The Side Dish

Finance to Table Education for Operating Your Restaurant

Should you outsource accounting? The answer is YES!

I have always said to business owners, “If you wanted to be an accountant, you’d be an accountant.”  But more likely, you’re an entrepreneur. You’re a restaurant owner. Sure, you understand the bills need to be paid and the taxes need to get handled…but coordinating all of that may not be part of your core competencies. Imagine having a chef in your kitchen who doesn’t have a culinary background or training? It could be a disaster. If you don’t have accounting skills and training, there is probably a better solution to address those important accounting questions or to make informed decisions about your financials or taxes. Here are some of the benefits of finding ways to outsource accounting functions.

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Save money –  This is usually the first question I am asked when discussing the possibility of outsourced accounting. I usually present the costs savings in two different ways. First, you save money on the costs of an internal employee outside of salaries when you consider employer payroll taxes, benefits, supplies, IT-costs and training time that aren’t needed when you outsource. Second, mistakes can be costly. I’ve seen restaurant owners pay a high price for making mistakes in the form of penalties and fees. Using a trained team of experts is a real advantage in avoiding those unexpected expenses.

Efficiency and timeliness matter – You need solid financial information to make decisions, and you need that information sooner than later. Are your food costs running high? What about your labor? Are compliance issues being handled timely? Having a team of outsourced accountants dedicated to your books can help you identify issues, find mistakes and make quick decisions when you need to the most.

Take advantage of technology – Accounting has come a long way with technology, and you should consider how it can enhance your restaurant operations. A modern accounting department can work faster and smarter using a variety of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and automation to streamline tasks. This leads to increased productivity, as well as a reduction in errors!

Have access to an entire team – Oftentimes we see a system fail when all responsibility is placed on one person’s shoulders, and that person unfortunately leaves the business (often unexpectedly). The restaurant owner is left scrambling for a solution, and things have an opportunity to fall through the cracks. Or perhaps your business simply changes outside of your existing person’s skill set. If you outsource your accounting to the right group, you have the benefit of a team of professionals to handle turnover, backups, flexible scheduling needs, as well as everchanging accounting rules, tax law and compliance regulations.

Protect your business from fraud – No one wants to think that trusted employees would steal from there, but small businesses are more vulnerable to fraud than larger operations because there tend to be fewer internal controls in place. For example, one person may be responsible for handling all bookkeeping functions including paying invoices, making deposits and recording the activities in the accounting software. Outsourcing opens your operations up to multiple sets of eyes and the benefits of segregating duties.

Henry+Horne has a full outsourced accounting department, and we are always happy to discuss how this model works in a fast-paced, restaurant environment where budgets may be tight. While there are many considerations when it comes to this approach, we almost always find a way to structure activities to give you better information, more secure processes and the expertise you need to work smarter, not harder! Contact your Henry+Horne advisor for more information on how to outsource accounting.

Jessica Moulder, CPA, CFE