Restaurant Accounting: A Dirty Job but Somebody’s Got to Do it!

Nothing is more pivotal to a restaurant’s success than its own restaurant accounting. While some may see restaurant accounting as the least glamorous role in a very exciting industry, those in the know understand and value its importance. At the end of the day, a restaurant is like any other business – it needs to make more money than it spends, and do so consistently. A good restaurant accountant can offer guidance on how to keep a restaurant afloat during hard times and how to prudently expand in good times. But just what do restaurant accountants do? And how does good restaurant accounting benefit restaurants?

One of the biggest components of restaurant accounting is keeping track of inventory. It’s easy to lose track of resources in restaurants – with so many people moving in and out of the restaurant, and so many items being used up and used quickly, it’s clear that inventory is one of the hardest things to keep track of in a restaurant. Yet, keeping track of resources – whether they be beverages, food items, office supplies, cleaning products or check presenters – is essential for any long-term success and part of the any restaurant accountant’s wheelhouse. When your restaurant is open and in service, there’s no time to run out and purchase the items you need to keep your restaurant running. And running out of items – whether they be printer tape for your receipts or food for your guests – can cost you, big time. Being on top of your inventory is essential for any restaurant to succeed.

Another component of restaurant accounting is keeping track of cash flow. Just like with inventory management, in a working restaurant, managing cash flow is a big challenge.  It’s not just bartenders or servers who handle cash – so do back of the house staff who buy supplies. Restaurant accountants must keep track of every moving part in a restaurant, and that includes cash. When it comes down to it, managing your cash is managing one of the most important parts of your business.

The restaurant accountant is also responsible for making sure employees are paid the correct wage and that their tips are properly reported. They also must comply with various federal and local labor laws, make timely withholding deposits and prepare recurring payroll tax filings.

While restaurant accounting may not get the attention it deserves – upon closer inspection, restaurant accounting is essential for any restaurant’s success.

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