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Chart of Account for nightclub, dinner and bar - and software recomendation

I'm working with a couple that just bought a club. They have no financial acumen, and I'm not an accountant .. but have enough knowledge to get them going. Anything they use will be better than what they think they can do. Coming from an analysis background I could get into great detail. But I'm looking for someone to recommend a simple chart without too much detail ..but enough start getting them to think of where the expenses are going. An example might be how does the bar expense breakdown? Liquor, glassware, condiments, mixers, cleaning.. etc. How much detail to look at? The size of the business is was at one point $1 million revenue but has declined significantly. My friends have potential ..but before they hire a bookkeeper ..they need something simple to start. Which now brings up a question.. of what software. I've been thinking Quickbooks. Cheap and simple .. and widely known. Does anyone have other suggestions? Thanks


Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

I'd work with one of the online systems.
Quickbooks online is well known, but turning on anything (say, budgets) gets expensive. Additionally, it can get a little complicated.

Wave, Freshbooks and Xero are all reasonable options. I generally am biased towards Xero, with one caveat in this case. If they want to manage inventory, Xero doesn't do that. There are plug-ins for it. Xero is the (imho) cleanest general ledger. Wave is "free"ish, which is nice. Freshbooks seems favored by people who send a lot of invoices.

Chart of accounts? KISS. Rent, Maint, Operating (telephone, mail, everything), payroll, food & bev, alcohol. Nothing else unless it is more than, say, 2% of your expenses. Talk to a tax preparer about the items that they will *have* to have for their return. Make sure you have separate buckets for State payroll, fed payroll, etc taxes (best to keep taxes sorted)


Joe M. Guerra, CPA
Title: Chief Financial Controller
Company: MTC, Inc.
(Chief Financial Controller, MTC, Inc.) |

The National Restaurant Association offers a Uniform System of Accounts for Restaurants, includes a guide to preparing financial statements in standardized restaurant-specific format. Probably a good starting point, with good ideas.

(VP Treasury Management Consult) |

Keith ... Thanks. I took a quick look at the 3 packages you indicated. I think Wave will be best. eg no cost.. and looks like it has enough capability to categorize expense. I know them..and they are not very accounting structured at all.. this is something..and then graduate to QB..

Ditto goes for the account structure. They can expand as time goes by.

Joe .. thanks for pointing out the NRA for the accounts.. I'll check it out ... hopefully free access.

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