Top 10 Advantages of Accounts Payable Automation for Restaurants

AP automation has gone from a “nice to have” to a “must have” technology for restaurant businesses that want to succeed in the highly competitive restaurant industry.  Automating AP processes can lead to faster invoice approval, increased productivity, and lower costs.

You’re missing out on the many advantages of AP automation beyond improved efficiency if your restaurant group is still using manual AP processes. Are you still on the fence about automating your accounts payable process? Then, consider these 10 value propositions for making the switch:

1. Scale for Growth

If your restaurant is on a growth trajectory – whether you’re opening your second location or your fiftieth – accounts payable may not be at the top of your list of priorities.  However, accounts payable is a critical business function in keeping the internal processes flowing smoothly and ensuring your food and beverage vendors are paid on time. Without the proper technology in place, inefficient AP processes can hinder your business growth. Using a restaurant-specific AP automation solution streamlines the accounts payable process, improving efficiencies no matter how many concepts or locations you operate.

2. Optimize Managers’ Time

With manual AP processes, your restaurant managers spend valuable time on data entry, which translates to less time spent with customers. AP automation virtually eliminates time-consuming, error-prone data entry and allows your store managers to focus on customer service and front of the house operations.

3. Improve Visibility

The antiquated manual AP process suffers from lack of visibility, which can result in accounting and reporting irregularities. AP automation delivers an audit trail of every step in the process and allows you to quickly resolve potential problems.

4. Reduce Processing Time

Getting an invoice through your manual accounts payable system is an arduous process. By virtually eliminating manual data entry and streamlining approval processes, AP automation can cut days off your monthly invoice processing time. By leveraging 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 – check, virtual card, ACH, ACH+ or proxy payment. That efficiency provides real-time cost reporting and positions your restaurant business to proactively protect your bottom line.

Accounts Payable Automation5. Optimize your Cash

AP automation allows your accounting team and store managers to accurately project pending cash requirements, thus eliminating guesswork. With the greater transparency you get from automating your AP process, your accounting team can focus on activities and priorities that positively impact your restaurant business.

6. Reduce Internal Errors

Invoice errors can consume your restaurants’ profit margins. A manual data entry mistake can result in hours of time spent tracking down the error’s cause.  State-of-the-art AP automation for restaurants accurately identifies, extracts and applies correct GL codes to individual invoice line-items automatically.

7. Verify Contract Price

Vendor errors that originate from supplier-submitted invoices can be more difficult to manage than internal mistakes. AP automation technology captures more precise data and then delivers detailed reporting to ensure contract price verification and hold vendors accountable.

8. Generate Revenue

By moving to AP automation, you may also create a new revenue stream. Each virtual card you send creates a monthly rebate for your restaurant, turning your accounts payable process into a revenue generator.

9. Improve Quality

An automated AP process can help you avoid errors, delays, and unnecessary costs. AP errors are costly and consume resources to resolve manually. With AP automation, you can see where, when and why errors occurred. Unlike manual AP processing, AP automation enables you to systematically address and eliminate errors to improve quality.

10. Obtain Real-time Insights into Food Costs

AP automation that’s part of your restaurant accounting software provides deeper insights into your food costs in real time. Beyond invoice processing and payment, an all-in-one solution that incorporates AP automaton provides real-time variance alerts, COGS reporting and dashboards, so you gain invaluable insights about how food costs are trending over time, as well as how each store is performing toward your budget goals.

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 a cloud-based restaurant management solution that’s integrated with your Point-of-Sale system, as well as to your food and beverage vendors, payroll vendor and bank. For more information, schedule a free demo.

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John Moody is the Co-Founder of Restaurant365, an enterprise accounting, back office, and reporting solution specific to the restaurant industry. He has more the 20 years’ experience in helping companies leverage technology to streamline operations, improve financial management, and use actionable reporting. John has a passion for technology and productivity, and using those elements to make time for the things that matter. He has an MBA from Pepperdine University and also enjoys surfing and traveling with his family.