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How a KFC and Taco Bell Franchisee is Saving 30 Hours of Accounting Work Per Week

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This article originally appeared on QSR.

“We definitely have more accurate and timely information than we’ve ever had. Everybody seems to be really excited to use the information that we’re providing to make better decisions and that shows up as cost savings.” – Sarah Ballard, BLCO Enterprises Director of Finance

BLCO Enterprises owns 26 KFCs and Taco Bells and employs around 700 team members. The company has grown a ton since it was founded three decades ago, and that growth has led to the need for new processes and solutions. 

For example, as the company opened more and more stores, it was finding that its QuickBooks accounting system was inefficient. The accounting team was spending hours each day reporting cash from stores, entering invoices, and cutting paper checks. The juggling of invoices coming in from different channels—like email, snail mail, and fax—was a whole separate headache for the BLCO team. Just bank reconciliation on its own was taking 18–20 hours per week. 

On top of all of this, using QuickBooks meant that balancing the books at the end of each month was a tedious, time-consuming process. Often, BLCO wouldn’t have its books closed a full four weeks after a month ended. Even when these accounting tasks were completed, Sarah Ballard, BLCO Enterprises director of finance, wasn’t confident in the accuracy of the information she was getting—if it was manually entered, how accurate could it be? 

Ballard decided to try Restaurant365, the all-in one, cloud-based platform built to help restaurant operators run their businesses more efficiently and profitably. The results have been eye-popping: the company got back that 20 hours per week it was spending on bank reconciliation, which is now a fully-automated process. The franchisee also saved 20 hours per month on manually entering P&Ls from Quickbooks into an Excel spreadsheet, and 10–20 hours per month streamlining accounts payable due to Restaurant365’s ongoing relationship with Sysco. In total, BLCO Enterprises is saving about 30 hours per week thanks to Restaurant365. 

Around the time Ballard was considering Restaurant365, BLCO Enterprises had just acquired four new restaurants previously owned by a separate standalone company. Ballard decided this would be the perfect opportunity to pilot Restaurant365. Within three weeks, the solution was up and running.

“I’ve done a lot of implementations over the years in my career, all kinds of them,” said Ballard. “Patty Hernandez at Restaurant365 is probably the best implementation specialist that we’ve ever had.” Ballard also credits the dedication from her BLCO team. “Everybody was excited to get it up and running, knowing that it would make their jobs a lot more productive.”

Eventually, BLCO Enterprises rolled Restaurant365 out across its entire footprint—a process that was similarly fast and efficient. Beyond some of the key accounting features, Ballard points to Restaurant365’s fixed asset tracking as an added bonus. Previously, the company was spending a lot of money across locations on repairs, with the mentality that a repair is cheaper than replacing something. Restaurant365’s fixed asset tracking helps track how many repairs have been done to a piece of equipment, and when it would actually be more cost effective in the long run to simply replace it rather than repair it. 

Pivotally, Ballard and her team now feel confident in the numbers that they’re seeing. They are also getting the information in real time—it’s easier to catch something and correct it if a store is having financial issues. The real-time data and insights have helped the company save money in ways that are both easily measured, and in ways that are more intangible, too. 

“Definitely much better efficiency in our accounting staff—using them for more detailed analysis versus data entry,” Ballard says. “We definitely have more accurate and timely information than we’ve ever had. Everybody seems to be really excited to use the information that we’re providing to make better decisions and that shows up as cost savings.”