• True North

Franchise Bookkeeping Specialists vs Regular Bookkeeping Services: Know the Difference

Updated: Sep 8

Your business is growing. After years of hard work, dedication, and patience, you've successfully established your franchise and are opening new locations. With this exciting new phase, comes a new set of challenges. (i.e., Franchisors quickly realizing they need to outsource their bookkeeping to professionals..saving time, money, and headaches.)


—Should you Google "bookkeeping services near me" and hire the first bookkeeping solopreneur you see, or should you dig deeper to find the best franchise bookkeeping specialists in the US?


There are distinct differences between franchise bookkeeping and traditional bookkeeping, and you need to gather as much information as possible to make the best decision.

We break down the differences, and the pros-and-cons between the two. As an added bonus, we'll also share some golden nuggets we've learned over 10 years of franchise bookkeeping.


Why listen to us?

We've been senior executives in billion dollar companies, and we've built businesses from a napkin in a coffee shop. We provide bookkeeping and franchise bookkeeping to clients with as much as 20M in annual sales.


We know what it takes to win.



What is Franchise Bookkeeping?

Franchise bookkeeping services are built specifically for businesses with multiple locations. When dealing with multiple locations, you need to have a consistent system applied across all of them. Without congruent reporting, when it comes time to do your taxes you'll be forced to backtrack and sort out quarters, and even the entire year worth of financial transactions. This drives up expenses and raises frustrations, compared to if you simply followed the same methods across the entire company.


When working with True North, we work closely with your locations to standardize franchisees chart of accounts and franchisees reporting. Franchise Bookkeeping Services from True North keep your books up to date, create consistency across your organization, and enable you to tell if your individual franchise locations are profitable.



What's the difference between traditional bookkeeping and franchise bookkeeping?

When we refer to traditional bookkeeping, we're talking about your standard Quickbooks, Xero, FreshBooks, etc.. for smaller, single location organizations. While you still have to record every transaction within the business, it doesn't come with the added challenge of managing multiple locations and communicating with them to make sure everyone is recording transactions the same way. Your chart of accounts for a single-location business will also be more simple, and you may not even have one at all. Compare that to franchise bookkeeping services, where your chart of accounts is going to be much more complex.


For instance, McDonalds will have a chart of accounts that varies by the location for different menu offerings. A location in San Diego may offer a different product than a location in New York. Each location still needs to follow the systems and processes set in place across the entire organization, which can be overwhelming for most. That's one of the reasons it's important to hire a franchise bookkeeping firm with experience and the resources necessary to manage these differences while maintaining organization.



Why You Should Hire a Franchise Bookkeeping Specialist

When it comes down to it, experience with franchise bookkeeping matters. Traditional bookkeeping and franchise bookkeeping ultimately follow the same principles, but there are distinct nuances associated with franchise bookkeeping.


Franchise bookkeeping services from True North also relieve the stress from doing your own bookkeeping and keep you in compliance with franchise reporting requirements. We are consistently updating your records to ensure all data is current and up to date, ensuring your information can actually be used to make important business decisions. We make sure you can get important KPI's and benchmarks to evaluate your business with our professional franchise bookkeeping services.


In theory, you COULD hire a traditional bookkeeping service firm, but you're risking them not fully understanding the industry which can lead to problems in reporting, and wasted time down the road when trying to bring everything together. When working with a smaller bookkeeping company, you risk a delay in reporting, leading to using the wrong information.


True North has a decade of experience on both sides of the bookkeeping industry, so we have the technical know-how to differentiate between the two, understand the principles to bookkeeping and accounting, and can provide a solution that is well suited for your organization. We make sure your books are always up to date, make sure everyone across your locations is using the same software and reporting methods, and generate reports for you quickly so you have the information you need to make important business decisions.




4 Questions to Ask Your Franchise Bookkeeping Service Provider:


Do you have experience working with other franchises and businesses in industries like mine?

  • This will vet the prospective company and give you an idea whether or not they have success in a situation similar to yours.

How often do you generate reports?

  • Businesses need accurate information, and quickly. Lay out project expectations from the beginning to see if the franchise bookkeeping service provider can get you information quickly and efficiently.

Can you tailor reports to my specific business?

  • Not all franchises are the same, and even though the general idea is similar, your franchise may have unique requirements. Make sure the company can create a solution that fits your business and industry.

What software do you use?

  • You will want to make sure the software the franchise bookkeeping service provider uses is compatible and integrates with your POS (point of sale) and any other technology you may be using. Also ask if they provide training for your locations in case a shift in software is needed and beneficial.