Plate IQ July 31, 2019
How to Choose the Best Accounts Payable Automation Software
There are many benefits to automating your restaurant’s accounts payable process. By following some accounts payable best practices, you can improve your restaurant’s bottom line while freeing up valuable time to spend with your customers and food.
Automation is an ideal solution for reducing the time you spend on common — and often headache-inducing — accounting tasks and other accounts payable processes. This includes everything from payroll and invoicing to tracking inventory and managing cash-flow.
Accounts Payable Automated Solutions Help Reduce Error
Over time, automation can greatly reduce errors in your accounts payable procedure and arm you with valuable data to inform your business decisions. For example, you can make better cash-flow projections armed with real-time profit and loss (P&L) information.
Some accounts payable invoice processing solutions offer additional features to further improve operational efficiencies while reducing the time you spend on payroll and other administrative work. These include food cost calculation and food cost analysis tools that help you figure out food cost and calculate food cost percentage.
Software that is connected to the cloud allows you to collect, store and make sense of immense amounts of data.
Restaurants Adopt Technology Solutions
Restaurant operators are adopting technology solutions that touch just about every aspect of their businesses. According to a 2018 Hospitality Technology study, more than half of U.S. operators use more than 10 technology systems, while 12 percent of operators reported using more than 30 technologies in their daily operations.
The process of picking a software provider can be daunting, especially with so many systems already in place that must work together.
So, how do you go about finding the right accounts payable software solution?
Seven Questions to Ask When Picking Automated Accounts Payable Solutions
Here are seven questions to ask to ensure your journey to accounts payable automation is a smooth one.
Question 1: Is it compatible with my current software — and software I might use in the future?
First, make sure the accounts payable automation software you consider is compatible with all of the technology platforms you currently use. The list might include industry standards such as QuickBooks, Square, Xero and any other restaurant accounting solutions, restaurant bookkeeping software or account payable invoice processing software that you use.
Smooth integration is a key initial step on the road to automation. Find out if the software vendor has experienced trouble integrating with systems you use. Request full demos of software to ensure proper integration. Also, think about any software or hardware solutions you might consider adding in the future. Ideally, you want accounts payable software that meets your needs today and in the future.
Question 2: Is it easy to use?
After compatibility, ease of use is perhaps the most important consideration when selecting restaurant accounting software. After all, you strive to save time, maximize efficiency and reduce errors. Each of those is more easily achieved with software that is easy to learn and use.
Request a demo of the product to test it out. Ask yourself: Is this easy for me to use? Will it be easy for others on my team to use? Can I learn how to operate basic functions without much training or instruction? Do I think I could learn the more advanced features over time without a headache?
If you answer “no” to any of the questions above, you may want to keep shopping.
Question 3: Is it designed specifically for me and my industry?
Once you have established that a software solution is compatible with your system and easy to use, you want to think about the specific ways you will use it. You want software designed to solve the specific problems in your business. That is best achieved with software solutions designed with you in mind.
Accounts payable software solutions such as Plate IQ are specifically tailored for restaurants and offer reliable, accurate and easy ways for you to perform common restaurant accounting tasks including:
-Cash and account reconciliation
-Food cost analysis
These are all tasks performed automatically by software solutions such as PlateIQ that are designed for the restaurant industry.
Question 4: Will this improve my bottom line?
Improving your bottom line likely is one of your chief goals in automating your accounts payable process. You want a system that can save you time, reduce errors and help you make decisions that increase profits.
When selecting a software solution, consider which features you plan to use the most and how those features will or will not help you improve profitability.
Systems with built-in cost management tools, for example, will directly contribute to your bottom line by helping you better predict expenses and adjust according to market prices.This reduces costs and helps improve cash-flow.
Question 5: Is it cloud-based?
Accounts payable automation solutions that are connected to the cloud act as a digital document archive with powerful search functionality. Restaurant solutions that include cloud-based inventory management allow you to track all aspects of your inventory in real-time. Gone are the days of waiting for the end-of-the-week inventory check to know how much produce remains on your restaurant’s storage shelves.
Question 6: Will it grow with your business?
When shopping for restaurant accounting software, plan on success. Envision what your restaurant business will look like three or five years down the road, and select a provider that can meet your current and future needs.
You want to pick software that will meet you where you are today, and also grow with you.
Question 7: Does it learn with you?
The power of AI allows systems to learn as you use them and as your business grows. The more complex your business gets, the bigger the impact automation can have.
Ideally, you want to invest your time using software that delivers greater benefits the more you use it. For example, a program that automatically tags a vendor with the proper GL code after you enter it once. Or a system that learns the common food items you buy and helps you better project cash-flow over time. Accounts payable solutions can make sense of your records and automatically reconcile accounts, flagging potential discrepancies, as it learns over time.
Asking these questions will help you find a software solution that works for your business today and in the future. Once you have selected and implemented an automated accounts payable software solution, you will have another strategic decision to make: What to do with all of the time you free up from administrative work.