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The Best Accounting Software Services for Restaurants in 2024

Updated Jan 05, 2024
Best for Small Businesses
  • Detailed accounting reports
  • GPS mileage tracker
  • Inventory management tools
  • Detailed accounting reports
  • GPS mileage tracker
  • Inventory management tools
Best for Tracking and Paying Bills
  • One-click bill pay
  • Current and projected expenses
  • Gusto payroll integration
  • One-click bill pay
  • Current and projected expenses
  • Gusto payroll integration
Best for Microbusinesses
  • Free for low-revenue restaurants
  • Automatic expense tracking
  • Sales tax recording
  • Free for low-revenue restaurants
  • Automatic expense tracking
  • Sales tax recording
Best for Inventory Management
ZarMoney
ZarMoney company logo
  • Multisite inventory management
  • Product inventory lines
  • Vendor evaluation reports
  • Multisite inventory management
  • Product inventory lines
  • Vendor evaluation reports
Best for Basic Accounting
Sage
sage company logo
  • Easy setup and use
  • Stock management and alerts
  • Custom sales and profit reporting
  • Easy setup and use
  • Stock management and alerts
  • Custom sales and profit reporting

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Your restaurant purchases dozens of ingredients in bulk, serves hundreds of tables daily, and takes customer orders in person, online and via the phone. That’s a lot of money moving in and out of one business across several channels. The best accounting software services organize and automate it all. In fact, several of these services include features without which the average restaurant would face significantly greater operational challenges.

To help you figure out which accounting software vendor might best suit your restaurant, we tested dozens of highly reputable platforms. We narrowed these down to the five services we felt best serve restaurants via tools including vendor billing, inventory management and sales tax features.

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Our Top Picks for 2024
Intuit QuickBooks Online
Zoho Books Accounting Software
ZarMoney
Sage
Rating9.5/109.0/108.5/109.0/109.0/10
Use Case

Best for Small Businesses

Tracking and Paying Bills

Microbusinesses

Best for Inventory Management

Basic Accounting

Starting Price

$15 per month

$13 per month

$15 per month

$15 per month

$10 per month

Free Trial Period

30 days

30 days

14 days

15 days

30 days

Mobile App

Yes, for payments, reporting, invoice tracking and cash flow management

Yes, for invoicing, expenses and projects

Yes, for invoicing, reporting, online payment and expenses

No

Yes, for expenses, invoicing, cash flow management and inventory management

Integration Options

Yes (over 750)

Yes (roughly 100)

Yes (roughly 40)

Yes (under 10)

Yes (several hundred)

Bill Pay Tools

Yes, though not for lowest pricing tier

Yes, including scheduled bulk payments for all pricing plans

Yes (roughly 40)

Yes, including automated billing for all pricing tiers

Yes, including reconciliation with bank transactions only for highest pricing tier

Review Link
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Reviews

Intuit QuickBooks Online: Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses

  • Long viewed as the accounting software standard, QuickBooks includes expense and inventory tracking features that are ideal for restaurants.
  • With QuickBooks’ detailed accounting reports, you can review trends in customer orders and change your menu accordingly.
  • Obtaining the lowest possible pricing for QuickBooks is only possible if you forgo the 30-day free trial.
Editor's Rating: 9.5/10
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QuickBooks is the gold standard for small business accounting software, and it’s also a perfect fit for restaurants. Its mileage tracking, bill management, sales tax, inventory management and reporting tools give your restaurant everything it needs to make smart financial decisions. We like that QuickBooks covers your ingredients, your payments and your menu across all these features — it’s a full-service restaurant accounting platform.

QuickBooks’ restaurant reporting features particularly impressed us. The platform makes it easy to see how any changes you make to your operations or menu impact your profits. We also found the QuickBooks mileage tracker especially convenient for creating tax-deductible expenses out of delivery runs and supply pickups. Plus, the inventory management, profitability and bill pay features together show you what customers like, what to buy and when to pay your bills. With QuickBooks, your restaurant gets the full financial picture.

Xero: Best Accounting Software for Tracking and Paying Bills

  • Xero’s tools for paying vendor bills on time strengthen your supplier relationships and eliminate late payment fees.
  • Alongside your bills’ due dates, Xero displays your current and projected expenses to help you find cash for vendor payments.
  • Reaching Xero’s customer service team involves extra steps not necessary with other accounting software platforms for restaurants.
Editor's Rating: 9/10
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Keeping all your menu items fully available for your guests requires regularly buying ingredients from your vendors. Managing the finances behind this is a breeze with Xero, our top restaurant accounting software for tracking and paying bills. All your bills due will be stored in one place within the software’s dashboard, giving you full visibility over your expenses. You can then schedule payments based on the bank data in your dashboard. We like how easy this makes it to keep your vendors paid, your ingredients flowing and your guests happy.

Payment is easy too. After one click, all you need to do is provide your payment method, and with that, payment is complete. We appreciated that this takes only a few seconds, especially once you’ve stored your payment info in the platform. We were also happy to see that Xero automatically integrates with Gusto to cover another important cost: your payroll. Between its employee and vendor payment features, Xero ensures that the money you owe gets where it’s going — and only when you have it ready.

Zoho Books Accounting Software: Best Accounting Software for Microbusinesses

  • Zoho Books is priced affordably for its breadth of features and seamless scalability, which makes it ideal for small restaurants.
  • Zoho Books’ sales tax features can help resource-strapped restaurants more easily record their payments.
  • You can’t calculate and pay quarterly business taxes through Zoho Books.
Editor's Rating: 8.5/10
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Running a restaurant is expensive, and in your earliest days, you might be strapped for cash. That’s why Zoho Books’ reasonable prices for accounting software make all the difference. We like that, if your restaurant’s annual revenue is under $50,000, you can use Zoho Books for free. If your revenue is higher, prices start at a reasonable $15 per month.

Zoho Books automates your expense tracking, and we like how seamlessly this organizes your numerous ingredient and inventory purchases. The platform also notifies you as your vendor payment due dates approach, and we like that this minimizes the potential for late payment fees. Plus, you can use Zoho Books to indicate when you’ve remitted the sales tax you’ve collected from your guests. We liked seeing this unique, restaurant-friendly feature alongside standard accounting tools that grow as you do. Zoho Books goes with you from micro to macro.

ZarMoney: Best Accounting Software for Inventory Management

ZarMoney
ZarMoney company logo
  • ZarMoney includes inventory management tools unavailable with other accounting software services.
  • ZarMoney’s multisite inventory management, demand prediction, vendor evaluation reporting and product-specific inventories suit restaurants especially well.
  • ZarMoney lacks a mobile app and tools for quick-capturing bill or expense receipt data via photo.
Editor's Rating: 9/10

While reviewing ZarMoney, we were blown away by how many inventory management features the platform includes. Although ZarMoney is first and foremost an accounting tool, you could feasibly use it purely for inventory management. Standout features include the ability to create inventory lines for one product; we like the possibilities this opens for analyzing each of your menu items. We found ZarMoney to be an obvious fit for restaurants, where balancing the books matters as much as keeping the kitchen stocked on a budget.

ZarMoney’s multisite inventory management features make it easy to see each of your locations’ ingredient quantities and transfer stock between locations. This helps whether you currently have several locations or you’re planning to expand in the future. We liked the real-time product information, vendor evaluation reports and demand prediction features as well. With these tools, you can figure out which menu items customers like best and determine how to source their ingredients. Smart financial decision-making is all but a given when you use ZarMoney.

Sage: Best Accounting Software for Basic Accounting

Sage
sage company logo
  • Sage offers entry-level expense management, financial reporting and stock management tools at competitive prices.
  • Sage is among the most user-friendly accounting services because it saves setup and training time, as well as effort for thinly spread restaurant teams.
  • You can’t calculate and pay taxes with Sage, and the platform’s integration options with other services are limited.
Editor's Rating: 9/10

In restaurants, guest order volume is often high enough that your team’s time and energy become especially precious resources. These environments demand tools that make fundamental features easy to set up, access and use. Among the restaurant accounting software services we received, Sage best fits this description. Its expense management, stock management and financial reporting tools are immediately ready to go, plus they’re a breeze to find and use. It took us not even two seconds to locate them within the Sage dashboard

Using these tools is just as easy. For example, with Sage’s automated expense recorder, we rapidly uploaded invoices, receipts and supplier statements as expenses. We also liked how clearly the line graphs on Sage’s dashboard display how much money you owe your vendors. We had no trouble creating custom reports to show sales and profit data. Plus, we were pleased that Sage made it so easy to pinpoint bestselling items, set up out-of-stock alerts, and determine minimum reorder levels. With Sage, your restaurant benefits from the basics.

Costs of Accounting Software for Restaurants

You’ll pay a monthly premium to use restaurant accounting software, though these prices are among the lowest you’ll find for business technology. Additionally, Zoho Books is free if your restaurant’s annual revenue is under $50,000. Otherwise, the best accounting software platforms for restaurants start at a low cost of between $10 and $15 per month. You also won’t incur setup and implementation fees for the best restaurant accounting software, though other accounting platforms may charge these.

That said, for more advanced features that could especially benefit your restaurant, you’ll likely need to buy into higher pricing plans. The same is true if you need to add more users since most platforms set maximums on how many team members can use them. Even higher tiers are priced competitively, though. For example, almost every restaurant accounting feature you need is available via Xero’s intermediate pricing tier, which costs $37 per month. Zoho Books’ $40-per-month intermediate tier is similarly powerful.

You may also need to consider the cost of credit card processing if you expect to offer customer payment options through your accounting software. Of course, the best POS systems for restaurants more seamlessly handle guest payments. That said, if your restaurant also sells merchandise or grocery supplies online, enabling online payment through your accounting software might be smart. This incurs payment processing fees that typically cost 1.5 to 3.5 percent of each transaction plus a small flat fee.

Bottom LineBottom line
The best accounting software for restaurants starts at $10 to $15 per month. This amount may increase as you add more advanced features, or if you use your accounting software to power your credit card processing.

Features of Accounting Software for Restaurants

Many features that come standard with accounting software are especially beneficial for restaurants. You should look out for these, listed below, as you consider which platform would best serve your restaurant.

Bank Feeds and Reconciliation

When you’re assessing your financial picture, it’s important to see all your incoming and outgoing cash. It’s also important to make sure your bank records and internal financial records are aligned. The best accounting software for restaurants offers bank feeds for the former and reconciliation tools for the latter. Make sure the platforms you’re considering offer both — they’re fundamental to accounting software success.

Bill Pay

You should be able to pay your vendors easily and on time from within your accounting software platform. One-click payments and due-date alerts are especially helpful. These tools make it easy to pay your vendors and ensure timely payments that eliminate the potential for late fees.

Dashboard

When you log into your restaurant accounting software, you should see a clear, well-organized dashboard with data visualizations and easily accessible accounting tools. Only consider platforms you can navigate intuitively, whether you’re seeking basic data or executing more complex tasks.

Expense Tracking

The best accounting software for restaurants includes tools for snapping photos of bills, receipts and other payments to upload them as expenses. These tools should automatically capture the key data from these documents and enter it into your accounting software. This way, you get a full picture of your business costs right after you incur them.

Financial Reporting

Reports are the simplest way to determine your best-performing menu items and assess how your operational changes affect your profits. Just set a few parameters, then let your software do all the data analysis, organization and presentation. Review the well-organized information in front of you to identify key changes you can make to improve your bottom line.

Integrations

Accounting software works best when it’s connected to your other financial tools such as your POS system, credit card processor and payroll service. You can also connect accounting services to nonfinancial tools such as CRM software. This can be a great way to connect your customer loyalty program with records of your guests’ purchases. With this more accurate spend tracking, you’ll reward customers at exactly the right time.

FYIDid you know
We reviewed the best credit card processors and the best CRM software platforms to streamline your decision-making.

Inventory and Stock Management

Top-notch restaurant accounting software includes tools for tracking your ingredients’ quantity and assessing when it’s time to reorder. Look for platforms that alert you when you’re almost out of stock and identify your best-selling menu items. This way, you properly time your inventory purchases and buy the ingredients likeliest to lead to higher profits.

Mileage Tracking

When your employees pay for gas out of pocket as they drive on delivery or errand runs for your restaurant, they incur tax-deductible expenses. Restaurant accounting software mileage trackers automatically determine the distances your employees have driven and calculate your expenses accordingly. They then record these expenses in your accounting software to facilitate your tax reporting and filing.

Mobile Apps

Mileage tracking is among the many features that restaurant accounting software mobile apps facilitate. Look for the ability to use other key features within a mobile app, like financial reporting and bill pay. This way, you can cover your restaurant’s needs whether you’re in the kitchen or on the go.

Sales Tax

Your restaurants sell goods directly to customers, so in most states, you’ll collect and remit sales tax on your offerings. Accounting software for restaurants often expedites recording these taxes for you. In most cases, you’ll still need to remit these taxes to the appropriate authorities yourself. But recording them is a major burden, and great accounting software takes it off your plate.

Choosing Accounting Software for Restaurants

As with any smart business decision, you shouldn’t rush into choosing the right accounting software. That said, a long process doesn’t have to be a complicated one. With the below simple steps, you can easily get yourself from start to finish.

1. Determine your accounting software needs.

Ask yourself: Given your current business tools, do you just need finance management from your accounting software? Or do you need additional features such as inventory management and payroll processing? Based on your answers and what vendors do and don’t offer, you can move potential fits up and down your list.

2. Compare vendors and browse customer reviews.

Look into multiple accounting software vendors to find options that check most or all of your boxes. Vendors’ pricing pages are especially likely to be goldmines when it comes to this research. You’ll likely see several pricing tiers and the tools they include compared side by side. This makes it easy to see the value you’ll get for each dollar you spend, especially in terms of core restaurant accounting features.

These pricing tables, though, can’t tell you everything — reviews from the platforms’ actual customers complete the picture. Browse TrustPilot reviews to see the best of what customers say about these platforms. Then, head to each vendor’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, where negative reviews may be more common. Take these with a grain of salt — one bad review might not speak to a universal experience — but don’t overlook them entirely.

3. Pursue free trials and product demos.

All the best accounting software platforms for restaurants offer free trials lasting two to four weeks. We strongly recommend signing up for these free trials. During your trial period, you should use the software as though you’ve already paid for and fully implemented it. This is the easiest way to determine which of the platforms you test is best for your team.

The only reason not to pursue a free trial would be if you can only afford a pricing plan for which you forgo the trial. This is a big risk, though — we always recommend pursuing the trial. You’ll lose more money investing in a poor software fit than if you pay a bit more for a top-quality platform.

4. Review prices, features and usability to make your final decision.

The right choice for your restaurant lies at the intersection of reasonable prices, feature breadth and easy platform usage. You’ll likely have an intuitive sense of which platform best meets your needs on all these fronts. Follow that, and you’ll be all set.

Did You Know?Did you know
If your restaurant is large enough that you’re getting custom pricing offers from some vendors, you might be able to negotiate prices with other vendors. This might open the door to better pricing on a platform that might become your top pick at these lower rates.

Advantages of Accounting Software for Restaurants

Long gone are the days when manually recording your financial data was feasible. Here’s why accounting software is highly advantageous — or outright necessary — for restaurants.

  • Minimal human error. Manual accounting is a wellspring of possible errors: when doing math, the brain has an unceasing ability to accidentally write down a number wrong. Computers, on the other hand, don’t make mistakes. Accounting errors are thus close to impossible when your restaurant uses accounting software.
  • Affordable recordkeeping and tax payments. Hiring a professional accountant can be expensive. Using accounting software to automate your recordkeeping and tax payments is typically a more affordable alternative. In fact, some platforms come with live consulting from professional accountants. This makes it much less pricey to maintain records, pay taxes and pinpoint financial growth opportunities.
  • Tax reporting, payment and compliance. The best accounting software for restaurants can calculate and record the taxes you owe. Some platforms can also file and pay your taxes on your behalf. Either way, you’ll have a much easier time budgeting for and complying with local, state and federal tax regulations. This is key to avoiding fines that could put your restaurant in the red.
  • Combating fraud. With accounting software, you can more easily set and create internal controls. These are how you maintain high-integrity financial records free of fraud, which minimizes the prospect of theft and loss. The value this brings to your restaurant speaks for itself.
  • More organized records. Your restaurant takes an overwhelming quantity of guest orders every day and orders high volumes of ingredients to facilitate your operations. That’s a lot of money moving in and out of your business, and accounting software stores and organizes all records of it. Plus, it does so more consistently and efficiently than any manual system. There’s no better way to keep your finances in order.

Accounting Software for Restaurant FAQs

When choosing between cash and accrual accounting, many restaurants with annual profits under $1 million go with cash accounting. Restaurants with greater profits often choose accrual accounting.

Restaurants use accounting software’s automatic expense tracking features to collect and store expense information. Restaurant team members can also snap photos of receipts, bills and other documents to automatically capture and upload key expense data. Using employee time-tracking tools and delegating expense review and approval to one team member also helps restaurants track expenses.

Many restaurant accounting software platforms integrate with CRM tools to track customers. Additionally, third-party meal ordering tools such as GrubHub can give restaurant owners valuable customer insights and information. So too can the use of email marketing to target, communicate with and convert current and prospective customers.

Labor is typically a restaurant’s greatest monthly expense. The cost of goods sold (as in, what it costs to prepare meals and drinks) is another large monthly expense for restaurants. Other key expenses include software subscriptions, occupancy and marketing.

The average net profit margin — revenue minus expenses, divided by revenue — is 3 to 5 percent for a full-service restaurant. For quick-service restaurants and food trucks, this range increases to 6 to 9 percent. Additionally, the average restaurant’s monthly revenue is $40,500.

Max Freedman
Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Max Freedman, has spent nearly a decade providing entrepreneurs and business operators with actionable advice they can use to launch and grow their businesses. Max has direct experience helping run a small business, performs hands-on reviews and has real-world experience with the categories he covers, such as accounting software and digital payroll solutions, as well as leading small business lenders and employee retirement providers. Max has written hundreds of articles for Business News Daily on a range of valuable topics, including small business funding, time and attendance, marketing and human resources.
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