Big rewards for small breweries: 7 reasons to choose online accounting software for your microbrewery

Moving to an online accounting system will help you and your brewery.

As much as you like making and serving great beer, running a successful microbrewery involves looking after your accounting systems as well as your customers.

Of course, the less time you spend on administration, the more time you can spend working on your killer recipes. Which is why you should abandon the spreadsheets and switch to online (or ‘cloud-based’) systems.

Still not convinced? Well, here are seven ways running your brewery online will help you, your staff, and your bottom line.

1. Reduce labour costs

Australia’s labour market is unique. Our shortage of skilled labour, combined with some of the highest wage rates in the world, means you could end up paying $20 or more an hour for unskilled staff. Add the time and money it takes to train them, and it can end up being a considerable sum.
But with online microbrewery accounting software, you can set it up to automatically pay the bills, chase debtors, calculate product margins, roster and pay staff, report to investors and more. And not having to hire extra staff to do it all means you can invest more time and money in your good staff to make and serve amazing beer.

2. Get paid faster

If distribution is part of your strategy, you’ll often be at the mercy of the credit terms used by pubs and bottle shops. You’ll deliver your beer as promised, but walk away empty handed.
This can be a real problem as your brewery requires a constant flow of cash to cover its high fixed costs. As soon as your customers stop paying on time, the financial pressure starts to build and cracks begin to appear.
Thankfully, by using cloud microbrewery accounting software, you can set up automatic reminder emails for overdue invoices. You can even integrate a debtor management app to add that personal touch or integrate with an modern invoice financing company for instant cashflow.

3. See the future

A lot of businesses either fail to plan or fail to forecast those plans. But with their mix of large capital outlay and high ongoing fixed costs, even the most basic brewery will have a budget. Unfortunately, that budget is often created in a spreadsheet, where it’s forgotten for weeks or months at a time, possibly forever.
An online accounting system can create a rolling forecast that automatically updates your budget using live data from your brewery business. This lowers the possibility of human error, and increases visibility allowing you to predict profitability and bank balances weeks or months in advance.

4. See the whole picture

Breweries are complex beasts. As the owner, you need to keep track of:

• unpaid bills
• money owing
• cash available
• stock levels
• equipment maintenance
• staff required
• excise forecast
• GST accrued
• growth plans
• loan balances
• estimated income tax
• batch margins
• fixed overheads
• profit forecast

And on top of all that you need to brew and serve your beer.

Fortunately, most cloud accounting systems allow other specialised applications to connect seamlessly and securely. Customising a dashboard application can display all this important information on a single screen. And because the information is coming directly from your accounts, it will always be up to date.

With one of these ‘dashboards’ in place, you’ll always know where you should be spending your time and effort.

5. Spend less time waiting

The new recipe you’ve been working on is a killer. Even your “sauv-blanc” drinking sister-in-law likes it. But as much as you want to order the ingredients and start brewing, your mind is full of questions:
• “Do I have enough cash?”
• “Are any of my key staff on holidays?”
• “How much should I sell it for?”
• “What will the next payrun cost me?”
• “How much excise is upcoming?”
• “When is our next BAS due?”
• “Do I have to pay super?”
• “Who owes us money?”
• “How much stock do we have left?”
Compiling this information manually could take weeks, which means your killer beer won’t hit the market for months. What if someone else comes up with the idea in the meantime?

But with online microbrewery accounting software you could log in, tweak your forecasts, analyse the data and make a decision in a matter of minutes.

6. Optimise your staffing

With the lead times between choosing a recipe, brewing it, and then getting it bottled, canned or kegged, every delay means less money in the till. So when it’s time to get your product into your customers’ hands, the last thing you want is to be short- or over-staffed.

Fortunately, you can use online rostering and HR apps to quickly and easily organise casual labour. And if your model is a brew-pub, they can even forecast the weather so you have enough staff at front of house during a 40-degree stinker.

7. Understand your profit

Unless you’re selling homemade lemonade using your children as slave labour, you can’t always judge your profit by what’s in your bank account. (Mind you, a lot of businesses do.)

Combining an online microbrewery accounting system with a modern accountant such as Air Accounting will allow you to see your real profit at a glance every week. And once you understand your true profit, you can start making decisions to improve it, and easily track the impact of any changes you make.

Ready to switch to online accounting software for your brewery? Why not get in touch with us today? Using the latest online accounting systems and analysis applications, we’ll work with you on agreed-fee packages that can grow with your brewery.