Restaurant Management

Going Paperless at Work: 5 Easy Steps and 10 Helpful Tools

Paper was once considered a necessity for office work.

Remember those days?

In the typical office setting, paper piled up virtually everywhere. It covered every desktop, filled every filing cabinet, and spilled out of recycling bins and trash cans. Employees tacked it on walls, pinned it on bulletin boards, and shoved it in their bags. They also lost and misplaced it.

stacks of papers used to a common site in offfices

When you think of your own office, consider how much space you use simply organizing papers for later reference. It’s overwhelming, right?

There are many reasons why more and more offices have decided to go paperless. Paperless alternatives are economical, earth-friendly, efficient, and fairly easy to implement. With a paperless system, it’s simpler to find what you need when you need it. And, of course, paperless filing is more secure too.

If you’re worried that going paperless at work will be an intimidating process, don’t fret! This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step, and we’ll even include some handy tools to help you get started.

Step-by-Step Guide to Going Paperless at Work

So, you’ve got files everywhere and more paper coming to your inbox every day. How can you possibly organize all this paper into digital files? We’re so glad you asked. Believe it or not, paper isn’t an invincible enemy. It’s more like a pet that needs to be trained to obey, and that may take a little time. But it’s not difficult. 

1. Rally the Troops

First, you need to get your team onboard. Gather everyone who regularly handles paperwork and let them know the plan: you’re going paperless. Tell them it may be a slow transition, but you appreciate their help making the switch.

get everyone on the same page to kick things off

2. Keep It Simple

You may get a little pushback from employees at first. This is normal. Most people are accustomed to using paper for everything, and old habits die hard. That’s why it’s best to make things as easy as possible. Lay out a clear plan with a list of best practices moving forward.

“Paperless” means different things for different offices, but here are some basic ideas:

Accounts Payable

  • Scan invoices and store digitally using keywords or tags for easy search.
  • Pay invoices via bank transfer or credit card.
  • Use digital systems for invoice approvals or purchase orders.
  • Use a system like Sourcery to digitize and manage your Accounts Payable

Accounts Receivable

  • Use digital deposit for checks and cash. Store credit card receipts digitally.
  • Email invoices or customer receipts when possible.
  • Use payment kiosks for credit card transactions.

General Office Procedures

  • Store reports digitally.
  • Email when possible. Avoid mail or printouts unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use note-taking apps instead of sticky notes and “to do” lists.
  • Set up email to organize incoming information into manageable folders.
  • Use digital calendars for reminders and employee scheduling.
  • Consider using tablets or other devices for taking orders, etc.

3. Start Now

You may think it’s best to make the paperless switch when you have time to organize all your current paperwork. That’s a great way to make sure the switch never happens. As humans, we tend to procrastinate, and something will almost always seem more important than digitizing your paperwork. Instead, start now and work on the older stuff later. If you’re not sure where to start, the inbox is always a safe bet. Don’t have an inbox? Gather all the papers on your desk and start with the top of the stack. Or, you can choose one simple process and start there.

Starting now gets you one step closer to a paperless office

4. Trash Old Files

Once your paperless system seems to be running smoothly, you can start tackling those old paper files. First, set a “trash” date. You don’t need to keep old files forever. Talk to your accountant to determine how long you should keep tax documents, receipts, invoices, and other information. Then trash or shred anything older than this date.

For the files you need to keep, start digitizing the most recent paperwork first, then work your way backwards.

5. Ask for Solutions

As you’re making the switch, remember to ask your vendors and associates for their paperless options. Many offices have paperless correspondence available, but fail to mention the options to others. You may be surprised to find how simple things can get when you ask for paperless solutions.

Helpful Tools to Make Going Paperless Simple and Easy

Wishing you had some help to make going paperless at work simple and easy? Good news – help is on the way. There’s a tool or app for every piece of the paperless puzzle. Here are some favorites that can quickly cull down your paper piles and make life simpler overall.


Evernote is an amazing app that has nearly unlimited functionality. The basic idea is that Evernote functions as a digital notebook. You create individual folders based on your own categories. Then you place whatever you need within the notebook. “Whatever you need” can include internet sites, images, photos, drawings, scanned files, etc. You can add tags to help you find what you need later, too.


Trello is a collaboration tool that helps you and your team manage ongoing tasks. You can organize tasks by importance, assign certain tasks to certain team members, add notes and comments, and keep up with what’s done, what’s pending, and what hasn’t even been started yet. Trello sync across multiple devices, so everyone can stay on the same page with current projects.

Trello is a easy tool to manage projects

Google Calendar

There are many different digital calendar systems available, but Google Calendar is arguably the most popular. It syncs with most third-party calendars (such as the built-in iPhone calendar), so you can see all your events and reminders in one place. You also have the option to plan your entire day, hour-by-hour, if you like.


Todoist is basically the most organized “to do” list you will ever meet. To set it up, simply add all of your current tasks. Then you can organize the tasks by priority, category, due date, and more. As a bonus, you can set your most important tasks so they show up first. It works online and also has both iOS and Android apps available.

Earth Class Mail

Earth Class Mail is a unique service that lets you skip physical mail completely. You choose an address to give for physical mail, then Earth Class Mail scans and digitizes your mail for you. After viewing the mail, you can choose what to do with it: trash, forward, store, etc.

If you’re tired of keeping track of paper checks and bank deposit paper clutter, may come in handy. This service lets you fill bank deposit slips digitally, then print the deposit with an envelope and mail to your bank for deposit. You never have to leave the office, and your records are digitally stored.

Hello Sign

Most people assume contracts still need to be printed so they can be signed by hand. Believe it or not, though, there’s an app for that too! Hello Sign lets you sign documents digitally, so you can skip all the annoying paperwork. The best part is that everything can be handled via email, making the whole process more efficient.


LastPass isn’t strictly a paperless app, but it certainly helps you keep everything organized and secure. It’s a password storage app that quickly stores your website and app passwords for later access. Even better, LastPass can generate a super secure password when you need one. There are web browser add-ons, an iOS app, and an Android app available, and they all sync together to make your life easier.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a storage service that lets you organize, store, and share files via the internet. Simply upload your files, organized via folders and tags, then share with colleagues. You can set different privacy restrictions for your files, limiting who has access to read-only or make changes. It also integrates well with Google Docs, which is a free, internet-based word processing application. You can also use Google Sheets, which is the spreadsheet equivalent of Google Docs.


Sourcery not only lets you digitally organize your bookkeeping paperwork, it also automates the AP and AR processes. Invoice approval, payment, storage – Sourcery does it all. It also works with your current bookkeeping system, making it super easy to use. Request a demo today to see how it can help your business.

Final Thoughts

Going paperless at work may seem daunting, but it will probably be easier than you think. In fact, many people find that paperless processes are much easier than traditional paper ones. Email is much faster than snail mail, scanning is quicker than faxing, and digital processes tend to work more smoothly with fewer hang-ups than those involving countless man-hours.

Whether you’re hoping to get rid of paper entirely or just want to make a few changes, it’s easy to get started. Choose one task that could be more efficient if it were implemented digitally. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can quickly move on to other tasks until your whole office is paperlessly organized.

About the Author

With a degree in business and 12 years of work experience in an office setting, Savannah Richardson is a freelance writer and former accountant who primarily focuses on business and finance topics. Her love for organization and efficient processes are evident in her writing, and she loves to share her insights with others.

Restaurant Management

PR for Restaurants: Top Tips and Tricks to use Public Relations to Drive Restaurant Growth

You can spend hours trying to crunch numbers and improve your margins, but at the end of the day, real growth is all about how many people you get to walk through your door. Today’s restaurant market is more competitive than ever with diners’ attention divided between familiar chains, growing grocery delivery options, and other independent restaurants trying to stand out from the crowd. If you want to make sure people are thinking about you when they’re hungry, follow these tips and tricks.

Use PR to fill your restaurant

1. Create Campaigns Based on Local Events

Local events can bring in large numbers of tourists plus an influx of local residents who wouldn’t usually be out and about. They all have to eat somewhere.

Even if you’re not directly participating or even in the same neighborhood, large local events will likely create more traffic in all directions. This includes people coming into town, locals looking for a quick meal on their way to or from the event, or people who want to do something outside of the main event area.

To take advantage, tie an advertising campaign into the event. This could be as simple as running an ad campaign in the run-up to the event. Of course, an even better tactic is to run a special during the event days to give people a reason to stop by.

2. Get Involved in the Community and Let Everyone Know It

Eighty-two percent of consumers consider social responsibility, including community involvement, when choosing where to spend their money. Even the remaining 18 percent isn’t out of reach — while they may not necessarily favor your community involvement, they’ll still remember your name if they see it more.

Volunteering can get your name out there

Your involvement options range from direct charity to sponsoring events to setting up a food stand at a popular local event. Whichever you choose, there are three groups of people who you want to reach.

  • The participants who will see you there.
  • Additional participants who become aware of the event through your PR campaign and decide to participate and check you out at the same time.
  • People who may not be able to attend but will decide to support a restaurant that’s involved in the local community.

How do you let people know what you’re doing? Through standard channels like press releases, social media, and traditional advertisements.

3. Turn Your Regulars Into Net Promoters

You can divide your customers into three groups:

  • Detractors who will go out of their way to tell people about a negative experience.
  • Passives who won’t share their experience with your restaurant at all.
  • Promoters who will actively tell people to seek you out.

There is no publicity like free publicity, and promoters are the best way to get it. The easiest way to earn promoters is to tip passives who already like your restaurant over the edge into becoming promoters. On top of generally good service and things like remembering their names, this might include things like loyalty discounts or coupons for bringing in a friend.

4. Have a Story

What sets your restaurant apart from all of the others? If you don’t have a story, you’re just another diner competing on taste and price. But what really keeps consumers coming back is shared values — 64% say that’s why they continue a relationship with a brand.

Your brand story might be tied to your personal background, or it can be an entirely fictional legendary tale. What’s important is that it sets the stage for what customers can expect. This might be something basic or often used, such as New York bagels or Chicago pizza, or it might be a completely immersive tale like a medieval dinner show.

The end result should be that customers and the press don’t just talk about your food. They talk about where it came from, how it’s just like back home, or how they felt like they were traveling somewhere new.

5. Become an Expert

Don’t just talk about coming to your restaurant. Think about what you can become an expert on. Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts than advertisements.

This could be as simple as providing unique cooking tips or recipes. Some people might feel this gives away their secrets, but people go to restaurants because they want someone else to do the cooking. It just keeps you in mind when they feel like staying at home.

Sharing expertise is a great way to make a name for yourself

You could also become an expert on something else, such as sharing stories about your home country or how you became successful in business. Your goal is to become a resource that news outlets and others can turn to for information while mentioning your restaurant in passing.

6. Create an Experience

If you want to grab attention, you need to create an experience. 72% of millennials prefer spending money on experiences rather than things. Serving good food is part of that, but you need something extra to create a buzz.

Famous examples include the themed experience of Rainforest CafeCracker Barrel’s country stores, and the open flames of Japanese hibachi chefs. Other options might be allowing customers to assemble their own meals, game nights, or live entertainment. Whatever you choose should tie back into your brand story to enhance your overall reputation rather than just being a gimmick.

7. Know What Journalists Are Looking For

Whether you’re trying to get on TV, the radio, or in the newspaper, you need to know what the journalist you’re reaching out to is looking for. This comes down to watching, listening to, or reading the segments you’re trying to get in.

Are other stories rags to riches stories about people? Are they about community involvement? Do they give the readers an activity they can check out this weekend? While promoting your brand message is important, you also need to find an angle that ties into the type of stories that your local outlets like to publish.

8. Capitalize on All Channels

Let’s say you manage to get a TV news reporter to do a segment on your restaurant. What happens next?

  • The story and video get posted on the news channel website and possibly social media.
  • People watching the news head to your website to learn more about you.
  • People check out your social media profiles for recent news and pictures.

So what do you need to do?

  • Have your website basics down — hours, direction, menu, etc.
  • Have more information about what the news featured on your website, and make it easy to find.
  • Make sure your social media accounts are active. If you’ve been ignoring them, start posting daily before the news segment airs.
  • Retweet, like, follow, and share anything sent out by the news company to further promote it and make it easier for customers to connect to you off of the news story.

Remember, the news story is just an initial wave of attention. You want to give those people a reason to get in their car and drive to you, and you want to make it easy for people who missed the news to see what other people have said about you.

9. Write Press Releases for Your Audience

Whether you post them online or send them out to local news outlets, press releases are a great way to spread the word about what you’re doing. When you write a press release, it’s important to think about what’s important to who’s reading it. You want to brag, but why should your customers care about how long you’ve been in business or your new oven?

That’s not to say that you can’t spin anniversaries and routine events into things your customers care about, but you have to make the connection for them. This might include things like discounts for a special event or new, improved, and unique dishes. To make sure you’re on the right track, start with press release templates and customize them to your own style. Need someone to write it for you? Hire expert press release writers instead of slogging through it yourself.


Growing your restaurant is all about cashing in on publicity. To do so, you want to create an experience and story that hooks customers in and gives news outlets a reason to keep talking about your restaurant. If you can achieve those goals, you’ll set yourself far ahead of the restaurants who only think about food.

About the Author

Erin Forst is a business writer focusing on SMBs. He turns complex topics from advertising to taxes into actionable insights that business owners can use to grow and manage their businesses.

Restaurant Accounting

Basics of Restaurant Accounting and How to Avoid Common Mistakes

Most restaurant owners and managers don’t want to be accountants. Fortunately, you don’t need to become one to effectively run your restaurant, but learning the fundamentals of restaurant accounting improves your ability to manage the finances and communicate this information with others.

Key Restaurant Accounting Concepts

You probably aren’t hands-on with all the day-to-day accounting duties, but you need an understanding of the primary concepts.Accounting involves recording and summarizing your business’ financial transactions. Most businesses have similar core accounting needs: recording all expenditures, sending in tax payments, paying all invoices, and tracking revenue. Restaurant accounting adds a few industry-specific processes and functions.

Inventory Management

A restaurant’s inventory covers all of the ingredients that you use to create your menu items. A typical food service business allocates one-third of expenses on its inventory. Effective inventory management is crucial for daily operations and long-term profitability. This process prevents shortages, cuts down on waste, identifies theft and controls your costs.Best practices in inventory management include the following:

  • Organize your inventory: Go through your stock areas and throw out spoiled and expired food. Put similar ingredients together so employees can easily find what they’re looking for. The first in, first out principle is particularly useful in food service. You put the older goods at the front of the shelves. New inventory goes behind your current goods.
  • Count your inventory weekly: Pick a day and a time to check your inventory each week. When you go through this process on a consistent schedule, you end up with better data for direct comparisons. The ideal timing takes place before you open your restaurant or after close. Make inventory counting easier on yourself by planning it before regular deliveries. You have less to count and you can move older goods to the front. If possible, assign inventory counting duties to the same staff members for improved accuracy and efficiency.
  • Use the shelf-to-sheet method: Some restaurants use an inventory list to go through their goods. However, this method leads to inaccuracies. Some items may be on the shelves but not on the list. Other ingredients end up in multiple locations. You count every item on the shelf with the shelf-to-sheet approach, eliminating these problem areas.
  • Run reports on costs and usage: Identify areas of waste or opportunities for cost-saving by running frequent reports. Look for discrepancies between sales and usage numbers. A difference between your chefs’ number of plates sold and the amount of ingredients used to make those plates might indicate your staff may need additional training on portion sizes or ingredient measurements in recipes.

Payroll and Tipping

Restaurant payroll is more complicated than a typical business’ due to the tax rules and credits surrounding tipped employees. Federal, state, and local regulations apply to these employees’ wages and have implications for reporting and documentation requirements.

Under Internal Revenue Service regulations employers must keep employees’ reports of tip income. Employers must withhold employee income taxes, as well as withhold the employee share and pay the employer share of social security and Medicare taxes for both wages and tip income received.

Under the Federal Labor Standards Act, employers may reduce their liability for paying the minimum hourly wage to tipped employees through use of a “tip credit.” Employers can pay tipped employees a reduced wage as long as tip income and that wage equal at least the minimum hourly wage. The federal guidelines as of April 2019 allow a tip credit maximum of $5.12. State and local guidelines do not necessarily follow the federal guidelines, though. Some states do not allow tip credits, and others have different minimum wage requirements.

If your state allows tip credits and you choose to use them, then you must notify your employees in advance and you must calculate the correct tip credit every payroll.

Review These Reports

With more complete information and accurate data you can make better business decisions. At minimum, you should familiarize yourself with the following financial reports and review them regularly for a better understanding of your restaurant’s financial health.

Income Statement

The income statement, also known as a profit and loss statement or P&L, shows whether your restaurant’s operations achieve a profit or suffer a loss. The basic formula is:

Total Sales – Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) – Expenses = Profit (or Loss)

Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement shows you how much cash your restaurant receives, where the cash comes from, and where the cash goes during a period of time. This report is important to review to make sure your restaurant has enough incoming cash to pay for all necessary expenses.

Review These Restaurant Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are the most important metrics that relate to your business objectives and your measurement of success.Look for KPIs that meet these criteria:

  • Relevant to your restaurant category
  • Created from your actual data
  • Available in a timely manner
  • Well-defined
  • Tied to your vision of restaurant success
  • Monitored on a regular basis

A regular review of your KPIs allows you to track profitability as well as to identify performance changes and areas that need improvement. KPIs work well as a basis for comparison. Look at your historical performance and see how that changed through your current data. Compare your reports with benchmark data that’s available for your restaurant’s market.

KPIs are only useful if based on accurate information. If you’re running reports based on poor quality data, you don’t get a true understanding of your restaurant operations. Many food service businesses use restaurant accounting software or point-of-sale systems to collect and organize their data.

Human error is another issue when generating KPIs. Restaurant accountants can enter data accurately and check calculations when the numbers don’t seem right.

You have many KPIs to choose from at your restaurant. Get started with this list of significant KPIs.

Cost of Goods Sold

The cost of goods sold, also called the cost of sales, is the cost of food and beverages at your restaurant. You calculate this number through this basic formula:Beginning Inventory + Purchases – Final Inventory = Cost of Goods SoldYour beginning inventory covers the value of your products in the kitchen and storage areas when the accounting period begins. The purchases include the value of additional purchases during the reported time period. Your final inventory number is the value of your products at the very end of this timeframe.Here’s an example of calculating a restaurant’s COGS on a weekly basis.The restaurant has an inventory valued at $3,000 on Monday. A delivery comes in during this week with a value of $1,500. At the end of business on Sunday, the food and drink inventory totals $2,000.Using the formula above, this is the COGS calculation for that week:$3,000 + $1,500 – $2,000 = $2,500The final number shows how much money it took to create the dishes during that week.COGS gives you visibility into one of your restaurant’s biggest expenses. Controlling these costs is a key factor in improving your company’s profitability. Familiarizing yourself with your restaurant’s COGS will help you:

  • Find opportunities to minimize your costs. You can negotiate your rates with your food distributor or choose to go with a less expensive supplier.
  • Adjust your menu prices or portion sizes based on the actual ingredient cost.
  • Provide accurate information on your restaurant’s financial statements.
  • Have precise numbers for your tax filings. COGS reduces your restaurant’s gross income, which brings down your tax liability. You don’t want to pay more taxes than necessary.

Prime Cost

Your direct costs for making menu items is called the prime cost. This KPI totals your COGS with your labor costs. When you look at labor costs, you must include staff salaries and wages, taxes, insurance and other benefits that you pay for your employees.The formula for this KPI is straightforward:Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) + Total Labor Costs = Prime CostYour restaurant’s prime costs are the biggest expenses you have. They’re also dynamic, as ingredient and labor costs fluctuate over time. You have to monitor it closely to ensure that these expenses don’t get out of hand. A weekly prime cost check-in is a good frequency.You get more insight into your profitability and a better control over your costs when you know your exact prime costs. For example, this calculation may show that your food inventory expenses changed from $2,500 to $4,000 month-to-month. You can investigate why this is the case. Your restaurant may have sold more dishes or customers may choose more expensive menu options. On the other hand, your ingredients may cost more or staff scheduling could account for the increase.Take action once you know the root cause of this change. If you let prime costs go up without looking into the reason behind it, you could cut into your profitability and make it difficult to keep the restaurant going.The prime cost influences your menu prices, inventory orders, staff hiring and scheduling, and how much you spend on indirect expenses.

Cost-to-Sales Ratio

The cost-to-sales ratio presents your expenses as a percentage of your restaurant’s overall sales, or sales for that specific category.Use this formula to calculate the food cost-to-sales:

Food Cost / Food Sales = Food Cost-to-Sales Ratio

The typical food cost-to-sales ratio for restaurants falls between 28 and 32 percent of their total food sales. This number does vary based on the type of restaurant that you operate and the ingredient costs for your location.

Your prime costs should range between 60 and 65 percent of your restaurant’s total gross sales. You calculate this number with the following formula:

Prime Costs / Total Sales = Prime Costs-to-Sales Ratio

Your KPIs don’t tell you a lot of information on their own. Your prime cost doesn’t tell you whether your restaurant is making a profit, and you can’t compare this number to other restaurants. The larger a restaurant is, the higher its prime costs tend to be. However, the sales volume probably is bigger at that restaurant.

When you use ratios, you add context to your calculations. The cost-to-sales ratio shows your expenses and how they relate to the financial health of your restaurant. When you have high costs and low sales, then you have to improve your performance. If you have high costs and high sales, then you’re in a much better position.

Watch Out for These Pitfalls

Several pitfalls get in the way of accurately managing your restaurant’s finances.

Doing Restaurant Accounting Monthly

Too much changes in a month for accounting to work on this schedule for a restaurant. Ingredient costs can go up or down on a daily basis, the number of dishes that you sell may change, and your labor costs are impacted by many factors. You need to schedule time to do at least weekly accounting.

Not Paying Attention to Labor Costs

Your labor costs are typically your biggest expenses behind your ingredients. This number is more than how much you directly pay your employees. You also have to account for staff turnover, the changes in employee schedules based on seasonal demand, payroll taxes, insurance, benefits and bonuses offered. If your labor costs become too high, you may need to adjust your hiring practices or determine wages that reduce rapid turnover.

Forgetting to Reconcile Bank and Credit Card Accounts

Small errors in your accounting can lead to many problems over time. Inaccurate numbers can lead to massive wastage or increased costs across the board. You could pay more in taxes or end up falling short and getting in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. When you reconcile your bank and credit card accounts against the restaurant’s accounting, you can pick up mistakes before they pile up.

Viewing Your Costs Through Total Sales

Total sales only tells one part of your restaurant’s accounting story. You need a granular look at the categories that influence these sales to determine where your restaurant is performing well, and where you need to improve. When you break down your sales and costs, you gain more visibility into this area. These insights lead to better reporting and a deeper understanding of your operations.

Keeping Static Menu Pricing

Ingredients and labor costs change over time. If your menu price stays the same for decades, you can end up pricing yourself out of business. You need a menu pricing strategy that is tied to your actual costs, while not upsetting regular customers. A seasonal menu is one way to approach this, since you’re changing the full menu every few months. New prices are expected by the customers.

Making Accounting Mistakes

Without a comprehensive understanding of restaurant accounting concepts, you can make basic mistakes that spread throughout your business. Learning the calculations above are the first step in this process, but you can run into many situations that make it difficult to accurately account for your operations.

Simplify Processes With Software Solutions

Streamline your restaurant’s business processes through specialized software solutions. They automate repetitive tasks, reduce human error, and reduce the time spent on your workflows. Consider these software categories for your business:

Point-of-Sale System

A POS acts as a combined cash register and credit card terminal. It also has employee time clock functionality. You end up with an accurate and complete view of your labor costs and sales through this solution.

Accounts Payable Software

This software category automates many parts of accounts payable processes. You get digitized invoices with the line-item details extracted into your accounting system. This software, such as Sourcery, eliminates manual data entry and categorization for invoice expenses.

Inventory Management Software

You can get rid of your manual inventory lists and inefficient spreadsheets. Inventory management software simplifies this essential restaurant workflow and generates data for analysis and reporting.

How Hiring an Accountant Can Benefit Your Restaurant

An accountant brings their financial and tax knowledge to your business. Due to the specialized accounting requirements for the restaurant industry, hiring a specialist in this area is essential.An accounting firm with extensive experience working with restaurants, such as Founder’s CPA, provides guidance on industry-specific topics. This skill set becomes particularly important when it comes to taxes.Your accountant needs an in-depth understanding of the following tax areas:

  • The accounting and reporting requirements for tip credits
  • Restaurant-specific depreciation rules
  • Smallware tax treatment
  • Restaurant-specific startup cost amortization
  • Gift card tax treatment

Restaurant accountants help you create benchmarks and compare your performance with other businesses in your category. If you fall behind similar restaurants, the accountant provides insights on why this is the case and what to do to improve.You face a particularly challenging landscape when it comes to accessing capital. Your equipment has a lower resale value, which makes it a poor choice of collateral for some lenders. An accountant finds loan options and walks you through the process, whether you’re dealing with a private lender or the Small Business Administration.

Your Role in Restaurant Accounting

Restaurant accounting is a complex, but critical component of your business’ success. To accelerate your restaurant’s profitability and help ensure its continued operation, you should take weekly inventory, monitor KPIs regularly, review financial reports monthly, calculate COGS at least weekly, and watch labor scheduling and costs. You also need to be aware of tax implications and requirements. Accomplishing all these tasks and more is much easier and more effective if you work with an accounting firm with restaurant-specific knowledge and if you implement the use of software solutions.

Software Integrations, Uncategorized

Xero Integration with Sourcery

Sourcery’s AP automation catered to growing businesses, restaurants, corporate kitchens, accountants, and vendors can now be combined with Xero’s secure online accounting software– And the Sourcery app is now featured on the Xero marketplace!

Check out our integration to see how connecting Xero and Sourcery can provide a complete picture of your business–from invoicing and line item extraction to payments and accounting.

What is Xero?

Xero is a secure, online accounting software that enables small businesses to easily manage inventory management, recordkeeping, digital invoicing, and more. It can also sync with 3rd party apps like Sourcery to allow business owners to use Xero’s features in a way that’s best for their business.

How using Xero with Sourcery can help your business!

Digitizing paper invoices is a breeze with Sourcery’s powerful AP automation tools. With Sourcery’s invoice storage with line-by-line detail and customizable categorization, it’s easy to pull up old invoices with a simple query. The Xero integration with Sourcery allows you to easily export invoices, credits, and payments from Sourcery to Xero. With the data from Sourcery, you can create professional-looking invoices with Xero’s online invoicing feature.

While Xero offers an overall accounting dashboard to track bank balances, payments, etc., Sourcery’s analytics are especially beneficial for use by restaurants and corporate kitchens. Sourcery tracks your spending and product pricing history and sends alerts when they exceed your chosen limits. This lets you easily know when to update your recipe cost calculator and when you need to ask your vendors why prices have changed.

For example, Brendan’s Pubs used Sourcery’s price-tracking feature to track the price of specific ingredients and was able to make quick and easy changes to the restaurant’s menu by eliminating this ingredient when the price was higher. Sourcery’s streamlined invoicing and auto-reconciliation also allows for smooth vendor relations.

Click here to learn how to connect your Xero account to Sourcery in under 5 minutes!

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Here’s what you need to know about these innovations for your back office tools — including which one might be right for you.

What to Look for In AP/AR Solutions

An automated accounting solution can help you streamline your back office. It is one way to get paid more quickly and to efficiently settle accounts. But there is a wide range of solutions to choose from. Some, like, focus almost exclusively on digital invoicing, automatic payment, and account reconciliation.Others, like Sourcery, are end-to-end solutions that include vendor management as well as streamlined invoicing and auto-reconciliation. Catered specifically to those in the restaurant industry as well as to emerging small businesses, Sourcery has the specialized ordering and inventory receipt capabilities that lacks.When you are shopping around for the right platform, you may need to decide whether you need only a billing tool or a comprehensive account management solution. Overview and Features

True to its name,’s primary function is to facilitate domestic and international payments. It includes all aspects of accounts payable, including electronic invoicing and a range of fund transfer capabilities.With you can receive digital invoices from vendors and ensure rapid approval. Similarly, you can create and issue invoices to your customers and receive settlement through ACH, ePayment, Paypal or credit card. The platform syncs easily with major accounting software like Oracle, Xero, QuickBooks and Sage. Reviews and Pricing has generally positive reviews. Users enjoy the automated features and ease of payment approval. Some users posting on Capterra noted the preview window could use improvement. Others mentioned syncing issues and limited rule capabilities. PC Mag noted it does not function like a double-entry system, and may therefore appear to be lacking in features. But, the magazine stressed, is not trying to do everything that other solutions do.On G2crowd, some users noticed frequent bugs when syncing with accounting software. A recent review complained of poor customer service, as they had an unresolved account issue and received no response from’s chat function and there was no option to call the company. Overall, is well-regarded but some reviewers disliked having to pay more for extra features like invoice auto entry.Pricing plans range from $29 to $59 per month per user, with the latter their most popular plan. In addition, the platform charges $19 per “approver” user. There are additional transaction fees, including $0.49 per ePayment, $0.49 per bill for auto entry, $0.99 for a Paypal payment and $9.99 to $19.99 for fast pay fees.

Sourcery Overview and Features

While focuses on payments, Sourcery offers a range of benefits to restaurant and small business clients. These include automated invoicing, online bill pay, domestic ACH and domestic and international check processing. It integrates with Xero, QuickBooks, Sage and a number of other major programs. Sourcery has an extensive vendor management capability that allows for online ordering. The software is designed for food companies, who often have to modify invoices or issue credit notices because of spoiled food upon delivery. With Sourcery, these changes are seamless and easy. The platform enables rapid communication with vendors so time is not wasted with outdated, manual ordering processes.In addition, the automated invoice digitization converts to usable data. Restaurants gain essential analytics about their restaurant costs. The platform has a price alert capability to let owners better track their spend. Because of this functionality, Sourcery can help clients make essential business decisions as well as balance their books. Sourcery has a robust customer service team. Each Sourcery client has a dedicated account manager to help with any issues. The support staff are hands-on with every user, so clients can make the most of the product’s full functionality.

Sourcery Reviews and Pricing

Sourcery is rated 5/5 based on 10 reviews in the QuickBooks App Store. Recent commenters appreciated the reporting functionality as well as the control Sourcery gave them over the invoice intake process. One restaurant owner noted that the platform was invaluable as they worked largely with small vendors who rely on paper invoices.Sourcery does not charge by user, but instead by invoice volume. Pricing therefore depends on the individual client. Unlike, however, the price is all-inclusive. Therefore, clients can budget for their Sourcery subscription with certainty, without worry there are pricey add-ons for every bit of activity.

How to Assess Which One is Best

In order to choose the best solution for your needs, it may be helpful to review some key pros and cons of each platform.

  • Pros: does an excellent job of automating invoices and streamlining payments. Approval processes are easy. The platform has extensive international payment capability.
  • Cons: The subscription is by user and there are additional transaction fees for activity. Some users have complained that the integration of with their accounting software is not as seamless as they would like. Others have complained about the lack of customer service. Another caveat is that invoice input is manual, meaning that if you have high invoice volume the onus falls on the user to enter these details and lacks line item extraction altogether.


  • Pros: Sourcery is tailor-made for restaurant owners. It offers powerful analytics on inventory and price changes so owners can keep a handle on costs. It offers a completely automated  invoice solution, digitizing and extracting invoice data down to line item details. Sourcery offers payment capabilities similar to that of, offering check and ACH payments. Its direct ordering function streamlines vendor relationships. Customer service and predictable pricing round out the benefits of this platform.
  • Cons: Since it is not specifically focused on accounts payable functionality, it may take more time to learn all of its features. Additionally, Sourcery does not offer international payments via wire like does.

Perhaps the best way to decide which platform works best for your business is to try them out and see. Contact Sourcery today and request a free demo to see if the product helps you improve your business efficiency and success.

Restaurant Accounting

Restaurant Accounting Basics: Your Bottom Line for a Thriving Business

Managing a restaurant is a fast-paced and high-pressure endeavor. In addition to making great food, you have to keep a close eye on your restaurant accounting. Knowing how much those meals cost to produce, how often you replenish inventory, and your staff costs make the difference between profitability and insolvency. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the basics of restaurant accounting and how it’s different from other industries.

Restaurant accounting

Know Your Figures: Key Terms in Restaurant Accounting

Every business owner knows you have to charge enough to cover costs and make a profit. But restaurants work a bit differently than other businesses, because of the product that they sell. Their revenue is dependent on service and a high-turnover, perishable product. To gain insight into how your restaurant is performing, it’s key to gain an understanding of these key terms:
  • Cost of Goods Sold: This is how much it costs to make your menu items. It does not take into account overhead expenses like rent or staff. Instead, it is a simple calculation of the ingredient costs for each dish.
  • Labor Costs: Your labor costs are the people power that gets the job done in your restaurant. This includes everyone from the front of house to back of house. Include salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes in your labor costs.
  • Prime Costs: The majority of your business expenses are included in prime costs. Your prime costs are your cost of goods sold and your labor costs. Experts often recommend keeping your prime costs at 65 percent or lower of your overall budget.
  • Occupancy Expenses: This is what it costs for you to maintain your space. That’s your rent or lease costs, insurance, repairs, and utilities.
  • Operating Expenses: These are everything else that you have to pay for in order to run a successful restaurant. This is your website costs, marketing, napkins, and printed menus.
  • Cost-to-Sales Ratio: This is a measure of your prime costs (cost of goods sold plus labor costs) to your revenue. If you bring in $20,000 revenue on a weekly basis and your prime costs are $12,000, then your cost-to-sales is 60 percent.

For most restaurants, it’s easier to cut back on prime costs before occupancy and operating expenses. Having these figures clearly defined can help you to assess whether you are on the right track or have to make changes.

That’s one reason why you should review your prime costs on a weekly basis. You have an opportunity to cut back, especially with reference to how busy you are. If you aren’t filling tables, you may want to order less food or reduce the number of staff shifts. Conversely, if your revenue is high and you still have tables available, you may want to increase your capacity through more ordering and more people working.

Restaurant accounting

Know Your Accounting Method

There are two accounting options for all small businesses: cash and accrual. The main difference is that in a cash-based method, you record revenue when money actually changes hands. In the accrual method, you record revenue when you invoice for payment. Most restaurants use a cash-based method, although the IRS may require you to use the accrual method once your revenue becomes large.

Here’s an example of the difference. Perhaps you have a contract to cater an event off-site. The event takes place on February 26, but you give the client seven days to pay. Under the accrual method, the revenue occurs in February because that’s when you agreed to the job and the contract for payment is in place. Under the cash method, the revenue would occur in March — or whenever you receive payment — because that is when the money actually changed hands.

Restaurant accounting

Key Statements

In addition to understanding important accounting terms, you should also know what you are looking at when your accountant gives you certain statements. Here are a few important documents you should be familiar with:
  • Cash flow: This measures the amount of cash (or cash equivalent) going through the business. You can think of it as a way of gauging how well you are managing the money that’s coming in and out of your doors.
  • Profit and loss: This is the overall picture of your restaurant finances. The P&L statement is a snapshot of how much you’re spending and how much you’re bringing in. The bottom line of this statement is, as the name suggests, either a profit or a loss.
  • Chart of accounts: This is the master sheet of all the financials to do with your business. Its main categories include your assets (like the equipment you own), liabilities (like business loans), revenue, expenses, and equity. These categories will get broken down into more detail, so you can analyze your full financial picture.
Working with your accountant, you can discern what areas of your financial well-being need attention. That insight allows you to keep going in the short term, and plan for a healthy business over the long term.
Restaurant accounting

Managing Inventory

Because inventory is the heart of your business — you serve freshly prepared food to patrons daily, after all — it’s essential to keep a close eye on your rate of turnover. You don’t want to order more ingredients than you use, but you also don’t want to disappoint customers by making menu items unavailable. Do your inventory on a weekly basis in order to calculate an accurate cost of goods sold and to ensure appropriate planning.

Partner With the Experts

Part of being a savvy business owner is knowing when it’s time to call in partners with more expertise. Honest Buck knows the ins and outs of restaurant and cafe accounting. To learn how we can help you gain visibility into your bottom line, contact us today.

ReciPal: What It Is and How It Can Simplify Your Restaurant Business

Every food product on shelves has one thing in common: nutrition labels. This is because the FDA requires it. The label has a list of ingredients and nutritional information. This is helpful for consumers with allergies or health conditions. It is good for anyone who pays attention to daily nutrition.
The label makes sense from a health and consumer protection standpoint. But it can be daunting for people who own food businesses. The FDA updated its new nutrition label requlations in 2016. They gave small businesses only a few years to come into full compliance. These kinds of rules make adding a label to a food product a more complex and costlier that one might think.
ReciPal is a welcome solution to this problem. It has a database of nutrition information. It includes FDA-compliant formatting. Most users find its interface easy-to-use and easy to learn. ReciPal is welcome for entrepreneurs who run a restaurant and prepare food for sale.

What is ReciPal?

ReciPal is an easy software system to create your own FDA-approved nutrition labels. That is at a fraction of the cost of going to an outside packager. Anyone in the food industry can upgrade their product. The creator of ReciPal had the idea when he discovered the many FDA label rules. As a food product owner himself, he decided that the old way was too difficult. It was too high of a price to pay for a small company needing hundreds or thousands of nutrition labels.
ReciPal users can skip the high-priced food analysis. Instead, they can research recipe information with the food database. If they do have to complete an in-house analysis, ReciPal makes it easy. They can save a large amount of money by entering the results of that analysis into the program. From there, ReciPal helps to customize nutrition labels. You can choose a style that suits your brand or product. In other words, ReciPal is a living database. Food entrepreneurs can use this info, or add their own from outside research.
ReciPal does more than create labels. The software has other impressive bells and whistles. These include a recipe cost calculator and inventory management system. These perks prove to be as useful as the nutrition label functionality.

Recipe Cost Calculator

Restaurant owners, food truck owners, and packaged food makers can track recipe cost. This analysis of cost of goods sold is essential for the effective running of a business. Knowing how much it costs to create a single unit allows for the accurate calculation of a profit margin. The menu cost calculator shows how to reduce costs so that the profit margin may be larger. Users can also see how costs are rising. This helps them to develop a plan to find the right price point. The right pricing means a good profit margin and high sales volume. ReciPal’s pricing info helps owners to create a cost-cut or increase. The tool is also essential to the restaurant accounts payable department. These individuals, after all, have to keep close tabs on costs charged by suppliers.

Inventory Management System

ReciPal also helps inventory managers. They can make sure they have enough of each ingredient or product on hand. In the food industry, too much of certain ingredients can lead to expensive waste. An accurate record of rate of ingredient use is essential to cost-effective reordering. ReciPal allows owners to stay on top of inventory in an efficient way. There is no extra burden of having to examine supplies on a regular basis.

Top Features of ReciPal

The features of ReciPal are all essential tools for running a food business. They help entrepreneurs run a more efficient internal operation. The software helps with cost and inventory analysis. The professional consumer-focused labels can align with a strong brand identity. Those labels also ensure regulatory compliance with the FDA.

These are the main features of ReciPal:

  • FDA Compliance Guide and Information
  • Recipe Cost Calculator
  • Nutrition Database
  • Custom Nutrition and Ingredient Labels
  • Recipe Management
  • Inventory
In sum, it is a program that supports owners of all kinds of food businesses.

Who Is ReciPal For?

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ReciPal is for anyone who needs support for restaurant back office operations. This includes FDA-approved nutrition labels and recipe cost calculations. It is also essential as a way to manage food-related inventory. While the creators advertise it as a program for “food entrepreneurs,” it is a helpful tool for many. If you have created a line of gourmet foods from your home, you can use ReciPal. If you run a food truck or have a successful restaurant, you can also use ReciPal. It works for everyone.
The software is accessible from both Android and iPhone devices. The app is a simple download from the app store. This gives you remote access to your nutritional information, recipe costs, and inventory. This is helpful for food entrepreneurs with a large production space. It also makes it easier to set up a satellite location away from central systems. On-the-ball business owners can also access info while travelling or on vacation.

How ReciPal Helps Restaurant Owners

Given the ease of use of ReciPal, it has a benefit for all food producers who want to simplify their packaging. It is great for those who create custom food products. It is also essential for meal plan delivery services and bakeries. Indeed any segment of the food market can use ReciPal. Here are a few ways ReciPal may benefit food entrepreneurs.

Consumer Protection

The necessity for clear and accurate labelling is not only from the FDA. New state laws are requiring restaurants to put calorie counts on their menus. An easy-to-use labelling product is an essential tool. It makes it easier for any food service business that wants to be transparent about what’s in their food. That’s the case even if they sell a product that does not need an FDA label.

Helps Create Custom Recipes

Eateries that sell packaged, prepared food from in-house recipes have to disclose ingredients. With ReciPal they have the flexibility to create an FDA-compliant nutrition label. They do so using both the food database in the software as well as added ingredients. ReciPal helps chefs who want to use an uncommon ingredient in a signature recipe. The software makes it easy to prepare inventory of that dish for customers to take home.

Reduces Packaging Time

By using the software, food producers do not have to go to an outside source to prepare the packaging. This means they are in many ways “cutting out the middle person.” This reduces production time. If they can label goods in-house, it may be a matter of hours from the oven to the store shelves. That means food is fresher when customers come in to buy. There’s more room in display cases for regular turnover of inventory.

Minimizes Regulatory Mistakes

ReciPal produces an FDA-compliant label. This gives food entrepreneurs an added sense of security. They can put trust in the software to create a label that complies with relevant regulations. Knowing that the label is compliant means one less worry for busy entrepreneurs. These business owners have a laundry list of other pressing issues. With ReciPal, there’s one less with which they must concern themselves on a daily basis.

Professional Image

FDA-compliant labels signal to customers that owners care about the product they sell. This is important for consumers who may be reluctant to buy something sloppy. Clear labelling gives important nutrition data. It is also the hallmark of a professionally-run operation. Restaurant owners use ReciPal because it helps them improve their image. It also streamlines their internal processes.

ReciPal: Is it Right for Your Restaurant Business?

ReciPal may seem ideal for most food entrepreneurs. But it may not be the right tool for everyone. To assess the software, you may wish to learn a little bit more about its functionality. If it aligns well with your current needs, it could improve your business. Think about your current business challenges. Ask whether you want to increase the sales volume of your packaged food line. Consider if you and your staff are ready to make the switch. If any of these are true, ReciPal may be worth a try.

About Sourcery

Are you a restaurant owner that wants to take even more control over your costs? Check out Sourcery’s powerful AP and AR automation tools. Sourcery tracks your spending and price changes and sends alerts when they exceed your chosen limits. This lets you easily know when to update your recipe cost calculator and when you need to ask your vendors why prices have changed. All you need to do is email your invoices, and Sourcery automates the rest. Contact Sourcery today for a free demo!

Accounts Payable Jobs: 10 Amazing Opportunities for 2019

After a search for accounts payable jobs, you’re left wondering exactly what the job is. After all, a basic description of duties does not give you an idea of what your day to day life in this position will be. Rest assured: your search is over. Here is everything you need to know before applying for an accounts payable job.

accounts payable job

What is Accounts Payable?

First, if you are working in an accounts payable position, your work life will center on payments. In every industry, there will be two sides to every financial transaction. In Accounts Payable, your main concentration is on processing invoices and outgoing payments. These may be payments to vendors or suppliers for services or goods received by your company. In either case, it is money that your company owes. On the other end of the spectrum is the accounts receivable transactions. Accounts receivables are incoming payments, or assets owed to your organization. Some employees are AR/AP clerks (or specialists) and they handle both ends. This is not always the case, as many organizations hire different people to fulfill each role.

Accounts Payable Job Duties

Despite the close nature of the positions, accounts payable jobs have distinctive duties. An AP clerk or specialist will have duties, such as:

  • Verifying and recording accounts and invoices
  • Processing incoming invoices according to company policies and procedures
  • Resolving billing issues and investigate discrepancies
  • Completing various day to day financial tasks
  • Generating financial reports

It is important to note that duties may extend beyond these basics. You may also perform everyday tasks that are industry specific. In some cases, employers may combine related tasks. Common extra duties include payroll, accounts receivables, data entry and accounting.

Traits of a Top Accounts Payable Employee

Accounts payable clerks or specialists have a key role in the company’s finances. Because of this, employers have a long list of traits that they are in search of during the hiring process. To be most successful in this position, you should have the following traits:

  • Detail oriented
  • Customer service skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Well organized
  • Self-motivated
  • Punctual
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Good with mathematics
  • Financial knowledge

Educational and Experience Requirements

While these traits are important, experience and education also play an important role. Each of these requirements will vary from one organization to another. Yet, most employers are seeking candidates with at least a high school diploma.

A Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, finance, or business administration

  • Accounting software and Microsoft Office know-how
  • Ability to write comprehensive reports in English
  • Experience with creating and maintaining spreadsheets
  • Data entry experience
  • Ability to calculate, record and maintain financial data
  • Previous experience as an accounts payable or receivable clerk

The Work Environment

As for the industry of employment, there is an immense level of diversity. This is because all businesses incur regular expenses. Whether you have prior experience in a hospital or a shoe store, there is no shortage of specialties. This gives you the freedom to choose your surroundings to best suit your skillset. In every industry, you will work from an office where you have a computer, phone and company software. In some instances, you may even have the opportunity to work from your home office. In these cases, you will report to a manager but most socialization will be with vendors or suppliers.

Daily Interactions as an Accounts Payable Worker

In comparison to other office jobs, working as an accounts payable clerk is similar. Although you will spend the majority of your time at a desk, you will collaborate with co-workers. Likewise, you will have regular contact with vendors or service providers. Unlike those in account’s receivables positions, your focus is on paying invoices. Because of this, most payments are already pre-approved before they reach your desk. This means that you will spend less time negotiating cost and more time verifying rates. Despite this, good negotiation tactics and customer service skills are helpful for discrepancies.

Perks of the Job

One of the biggest curiosities surrounding accounts payable jobs is financial compensation. Like most jobs, the salary offered is generally commensurate with experience and education. The average salaries for accounts payable positions range from $36,185 to $44,905 per year. Aside from financial compensation, expect to encounter many other perks. Some of the most typical benefits in this field include:

  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Work/Life balance
  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Coverage
  • 401(k) with employer match contributions
  • Job security
  • Paid vacation and holidays
  • Paid sick time
  • Life insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
  • Parental leave (either paid or unpaid)
  • Wellness programs
  • Tuition reimbursement

These corporate perks vary depending upon the size and industry of the organization. Other perks, like on-site gyms and daycare centers, are less common in these positions.

Accounts Payable Jobs for 2019

Now, you have a better understanding of what to expect from an accounts payable job (For a comparison to hot new software development jobs, check out this post on Elixir jobs). Be sure to explore some of the top current openings in the field. From a children’s hospital to an accounting firm, these positions range in industries. Each one offers top benefits along with an impressive salary:

Accounts Payable Associate I, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)-

Excellent customer service skills are a plus if interested in working for CHOP. The perks of the job include regular hours and the satisfaction of helping sick children. Hospital-specific experience is a big plus for interested applicants.

Accounts Payable Coordinator, Jack Schwartz Shoes, Inc (New York, NY)– In NYC, this job is perfect for the shoe lover. Combine a flair for numbers with this passion and Jack Schwartz Shoes is the ultimate gig. The company is in search of an accounts payable coordinator with an upbeat attitude.

Accounts Payable Clerk, DLS Events LLC (Los Angeles, CA)- A full-time position in sunny L.A. is available. With a focus on expenses related to food and beverages for top events–what’s not to love? DLS Events LLC prefers five years of experience or a BS/BA degree in Accounting or Business.

Accounts Payable Specialist, Prime Group (Hollywood, FL)- Looking for a career on the East coast? The Prime Group may be the place for you. The company is looking for an applicant with construction or real estate experience.

Senior Accounts Payable, Resource Staffing (Houston, TX)-

This job is best for mid-career level AP clerks. Located in a Family Office Accounting department, this position requires management skills. Along with excellent financial compensation, there are other perks. These excellent benefits include paid time off and full medical coverage.

Payroll and Accounts Payable Clerk, Paycor INC (Montgomery, AL)-

A remote job, Paycor INC is now hiring an accounts payable clerk with experience in payroll. Interested parties must have a computer, printer and internet access in their home. Likewise, they must be capable of and willing to work only from home. Accounts Payable Specialist, Aerotek (Fort Wayne, IN)-

Aerotek is hiring an accounts payable specialist with two years of experience. They also prefer applicants to have experience with an ERP or MRP system.

Accounts Payable Clerk, Creative Financial Staffing (Geneva, IL)-

Creative Financial Staffing prefers applicants with experience in the field. In an ideal world, you will have knowledge of accounts payable and receivable duties.

Accounts Payable Specialist 1, Crawford Thomas Recruiting (Federal Way, WA)-

Crawford Thomas Recruiting needs an AP specialist in the entry-level phase. This is a great opportunity for those lacking experience but looking to move forward.

Accounts Payable Professional, Robert Half Finance & Accounting (Colorado Springs, CO)-

The Robert Half Finance & Accounting firm has accounts all industries. If you like variety in your work life, this may be the position for you. A full-time position, they prefer that you have several years of experience.


Now that you know what an accounts payable job is, you can determine if it is the right career path for you. Understanding the basic duties of a position is part of searching for a job. But, there are other factors to consider. Being familiar with average compensation rates and perks allows you to know what to look for. As you continue on your job search, also consider the industry. This is a unique aspect of an AP position. Be sure that the industry is also inline with your skillset for optimal fulfillment. To make your accounts payable process easier and smoother, get in touch with us at Sourcery.

Restaurant Management, Restaurant Software

Compeat: Restaurant Software Overview, Review, & Alternative

There’s no shortage of restaurant software on the market today, but two of the leading ones are Compeat and Sourcery. Perhaps you, as a restaurant owner, are wondering if Compeat or Sourcery is the better option for your growing and thriving business. Or, perhaps you’re thinking of opening your own restaurant and are looking into different software alternatives before your grand opening.

chef sprinking salt

Let’s take a look at how Compeat stacks up against Sourcery in the market today.

Table of Contents

  • Overview
  • Things to Consider
  • Pros and Cons
  • Price
  • Conclusion

Part One: Overview

Compeat touts itself as the premier, all-inclusive restaurant software that integrates accounting, back office, workforce, and intelligence data. By providing real-time insights into such things as labor costs, inventory costs, and logbook costs, Compeat claims to “ensure your general ledger is always in balance from corporate to every location with seamless integration with inventory and labor.”

According to CrunchBase, Compeat’s headquarters are located in the Southern US. They have between 101-250 employees, and thanks to their partnership with Ctuit, they are “the largest provider of integrated accounting, back office, workforce, and business intelligence solutions.”

Based in San Francisco, Sourcery is a premier software that provides both accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) data. In addition to being an ideal solution for restaurants that have many locations (i.e., a franchise), or a chain, wholesalers are using Sourcery to keep their food and recipe costs updated in real time.

Part Two: Things to Consider

There’s one basic formula to remember when discussing the restaurant industry: keep your costs low and your profit high. And one of the best ways to do that is to keep track of your prime costs.

Prime costs are calculated by adding the cost of goods sold (COGS) to the cost of labor. This will give you the total cost of the goods you’re serving to your customers. Obviously, the higher the prime cost, the lower the profit margin, and vice versa.

check prepping

It’s important to remember that COGS involves, not only tabulating the cost of food and beverage but to tabulate the cost of all that goes into serving the food and beverage (such as ice, napkins, tablecloths, etc.) In addition, the only labor that goes into your prime costs is the cost of the labor for the actual restaurant staff (i.e., waiters, food runners, sous chefs). Any labor that is administrative in nature (such as an office manager or an accountant) is not included in the labor costs when calculating the final prime costs. In addition, kitchen costs — such as the cost of a refrigerator — supplies for other aspects of the restaurant (such as toilet paper and soap for the bathroom), and utility bills are not included in the prime costs.

With such intricacies that go into tabulating costs, it makes it all the more essential to not only remain aware of your data but how to accurately keep track of it. Tracking, analyzing, and — most of all — acting on your data will allow you to increase the efficiency of your workers, cut down on waste and over-spending, and even allow you to redirect your marketing efforts more effectively.

For this reason, it’s important to choose your restaurant software wisely.

Part Three: Pros and Cons

Compeat Pros

  • Compeat allows you to streamline your finances. By providing a touch-point for accounting, Compeat can allow you, as a restaurant owner, to take control of your bottom line.
  • Compeat allows you to keep track of your inventory. One of the biggest problems that restauranteurs consistently report is their failure to accurately maintain their on-site inventory. In fact, inventory loss — through misreporting, employee theft, and food spoilage — is one of the biggest problems that restauranteurs face today. But by allowing you to keep consistent track of your inventory, you can significantly reduce — if not outright eliminate — loss.
  • Compeat keeps track of labor and payroll. By gathering complete and accurate data about your employees — and by tracking workers’ logs to get a more accurate overview of actual hours worked — Compeat can allow you, the business owner, to spend less time filing W-2 and SSI/STI documents. What’s more, Compeat can help you keep track of hours to prevent from breaking any labor laws (for instance, Compeat will allow you to calculate if an employee worked more than 40 hours, or if an employee didn’t take enough time on a break, or even if the employee took too much time on his/her break).
  • Compeat boasts an “intelligent” dashboard. Perhaps the biggest “pro” of Compeat is that it provides its users with an “intelligent” dashboard that not only provides all sorts of data at the same time but also allows the user to fully customize the dashboard to get as little — or as much — processed data as they want or need. It’s a dashboard that can pinpoint the problem areas of the restaurant, and also shows where the restaurant is thriving. Best of all, by providing detailed insights and fully processed reports, restauranteurs can make intelligent and informed decisions about their pride and joy.

Compeat Cons

N.B.: These were compiled from Compeat’s verified user reviews on Capterra.

  • Liam C. writes on his review on Capterra, “Occasionally, it will decide to update overnight, and we’ll have trouble getting in the next day.” Being unable to get into a system can be detrimental to productivity.
  • Joely R. and Jessica S. both report on their reviews on Capterra that customer support “can take a while,” and that when there is a new rollout of software, “there are always bumps” and it’s “long and intensive.”
  • A verified LinkedIn user told Capterra that the setup time was “challenging,” and that when it came to customer support, “[it] seemed to be all on us to figure it out.”

Sourcery Pros

  • Sourcery provides online cloud service. By storing data “in the cloud” rather than on a local server, Sourcery not only ensures accurate data output but ensures the security and safety of the data you provide. And there’s no need to worry about “downtime,” because User Temesclar reports that the cloud has an excellent support team.

“The support team is very responsive and is working to continue to develop the product in response to our needs,”

chef at work

  • Sourcery provides real-time data updates. User KringJ says that Sourcery has:

“simplified our accounts payable process and quite literally saved us time and money. The tool makes invoice processing and management effortless.”


“…import my invoices directly into QBO. They get super accurate data in from my invoices, and make paying vendors a breeze. Top notch!”

  • Perhaps unlike any other similar software on the market today, Sourcery is able to integrate fully with QuickBooks, making it easy to not only keep track of accounts payable and accounts receivable, but allows for one-click bill pay. Best of all, when it’s fully integrated with QuickBooks, Sourcery eliminates the need for manual data entry. Just scan all the restaurant’s invoices into the system, and QuickBooks does the rest!
  • Sourcery has a proprietary app, allowing for mobile ordering — making it one of the most forward-thinking programs out there — and has high-touch process management. User RCB says that he’s:

“really excited to see the [proprietary app] on the Apps marketplace.”

  • Sourcery’s users report seeing an immediate return on their investment. A high ROI is, in fact, the main key to a program’s success in business.

Sourcery Cons

The only “con” that consistently comes up about Sourcery is that there are, literally, no complaints from the users.


Compeat does not make its pricing publicly available. Interested customers are required to contact the company to request a custom quote for their business.

While larger businesses are, of course, required to contact us at Sourcery for a custom quote for their business solutions, we offer two basic pricing plans, which we call “Single Serving” and “Family Meal” (for a single location restaurant, and a restaurant with multiple locations/a franchise, respectively). The “Single Serving” plan is $69/week, per location, for up to 5 locations and 25 invoices a month. Any restaurant that has more than 5 locations, and/or handles more than 25 invoices a month will need to go on the “Family Meal” plan and needs to contact the company directly for a quote.

prepping plates


While the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true, it is also true that, as a business owner, you need to get as much proverbial “bang for your buck” as possible.

Compeat is a company that prides itself on allowing its users to count inventory, assets and forecast alcohol and food costs. However, investors believe that Sourcery’s software is robust enough to expand into different verticals, and for good reason: it allows users to upload invoices and/or receipts to the proprietary app, and the program then extracts the relevant data.

This eliminates the need for manual data entry.

In addition, by storing data in a cloud rather than on a local server, data is both safe and secure. Finally, the unanimous customer raves about Sourcery’s integration with QuickBooks, real-time data updates, and premium customer service make it the obvious choice for today’s tech-savvy restauranteur.    Contact us today to schedule a demo.

Food Cost Management, Restaurant Accounting

Recipe Cost Calculator: How to Cost Out a Recipe (with Spreadsheet)

Do you want to save money, stop wasting food, and stick to your budget while still eating great?

Whether you’re trying to cook healthy meals for your family or are a restaurant owner trying to boost your profits, a recipe cost calculator can help you achieve your goals. Keep reading to learn how to track your food costs down to the portion and what you can do with that information.

Don’t forget to grab our sample recipe cost calculator spreadsheet and make a copy for yourself!

recipe costs

recipe costs vary dramatically by ingredient

Why Knowing Recipe Costs Helps at Home

What do you know about your grocery budget? How much you spend per month? How much you spend per week or trip to the grocery store? What about per meal?

You can cook a healthy, filling meal for around $2 per person if you focus on keeping costs low and about $4 if you’re a little more relaxed about what you spend. Multiply that by the number of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and days that you usually shop for. If you’re spending more each trip, is it because you’re:

  • Having food go bad before you cook it?
  • Buying ingredients in packages bigger than you need?
  • Absorbing cleaning supplies or other purchases into your grocery budget instead of tracking them separately?
  • Buying expensive snacks or processed foods?
  • Splurging on steak or lobster?

Knowing your cost per recipe or meal lets you know exactly where you can trim your budget, how much to buy when you go shopping, and when you can treat yourself if you want to.

know how to track per service food cost

Why Restaurant Owners Must Know Their Recipe Costs

If you’re cooking at home, it’s OK if you go over budget on some meals if that’s how you choose to spend your money. If you’re running a restaurant, not sticking to a budget could mean going out of business.

The average restaurant profit margin is only three to five percent. With up to half of your costs coming from food, maintaining tight control over your food costs is the key to success.

This doesn’t mean always trying to go lower, though. A good $20 dish might sell better than a bad $15 dish. What you don’t want to do is price something at $15 because you feel like that’s a good price without realizing you’re putting in $16 worth of ingredients.

Knowing your per-plate recipe costs helps you understand the minimum amount you must sell a dish for to cover your food, overhead, and profit. You then need to think about your customers’ preferences and how you want to position your restaurant in the market to decide if that’s a good price for your menu.

If it isn’t, you’ll need to adjust your recipe or skip that dish altogether.

chicken and waffles

how much does each item cost?

How to Calculate Your Recipe Costs

Calculating your recipe costs is a simple three-step process. (It may be easier to follow along if you download our free recipe cost calculator now.)

recipe cost calculator spreadsheet

use our free recipe cost calculator spreadsheet to maximize profit

1. Write Out Your Recipe

Write out your full recipe as you actually cook it. If you use a recipe book, don’t just copy it if that’s not exactly how you make it. For anything that isn’t a precise measurement, e.g., a sprinkle of seasoning or one potato, use a measuring cup or scale to get its volume or weight.

2. Figure Out Your Ingredient Costs

Next to each ingredient on your recipe, write down its cost per unit. For example, if you need two pounds of chicken and chicken is $5.99 per pound, write down $5.99 per pound. Next to that, multiply $5.99 times two for a total cost of $11.98. This makes it easy to update your recipe cost when food prices change.

Some items only come in packages bigger than you need. In these cases, you need to figure out if it’s something you can use again.

  • If it’s something that lasts a long time, like cooking oil, you can get out your calculator to figure out the cost per ounce or tablespoon. Use that number for your ingredient cost.
  • If it’s something you end up throwing away, like the other half of a container of broth, use the cost of the entire container as the total cost for that ingredient.

3. Add it Up

Once you have all of your ingredient costs, add them all up for your total recipe cost. Divide by the number of servings to get the per-serving cost.

Remember to use the number of servings you actually use. Don’t use the number from the original recipe if that’s not how much you serve.

Additional Steps for Restaurants

Restaurants need to add three more numbers to their per-serving cost to get their total costs and needed selling price.


Overhead is all of your other expenses. This includes things like rent, wages, and utilities. There are two ways to figure out overhead.

  • If most of your items are priced similarly, you can divide your total monthly overhead by the total meals you serve each month. Add that flat amount to each serving’s cost.
  • Otherwise, you can use a ratio. Look at your profit-and-loss statements for the last year. If you spend an average of $5 on overhead for every $10 in food costs, your ratio is 0.5. For each serving, multiply your ingredient costs times 0.5 to get your overhead cost.

restaurant overhead

add in worker costs to overhead


Waste is typically unavoidable in a restaurant setting. Some things may need to be precooked and thrown away at the end of the night if not ordered. Other things may have random slowdowns in sales and go bad before you can sell them.

To calculate waste, you need to track exactly how much you throw away. If you only serve 90 percent of what you buy, you should add another ten percent of ingredient costs to account for waste.

There are three different ways you can calculate your waste.

  • Dividing the value of all the food you threw away by your total food purchasing costs. This is the simplest method.
  • Dividing the number of times you sold a specific dish by the number of times you made it. This method is good for restaurants that precook their meals and throw away unsold portions.
  • Dividing the number of times you sold a specific dish by the number you could have sold with the amount of ingredients you bought to make that dish. This is the most accurate method but gets complicated when you use the same ingredients for multiple dishes.

If you use the third method, make sure you’re only tracking ingredients that went into that dish or were thrown away. If you bought enough ingredients to make 100 of the dish, used some of the ingredients to make another dish, and only had enough ingredients left to make 80 of the original dish, divide by 80 not by 100.


Now that you have all of your food costs, overhead, and waste, you need to add a profit. To do so, multiply your total costs by your desired profit margin.

This might be the average five percent, or you can go higher if you think your customers will pay it. If you want, you can vary your margin by dish based on how popular it is or to round up to a number that looks good on your menu.

Extra Credit: Prime Costs

After calculating your recipe cost and profit you can take an additional step and calculate your restaurant’s prime cost.   Prime cost provides a helpful metric to the overall management of your restaurant.    Combine with recipe costs and profitability, prime cost can illuminate a profitable path forward for your restaurant.

Use Your Recipe Costs for Smart Buying

Once you have your recipe costs, buying food for home or your restaurant becomes a breeze.

  1. Figure out how much of each recipe you want to make.
  2. Add all of those ingredients to your shopping list or food order guide with the cost you’re expecting to pay (from your cost calculator).
  3. Sort your shopping list by the total cost (not unit cost) of each ingredient.
  4. Start at the top of your list and look for stores or vendors with specials on those items. As you move down your list towards items that make up a smaller portion of your costs, it may not be worth the extra time, gas, or shipping costs to keep looking for a better price.
  5. If you can’t find a price at or below your expected cost, do another cost calculation with the price that you found. If you’re shopping at home, does the new cost work for your budget, and is it worth it? If you’re shopping for your restaurant, is it time to raise prices or change your menu?
  6. Buy exactly what you need. Hopefully, you can order in units that match your shopping list. If you can’t, make sure you plan for how to use the extra amount or that you’ve included the cost of waste in your budget.


shop intelligently with recipe cost data

Get Started With Our Recipe Cost Calculator

Does recipe cost calculation sound like a smart idea but maybe a little complicated? Our recipe cost calculator makes it simple. All you need to do is fill in the blanks. Download it now to get started.

Are you a restaurant owner that wants to take even more control over your costs? Sourcery tracks your spending and price changes and sends alerts when they exceed your chosen limits. This lets you easily know when to update your recipe cost calculator and when you need to ask your vendors why prices have changed. All you need to do is email your invoices, and Sourcery automates the rest.