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The importance of Accountancy and Bookkeeping software for hospitality businesses

Accountancy and bookkeeping software

Of all the businesses that we look after, only about 60% of them had accountancy software in place when we started to work with them. Of that 60%, less than 5% had software that was fully reconciled and up to date. None of our clients had been using invoice extraction software prior to us introducing it to them.

Accountancy software is like most other types of software, you only get out of it what you put into it. If the information you’re putting in is half-cocked, then that what you’re going to get back out at the other end.

Understanding tools like this can give you a higher level of insight, but most business owners just pay for the subscription because their accountant told them to and don’t give it much thought beyond that.

There are a great deal of different brands of software to choose from. Most off the shelf systems are all fairly similar in the data that they produce, the way you enter that data, and how you navigate the system. Some will have their quirks, and you might find that one software is much more user friendly than the others. Our preference is Xero, predominantly for its connectivity to a larger array of apps, but we’ve got clients that have used Sage, Quickbooks, FreeAgent and other various brands.

They’re fairly easy to use, but they’re also easy to make a mess of, and once you’ve made a mess it can take an experienced person several hours, if not days to put it right depending on the extent of the mess that’s in there.

A lot of business owners tend to assume that accountancy and bookkeeping is simple button pushing and by taking out a subscription to software like Xero, Quickbooks or Sage, they’ll be able to do all of the button pushing themselves and it’ll drastically improve their business, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

To fully comprehend the level of knowledge you’d need to attain to effectively manage the accounts for your business, you’d need to spend a fair amount of time studying. Luckily, that’s not what this course is about! This course is going to help you to set up the tools to Build a Better Business- there will be some elements of the course that you’ll have no issues with following and completing, and other areas that might be beyond your technical knowledge- but remember that you didn’t get into the hospitality industry to handle the financial how to do, that’s my area of expertise.

You’d be wise to select a few different brands of software and take out free trials. Have a look at their training videos and guides as well as how intuitive they are. If the software has an app marketplace, or an integration section, have a look through that and search for the till system that you’re using and any delivery platforms that may be applicable to your business. If you use other software such as Deputy or PlanDay for your time and attendance, then check to see if these apps integrate with the software that you’re using.

If you’re a bit of a tech-wiz and quite enjoy playing about with different types of software, then you should take a look at Zapier and how you might be able to use this to effectively bridge the gap between the various platforms that you’re using in order to make your job easier.

Accountancy software can be an amazing tool if used correctly, but it can also place a large admin burden on your shoulders if you don’t know what you’re doing. For that reason, you’d be wise to work through any onboarding or training videos that the software has to offer. Make a list of any jobs or tasks you’d like to use the software for and then set to work searching through the software’s own FAQ and guides. If you find that Xero is your software of choice, then check out our YouTube channel *insert here* for some handy tips on how to get the most out of it.

Once you’ve had a play around with the various different types of software, it’s time to pick one. Make a list of the key features of each of them and any pros and cons if it helps you to decide.

Data extraction systems

Accountancy software is a great tool to utilise, but as I’ve already said, it’s only as good as the information that you put into it. For that reason, we use data extraction software like Dext, Hubdoc, and AutoEntry to extract all the important information from documents such as: date, invoice number, whether it’s an invoice or a credit note, the amount, and any VAT information. We’ve trialled a fair few of them and we decided to go with Dext- so if you’re a client of ours, that’s what you’ll be using.

Extraction software can also be used to extract line items from invoices- this is particularly useful if you’re trying to check item pricing, or if you order multiple different types of produce from a single supplier i.e. ordering food, drink, dry goods and non-consumables from Brakes or Bidfood.

Dext can also link directly to certain suppliers and platforms in order to automatically “fetch” invoices directly from that platform. This saves the amount of time that you have to spend searching through your various logins to download any missing invoices.

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