restaurant business; accounting and bookkeeping is a major part of the success path for a restaurant. Small discrepancies in books of accounts can force even an experienced restaurateur to close shop. We hence thought of listing down some best practices applicable to restaurants so that you can ensure that your accounting firm can follow them.

Monthly Profit and Loss Statement
A monthly P&L statement helps restaurateurs be aware of just where their restaurant stands profit-wise. If you have an accounting firm which prepares your books for you, ask it to prepare a P&L statement monthly and send it to you so that you know month-by-month progress your restaurant is making. Just looking at the statement, you will get an overall idea of the profit or loss of your restaurant, and take steps to improve accordingly.

Inventory Management
Most restaurants incur losses because the owners don’t have any idea of their inventory and how it is being used. Many restaurateurs assume that the inventory is being used properly and do not manage it properly. This can be a costly mistake for the business. Most accounting firms now provide inventory management as part of their accounting services. Ask your bookkeeping firm to include inventory management in its services offering for your restaurant.

4-week Accounting Period
Accounting and bookkeeping experts recommend a 4-week accounting period for restaurants simply because it holds many advantages for it. Restaurateurs can compare performance of the business with the week or month of last year if they follow a 4-week accounting period. If your accounting firm is an expert in the restaurant industry, it will be aware of this fact and will recommend a 4-week accounting period to you.

Weekly Cost Reporting
Also ensure that your accounting firm provides weekly reports of all the costs your restaurant business incurs. Restaurants have a lot of costs that they incur weekly, like labor, food etc. Being aware of the weekly costs of labor, food etc. will help you cut down unnecessary expenditures and remain profitable.

Designate a Professional for Accounting and Bookkeeping
If all of the above sounds too complicated for you to keep track of, designate a dedicated professional for all your accounting and bookkeeping. Ideally, it should be an accounting firm which specializes in restaurant accounting, as it will know the tricks of the trade from the beginning.

Following the above-mentioned best practices for accounting and bookkeeping of your restaurant will not only help it stay afloat in this tough economy, it will also help make sure that it remains profitable. Your accounting firm can become your partner in your goal of ensuring the profitability of your restaurant.

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