Quick-serve restaurant owners are some of the busiest people you may ever know. In addition to sales, food quality, staffing, safety, regulations, marketing, staying ahead of the competition, and inventory management, quick-serve restaurant owners have to keep track of financial performance, payables, tax liabilities, and payroll. It’s no wonder that being a restaurant owner is one of the most stressful occupations—even more so if you operate multiple locations. But converting to a cloud-based accounting system can ease the stress and help you run your business better. Here are the five biggest advantages to making the switch.

Save Money: If you are still processing vendor payments and payroll manually, you are wasting money and time. A manual system is rife with inefficiencies. Most likely, you are handling invoices multiple times from the time the invoice is received, approved, check cut, signed, mailed, and filed. The process takes longer with multiple locations. A cloud-based system can cut the time by a third or more by eliminating inefficiencies. By automating the process, you will reduce the number of steps you need in the invoice payment process, and save the money on postage, check stock, printers, and supplies. It’s easier to manage cash flow with a cloud-based accounting system as it allows you to make sure you take advantage of early payment discounts or stop paying late charges. You may also be able to operate with fewer staff because the cloud-based systems are more efficient, thus saving employee salary and benefit expenses.

You may be able to operate with fewer staff because the cloud-based systems are more efficient, thus saving employee salary and benefit expenses.

Financial Information in Real Time: How long do you wait for financial information after the end of a period? And what if you could have key performance indicators available on a financial dashboard every day? Select cloud-based systems have the ability to combine key financial and non-financial data that you can use to manage your restaurant every day. Financial and operational information is not good unless it is relevant, and it is not relevant if it is delivered a week, two weeks, or, in some cases, even a month later. A properly configured and functioning cloud-based accounting system should give you that information on a daily basis.

Collaboration: How often do you need to communicate financial information with your accountant, managers, partners, or other staff who are in different locations? This can be a challenge with an outdated accounting system. But with cloud-based accounting systems, you are able to collaborate with others via the Web using many types of devices, like an iPad, laptop, desktop, or smartphone. Cloud-based systems also make accessing important documents such as vendor payment confirmations more convenient, and this means you’re able to address questions right away.

Reduce Fraud: Fraud should be a concern for every business owner, not just quick-serve restaurant owners. If you’re not concerned about fraud you need to be. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) estimates that organizations lose 5 percent of revenues to fraud each year. Preventing unauthorized access to your bank accounts is one critical component to fraud prevention, and cloud-based accounting systems offer better fraud prevention than manual accounting systems. Most cloud accounting systems can be configured to control who has access to bank accounts and provide an electronic audit trail of who performed what action and when.

Gain time: By improving the efficiency of your accounting system, you have more time to focus on what is important: customer service, the quality of your food, marketing, employee performance, or whatever else you deem to be critical to your success. The reason you opened your establishment in the first place was probably not the paperwork that goes along with running it, but most likely some other reason—a cloud-based accounting system will give you more time to do the most important tasks and help you get that edge over your competition.

William R. Barefoot, CPA, CGMA, is a senior manager in WebsterRogers LLP’s Outsourced Process Solutions group focusing on cloud-based accounting systems and outsourced accounting services. He can be contacted at 843-665-5900 or wbarefoot@websterrogers.com.
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