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Accounting Software for Catering Services

written by: Baby Rani•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 6/24/2011

One of the most demanding travails of a catering service business is bookkeeping. Making use of good accounting software takes care of the finances of your catering service, leaving you at peace to do what you do best – providing quality food and service.

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    There are many small business owners who run a successful catering business on their own. It is a demanding business that requires a lot of work, time and accuracy. One of the most demanding tasks when it comes to running a catering service is the bookkeeping. Bookkeeping is mainly the process of maintaining regular records of the various expenses incurred by the business, everyday sales records, the income generated by the business and profit and loss statements.

    For a small catering business, the business owner needs to make daily entries regarding the various financial transactions that take place everyday. As the business starts to grow, most business owners will find it difficult to ably manage their finances. Bookkeeping is not an impossible task; but for large businesses, it can start to get very time-consuming and complicated if done manually. Fortunately, today’s technological advancements have led to the creation of various accounting software that can help to completely automate your business’s financial accounting tasks and manage them efficiently.

    A typical restaurateur will have ample hospitality skills, but not necessarily good accounting skills. A good accounting software package can make up for this and pick up the slack, making sure the business’s accounts are picture perfect. A complete catering service accounting software package is usually comprised of a POS or point-of-sale component, a specialized financial software package and middleware package that will act as a connector between the POS and the accounting software.

    Microsoft Dynamics GP (http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/gp/default.mspx), which was formerly known as Microsoft Great Plains, is a very popular financial software package on the market today. This software package provides a cost effective solution for managing the accounts of your catering business. Other popular catering financial software packages include QuickBooks (http://quickbooks.intuit.com/ ) and Peachtree (http://www.peachtree.com/).

    In addition to perfect profit and loss statements, accounting software can be beneficial in many other ways. A catering business will usually involve various hidden costs that might not be easily visible to the business owner. A comprehensive catering software package can automatically choose data required from the POS system, to create a complete and detailed report of the business’s finances.

    A good middleware software system between the POS and financial software package can help segregate sales and labor data by each category or department and provide inventories of the food and beverages in stock. They can also use daily expense estimates to predict weekly or monthly profits that can be expected from the business. Examples of middleware software include Menu Link (http://www.menulinkinc.com/) and Eatec (http://www.eatec.com/).

    There are also some forms of accounting software that facilitate the provision of on-demand financial reports via the internet. Some are capable of interfacing directly with supply chains to ensure smooth handling of the supply chain management oriented tasks such as ordering and invoicing. A new development in this field is software such as Compeat (http://www.compeat.com/), which incorporates middleware and financial accounting in to one single package, eliminating the need for separate middleware software. Choosing the right combination of financial accounting software to suit your catering business will go a long way in ensuring a hassle-free bookkeeping experience.