As any restaurant owner or publican will know, hospitality involves long days, a constant mission to keep customers happy and providing a service that is second to none. So it can be difficult to balance these important tasks with finding the time to take stock and keep on top of the accounts.
Accounts, whilst time consuming, are essential to making any business run smoothly. With a few changes and some simple adjustments, publicans and restaurant owners can ensure the books are kept up-to-date and avoid crumbling under an accountancy mountain come the new financial year on 5 April.
A little a day goes a long way
It may seem a huge hassle, but rather than hoarding receipts and getting into a muddle with reams of paperwork, try to take five to ten minutes each day logging information and updating your books. Spending your time in this way is much more fruitful than waiting until a key moment in time, such as when a VAT return is due, and panicking whilst you input piles of information from months gone by and possibly making a costly error.
Invest in decent accountancy software
Having the right accountancy software to suit your needs is invaluable. Not only so you can keep everything up to date in one place but also for providing operational and financial insights, forecasts and assistance with stocktakes and inventories. It will also make accounting easier and more accessible for your business, streamlining the process so that data is stored in one place and is readily available come the end of the financial year.
Consider implementing a TRONC scheme for tips
TRONCs are a great way of simplifying the tipping process and make paying tax easier. And whilst tips will still be subject to Income Tax, the scheme is exempt from National Insurance contributions.
If you have somebody willing to be appointed as a ‘troncmaster’, they will take responsibility for collecting all staff tips and service charges into a central pot and making sure they are distributed to staff.
When in doubt, call in the professionals
There might be some accountancy items you’d rather not tackle yourself. Particularly if they require a great deal of knowledge or insight into specific legislation, such as VAT compliance of wet and dry supplies or auto-enrolment. If in doubt, consider seeking the help of a professional accountant. Although the initial outlay of employing an accountant may seem expensive, in the long run employing one will save you precious time and ensure that your accounts are accurate and submitted to HMRC within the required deadlines, avoiding costly fines.
With a professional working alongside your business, you can concentrate on your own areas of expertise and forge a successful future for you and your staff.
by Alex Skinner, a hospitality accountancy specialist at Perrys Chartered Accountants