Restaurant Bookkeeping Guide

It is important to have an efficient bookkeeping system with security measures for a restaurant to be successful. Here is a guide to setting up a streamlined bookkeeping system for your restaurant.


Your restaurant needs to accurately record business transactions through a well-defined bookkeeping system so you can manage your cash flow better. Organise all books and documents so you can easily lodge your BAS. Remember that clean records can easily attract buyers and investors should the time comes that you would want to expand or sell.

You should start registering your business properly so you can be eligible to claim tax refunds later on. The Australian Business Register offers online ABN applications. When applying for the ABN have the tax file numbers, names and date of birth of each person involved in the business available for a quicker application process.

If you want to claim expenses from the day you started operating your restaurant, you should register for Goods and Services Tax right away. You can register for GST online, by phone or through your accountant. If you set up the business without registering for GST, you won’t be able to get a tax refund during that period.

Don’t forget to collect all the receipts for every transaction going through your business. This is necessary if you want to claim as much as you can when you lodge your BAS.

You may also want to use cloud-based accounting and POS systems to make your bookkeeping faster and more accurate. You will be able to get real time financial information about your business anytime and anywhere. Some of the widely used cloud accounting software are Xero, QuickBooks, MYOB and Reckon. It may also be a good idea to choose a bookkeeper that has hospitality expertise who can better help you than local bookkeepers.

You can also eliminate manual data entry and sync with your accounting software and supplier accounts through a document management software like HubDoc and Receipt Bank. The software automatically sends receipts, invoices and bills to a secure account on the cloud that you can access. It makes the bookkeeping process efficient. Use a scanner to connect with your system and scan all your receipts for record keeping.

Choose a POS system based on its set up cost and required hardware. Find out if the system will deduct a percentage fee out of each sale as it can affect your business’ profitability. Some POS systems for restaurants are Kounta, Square, Automake, Abacus, etc.

You can also set up a chart of accounts with various categories that can show your business position and help you make decisions. There are templates available for food businesses and you can customise one by starting with a simple chart of account and modifying it along the way according to your needs. Your bookkeeper can help you create this to avoid errors and make sure it feeds properly into your POS system.

You may also consider opening two bank accounts; one for daily trading and another one for general savings. Set up an automatic transfer from your savings account to your cheque or trading account every week to anticipate paying for your BAS.

Don’t forget to anticipate your outgoings and ensure that you have enough funds to cover your employees’ GST and PAYG tax in the first three months of operations, so you won’t have a debt with the ATO. Ask your bank to set up a purpose only account for your BAS or GST.

As you look for different ways to grow and improve your business, seeking professional advice from a business accountant and consultant could prove to be an important and helpful decision.

You can click here to speak to business experts. We would love to help you formulate investment strategies and streamline your processes to take your business to the next level.  Our goal is to help you grow your business, find ways to invest more and increase your productivity.

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