As part of a $17 billion global industry, the sale of legalized cannabis in Canada is a lucrative enterprise for many retail-focused entrepreneurs. However, the cannabis industry is still a new industry, with a higher bar set for regulatory compliance. Compliance aside, accounting for a cannabis company is just like any small business accounting. You have to file for taxes, run payroll for your employees, be subjected to an audit by the CRA and deal with the same headaches of managing a retail outlet or business.
If you are a small business owner running a marijuana dispensary or a cannabis company with production, having a robust bookkeeping and accounting process can improve your operational efficiency. Moreover, with a strong reporting process in place, you can ensure that you stay compliant with the regulations in place.
From your accounting software, to inventory management software, to POS system, you can use technology to streamline your accounting system and integrate all your financial data across all software and platforms. Here’s our recommended collection of established and cannabis-centric apps, tools, and software that are designed to make automating your cannabis business a breeze.
Accounting Software: QuickBooks Online
A cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks Online (QBO) is ideal for managing your daily financial transactions. QBO is easy to use - a big plus for new business owners – and offers a healthy collection of timesaving features that automate repetitive tasks like reconciliation of your credit cards and bank accounts.
As an online bookkeeping platform, QBO lets you:
- Track expenses and revenues in real-time,
- Create invoices and send them to your clients,
- Generate financial statements such as your income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet,
- Manage your cash flow,
- Quickly and conveniently share data with your accounting professional, and
- Consolidate all your financial information in one place by integrating seamlessly with a range of dispensary-friendly apps
QuickBooks Online is also highly scalable, which is an important consideration in an industry that’s still young and growing. Moreover, Canadian cannabis business licence holders will need to pay for excise duties on top of the federal and provincial sales taxes. Business owners can use QBO to keep track of the duties and tax payables.
Business & Customer Management Programs
The explosion of cannabis companies nation-wide has led to the creation of some innovative business management solutions that cater directly to the needs of the industry.
Ample Organics is a Canadian based seed-to-sale software program aimed at removing the worry from compliance. Ample Organics lets you manage and sell products through a customized eCommerce site, while it tracks data and generates compliance reports that conform to Canada’s Cannabis Act regulations.
Elevated Signals is another successful Canadian manufacturing software for Cannabis businesses. Their user-friendly manufacturing software combines inventory tracking, batch production, quality compliance, and environmental data into a single platform. Elevated Signals helps users save time gathering data while providing them with visibility of their entire cannabis manufacturing process in a single software.
Inventory Tracking Solutions: Fish Bowl
With every cannabis retailer in Canada responsible for submitting sales information on a regular basis, using software that supports your reporting requirements is key. As a robust cannabis inventory management system that integrates fluidly with QuickBooks Online, Fish Bowl makes it easy to record, track, and report vital data.
Fish Bowl is also advanced enough to accommodate your business growth in ways that would be difficult to accomplish with manual inventory tracking. So whether your goal is to expand your product base, or increase your sales volume, Fish Bowl can help make it happen.
Payroll Software: Payworks
Wouldn’t you rather be focusing on growing your business than processing paycheques?
Leaving deductions, remittances, and employee payments to the experts at Payworks frees you to spend more time managing staff and growing your dispensary services.
As a cloud-based application geared toward small businesses with 1 – 50 employees, Payworks:
- Lets you submit employee work hours online or by phone,
- Takes care of direct deposits and paycheques, and
- Remits provincial and federal taxes on your company’s behalf
Payworks will even set up your payroll for free, generate employee T4s, and provide you with a dedicated service representative.
Scheduling & Time Tracking Systems: QuickBooks Time
One of the best things about using QBO for your dispensary bookkeeping is that it lets you take advantage of a QuickBooks product called QuickBooks Time. QuickBooks Time is a time-saving system devoted to helping you better manage employee scheduling, time-keeping, and payroll input.
With the mobile QuickBooks Time app, your business can:
- Produce, revise, and share work schedules directly with dispensary staff,
- Have personnel clock in and out from their phones, and
- Track, submit, and approve employee hours remotely
QuickBooks Time eliminates the need to chase personnel for their timesheets. You can set employee notification reminders, and have staff review and submit their time directly from their devices.
Retail POS Systems
Since the introduction of the Cannabis Act, retailers have been spoiled for choice when it comes to cannabis-specific POS platforms.
Integrating directly with QuickBooks Online, Canada’s Greenline is on a mission to make Point-of-Sale one less thing for busy dispensary owners to worry about. Greenline’s compliance-friendly features include:
- 30-gram purchase limits on cannabis, extracts, and oils,
- Manager-enabled entry corrections,
- Detailed inventory logs, and
- One-button generation of provincially formatted excel reports
Cova, meanwhile, is an agile POS system that’s perfect for new and established cannabis retailers alike. Not only does this user-friendly software boast an average transaction time of just 1.4 seconds, it allows customers to sign in digitally upon arrival at your dispensary, doing away with the need to line up.
If you’re looking for a more generalized approach to Point-of-Sale transactions, Square is a simple but solid POS platform that works well with QuickBooks. Square allows you to track both your product inventory and your customer purchase histories.
Business Analytics: Cannabis Big Data
Research suggests that data-driven businesses are more efficient, more competitive - and more profitable. As an actionable tool kit specifically designed for the cannabis industry, Cannabis Big Data can transform your company into a data-driven dispensary.
Because it pairs directly with QBO (and many other data sources as well), you can use Cannabis Big Data to analyze your company’s finances from a business intelligence point of view. That means making better decisions around increasing your revenue, decreasing your costs, and improving your operations overall.
Operational efficiency is only achievable when front-of-store processes align with back-office procedures. Automated bookkeeping tools and retail-based software ultimately work together to ensure every aspect of your cannabis dispensary is streamlined and in sync.
At Enkel, we provide streamlined bookkeeping services to Cannabis business owners with the use of accounting technology and our team of experienced CPAs and bookkeepers. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you manage your back office!
How We Select and Evaluate Our Recommended Software
We thoroughly research and test the apps we include in our regular workflow for Client bookkeeping services. After deciding on criteria for evaluating the software and then researching the app itself, we tested the app, noting its strengths and weaknesses. We then work with the app for at least a few weeks before deciding whether to recommend it to our readers. We use the software as it was designed for its intended tasks. For a detailed walk-through of how we select and evaluate software, please see the details of our process.