3 Great Integrated Apps to Streamline Retail and Restaurant Operations

3 Great Integrated Apps to Streamline Retail and Restaurant Operations

Three of the industry’s top software vendors are preparing to unveil an intriguing new suite of integrated applications that streamline sales, inventory, customers, employee management and workforce management, and the crucial financials that tie them all together. If you have clients who own or manage restaurant or retail businesses with employees and payroll, this could be a game changer.

Lightspeed (Retail & Restaurant POS), Planday (Staff management/Scheduling) and QuickBooks® Online (Accounting) are harnessing already-powerful independent features and linking them to effectively organize business finances, customer profiles, inventory and the workforce. As industry leaders of their own, each of these organizations uses key vertical knowledge to capture insights into business operations, bringing a solution suite that sets them apart from the competitors.

These three partners have designed a cloud-based data sync integration to help customers save time, reduce costs and have accurate data. With everything in the cloud, the integrative solution eliminates the need for manual exporting and importing, or entering data manually. Whether clients are creating an optimal employee schedule for the revenue derived during that shift, setting and managing a POS system, or reviewing their accounting health, you can help clients rest assured that these apps will solve their everyday needs. 

The Infograph below provides details on the flow of information across platforms:

What follows is a detailed overview of each application, how they work with each other, and the benefits the integrations will bring to restaurant and retail businesses: 

Lightspeed – QuickBooks

With a Retail and a Restaurant POS application available,  Lightspeed executes sales, collects payments, tracks customer activity and manages inventory. All of this activity impacts financials in a vital way, making streamlined integration of financial and banking information critical to accounting and bookkeeping operations. 

The Lightspeed POS app transmits this information to QuickBooks via an automated tool that syncs daily activity – all while your clients are hopefully cozily tucked away in bed. Highlights include:

  • Management of multiple locations/stores, which can comprise one or more POS applications.
  • Facilitation of platform mixes – for example, multiple retail and/or restaurants with the ability to point to one or more QuickBooks companies.
  • Ability to assign classes by store/location or even at the category level.
  • Sending of daily entries either in detail or summary – summary sales receipt, itemized sales receipt or journal entry. This can be defined at the store/location level.
  • Aggregating daily financial posting to include sales, payments, cost of goods sold (COGS) and purchasing.
  • Use of QuickBooks items at the Lightspeed category level for sales, discounts, returns, credits, gift cards, sales tax(es) and payments. Assigning accounts if using journal entries adds generous flexibility.
  • Assigning QuickBooks accounts to inventory and COGS at the category level. 

These are the categories of activities that are mapped in Lightspeed Accounting.

This is the General Settings mapping/setup:

Lightspeed Accounting includes plenty of helpful tools:

  • Notifications of activity, delivered on a daily basis.
  • Sales performance reporting – targets versus actuals over time by location.
  • Various stats by location, such as average sale and customer count.

The summary option creates a single sales receipt in QuickBooks with sales, payment and sales tax data; the itemized option creates a sales receipt with individual items; and the journal entry option creates category level sales entries.

This is a sample sales receipt created in QuickBooks. There is one sales entry per each unique item assigned in the mapping, one per discount item, and one or more payment entries (option to consolidate selected credit card payments in a single entry), sales tax, gift certificates and other items.

COGS activity is sent as a journal entry with one set of COGS/Inventory entries for each unique category, as defined in the Inventory & COGS section.

Purchase Orders in Lightspeed can be sent to QuickBooks as POs, bills or not at all; the most common is a bill. The account mapping is defined in the Purchase Orders section. This is a sample bill created in QuickBooks. It contains one line per product and quantity received on the closed PO.

The above is a sampling of the data that is sent to QuickBooks from Lightspeed. This is a very notable integration that saves significant bookkeeping time and effort in terms of cost, and streamlines the financial reporting capabilities and process. And, it is accurate!

Lightspeed – Planday

Lightspeed is a revenue engine and functions as a timekeeper, while Planday is the hub for managing staff schedules and personnel details, tracking hours worked, and evaluating payroll costs as compared to revenue. Planday allows managers to easily create and roll out new schedules online based on employee availability. Employees can use the app to request time off, communicate with each other and their manager, and swap shifts with qualified workers as needed.

The data Lightspeed sends to Planday will aid in the monitoring and building of a cost efficient employee schedule. Revenue is distributed on a daily basis (or even in 5-minute intervals) to allow Planday to monitor salary percentages, and compare and contrast revenue by function, location and brand. This information is then used to predict future spending.

The initial setup is performed via the typical application integration process.

The two systems exchange data in real-time, with an eye toward predictable future spending. Planday sends employee change data to Lightspeed to ensure the systems stay in sync. Lightspeed sends financial data to Planday, such as sales and revenue, location data, and clocked-in time.

A good example of this is on the scheduling screen which shows not only the schedules, but actual time worked (pulled from Lightspeed), payroll costs, revenue goals and actual revenue (also pulled from Lightspeed). This provides valuable insight into the performance of the organization on a daily and periodic basis.

The transfer of revenue data from Lightspeed helps provide analysis and reporting inside Planday that would not otherwise be available without extraction of data from various systems.

Planday – QuickBooks

Planday manages employees; QuickBooks focuses on the financials and functions as the payroll engine. Within this, there are three different integration touch points:

  1. The two systems perform a bi-directional sync of employee information. 
  2. Planday automatically pushes approved time to QuickBooks  for payroll processing.
  3. QuickBooks sends payslips to Planday.

The time approval process in Planday pushes time into QuickBooks , including a helpful approval feature to allow for the approval of multiple shifts at one time.

Upon approval, the time will automatically be sent to QuickBooks  as timesheet data. Here is a sampling of the time in Planday:

… and the resulting time in QuickBooks:

Payroll is processed in QuickBooks based on these hours:

The integration from Planday to QuickBooks efficiently automates the payroll process. And, as you may recall, the hours worked might have been sourced from Lightspeed originally. Pretty neat.

As independent products, these solutions are excellent tools all by themselves, but the overlap requires plenty of duplicative entry and upkeep. This set of integrations provides a solid foundation, dramatically reducing the amount of time spent on day-to-day tasks, while also providing valuable insights into your clients’  business operations.

And, it’s not a coincidence that these products are cloud-based and run on the iOS platform!

Check out this demo of the various components of the integration: