CASE STUDY

CUE THE ACCOUNTANT

Accounting Firm Cue the Accountant Saves Restaurants Time and Money with MarginEdge

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As one of the leading accounting and consulting firms for restaurants and bars in the Twin Cities area, Cue the Accountant helps clients like Bonfire Wood Fire Cooking, Axel’s Charhouse, Icehouse, The Lexington, and many more with cost and operational accounting and improving profitability of their businesses. “Our clients have at least $1 million in sales and often feel like they’re leaving money on the table by not minimizing their variable expenses,” says Cue the Accountant’s Susan Eder. “We show them how to do that so they drop dollars to the bottom line.”

Up until the fall of 2018, Eder and her team relied on Excel sheets and Dropbox files to share information with, and receive data from, their restaurants. Unfortunately, the sales and invoice info they received from clients wasn’t always spot on. “They might miss sales tax, or a delivery fee, or put the wrong dollar amount in,” she says. “It’s an expectation that the chef, kitchen manager or general manager has the capability to accurately input lots of data into an Excel file, but often, that’s not a skillset they have.”

So, in an attempt to streamline the process, ensure accuracy and efficiency, and help partners save money while boosting their bottom line, Cue the Accountant joined MarginEdge late last year, bringing 10 of its clients (and counting) on board with the platform.

“With the invoice and sales data flowing from MarginEdge right into the accounting system, the team does more of the management-level work instead of the data-entry clerk work.”

Time is money

One of the first benefits Cue the Accountant enjoyed from using MarginEdge was passing on a significant time savings to the company’s restaurant partners, in large part thanks to the convenient mobile app for invoice capture. “The idea that chefs can take pictures of invoices with their phone and upload it right to the app is really useful,” she says. “It makes it easy for them, and it’s quick.”

Not only does it save time for restaurant managers and chefs, but it also frees up valuable time and resources for Cue the Accountant’s team members. Rather than being bogged down with time-consuming data entry, they’re instead able to focus on analyzing the data that’s being input and categorized by MarginEdge.

“If we’re doing all the data entry, it doesn’t leave enough time or brain power to do the problem solving and analysis,” Eder says of her team. “Now with the invoice and sales data flowing from MarginEdge right into the accounting system, the team does more of the management-level work instead of the data- entry clerk work.”

Show, don’t tell

Before implementing MarginEdge, Eder was forced to show sales and spending data to her clients via numbers-only reports—many of which weren’t easy for non-finance people to interpret. “They had to mentally process what those numbers mean, and we often weren’t able to present them in a useful way that didn’t require a finance analyst mindset.”

But thanks to the many charts and graphs available through MarginEdge, Eder is able to visually illustrate this data to her clients in an easy-to-digest format. One client, for example, was overspending every day in April, resulting in 37% food cost versus the 30% budgeted. When she alerted the chef,
he refused to believe it, insisting that her numbers or the MarginEdge data must be inaccurate. “I was able to bring up the graph in MarginEdge and show the client the category spend,” she says. “You could just see the look on his face change to, ‘Oh, we’re totally overspending.’ It’s super effective to show them this so they know it’s not me making it up.”

“I was able to bring up the graph in MarginEdge and show the client the category spend,” she says. “You could just see the look on his face change to, ‘Oh, we’re totally overspending.’”

What’s more, Eder can now also break down these costs and data points by line item, allowing clients to see exactly where they’re overspending (tomatoes, for example) rather than the general category (produce). “By giving them access to purchasing details, it makes them smarter,” she says. “And the more analytics they have, the better their teams will be.”

Inventory reliability

Eder particularly enjoys the MarginEdge inventory features, which she says help her restaurant partners stay on track and hold staff accountable. “The sneaky little things that people used to do to inflate their inventory and deflate their costs have disappeared with this system,” she adds. “Just like in a POS—where it’s really hard to manipulate a POS to embezzle cash—it’s really hard to manipulate MarginEdge so your costs look better.”

Super support

As a relatively new client, Eder and her colleagues are still learning some of the finer points of the MarginEdge software— particularly as she continues to bring more clients on board with the platform. However, she appreciates the guidance and assistance that the MarginEdge support and training team provides. “When I have questions and reach out to support, they do a good job of explaining the software,” she says. “I get the impression that they’re also accountants, and they know what I’m talking about. They speak the language, and that’s super helpful.”

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