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Finding or Switching Brewery Accounting Systems

Kendall Rude Jun 14, 2019 10:22:16 AM
Accounting Papers

From Brewery Accounting to Brewery Management, the best time to change is now.

Are you a start-up brewery looking for a software service to manage your inventory? Or an existing brewery thinking about changing your accounting software? Are you thinking that it can wait, since you’re not open yet anyway? If you’re still looking for a good reason to switch now rather than later, you’ve come to the right place.


Breweries need Accounting AND management Software.


Accounting and Management of a brewery is a complicated business. From an accounting perspective, you need to manage purchasing, sales, inventory, employees and taxes.  Quickbooks or Xero can do that, but they have serious limitations.


When considering a brewery software solution, you will also need to consider complicated liquor taxation, warehousing locations, taprooms, Point-of-sale sales, keg tracking, losses from the brewing system and more. Brewery Management Software needs to accurately account for all of your ingredients and where they get sold in order to be compliant with United States TTB reporting or Canadian SFCR regulations.


To satisfy all of the needs of your craft brewery, you will need a large-scale ERP system, or a Brewery Management system that is fully integrated with Quickbooks or Xero.

Accounting is Data. Everyone generates Data. Choose a system that involves everyone, everywhere.

As technology has evolved, so thus has accounting. Technological developments in cloud-based document tracking have allowed for most accounting to be done quite easily on a computer, meaning it can be saved online and shared easily with other people.


Sharing access to data is fundamental to the success of your business. If you give the right people access to appropriate areas of your business, they will be able to enter data accurately and you can choose who can access that data to inform decision making.


Quickbooks and Xero have very shallow choices in their user roles. Often allowing only three broad choices until you have to upgrade your accounts. Just because people can do their own accounting, does not mean that bookkeepers no longer have work to do, it just means that their work has changed.


Brewery Managements Software needs to pick up that slack and provide user roles that suit the growing and changing roles of your staff. You may have a delivery driver that also needs access to make sales orders on site and track kegs, but doesn’t need to know the COGS or profitability of each item. 


Choose a  brewery accounting and management system that is flexible and allows you granular control of data inputs and reporting access for a variety of roles. Roles change quickly and you will want to be prepared for this. 


As a final note, you must consider that few people in a brewery want to be, or have the luxury of having a computer to work on. Most people in your business will have more access to cell phones and tablets as part of their work flow, so ensure you use a cloud-based, mobile accessible brewery management system. 


The Importance of Taking Initiative

In order to fully understand the importance of taking initiative when it comes to your accounts, we talked to accounting expert Sherri-Lee Mathers, who knows first hand that, even though accounting has become cloud-based, it has not necessarily become simpler.

Papers on work desk

“Accounting is no longer a singular activity in a singular software – today’s business’s and related app systems can be complex,” Sherri-Lee explains.


She continues to demonstrate that accounting is no longer just accounting; it is also “inventory management, point of sale systems, CRMs, tax reporting, staff software apps(s) access, types of hardware being used to access, cloud or desktop, and of course both system & hardware security.”


While you may not need a full time bookkeeper or accountant in your brewery, the takeaway is that you will need support who can navigate the complexity of this technology - or - software that integrates all functions seamlessly.

Timing is Everything

While you may be putting off switching or setting up your accounting system, it’s important to recognize that, since accounting is not just accounting, and a brewery is not just about making beer - it is best to get it set up when you still have lots of time to spare.


It would make more sense to wait until the new year to switch, right? That way, you’re starting with new information and get a nice, clean start. But, if you remember that switching accounting systems is more than just switching account, as Sherri-Lee mentioned, then you can see how waiting until the new year to start with a brand new system might get very overwhelming, very quickly.

Man frustrated with work on laptop

Furthermore, learning a new system is not easy. If you’re not switching until the new year, that means you’re going to have to learn how to use your new software fast. This is not always the easiest thing to do, because new software can be hard to learn, especially if you have multiple team members using it. Sure, you might be able to learn it in a couple of days, but it could also take weeks or months, especially if you end up making mistakes early on in the learning process.


In order to avoid the rush and panic, it is best that you start migrating early, so that way you have time to troubleshoot and make sure everything is entered properly.  Additionally, Sherri-Lee emphasizes that it is important to find an accounting professional with an industry niche who can:

  • determine a needs assessment of software
  • give related software recommendations
  • create a phased implementation plan to minimize disruption and stress to the business team
  • perform a system follow-up and health check


She explains further that, “An accounting professional with an ‘industry niche’ will not only have a deep understanding of the industry and accounting software, but they will have developed tools/automation, workflows, and processes to optimize ensuring efficiencies."


Rely on the Experts for “Clean Data”

Even though you might be able to manage it yourself, it is best that you rely on professionals who know how to help you, because they know best what and how they need to help you and keep you on track, such as,


“Having a key understanding of where and how specified apps integrate to ensure ‘clean data’ is flowing correctly to the accounting system will also allow for future artificial intelligence integrations and better business intelligence to the business owner.”


Not only can a professional teach you how to use the systems that you need, but they can also make sure that those systems are working to their peak capacity, such as allowing for cloud storage and generated reports.

Get Expert Help from the Brewery Software Developers

Consider how your data will be onboarded to a new accounting and brewery management system. Will you do it yourself? With the help of a bookkeeper or accountant? 

Organizing and onboarding your existing information can be overwhelming, but there is help! Brew Ninja software includes two methods for getting ready to go. Self-serve and White Glove onboarding.

With Self-Serve onboarding a new brewery can be up and running in as little as 1 hour and established microbreweries may take up to 8 hours. You don’t have to do this in one sitting, and BrewNinja has exhaustive support in our knowledge base and tutorials. 


Brew Ninja also offers white-glove onboarding. We will take your existing data, ensure it’s clean and ready to be input, then setup your system for you. While this does have a cost in some of our price plans it does means that your brewery will have an accurate, solid foundation moving forward and you will save a ton of time!

2 people talking, one person taking notes at a table.


It's never too early

The biggest takeaway from this article is that it is never too early to start. No matter what your concerns are about starting early – perhaps the cost, perhaps you don’t have the time to learn a new system right now – you should understand that starting now means less trouble down the road.


We consulted Sherri-Lee Mathers from Balsam Way Bookkeeping for the advice presented in this article.

If you’re looking for a professional to help you manage your accounts, reach out to Sherri-Lee at 778 427-1122 or

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