Cartoon graphic of man and woman working on computers with additional widgets.Running a restaurant is a lot of work!

You may spend your days training staff, reviewing your menus, meeting with vendors, and working on marketing campaigns. There’s only so much time in the day, and it’s easy to overlook your books.

However, if you don’t keep track of your accounts, you may find your invoices piling up and the tax man calling.

Should you consider hiring a bookkeeper?

When to hire a bookkeeper is different for every restaurant owner. To help you make this decision, we’ll review the responsibilities of a bookkeeper, explain the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant, and explain the benefits of adding a bookkeeper to your staff (or bookkeeping services).

What Does a Bookkeeper Do?

Think of a bookkeeper as the financial quarterback of your business. They perform all the day-to-day financial tasks that keep your restaurant up and running. For example, the responsibilities of a bookkeeper often include:

  • Paying invoices from your vendors
  • Accepting payments on your invoices
  • Performing payroll
  • Tracking receipts
  • Paying bills
  • Recording all your business’s daily transactions

Bookkeepers are in charge of your business ledger and make sure it always balances.

Bookkeeper vs. Accountant

The terms “bookkeeper” and “accountant” are often used interchangeably, but these are actually two different positions with unique responsibilities. If your bookkeeper is the financial quarterback of your restaurant, an accountant will act as the financial coach of your business. An accountant looks at the big financial picture. They often create budgets, run reports, and handle your company’s taxes.

While a bookkeeper is typically a transactional role, an accountant is more of an analyst who will track the business’s financial health and make recommendations to improve cash flow and profit.

An accountant can perform bookkeeping duties but a bookkeeper cannot serve as an accountant.

When to Hire a Bookkeeper

Cartoon man with beard, arms raised in air in front on laptopIf you have the funds, the best time to hire a bookkeeper is when you first begin your business. An experienced bookkeeper can set you up right, creating a well-organized ledger and developing best practices from the start.

If you’ve been doing your own bookkeeping and don’t have a strong accounting background, it may be difficult and time-consuming for a bookkeeper to come in later and re-organize your system to meet industry standards.

That said, if you need to save on funds, you may have to hold off on hiring a bookkeeper in the beginning until you can afford their services. If you find that you don’t have the time or ability to manage your payments and payroll, that’s a good clue that it’s time to hire a bookkeeper.

Hiring a Bookkeeper

Your bookkeeper will be managing your books and will have access to your accounts, so it’s imperative to hire someone who is organized, reliable, and trustworthy.

Look for candidates with experience, especially in restaurants. Don’t hesitate to call previous employers to ensure the job candidate left in good standing.

Should You Outsource Your Bookkeeping?

2 cartoon women exchanging an envelope. You may wonder why you should hire a bookkeeper. After all, adding another staff member will increase your overhead. In the restaurant business, where margins are infamously tight, another employee could be difficult to support.

However, implementing good bookkeeping processes is incredibly important. A bookkeeper keeps the bills paid and the lights turned on. They send out checks to your employees and ensure your books are balanced. No restaurant (or any business) can last for long without solid bookkeeping.

That said, you don’t necessarily need to hire a full-time or even a part-time bookkeeper. Instead, you can save overhead by outsourcing your bookkeeping needs. RASI is a company built to provide back-office services for the hospitality industry. That includes bookkeeping services. We are happy to take over your bookkeeping needs so you can focus on running your restaurant.