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Best Accounting Software for Restaurants of June 2024

Look for strong POS system integrations, inventory management features and advanced reporting capabilities.
By Hillary Crawford
Last updated on June 18, 2024
Edited bySally Lauckner
Fact checked and reviewed

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Strong restaurant accounting software can help you make informed, data-driven decisions that protect your restaurant from changing tides by giving you access to the numbers behind the operation. The following restaurant accounting software products were chosen based on their integration with restaurant point-of-sale systems, reporting capabilities, restaurant management software integrations and inventory management features.

Best Accounting Software for Restaurants

Product
Promotion
Learn more

Restaurant365

Best for Overall restaurant accounting software

$435/month (billed quarterly)

Additional pricing tiers (per month, billed quarterly): $635, custom.

N/A

QuickBooks Online

Learn more

on QuickBooks Online's secure website

5.0/5

Best for Reporting capabilities

$30/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $60, $90, $200.

50% off

for first three months or free 30-day trial.

Learn more

on QuickBooks Online's secure website

Xero

Learn more

on Xero's secure website

5.0/5

Best for Low price, rich features

$15/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $42, $78.

30-day free trial

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Learn more

on Xero's secure website

MarginEdge

Best for Restaurant management system with accounting integrations

$330/month

N/A

FreshBooks

Learn more

on FreshBooks' secure website

4.5/5

Best for Food truck accounting software

$19/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $33, $60, custom.

30-day free trial

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Learn more

on FreshBooks' secure website

Plate IQ

Best for Automated restaurant accounts payable

N/A

Quote-based.

N/A

Our pick for

Overall restaurant accounting software

Restaurant365

Starting at
$435/month (billed quarterly)

Additional pricing tiers (per month, billed quarterly): $635, custom.

Promotion
N/A

Our pick for

Reporting capabilities

QuickBooks Online

Learn more

on QuickBooks Online's secure website

Starting at
$30/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $60, $90, $200.

Promotion
50% off

for first three months or free 30-day trial.

Our pick for

Low price, rich features

Learn more

on Xero's secure website

Starting at
$15/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $42, $78.

Promotion
30-day free trial

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Our pick for

Restaurant management system with accounting integrations

MarginEdge

Starting at
$330/month
Promotion
N/A

Our pick for

Food truck accounting software

FreshBooks

Learn more

on FreshBooks' secure website

Starting at
$19/month

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $33, $60, custom.

Promotion
30-day free trial

or monthly discount (terms vary).

Our pick for

Automated restaurant accounts payable

Plate IQ

Starting at
N/A

Quote-based.

Promotion
N/A

Our picks for best restaurant accounting software

Restaurant365: Best for overall restaurant accounting software

Price:
  • $435 per month per location (billed quarterly) for Essential bundle.
  • $635 per month per location (billed quarterly) for Professional bundle.
  • Custom bundle available by request for enterprise and franchise businesses.
  • Core solutions (Accounting, Operations and Workforce) require custom quote.
Why we like it: Restaurant365 is an all-in-one software platform that offers accounting, inventory management, staff management (including scheduling, payroll and HR) and reporting software. The system integrates fully with more than 80 popular POS systems, including Clover, Lightspeed, Revel, SpotOn, Square and Toast. Although Restaurant365 is more expensive compared with other accounting options, you can't beat the platform’s high level of integration in the restaurant industry. Aside from saving time, the integrations help ensure that data from the front of house and back of house syncs regularly and that reports are up-to-date and accurate.
Restaurant365 also includes restaurant-specific features, like inventory management and recipe costing, that could otherwise cost extra or require third-party integrations. The same goes for restaurant-specific reporting. Built-in dashboards let you compare labor costs and sales according to date, and the platform runs analysis reports on actual versus theoretical costs, which can help you flag food waste and identify opportunities to save on controllable costs. Theoretical costs and quantities are automatically added to the report based on POS and vendor data. This process is particularly important for higher-cost ingredients that hold more sway over your bottom line. Read our full review of Restaurant365.

QuickBooks Online: Best for reporting capabilities

Price:
  • $30 per month for the Simple Start plan.
  • $60 per month for the Essentials plan.
  • $90 per month for the Plus plan.
  • $200 per month for the Advanced plan.
Why we like it: Although QuickBooks Online isn’t made specifically for the restaurant industry, its advanced reporting capabilities, scalability and versatility render it a contender, especially when integrated with restaurant POS systems and other apps. On its own, QuickBooks Online can generate purchase orders, track time and inventory, handle multiple locations, automate bill and invoice approvals and run profit and loss reports. Another plus: It can create reports on up to 40 tracking categories of your choosing. You can use the tags to separate products sold based on location and sales channel, for example. Subcategories within the sales channel tag could include delivery, in-house and pickup orders. QuickBooks Online’s Advanced plan allows for unlimited tag groups, although 40 should be sufficient for most small restaurants.
Since QuickBooks Online isn’t an all-in-one restaurant software platform, however, expect to spend extra time finding and setting up restaurant management integrations, as well as figuring out how to run restaurant-specific reports. While QuickBooks Online has exceptional reporting capabilities, it isn’t shaped around restaurants and might take more effort to customize initially. Read our full QuickBooks Online review.

Xero: Best for low price and rich features

Price:
  • $15 per month for the Early plan.
  • $42 per month for the Growing plan.
  • $78 per month for the Established plan.
Why we like it: In addition to strong general accounting capabilities, Xero offers fixed asset management, which helps restaurant owners take into account the changing values of POS hardware, kitchen equipment and properties. While it’s not the most essential feature, it’s a definite bonus. You can also bundle any Xero accounting plan with Gusto for payroll. The integration with Gusto syncs payroll data with the accounting software and allows you to run payroll or access payroll reports from Xero.
Additionally, Xero’s extensive app marketplace boosts your chances of finding restaurant-specific integrations. Just make sure the app you have in mind gets positive reviews for its Xero integration. Read our complete Xero Accounting review.

MarginEdge: Best for restaurant management system with accounting integrations

Price: $330 per month per location.
Why we like it: MarginEdge is restaurant management software designed to help you stay on top of invoicing and billing, managing food usage and costs, tracking inventory as well as designing and analyzing menus. It directly integrates with a number of top-rated POS systems, like Clover, Lightspeed, Square and TouchBistro, to help give you a complete picture of your restaurant inventory, staff and finances. It does not itself contain accounting software, but MarginEdge partners and integrates with several well-known accounting products, including QuickBooks, Xero and Sage.

FreshBooks: Best for food truck accounting software

Price:
  • $19 per month for the Lite plan.
  • $33 per month for the Plus plan.
  • $60 per month for the Premium plan.
  • Custom pricing for the Select plan.
Why we like it: FreshBooks accounting software is ideal for freelance and self-employed professionals, although the higher-tier plans can support small businesses with an employee base. This low-cost yet robust software, therefore, can be a solid accounting solution for food trucks. FreshBooks has particularly strong features for invoicing and expense tracking. It also has a high-quality mobile app (for iOS and Android) that enables mileage tracking, invoice creation and receipt capture on the move. Read our complete FreshBooks review.

Plate IQ: Best for automated restaurant accounts payable

Price: Quote-based.
Why we like it: For well-established restaurants that have a lot of invoices and bills to manage on a regular basis, accounts payable (AP) automation can be especially useful in reducing human error and freeing up your time to manage other aspects of your business. Plate IQ can handle your entire AP process with its automation and AI-driven technology. Although it’s designed to manage only this one area of your overall restaurant accounting, the software does integrate directly with a number of prominent accounting platforms, including QuickBooks, Oracle NetSuite, Xero and Sage.

How to choose restaurant accounting software

At a minimum, restaurant accounting software should be cloud-based, include inventory management and have the ability to record tips, create purchase orders and run profit and loss reports. Here are a few other points to keep in mind while weighing your restaurant accounting software options.

Cost

Cheaper isn't always better. Don’t underestimate the value of advanced, more costly reporting capabilities — they're vital to a restaurant’s success, especially when you take into account the added complexity of recipe costing and working with food vendors. QuickBooks Online, for instance, offers lower-tier, less expensive plans that aren’t included in this review because they lack features like inventory tracking and don’t come with comprehensive reporting.
Less expensive and free general accounting solutions like ZipBooks and Wave were also considered, but their reporting, inventory management and integration options ultimately didn’t make the grade. While they might work in the short term, established restaurants will require greater capabilities in the long run. Having to uproot a beginner system and switch to a completely different one can be costly and time-consuming; starting out with scalable accounting software is generally best.

Accounting software integrations

While certain restaurant-specific add-ons can help fill in the gaps when it comes to scheduling employees or automating the invoicing process, beware of the additional costs that sometimes come with third-party app integrations. For example, you might have to pay extra just to connect your POS and accounting systems — and that’s in addition to what you’re already paying for the POS system, accounting software and payroll software.
Before choosing accounting software for your restaurant, know which POS system and payroll software product you plan to use. Make sure they all integrate directly with each other for free and that the integrations receive positive reviews. Just because there’s a direct integration doesn’t mean it works well.

Restaurant reports

Restaurant owners keep track of a handful of reports that provide insight on menu item sales, cost of goods sold, labor and actual versus theoretical costs. Before committing to an accounting software product, try out a demo or free trial and make sure you’ll feel comfortable running these reports regularly.
Prior to setup, think about how to customize your reports. For example, you might categorize menu items according to the sales channel to see which ones sell better in-house versus online. Similarly, choose an accounting system that syncs with your inventory, vendor and POS data to automate as much of the reporting process as possible.
Last updated on June 18, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet independently reviews accounting software products before determining our top picks. We collect the data for our software ratings from products’ public-facing websites and from company representatives. Information is gathered on a regular basis and reviewed by our editorial team for consistency and accuracy.
NerdWallet’s accounting software ratings favor products that are easy to use, reasonably priced, have a robust feature set and can grow with your business. The best accounting software received top marks when evaluated across 10 categories and more than 30 subcategories. Learn more about how we rate small-business accounting software.
These ratings are meant to provide clarity in the decision-making process, but what’s best for your business will depend on its size, growth trajectory and which features you need most. We encourage you to research and compare multiple accounting software products before choosing one.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
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