Virtually all restaurant owners and managers use some kind of shift book as a handy way to keep track of employee schedules, group reservations, catering events, ordering of supplies and produce, and other routine tasks. But if you want to really amp-up for productivity to get more done with less time and less money, figure out how to leverage that shift book to accomplish more than just the basics. Digital logbook software can also be an excellent type of record keeping software for tax purposes, for instance.
IRS Compliance Made Easier
According to the IRS, all cash tips received directly from customers – whether those are electronic tips added to credit or debit card transactions or tips paid in cash – need to be accounted for, with very few exceptions. As the IRS website explains, “All cash tips received by an employee in any calendar month are subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes and must be reported to the employer, unless the tips received by the employee during a single calendar month while working for the employer total less than $20.”
Most of your employees make more than $20 in tips every hour, and definitely every month, but how do you manage to keep track of all those figures? One of the simplest, most convenient, and most reliable ways to track tips is to enter the information in real time, using a digital logbook. Doing that in a conventional paper and pen based logbook isn’t practical because it is too time consuming to locate the logbook and keep it updated. Even if you keep meticulous records, the log could be misplaced, lost, or accidentally destroyed. But if they use record keeping software that can be accessed using a typical smart phone type of app, the task becomes quick and painless. The data can be entered in a matter of seconds and then shared instantly with managers, owners, bookkeepers, or your CPA. The information can also be securely archived and backed-up in the cloud, so that if you ever need to find it, retrieval is just a matter of a few keyboard or touch pad clicks.
Use a Digital Work Logbook for Employee Taxes
Employees, too, must keep a daily record of tips received, including an accurate record of the date and value of any noncash tips you get – including such things as tickets or free passes. Employees are not required to report those noncash tips to you, their employer, but they have to report them to the IRS at tax time. Most employees aren’t that organized or knowledgeable about tax rules, though, and once a few days go by they are liable to forget to document the noncash gift or the date they received it. Letting them have access to an employee logbook where they can itemize and archive all of these things as they receive them – is a really helpful thing to do for your staff. They’ll appreciate that, especially when tax time rolls around and having that data at their fingertips saves them so such hassle and time.
Meanwhile, having each employee plugged into the same centralized interface for record keeping software will also make your own bookkeeping simple and much more accurate. You can even share your weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual data on such things as tip totals, wages, and employee hours with your accountant via the dashboard and address book incorporated into the Zip Shift Book record keeping software.