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Cloud Based Bookkeeping Department for Restaurant Businesses

Friday, May 20, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andrew Broadbent
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When Scott Aber, the principal owner and lead accountant of Aber CPA, was studying many years ago at NYU, he always knew he wanted to go into working with numbers and accounting. Through the last 20 years of tax accounting and consulting, he has specialized in providing bookkeeping and tax planning services for restaurants. He learned a few things about bookkeeping: It’s the foundation for keeping accurate records so that when it’s tax time, your CPA has plenty to work with; automating many of the bookkeeper’s duties saves businesses a lot of time.


After working with several large companies over the last few years, as well as seeing the quantity of tax automation tools and technologies used by established companies, Scott realized that no small restaurant business could possibly afford to have customized systems akin to larger organizations. But, he pondered, “what if startup businesses had access to cloud based bookkeeping systems that integrated multiple software technologies to streamline record keeping, save time, and money?”


In spite of technology improvements in POS systems for restaurants, invoices and receipts of goods purchased do not all go through this system, leaving the restaurateur with loads of paperwork to take care of in addition to all the small tasks a restaurant needs to take care of in order to run properly. And not all accounting software solutions integrate with the POS systems. At any place you go, you still have to see the paper copy of your receipt then pay the bill. What about cash tips? How do the restaurant owners track this? New York City's restaurant industry is a high growth industry, but it is also a high turnover industry, The 2016 projected sales in NYC for restaurants is 42.5 billion.

"As restaurants are facing higher rents, a more demanding clientele and additional layers of red tape, we are here to help them use technology to streamline processes to become more profitable" said Mr Aber.


In October of 2015, Scott Aber and William Lee founded a startup called Bookkeeping Chefs, a company whose managed software allows restaurants to automate bookkeeping responsibilities such as scanning invoices, receipts, online bill pay, and import of information into a user friendly system. The bookkeeping software also gives its customers the ability to reconcile and manage info from their credit and bank accounts; similar to a mint.com. Bookkeeping Chefs will also include a human element to their service, their network of CPAs will be available to help answer questions and manage client accounts. Scott Aber’s firm has access to over 100 restaurant clients, but he provides superior service by partnering with other accountants and bookkeepers around the country.


“The concept was to develop the integrated technology and then build a service off it, one that really catered to the specifics of restaurant accounting,” Mr. Aber said. They officially launched their website in March 2016. Although there are a number of cloud based accounting services geared towards small business —i.e., Kashoo, Xero, Freshbooks, QuickBooks, offering functions similar to Bookkeeping Chef’s, none are geared towards the hospitality industry. “Bookkeeping Chef solutions cater to restaurants that have a $100,000 to $2 million in revenue.” Mr. Lee said.

Here is how it works:


What it is: Bookkeeping Chef is an outsourced cloud-based accounting service which automates major bookkeeping tasks with accountants providing white glove advice and assistance. The managed cloud services handle most bookkeeping and financial reporting tasks including payroll, cash flow management, online invoicing / bill pay, recording income, and expense tracking.


How it works: After signing up on bookkeepingchef.com, restaurant owners will have a phone consultation with an accountant, who will onboard the client. Customers will use the software and third party applications to automatically send bank and credit card statements securely to Bookkeeping Chefs. All of their vendor and restaurant receipts—including check images and invoices are sent as well. They can be sent in a few different ways: photographed with their mobile phone and then emailed; scanned and uploaded to Bookkeeping Chef’s software; or they can be mailed in an envelope where they are scanned and uploaded by a scanning partner of Bookkeeping Chefs. All of financial documents are then recorded and categorized. “We are here to help make the process go smoothly for the customer,” Mr. Aber said.


Bookkeeping Chefs also generates a few different financial reports: daily sales reports, income statements, balance sheets and profit and loss statements. They are available 24/7, interactive and are generated in the customer’s account. As an example a restaurant owner may see a charge or expense of $500 and not remember the transaction immediately, but can view the transaction history and look up the original receipt. These reports are very crucial for tax preparation and a Bookkeeping Chef partnered accountant will also assist and answer any questions from a tax Preparer. The service is billed monthly to restaurants at fees less than the cost of employing an internal bookkeeper.


The Pitch: As a restaurant startup grows, the owner’s time is much better allocated to tasks other than back office accounting and managing the books. Restaurateurs have so much competing for their attention on a daily basis, we remove the headache of bookkeeping from the endless list of distractions,” states Mr. Lee.


What it Costs: The prices start at $399 per month to have a full service outsourced bookkeeping team provide an accurate, on time monthly close process that provides the financial information hospitality owners need to make critical decisions.


The network of accounts and outsourced payroll companies that have partnered with BookKeeping Chefs allows their customers to tap on-demand expertise with a robust, integrated accounting system that goes beyond an internal staff or small bookkeeping service.


Is the restaurant industry ready to be disrupted?


What do you think? Does the restaurant and hospitality industry need more innovative cloud-based accounting software solutions? Is the human element that Bookkeeping Chef is incorporating worth the cost?


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