It comes around every month, so regularly you could set your clock by it, and yet for many business owners, it can still be overwhelming: month-end bookkeeping and accounting tasks.
Our back office and accounting teams work with restaurant owners all over the country and have identified some tips to help you wrap up each month efficiently.
Back office duties
Account for recurring costs
Before closing out at the end of the month, make sure that all your monthly recurring costs have been entered and accounted for.
Automate where you can
Setting up autodraft for any recurring payments such as rent and utilities, instead of writing manual checks not only takes one more task off your monthly to-do list, it can reduce your risk of theft or fraud.
In the same way, running as many vendor payments through the accounts payable feature of your accounting software program will also minimize the number of manual checks you have to issue. This also makes reconciling your accounts more efficient because you don’t have to account for delays in mail delivery or the checks to clear the bank.
Make it daily
We recommend reconciling your cash/check register daily rather than waiting until month-end or year-end. Utilizing bank feeds, if available, is also a best practice to keep this from becoming an overwhelming and daunting task. Regular reconciliation will also help you catch and correct errors or questionable activity more easily.
Making sure your sales are accounted for daily is another way to keep your month-end from being overwhelming. This is also a good way to detect any fraud and resolve it quickly before it gets out of hand.
Make it weekly
While some bookkeeping tasks are better handled daily, there are others that can be done on a weekly basis. For instance, processing your accounts payable once or twice a week is a good practice. Establishing a cut-off date for any additional AP items each month will also help keep you organized.
Another weekly task should be reviewing credit card activity and coding. You don’t want this to pile up until month-end. Take advantage of your credit card company’s website’s export capabilities to simplify this process. We recommend using an expense tracker like Expensify so you don’t have to keep up with physical receipts and the expenses can be coded right away.
Reports are your friend
Make sure all your expenses are coded properly as you go throughout the month. See if you can set up weekly reports on your accounting software for those accounts you want to monitor throughout the month. For example, we use Sage Intacct for our firm’s monthly accounting clients’. This is a cloud-based accounting software because it allows for customization of reports and dashboards to fit our clients’ individual needs.
Monthly accounting tasks
Keep it simple
Simplify your bank accounts. We recommend having one operating account out of which to pay bills for each business entity. Consider setting up separate depository accounts for cash deposits, cashless and third-party accounts.
Likewise, keep your chart of accounts as simple as possible. For example, it is not necessary to create separate accounts for each vendor. Doing so will complicate your financial statements and will ultimately make the preparation of your tax returns more cumbersome and costly. If you want to see your costs associated with individual vendors, contact your accounting professional who can either pull or create reports for you by vendor.
Check with your payroll provider for positive pay solutions that can provide fraud protection. This will also allow for a more simplistic payroll bank reconciliation process.
Adopting a paperless filing system is another good way to simplify and keep your operations organized.
Make it regular
Be consistent when coding vendor payments. This will make it easier to reliably analyze comparative periods on your financial statements.
We recommend that our clients send their accounting team documents via ShareFile as soon as they receive them rather than sending them all at month-end. This helps ensure that no documents get missed and allows your accounting team stay on top of processing your file so there is not a push at the end of the month. The following are examples of documents that should be forwarded to your accountant as you receive them:
- Loan statements;
- Equipment invoices that need to be capitalized;
- Sales and use tax documents; and
- Bank statements (even if your month-end is not complete) *If not pulled via an online portal by your accounting professionals.
Identify and verify
It’s a good practice to verify inventory on the last day of the month to make sure it is accurate. This will help in your ordering process and could potentially save on food and paper costs. Confirming inventory a few times throughout the month will also help you identify any potential theft or fraud.
If you find you are waiting to receive certain documents, such as monthly credit card statements, before submitting your month-end information, please contact your accounting team so they can help you identify which information is needed to prepare your monthly financial statements. Your team can also help you identify any delays and offer solutions for obtaining the information you need. This will expedite the completion of your financial statements efficiently.
Take advantage of your resources
Many business owners keep track of their operations and expenses with Excel spreadsheets that just seem to grow larger every month. If this sounds familiar, check with your back office or accounting team member to see if much of the information contained in the spreadsheets is already provided by the accounting software. If so, our team can make sure those are generated for you. If not, our cloud support team might be able to build them for you.
Our team of back office and accounting professionals are here to serve you. Please call us if you have any questions.
Michelle Beazley is a Back Office Senior on our Back Office Solutions team. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kelly Zorger is a Manager on our Client Service Team. She can be reached at email@example.com.