How To Choose An Accountant For Your Pub or Cafe

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Running your own pub or cafe can be stressful. Between juggling finances and bookkeeping, you must consider business strategy, training, and customer relationships. Your accountant can help take the financial burden off you so that you can spend more time interacting with customers and doing what you enjoy.

Why do pub or cafe business owners need an accountant?

Anyone who runs a hospitality business knows how tough it can be. Between the long hours, limited breaks, and physical customer-facing work, there remains little time for admin. However, efficiently managing your accounts is one of the most important things you can do. If you rush and there are mistakes in your record keeping, this could be really detrimental to your business. 

As a pub or cafe owner, it makes sense to outsource some of your bookkeeping and finances to an independent accountant. An accountant provides you with professional opinion as well as practical help. This is valuable as it means that you always have someone to contact when you may want financial advice. 

Some accountants offer a full finance department which covers paying suppliers, budgeting and forecasting services as well as general account management. This can ensure that your business remains profitable and financially secure in the future. It is always important to have a long-term business plan to allow you to grow and develop your pub or cafe in the best way possible. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has only recently shown us that the hospitality industry can quickly change and become fragile. Therefore it is vital that you work with your accountant to remain financially resilient. 

accounting for pubs

What to look for in a hospitality accountant

Firstly, you need to make sure that your accountant thoroughly understands the hospitality business. For example, if the accountancy firm you are looking to contact has no previous hospitality clients, or only specialises in corporate finance, you may want to reconsider. Having an accountant who knows the hospitality business inside out is incredibly beneficial. They need to know how to deal with HMRC, VAT, and licensing and tax laws specific to the industry.

Experience equals knowledge. An accountant who has previously worked with pub and cafe businesses will not only have an understanding of how stressful the industry is, but can come armed with financial advice and tips that they have previously picked up and may benefit you and your business too.   

When it comes to choosing an accountant, you need to make sure that they have a personal approach towards their clients. If your accountant takes the time to fully understand you and your business, the results will be tailored to you and ultimately better. 

Questions to ask prospective accountants

What can you offer my business?

By asking this question, you can gain an understanding of how prepared your accountant is to help you and your business. The range of help and advice can vary between accounting services, so make sure that you choose one that can help you achieve your specific business goals. 

It is always important to progress and develop your business as much as possible. Working with an accountant that will actively push you to grow financially is important. After all, a second opinion could be just what you need to take your pub or cafe to the next level. 

Can you save me money?

Of course, accountants are there to help you save money and become more financially secure in your business. However, it is still a good idea to ask them how they will do this for you. Not only will this paint a better picture of how they work, but it will help you understand what financial changes your business may go through. 

As a first step, weigh up the money, resources and time you spend managing your finances per month. Compare this to how much an accountant will cost you. Most of the time, you will find that outsourcing is the best option. 

How do you usually communicate with your clients?

Communication is key when it comes to building a positive relationship with your accountant. Outsourcing your accounts is a big step for you and your business, and it is important that you feel you can trust someone with this. Being able to talk openly with your accountant about your business and what you’re wanting to achieve is vital. 

How do you stay up to date with the hospitality industry?

Great accountants for pubs and cafes will always keep up with new developments in the hospitality and financial world. Not only does this take the pressure off you, but it ensures that your business always adheres to the latest legislation and any changes in regulations. 

Your accountant should make you aware of any changes to make to your business that may benefit you financially in the short or long term. 

At Steele Financial, we are expert accountants for pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars. We understand how it is both challenging and rewarding to work in the hospitality industry. Get in touch to find out more. 

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