A restaurant’s success relies on an effective back office accounting system, and QuickBooks financial software can be a critical part of that success. QuickBooks can be used for purchasing, bill paying, tips tracking, gift certificates, cash management, time tracking, and payroll. However, restaurants that choose QuickBooks for their accounting will need to understand how to properly set up and use QuickBooks to meet their unique needs. In this article, we’ll talk about how to “zero out the cash register” when recording your daily sales.
Update 10/30/2015: The information in this article as been updated in the latest edition of our eBook,“Restaurant Accounting w/QuickBooks.” We recommend that you reference the more up to date information in that publication.
Become a Restaurant Accounting Specialist (RAS) with our Certificate Program and gain the knowledge you need to understand the unique back office accounting needs of restaurants. Earn your Certificate of Achievement through our new program.
Zeroing Out the Cash Register
Each day, at the end of business, you’ll “zero out” the cash register or POS system and create the reports of the day’s sales. With that information, you’ll create a single entry into QuickBooks for each server that will record his or her total sales for the day. Start by zeroing out the cash register or POS system and create a “Z-tape” similar to the one shown here: Notice that the Z-tape might not give you all of the line-by-line detail you need for the entries in QuickBooks, so you may have to do a bit of extra figuring to come up with the exact lines you need for the QuickBooks entry. For example, the Z-tape shows $61.43 was collected in tips. You need to add that into the Daily Sales sales receipt as shown below. In addition, you’ll also add two additional Items specifying the amount of cash you paid out to the server at the end of her shift. In this case, Madona was paid all of the $61.43 in tips that evening in cash, so you should record the Tips Paid and Tips Out Liability Items at the bottom of the sales receipt with opposite dollar amounts.
A Quick Note about Items
Before you create your sales receipt in QuickBooks you will need to set up some basic items in the item list, such as we show here. for the full description of each item type and how it should be set up, refer to our Restaurant Accounting with QuickBooks ebook. The ebook packages includes a sample company file with the item list already set up for you.
Entering Daily Sales by Server
This daily sales receipt is critical to keeping proper accounting records and driving the reports shown below. Follow these steps:
- From the Customers menu, select Enter Sales Receipt.
- Enter All Customers in the Customer name field and continue entering the daily sales information as shown below.
- Continue entering sales receipts for each of the servers for the day.
- Enter the server’s initials, the weekday, the total count (number of guests), the number of to go orders, and the average ticket into the custom fields as we have set up in the form header.
- Enter the total sales for each service item (Food sales, Bar sales, and any other sales items you track), followed by a subtotal (use a subtotal item). This is a subtotal of the sales, gift certificates, and tips collected.
- Enter the sales tax item(s) and the amount collected (per the cash register). Then add another subtotal to show the total collections “to account for.”
- Enter each of the payment types including cash, gift certificate redemptions, and credit cards, followed by a third subtotal. This third subtotal should match the “total to account for” subtotal a few lines earlier. If it doesn’t match, there is either a cash shortage or a cash overage.
- Use the Over/Short item with whatever amount is needed to zero out the total at the bottom of the sales receipt. If the amount is positive, the cash drawer is over by that amount. You should scrutinize this figure over time to detect errors and/or theft.
- The last two lines are where you enter two items to handle tips paid out in cash to the server. The first line is a positive number which reduces the Cash Tips Holding bank account, and the second line is a negative number that reduces the Employee Tips Payable liability account.
Notice that sales tax is entered directly on the face of the sales receipt, and the Tax field at the bottom is set to N/A. This is important for properly tracking sales tax reports and making sure that the exact sales tax collected by the POS system is recorded into QuickBooks.
Memorized Sales Receipts
Memorized transactions allow you to efficiently enter frequent transactions. Since you’ll be entering the same basic information each day for each server, but with different dollar amounts, you could speed up your data entry by memorizing sales receipts for each server for each day of the week. To memorize a Sales Receipt, fill it out completely and then select Memorize Sales Receipt from the Edit menu, or press Ctrl+M. Then give the transaction a name that you’ll recognize the next time you need to enter a similar transaction. The screen shot below shows the memorized sales receipts in the sample file from the Restaurant Accounting with QuickBooks toolkit sample file, organized by server and day of week. To use a memorized transaction as template for a new transaction, display the memorized transaction list by pressing Ctrl-T and then double-click on the transaction in the list. Make the necessary changes before saving the transaction.
Handling Accounts Receivable in Restaurants
If your restaurant has credit customers, my recommendation is that you separate out the credit sales from the cash sales during the day. Record the credit customers outside of the normal POS system (i.e. do not ring up their sales), but instead create a separate QuickBooks Invoice for each sale to your AR customers. You’ll also record payments each day as they come in through the Receive Payments feature of QuickBooks. This way, you’ll be able to track your Accounts Receivable in QuickBooks normally, and you won’t struggle to separate out the AR sales from the cash sales each day.