If you have stacks of vendor invoices on your desk, you might want to spend five minutes to discover how automating your restaurant accounts payable (AP) can vastly simplify your life.
If you’re still handling your restaurant group’s AP manually, then stacks of invoices aren’t your only challenge. You know that paper invoices can be lost or damaged. Plus, they’re expensive to transport, store, and access.
Additionally, they’re time consuming for your store employees to manage, and subject to manual data errors. There is no visibility into line-item details such as units of measure and price fluctuations, or into invoice and payment data. And approval workflows can be complicated and create bottlenecks.
It’s also difficult to track vendor credits with paper invoices, because you must rely on handwritten notes posted on the invoices.
How automation simplifies restaurant accounts payable tasks
Automating your restaurant accounts payable can pay dividends in numerous ways. The latest restaurant accounts payable software is generally comprised of these AP steps:
Manual entry often results in inadvertently keying in an AP mistake that can lead to hours tracking down the source. AP automation can digitize invoice processing, recording vendor invoices as they arrive. Automatically and accurately identifying individual line items prevents costly human errors.
Data Entry and GL Coding
GL coding and data entry are critical but eat a lot of time for restaurant AP staff. By digitizing the AP workflow, your accounting team and managers spend less time at their computers, enabling them to spend more time on strategic tasks. With automated invoice management, your AP team can leverage the time saved for other crucial activities, such as reducing expenses, while your store-level managers have more time to focus on customer service.
The payment process is the most time consuming of AP tasks, and therefore, automation can provide the most time savings by automating your payments.
You can eliminate stuffing envelopes, buying stamps and other inconveniences of manual bill payment systems. Instead, AP automation enables a range of automated bill payment options, including check, automated clearing house (ACH) and virtual credit cards.
Vendor Price Tracking
As previously mentioned, internal mistakes can be difficult to fix. However, vendor errors on supplier-submitted invoices can be even more tough to manage for both your accounting and operations teams. With AP automation, your team can track price fluctuation, automating contract price verification to hold vendors accountable. Because your invoices are organized in a central system, with accurate line-item details, you can set variance alerts to get insight into real-time food costs. Using this information, the operations team can act quickly to fix these errors without waiting on the accounting team for details.
Key benefits of automating restaurant accounts payable
Reduces Processing Time
Manual AP processes require your store-level managers to spend valuable time on data entry, rather than being on the floor. AP automation virtually eliminates time-consuming, error-prone data entry, and enables your managers to focus on customers and front-of-house operations.
Pushing an invoice through your manual AP system can be a laborious process. By virtually eliminating manual data entry and streamlining your approval processes, AP automation can eliminate days off your monthly invoice processing time. With AP automation, your restaurants can upload invoices from multiple locations to the cloud, process them, get them approved for payment and pay them in your preferred method.
Reduces Internal Errors
Invoice mistakes can devour your restaurant group’s profit margins. A single data entry error can result in hours of time spent tracking down the cause. The latest restaurant AP automation tools accurately and automatically identifies, extracts, and applies correct GL codes to individual invoice line-items.
Improves Visibility into Accounts Payable
The old-fashioned manual AP process lacks visibility, resulting in accounting and reporting anomalies. AP automation provides you with an audit trail showing every step in the process and allows you to quickly correct problems.
Scales Your Restaurant Group for Growth
If your restaurant group is in growth mode, automating accounts payable may not be a top priority. However, without the proper technology, inefficient AP processes have the potential to obstruct your business growth. Using a restaurant-specific AP automation solution streamlines the accounts payable process, thus improving processes exponentially the more locations you have.
Enables Contract Price Verification
AP automation technology captures more precise data and then delivers detailed reporting to ensure contract price verification to hold vendors accountable.
Improves AP Processing Quality
Automating your AP process can help you avoid mistakes, delays, and unnecessary costs. AP errors are costly and consume resources to resolve manually. With AP automation, you can easily determine why errors occurred. Unlike manual AP processing, AP automation enables you to systematically address and eliminate errors to improve quality.
Automating the payments process eliminates stuffing envelopes, buying stamps and other inconveniences of manual bill payment systems. If you’re considering automating accounts payable, ensure that the payment portion offers a range of automated bill payments options, including check, automated clearing house (ACH) and virtual credit cards, each explained below.
Checks: The AP automation provider prints and mails checks on behalf of merchants, using bank information on their checks, leaving existing processes and bank reconciliations unchanged.
ACH: The AP automation provider integrates with merchants’ banks, using existing customer accounts to automate creation and delivery of ACH files, without changing current processes or bank reconciliations.
Virtual credit card: The AP automation provider issues a pre-approved, one-time use virtual credit card (VCC), then works directly with merchants’ vendors to accept the VCC and pay bills using the VCC, enabling restaurants to earn rebates based on payment volume.
If you’d like to automate your accounts payable process, then consider a comprehensive, restaurant-specific accounting and back-office solution that includes AP automation as part of the platform. With Restaurant365 you can capture, approve, and pay your vendor invoices within the system.
Restaurant365 is an all-in-one, cloud-based, restaurant-specific platform that incorporates accounting, inventory, scheduling, operations, payroll +HR, and reporting. R365 is integrated with your POS system, as well as with your vendors and bank, facilitating automated accounts payable and bank reconciliation.