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Setting up QuickBooks for a Restaurant

Now that you've made the decision to get the bookkeeping organized for your restaurant, setting up QuickBooks Online correctly is important.  

The first step is to decide which version of QuickBooks Online is best for you.  Most of our clients use Essentials.

Setting up the chart of accounts is necessary in order to organize your sales, cost of goods, and expenses.  Arranging the accounts into categories that makes sense for your restaurant will allow you to have useful financial reports.  Accounts for your assets (bank accounts, credit card payments from your guests, prepaid insurance) and liabilities (accounts payable, tips due, gift certificates, credit cards, loans) will be set up so that they can be reconciled each week or month.

Syncing your bank accounts and credit cards to QuickBooks Online is a big timesaver.  When doing the first sync, you'll have to decide the start date for pulling in the transactions.  If you're a new restaurant, you'll typically sync all transactions.  If you're an existing restaurant, you'll often sync the transactions from January 1st.  This can vary, depending upon your previous bookkeeping situation. 


Once the bank and credit card accounts have been synced to QuickBooks Online, you'll begin to code the transactions to the appropriate accounts.  This can be confusing at first, so it's important to understand the flow of your data: sales, payroll expenses, prepaid expenses, credit card payments to vendors, payments for credit card from your guests, etc.

There are several ways to enter your sales.  We prefer to use journal entries, which is a streamlined process.  Each day, you'll use the daily sales summary from your point-of-sale system to get the data.  These entries will record your sales in the appropriate categories, meals tax collected, credit card tips due to servers, gift cards sold, credit card payments, cash payments, gift cards redeemed, as well as payments for delivery apps such as UberEats and GrubHub.

Payroll costs are entered as journal entries for each pay period.  The reports with the necessary data vary depending upon your payroll service.

Invoices from vendors are entered as bills in QuickBooks Online.  When entering the invoices, you'll code them to the correct account (i.e. food costs, electricity, repairs & maintenance.)  You will either print checks from QuickBooks Online or match the unpaid invoices to the credit card payments or ACH bank payments (or both.)  We use with many of our clients which syncs with QuickBooks Online.

Throughout the month, you should reconcile the cash and credit card deposits to ensure that all of the funds are getting to your bank.  You'll also verify that the tips paid out through payroll match the tips collected from your guests.  You'll also reconcile the payments from delivery apps, posting the marketing fees as needed.

At the end of each month, you'll reconcile the various statements you receive for bank accounts, credit cards, loans.  You'll post the inventory change for food and beverage which will allow you to have an accurate cost of goods.  Prepaid accounts for insurances and licenses will also be reconciled.

The profit and loss statement is a tool that you're regularly using to make adjustments to your cost of goods and expenses.  You're able to run this report for various period, but it's only accurate if you have all of the data entered and reconciled.

The balance sheet indicates the changes in your assets, liabilities, and equity, which is the measure of the long-term success of your business.


We understand that this is a lot to absorb.  In addition to your ongoing bookkeeping services, we offer QuickBooks Online set-up services and training.  We want your restaurant to succeed

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