What Is the Best Accounting Software for Restaurants?

By business.com editorial staff,
business.com writer
| Updated
Jun 09, 2020
Image Credit: SeventyFour / Getty Images
See our business.com
guide
to financial success.
Presented in partnership with:
Rapid Finance

Look for timesaving features, bank and POS integrations, and anytime, anywhere access.

  • It is essential to keep the financial health of your restaurant in check to have control over your profits.
  • Accounting software keeps track of your revenue and restaurant income and generates reports to give you an accurate picture of your financial position.
  • Carefully pick an accounting program that has the features to meet your restaurant's needs.

Running a restaurant is hard work. In addition to making sure your establishment is clean and inviting, your staff is friendly and well trained, your menu is fresh, and your food is delicious, you have to make sure you're running a profitable business – which is why you need good accounting software.

The best accounting software for your restaurant gives you real-time insights into your restaurant's financial health. It has both accounts payable and accounts receivable features so you can manage money coming in and going out of your restaurant. It connects with the other business programs you use, such as your POS and payroll systems, so you don't have to manually reenter data, and it's also easy to access your account anywhere you are via mobile app or browser.

What to look for in accounting software for your restaurant

Accounts receivable (A/P), accounts payable (A/R) and reporting features

Your restaurant has incoming revenue and outgoing expenses, so you need full-featured accounting software that manages both sides of your cash flow. You need to be able to track income, pay bills and create invoices. You also need to generate reports that give you an accurate picture of your finances and allow you to analyze operational costs, sales, inventory and even traffic trends, which can help you determine how much perishable inventory to stock each day. 

These are some other features to look for in accounting software:

  • Smart reconciliation tools: Some accounting programs predict matches and allow you to reconcile in batches, making this tedious process easier and faster to accomplish.

  • Fixed asset management: Whether you have expensive kitchen machinery, a delivery vehicle, or computers and tablets, you want to look for software with this feature, as it calculates depreciation – a useful tool when tax season rolls around.

  • Payroll: If you don't already have a payroll service, consider adding one to your accounting software. Many companies offer payroll as an add-on service, and sharing data between the accounting system and payroll makes it easier for you to see and analyze labor costs.

Connections to your bank account and business programs

This may sound like a feature that's nice if you can get it but not necessary, but in fact, it should be a top priority. Connecting your accounting software to your bank account and other programs allows them to share data. You don't have time to manually input financial information from multiple sources or transfer it from one system to the other. You also don't have time to track down errors from data entry.

Before you purchase accounting software, check its app store to verify that integrations are available for the programs you already use, such as your POS system, inventory management software and payroll service. QuickBooks and Xero are popular accounting programs, and each offers hundreds of integrations with third-party business software.

Also verify that it connects to your business bank account and automatically imports your transactions each day so you don't have to perform this task manually.

Cloud-based software

Convenience is another factor to consider when you're looking for the best accounting software for your restaurant. You want to be able to access the program and your data at any time, wherever you are, so you can monitor your sales and run reports. For this reason, you want accounting software that allows you to access your account from any browser and comes with mobile apps that make it easy to check your account on your phone or tablet.

What this means is that on your rare day off, if you have a nagging question about whether you actually paid a certain vendor last week, you can quickly check your accounting system from your home computer, laptop, tablet or phone, rather than going into the restaurant to check it on the computer in your office.

Accountant recommendation

The final consideration should be your accountant's recommendation. Whether you have an in-house accountant or you're working with an outside accounting firm or CPA, you want to consider which software applications they're familiar with and recommend.  

Choosing the right accounting software is one of the most important things you can do to boost your restaurant's success. It will make it easier to keep a close eye on how much money you're bringing in and spending, helping you manage your business finances and run your restaurant more efficiently. Now that you know which features to look for, check out our accounting software best picks and reviews.

Restaurant accounting software pricing

These are some of the best accounting programs and their prices, according to Cogneesol.

ZipBooks

ZipBooks is cloud-based accounting software that can help you send professional invoices, collect payments and automate your billing. It also tracks your restaurant's expenses and helps you maintain up-to-date records to keep track of your financial position. 

ZipBooks Starter is a forever-free program. The next plan up, ZipBooks Smarter, starts at $15 per month. The exact cost depends on how many users your accounting software will have and what features needed.

TouchBistro

TouchBistro is a POS system for restaurants, including bars, cafes and food trucks. The POS system helps with restaurant billing and payments and lets your staff manage tabs by seat to improve your restaurant's customer experience.

TouchBistro has pricing plans to fit the needs of every restaurant. A solo license costs $69 per month, while a team license costs $249 s month. You get access to a 24-hour customer support team with the software.

Restaurant365

This cloud-based platform and runs on Mac, PC, Tablet and mobiles. It offers an array of features for restaurants, such as banking, budgeting, accounts payable automation, financial reports and inventory management.

Restaurant365 charges $249 a month per restaurant location for the Core Operations package. The company says the $396 Essentials plan is its most popular. The highest tier, the Professional package, costs $459 a month per location and has the most features. 

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff
The purpose of our community is to connect small business owners with experienced industry experts who can address their questions, offer direction, and share best practices. We are always looking for fresh perspectives to join our contributor program. If you're an expert working in your field – whether as an employee, entrepreneur, or consultant – we'd love to help you share your voice with our readers and the business.com community. We work hard to only publish high-quality and relevant content to our small business audience. To help us ensure you are the right fit, we ask that you take the time to complete a short application: https://www.business.com/contributor/apply/ We can't wait to hear what you have to say!
Like the article? Sign up for more great content.Join our communityAlready a member? Sign in.