New bar managers, especially those who have never owned a business before, often find the process of caring for money matters quite daunting. There are a number of ways to make the process easier:
- Keep excellent records. Staying organized and holding on to all receipts is crucial. Invest in a filing cabinet and make sure to file all your receipts in a simple method that makes sense to you. Ideally, you want to be able to find any financial paper within minutes.
- Set aside a time and place for money matters. Each day, you should spend time considering the financial side of business. You should look at and file receipts, make payments, tally profits and debts, etc. This will make staying organized a habit. It will also prevent a buildup of financial matters that seems insurmountable.
- Consider an accountant. An accountant can help you by showing up once a week or once a month to help you complete your financial statements. Hiring an accounting service will mean an additional bill to pay, however. You will also want to go over the accountant's work on your own, to see how the financial side of things works. In general, it is a mistake to leave the entire financial management of your operation to another person. If you hire an accountant, stay involved in the financial work of your bar. An accountant, however, can be handy in the beginning, when you are just starting to learn the ropes.
- Get tax help. One place you will want help is in taxes. Tax laws are so complex that you will likely miss write-offs and other items if you do them yourself (unless, of course, you are a pro at doing taxes for business).
- Consider financial software. There are many titles out there that are made especially for small businesses, and they make managing money very easy. You can use the software to print checks, keep track of profits and debts, and you can even scan receipts right into virtual file folders—all without bulky filing cabinets. If you know your way around a computer, financial software can help make taking care of profits a snap. Here are a few well-known and relatively inexpensive financial-software suites designed for small businesses:
◊ Sage 50 Complete Accounting is easy-to-use and comes with screen-level security and automatic accounting checks that give you confidence in the integrity of your information. Plus, it's installed on computers that you control locally.
◊ Intuit Quickbooks Pro. The most popular version of America's #1 small business financial software helps you save time and get more organized. New features show you exactly where your business stands and save you time so you can focus on your business.
◊ AccountEdge is powerful small business accounting software for Mac and Windows.Sales and purchases, inventory, payroll, time billing and contact management just scratch the surface of what AccountEdge can do for your small business.
◊ Bookkeeper provides you with the accounting functionality you need to easily manage your business finances. From check writing, payroll and credit card processing, to billing, invoicing, tax preparation, reporting and more, Bookkeeper eliminates the hassles of day to day bookkeeping and frees up your valuable time so you can focus on growing your business.
- Have a backup plan in case you suddenly can't use your cash registers. Power failures and sudden mechanical problems can cost you a lot of money and always seem to occur at the worst time. Keep paper receipts and a calculator or small manual register under the bar so that staff can continue to serve customers, no matter what.
This article is an excerpt from the The Professional Bar & Beverage Managers Handbook: How to Open and Operate a Financially Successful Bar, Tavern and Nightclub, authored by Douglas Robert Brown, published by Atlantic Publishing Group. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of the publisher. To purchase this book go to: