Accounting For Your Money

The Next-Day Financial Scorecard

QUESTION: Why does it take 45 to 60 days after the month’s end to receive my financials? ANSWER: It doesn’t—or, at least, it shouldn’t! Today, more and more accountants have the ability to generate a “next-day financial scorecard.” They can develop tools to provide plate costing, labor costing and overhead … More

Accounting For Your Money

The Value of Real-Time Data Reporting

QUESTION: What is this talk I keep hearing about collecting daily sales data? ANSWER: With increased competition and higher food and labor costs, the restaurant industry’s overall net income is shrinking, and restaurateurs have to pay more attention to every penny. Therefore, the old ways of gathering and analyzing restaurant data … More

Accounting For Your Money

Finding the Perfect Accountant

QUESTION: My accountant doesn’t seem to know the restaurant industry. How do I go about finding a new one? ANSWER: Many accountants service multiple industries as generalists rather than as specialists. However, restaurants’ profit margins are becoming so thin that operators need to have accounting systems that are designed specifically … More

Accounting For Your Money

Generating Accurate Daily Sales Reports

QUESTION: How can I make sure that my POS system generates an accurate daily net sales report? ANSWER: We frequently come across discrepancies between tax filing records and POS reports while gathering details for an audit. Does this matter, and should you care? Yes, you should care. The daily net … More

Accounting For Your Money

Per Diem Rates and Processing Fees

QUESTION: For overnight trips to my various stores, can I deduct a daily travel per diem rate? ANSWER: As the restaurant owner, you may pay a per diem allowance in lieu of reimbursing actual expenses for lodging, as well as meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) incurred or to be incurred … More

Accounting For Your Money

Asking the Right Questions

QUESTION: Is it appropriate to ask my accountant why the numbers don’t feel right? ANSWER: Absolutely! Some of my best discussions with clients begin when they simply ask, “Why?” Keep in mind that any unaudited financial statements that your bookkeeper or accountant provides to you on a monthly basis have … More

Accounting For Your Money

Simplifying Home Office Deductions

QUESTION: Is there a simple method of deducting expenses for a home office? ANSWER: There is a new simplified option for claiming the home office deduction. The IRS has provided the “safe-harbor” method that individuals can use to determine the amount of their deductible home office expenses, effective for tax … More

Accounting For Your Money

Protect Yourself Against Wage Complaints

QUESTION: Can a disgruntled employee challenge his or her wage compensation through legal channels? ANSWER: Yes! I recently completed a Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation through the U.S. Department of Labor. In this case, a restaurant employee challenged the overtime calculations of an employer after he was fired for … More

Accounting For Your Money

How to Prepare for a Sales Tax Audit

QUESTION: How can I know if my accountant has prepared me for a possible sales tax audit? ANSWER: In the case of an audit of one of my firm’s clients in California, covering the tax years 2010 to 2012, the following documents had to be submitted: •  Sales and use … More

Accounting For Your Money

Setting Your Own Salary

Question: What’s the best way to set my salary from my S corporation restaurant entity? Answer: As the owner of an incorporated business, you’re probably aware that there’s a tax advantage to taking money out of the corporation as compensation (salary and bonus) rather than as dividends. The reason is … More

Accounting For Your Money

Reporting Cash and Credit Card Sales

Question: Does Form 1099-K for credit card payment reporting apply to restaurants? Answer: Yes, and this will be very important to restaurant operators. In legalese, a payment settlement entity (PSE) must file Form 1099-K for payments made in settlement of reportable payment transactions for each calendar year. A reportable payment … More