Restaurant and Food Truck Owners Rejoice with Vendor Payments Simplified
Owning a restaurant and/or a food truck is an exhilarating experience and comes with a unique set of challenges. The work is hard and although the days are long, they are satisfying and the taste of success is oh so sweet. Any thriving owner knows the recipe for success is no secret. It has as much to do with business as it does with the food. That’s why it’s more important than ever to have a trusted, modern accounting advisor in your corner, one skilled in cloud technology who can navigate the new options in vendor payment services and banish the pain of accounts payable.
Restaurants and food trucks have a variety of vendors to pay: food, beverage, and supplies vendors just to name a few. The number of bills, and how they arrive, can often feel as hectic as the number of orders you fill. And when you’re busy or on the go, the risk of forgetting to send a payment can be higher. In fact, tracking hand-off, due dates, and vendor payments is especially difficult when your focus turns to the day-of-day of running the restaurant or for food trucks, when your time is split between your truck and the commissary kitchen. To add to the difficulty, the variety of ways bills come in makes the process even more chaotic: some bills arrive by mail, some by email and some are handed off in person. With different people on different shifts running during business hours, those bills can land in different hands and be forgotten.
Electronic payment options can be the missing link to cash flow.
When it comes to the payments themselves, paying across multiple platforms or with paper checks seems like a quick solution but creates administrative challenges for yourself, staff, and your accountant. It really over-complicates what can be a simple process and makes managing cash flow difficult.
That’s why it’s time for a new approach for restaurant and food truck accounts payable, one that includes online payments in a consolidated and automated solution and blows your online banking out of the water. When food trucks and restaurants turn to the cloud for accounts payable solutions, they can avoid paying bills twice, cut back office expenses, and reclaim valuable time. When you work with a cloud accounting firm like ours, the options for automation and efficiency are endless. Talk about getting a lot of time back to your day!
Here’s a breakdown of how to simplify your vendor payments.
Step 1: Centralize bills
Centralize bills to streamline the vendor payments process.
With a cloud-based accounts payable system, you can consolidate delivery methods for bills. Vendors submit bills online and they appear in your account for review. Some vendors might not be on board to submit bills online, but don’t worry, you can easily scan them or snap a photo and upload into the system. All bills end up in the same system and this eliminates time lost searching for bills that have been misplaced. Your vendors will love being paid consistently and on time.
Step 2: Organize bills and documents
With the cloud, your accounts payable is infinitely more organized.
All vendor payments and AP-related documents live in the cloud, including contracts, account notes, past bills, and payments. In a matter of clicks (or taps if you’re using your smartphone), you can access any information you need to review and approve a payment. All this directly integrates into your cloud accounting platform providing an audit trail. Should an audit occur, the auditor can be given audit-only permission to access your AP system. Then they can easily find bills, payments, canceled checks, and more. This makes a stressful situation a lot less stressful.
Step 3: Automate
Once a bill hits your cloud-based accounts payable system, it is evaluated and delivered based on your restaurant’s accounts payable review guidelines and you have full permission controls.
For example, a bill comes in from a local craft bakery:
The accounts payable system looks at who has sent the bill, how much it is for, and other parameters, and then moves the bill into the review process based on that information. If the ordering manager needs to see the bill, the system will alert him or her. They can tap on the Bill.com app or sign in from any mobile device, review the bill, leave notes, and approve it. This is fantastic if you are on the road in your food truck. Your cloud-based accounts payable system will then move the bill to the next person in the review system, where they can see the notes, bill amount, and more.
Finally, when it is time to pay, the final approver pays the bill and online payments will be sent to the vendor via digital methods such as ACH transfers, or eChecks. There is a method that works for every vendor and all payments tie back to your accounting system automatically. Your accounting advisor then makes sure it is coded correctly and notes current purchasing trends so you can track and plan future purchases accordingly. Having a solid accounts payable process will ensure all payables are accurate.
The system will even remind people when they’ve taken too long to review a bill, and a dashboard will alert users of all bill due dates.
A process that could collectively take weeks is whittled down to minutes, saving you an invaluable amount of time. This is time which you can put back into growing your business. By tracking your expenses in such detail, you also get to maximize your deductions which you and your accountant can celebrate over at tax time.
Step 4: Track everything online
Another time-saving example is when vendors call to ask about payment status. You or your accountant can just log in to your AP solution instead of putting them on hold while you are tracking down the files, checkbooks, or logging into someone’s email account. It’s easy to review all vendor payment information including who reviewed and approved the bill, if and how it was paid, and when it was paid. You can even quickly see why the vendor payment may be held up because the system tracks notes about each bill. It can even show if there are questions about the bill that you need to answer before green-lighting a bill payment.
In fact, you may find that calls regarding vendor payments decrease. Vendors who sign up with the system can request an automated notice when a digital payment is on its way. Happy vendors make for happy business owners. If you are ready to streamline and digitize your restaurant’s vendor payment services, I invite you to try this risk-free trial. If you are ready to regain control of your business and free up your time I invite you to schedule a free consultation with our CEO Michael Levy and learn how affordable it is to hire our cloud accounting firm.