The 10 Best Restaurant Accounting Software Options to Help Streamline Operations
Running a sizable restaurant operation with several locations requires a lot of resources. When it comes to managing your financial records, accounting software for restaurants is an important tool to leverage.
Using the best option for your restaurant and your unique needs means you're going to be working closely with your provider. And with the average restaurant profit margin being thin — between three and five percent for full service restaurants — managing accounting is vital to the success and growth of your restaurant organization.
Let’s dive into how to find the best accounting software for your restaurant and review some of the best options in the market.
What Is Restaurant Accounting Software?
Restaurant accounting software is a specialized solution designed to cater to the unique financial needs and operational complexities of restaurants. Most accounting software options handle various tasks such as:
- Sales tracking
- Inventory management
- Tax compliance
These helpful features streamline the financial operations of a restaurant, while reducing risk of costly errors that could lead to inaccurate financial records.
Additionally, these kinds of software free up valuable time for restaurant owners and managers so they can focus on the most important aspects of the business, like providing excellent customer service, developing and improving their menus, and other areas that directly contribute to the growth and profitability of the business.
The reporting features within restaurant accounting software are also helpful in delivering data visualizations that enable managers to spot trends in the financial health of the business and make data driven decisions that support the growth goals of the organization.
What to Look for When Comparing Restaurant Accounting Software Solutions
When shopping for restaurant accounting software, it can be overwhelming and even confusing if you're not well versed in how these solutions operate. There are many excellent accounting software systems out there, and they all pretty much do the same thing — manage and control your accounting methods and generate financial statements and metrics.
But not all restaurant accounting solutions are equally as valuable for your business. Consider the following features when you're shopping for the best accounting software for restaurants.
The software should have the ability to track ingredients and supplies, monitor levels of stock, and alert you when inventory is low. Managing inventory levels helps reduce costs and optimize profitability.
Accounting solutions can often handle staff hours, wages, tips, and other compensation elements seamlessly to ensure that managing payroll across your restaurant locations is easy.
Most solutions can track daily sales and integrate easily with your point of sale (POS) system.
Accounting software options should be able to handle tax calculations and generate necessary tax reports.
The software should provide comprehensive financial reports, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
Ease of Use
User friendliness is important. You want a positive experience navigating the user interface of your restaurant accounting system.
Depending on the solution you choose, the platform should include tiers with different features for each level. This way, as you grow, you can simply upgrade your package to unlock the additional tools or features you may need.
Support and Training
Look for solutions that offer excellent customer support and ample training resources.
The software should seamlessly integrate with other systems you're currently using.
The software should be cost-effective and show a clear return on investment (ROI). When you're evaluating your options, look for case studies and customer testimonials to see how end users are benefitting from the accounting software.
Remember, the best software solution will depend largely on your specific needs and the size of your restaurant operations.
The Best Accounting Software for Restaurants
With so many accounting software solutions to choose from, it's difficult to know where to start. We compiled this list of highly rated software options that are used by our CrunchTime customers.
Infor builds complete industry suites in the cloud and efficiently deploys technology that puts the user experience first, leverages data science, and integrates easily into existing systems.
2. Intuit Quickbooks
Intuit Quickbooks doesn't expect you to be an accounting expert. That's why Quickbooks keeps everything organized and in one place.
3. Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains
Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains brings greater control over your financials, inventory, and operations with Dynamics GP, a business management solution for small and medium-sized businesses that goes beyond accounting software.
4. Oracle Financials
Oracle Financials brings disparate accounting systems together into your primary general ledger for a single source of truth, consistently enforcing accounting policies and achieving complete and timely insight.
5. Oracle JD Edwards
Oracle JD Edwards World General Ledger Accounting provides a flexible foundation for your financial operations that streamlines processes and enables you to respond quickly to change. Easily organize, maintain, record, and analyze financial information.
6. Oracle Netsuite
Oracle Netsuite is used by thousands of organizations worldwide. NetSuite's financial management solution expedites daily financial transactions, accelerates the financial close, and ensures compliance.
7. Sage Accounting
Sage Accounting empowers America's small businesses. Free yourself from admin with clever, easy features, built around you.
SAP runs fast, accurate, and automated closing processes – and simplifies accounting for global operations. Their financial close and accounting software systems can help you streamline everything from financial consolidation to compliance reporting and audits.
Workday Financial Management provides robust finance and accounting capabilities, real-time business insight, and always-on audit and internal controls.
FAQs About Accounting Software for Restaurants
Why Do Restaurants Need Accounting Software?
Restaurants can reap several benefits by integrating accounting software into their operations. The most notable advantages include the following:
- Gain greater accuracy in financial management while reducing the likelihood of human error in accounting tasks.
- Achieve and maintain tax compliance. In fact, many software solutions automatically calculate taxes and generate necessary reports to help minimize potential penalties or discrepancies.
- Track supplies in a more efficient manner, which can help with managing low stock levels and reduce waste on over ordering.
- Save time with automation capabilities so owners and management teams don't need to spend time doing menial tasks.
- Support scaling your operations. If your organization plans to expand to multiple locations, accounting software solutions can grow with your business, as opposed to your business outgrowing your software needs.
How Much Does Restaurant Accounting Software Cost?
The cost of restaurant accounting software can vary widely, largely depending on the features, complexity, and scalability of the system. For example, some basic software solutions can start as low as $10 per month, while more comprehensive and feature-rich systems can cost several hundred dollars per month.
Make sure you also consider setup costs and any additional fees for onboarding, training, and support. Some providers offer tiered pricing plans, allowing you to pay for only the features you need and upgrade as your business grows.
Bottom line: Finding the best accounting system for your restaurant will depend on your current needs as well as your future plans. Keep in mind that you want a solution that you won't outgrow as you expand your business.
How Is Accounting Software for Restaurants Different From Accounting Software for Other Businesses?
Restaurant-specific accounting software is uniquely designed to address the complex and industry-specific needs of restaurant operations. Unlike generic accounting software, it comes equipped with features that are tailored to the nuances of the foodservice industry, such as tip tracking and food cost analysis.
Restaurants deal with unique payroll scenarios with tipped employees. Specialized software can accurately track and report tips, ensuring compliance with labor laws and reducing the risk of discrepancies.
Additionally, restaurants must closely monitor and control food costs to maintain profitability. Restaurant accounting software often has integrated features to calculate the cost of recipes, monitor cost fluctuations, and analyze the profitability of menu items.
What's more, these solutions often provide sales tracking features that are built specifically to handle splits and transfers, apply discounts, and manage different tax rates on food and beverage sales.
What Integrations Should I Look for in Restaurant Accounting Software?
For restaurant operators, accounting systems are much more valuable when they are integrated with the key restaurant systems, namely your POS and the BOH operations platform. It’s critical that all three of these solutions are best-in-breed, as they drive revenue and control prime costs.
With this accounting/POS/BOH integration, your restaurant operators will have the information they need to improve revenue and margins in real time. Your above-store employees will understand the critical linkage between financial statements and restaurant operations.
Fortunately, integrating accounting systems with POS and BOH food and labor platforms is straightforward. At CrunchTime, we’ve been doing this since 1995 and have robust integrations and a proven track record with the leading accounting systems. Each of these systems will provide you with a solid foundation for an integrated accounting/POS/BOH strategy.