Answer: It’s called internal control. First, print a daily sales report from the point of sale and from your credit card machine if a standalone terminal.
Next create a system or worksheet that compares the total daily sales to the cash and credit cards accepted along with non cash transactions, paid outs of cash, and tips. The result of this close out worksheet will be a calculated daily cash bank deposit and the credit card charges for the day along with the over/short for the day.
The following day you will use a system to go online to your banking institution and verify that the cash calculated in your close out worksheet the night before agrees to the following day’s cash bank deposit and the credit card batch total from the day prior agrees to the activity being credited to the bank usually two days later. You should create a system or worksheet to track daily sales as you compare them to outside sources such as online banking and credit card activity. Don’t procrastinate. Discipline yourself to perform this task daily.
Ideally you want to segregate the individuals responsible for creating the daily close out worksheet from the employee that makes the cash deposits in the bank and the person that verifies that the actual monies were credited to the bank on a daily basis. Understandably with a small pizzeria with very few employees at night these tasks may have to be performed by the same employee. Regardless, determine a way to separate these duties to allow for cross checking the accuracy of the restaurant numbers.
Never assume that the “trusted manager” that you have known for years will never purposely misstate a cash deposit or claim that the deposit was lost or bunching up daily deposits and making two or three days cash sales all at once. It’s usually always the employee that can talk their way out of missing cash since no previous event has led the owner to believe otherwise.
Consider procedures to identify kickbacks from food vendors to employees (generally the chef or person doing the buying taking a commission and making the restaurant pay more for the merchandise); or vendors delivering supplies weighing less than the amount stipulated on the invoice ( indicating a possible collusion between the person receiving the merchandise and the delivery driver). A solution to deterring this perpetration is to have the employees perform a different task when the food orders are delivered to the restaurant allowing you the owner to perform the task. Verify vendor purchases to online invoice reporting similar to online banking provided by the vendors to determine completeness of an order.
Question: I use a cash register? Does the process change?
Answer: The only change will be that the Daily Sales report from a point of sale will be in the form of a Z tape which identifies all menu items sold per day or shift. This lengthy cash register tape will then be your starting point to prepare the daily cash close sheet. From here the process to verify the calculated cash deposit and credit card batch totals crediting your bank is the same.
Again, we advise to segregate the functions performed by employees of actually printing the Daily Z Tape and counting the cash and making the cash deposit including the daily credit card charges. The owner should consider cross training employees, forced absences, varied scheduling, and other methods of allowing multiple employees to perform similar tasks. This creates an environment with the wait staff to not become comfortable at any one position or develop associate friendships and allow for collusion and therefore the monies do not make it to the bank.
I cannot stress enough to ensure you have the procedures in effect at the restaurant to enforce DAILY tracking of cash and credit card activity and comparing the balances to the bank activity.