Comprehensive Bookkeeping Guide for Breweries

Omar Visram
Comprehensive Bookkeeping Guide for Breweries
Table of Contents

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Bookkeeping activities are essential to the overall success of your brewery business. Through these bookkeeping processes, you can obtain the data that you need to make proper analyses, wise decisions, and forecasts for the future of your business.

Bookkeeping is vital for all businesses, even though it may be tedious and time-consuming. We share strategies to optimize your brewery's bookkeeping processes, saving you time, money, and a great deal of hassle. 

1. Integrate your accounting software and brewery management software

Ekos is a brewery management software program for helping you manage your brewery. When integrated with QuickBooks Online, these two applications can make your entire bookkeeping process much simpler as well. Syncing these two programs reduces the need for manual data entry, will prevent double-entry errors, and will give you greater financial visibility.

Ekos easily syncs all of your sales data to your QuickBooks Online or Desktop account. It can help with all aspects of your brewery's bookkeeping, from ordering inventory to creating invoices. In addition to syncing with the data you're already adding to Ekos, you are also given the unique advantage of obtaining real-time inventory costs. This provides a transparent look into what it costs to make each product so you can determine the appropriate pricing strategy and focus on increasing profit.

Another benefit to the QuickBooks Online and Desktop integration with the Ekos software program is the ability to keep your sales and beverage taxes organized throughout the year. This will save you a significant amount of time when filing your taxes.

2. Use Dext Prepare to manage your receipts and invoice

Keeping track of your receipts and invoices can be tedious, but Dext Prepare can help with this. Dext Prepare allows you to take photos of your receipts and invoices with your smartphone, create an appropriate transaction record, and immediately upload it directly to your online accounting program. With such a simple process, your day-to-day expenses become extremely simple to take care of.

Dext Prepare has optical character recognition technology that can extract critical information from all of your receipts, reducing the need for manual data entry. You can then review the data and upload the transaction directly to your cloud accounting software. This streamlines your expense management process while storing your documents in the cloud, where they are easily accessible.

3. Pay your vendors electronically

Timely, accurate payments are key to maintaining a strong relationship with your vendors. Automated bill payments are one way to simplify your brewery’s bill payments, and you can do so through platforms like Plooto.

Plooto integrates with accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks Online. It can access all invoices that need to be paid, allowing you to quickly pay your vendors electronically by directly depositing the payments into their bank accounts. This can significantly reduce the amount of time required for making manual payments and reduce the need to mail out cheques.

4. Use time tracker tools

On top of having a production facility, some breweries will also have a taproom to serve beer to customers. Having to manage scheduling and payroll for both production staff and the taproom staff can be challenging – especially where tips are involved. 

A time tracker tool like QuickBooks Time is a perfect solution to helping you manage your payroll and employee scheduling needs. This software can help track your employee's time through an easy-to-use app, create work schedules, and help you manage your entire team.

It fully integrates and syncs with QuickBooks payroll software and other payroll software like ADP for a streamlined payroll solution. QuickBooks Time also provides detailed reports to help you predict scheduling requirements and payroll budgets.

Having easily accessible and organized accounting records and financial data is imperative for ensuring the success of your brewery business. You need to fully understand where you stand in the current marketplace to create realistic goals and continue to grow your brewery well into the future.

Cash Flow Strategies for Breweries

Positive cash flow keeps every business up and running. A steady stream of sufficient capital allows you to keep your lights on and your brew flowing. Having a positive cash flow means that your brewery business has enough money to run its overhead costs and enough left over to invest back into the business. 

By properly analyzing your cash flow, you will quickly be able to spot any changes in the health of your business and address them early on before further problems arise and you find yourself in a negative cash flow situation. 

1. Evaluate your invoicing terms

Getting your beer delivered to a distributor is half the job done. Now, you need to get paid. How long a deadline you give your customer to pay can significantly impact your cash flow. Ideally, you want to receive funds from your customers as quickly as possible, but invoicing terms that are too short may pose a problem. If your repayment deadlines are too short, you may risk losing customers as they don't give you enough time to pay.

On the other hand, if invoicing terms are too long, you risk delaying your cash flow. When determining your invoice repayment terms, you must find the unique balance between these two, satisfying your customers and keeping the cash flowing smoothly into your business.

2. Follow up on late payments

When customers are delayed in paying you, your business loses out. Because of this, you must follow up promptly on late payments. Setting up automated reminders is an excellent method to reduce the number of late payments you receive. You can turn on that feature on your accounting software, and these reminders will automatically prompt your customers to pay a few days before the invoice comes due.

Offering discounts to encourage customers to pay early is another way to minimize the number of late payments for your business. Charging interest on late payments will also encourage your customers to pay on time and help you recuperate any losses incurred from the late payments.

3. Control inventory

As a brewery business, raw ingredients like malt and yeast are the key to producing your end product, and you should always hold sufficient stock on hand for upcoming productions. However, you don't want to have too much cash tied up in inventory, as this can lead to excess storage costs or wastage due to over-ordering.

It is essential to update your inventory levels regularly after each production day. This will give you a good indication of your order quantities to maintain a minimum inventory level. 

Brewery management software like Ekos is excellent for inventory management. This software can help you forecast your next order and inform you when to restock your raw ingredients or replenish your packaging materials.

4. Negotiate bulk discounts with suppliers

As your brewery and production levels grow, you can build relationships with your suppliers to negotiate better terms. These terms could mean better pricing for more extensive bulk purchases or discounts for early payments. 

It is imperative to stay on top of your payables to build a good relationship with your suppliers and maximize any discounts available. Track your costs and look at your purchasing trends for each vendor to see which expenses are growing and use this data to aid in your negotiations. 

While these savings may seem small, they can have a significant positive impact on your cash flow and boost your bottom line in the long run.

5. Keep your books current

Having access to up-to-date financial data is vital for any business. You must always know how much cash is going in and out of your business to have good visibility of your cash flow. This allows you to plan for upcoming expenses and ensures you have sufficient working capital to purchase your inventory and operate your brewery.

Negative cash flow can make it extremely difficult for your brewery business to thrive. This could mean that you don’t have the basic funds required to keep your lights on, let alone have any money left over to invest back into the growth of your business.

Monitoring your cash flow closely, diligently following up on late payments, and creating invoicing terms that work for both you and your clients can go a long way toward creating a healthy, positive cash flow.

Bookkeeping Software for Breweries

Online Accounting Software

The right bookkeeping software is fundamental to your success as a brewery owner. Cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks Online (QBO) and Xero are ideal because they allow you to track real-time financial transactions related to your expenses, revenues, payroll, and taxes.

Cloud-based accounting software also supports collaboration between you and your bookkeeping professional by enabling shared access from multiple remote locations. You can also easily integrate with various brewery-friendly apps and accounting solutions through your cloud-based accounting software and consolidate all your financial information on a single platform.

Brewery Management Software

Stringent record-keeping and easy access to vital documents like ingredient lists, beer destruction tallies, and product destination details are essential when you operate a brewery. However, better records management is only one of many benefits offered by brewery management software.

An end-to-end business management program like Ekos Brewmaster - created specifically for the craft brewery industry - lets you manage your business from anywhere. More importantly, it simplifies the distinct processes surrounding the brewing and selling of beer.

You can manage inventory, track production step-by-step, and even monitor your sales performance – all in real time. Ekos Brewmaster integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online, allowing you or your bookkeeper to sync items like sales invoices directly to your accounting system.

Payroll Management Solutions

Every brewery owner understands that less time spent on administrative chores means more time for perfecting their craft and ultimately growing their business. Payworks Canada is an actively serviced payroll software solution that takes care of converting your employees’ work hours into direct deposits or physical paycheques.

Payworks performs mandatory source deductions - including federal and provincial taxes and WCB premiums - and submits government remittances directly to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on your company’s behalf. The program also issues Records of Employment and employee T4s, and can push the payroll information directly into your QBO file.

Accounts Payable Apps

Breweries are often burdened with large volumes of accounts payable. Fortunately, apps like Plooto and Beanworks simplify payables management by eliminating paper.

Both applications integrate with QuickBooks and Xero. Both leave control of online invoice approvals and the initiation of virtual payments firmly in the user's hands. But while Plooto is primarily focused on administering those payments (and ensuring your accounting records are automatically updated), Beanworks also takes care of the data entry side of your invoice processing.

Expense Management and Receipt Tracking Apps

Wish you could do away with saving, sorting, storing, and physically sharing hard copies of brew operation expense receipts with your bookkeeper? With Dext Prepare, you can. Compatible with Xero and QuickBooks, Dext Prepare is a mobile app that extracts expense data from photographs of bills and receipts you take with your phone.

Dext Prepare eliminates the need for manual data entry, automatically sorts expense information by date and vendor, and stores your documents as digital images deemed perfectly acceptable by the CRA come tax time. Business credit card purchases, corporate expense documents, and accounts payable invoices can all be put through Dext Prepare.

Scheduling and Time Tracking Apps

Even if your brewery doesn’t charge clientele by the hour, going paperless with a full-featured app like QuickBooks’ TSheets simplifies employee time tracking and streamlines your scheduling. Employees use the app to click in and out during work shifts - you review and approve their hours before submitting them to your payroll professional.

TSheets also lets you create, adjust, and share work schedules directly with your personnel. The app syncs easily with other QuickBooks-friendly systems, providing valuable insight into job costing and profitability.

Point-of-Sale Systems

Does your brewery have a tasting room? If so, you’ll need a solid POS (point-of-sale) system like Square. Purposely built for simplicity, Square is easy to set up and use and offers good data transfer capability.

The system’s software pairs well with QuickBooks or Xero and is highly integrated, allowing your business to accept payment by credit card, cash, or gift card. With Square, you can track your inventory and customers’ tasting histories, which makes it ideal for building a client database.

If you’re a brewery owner looking to streamline your brewery’s bookkeeping, we can help! We have a team of experienced bookkeepers and professional accountants who can care for your books while you focus on doing what you do best - creating the best brews. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow!

At Enkel, we understand the unique business needs that brewery owners require, especially when it comes to keeping your bookkeeping organized. Our team of experienced bookkeeping professionals can provide you with all the bookkeeping support you require to grow your brewery business to new heights. For more information on how we can assist you, contact Enkel today.

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