Can the Specificity of Franchise Bookkeeping Be Enhanced With AI?

Can artificial intelligence help franchise owners with bookkeeping?

That question and similar are now commonplace in the retail industry. No surprise, small business owners may very well be the first to try the option, being actively engaged in finding ways to do their work at least cost and higher net revenue when possible.

But can franchisees use AI to enhance their bookkeeping practices? Let’s take a closer look.

Franchise Bookkeeping is Different

While accounting in general follows standards of how income, expenses and assets are all tracked and recorded, there are nuances specific to franchise operations other types of businesses don’t deal with financially or operationally. The unique nature comes in how the franchise is created; it is literally a license to operate a branch of a chain company with the ability to keep profit after the baseline revenue and expenses are achieved.

On the one hand, the franchise owner gets the benefit of a known business in retail, which automatically attracts customers because of name recognition. On the other hand, the franchise owner is responsible for making the branch a success or can lose the agreement if it’s a failure.

How Would AI Bookkeeping Work?

By incorporation of technology, usually through scanned coding for ease of processing, the various inputs of expense and income for a franchise can not only be tracked accurately and recorded, they can also be compiled, reconciled and reported on automatically by an AI system.

At the moment, bookkeeping AI systems already exist and have been available for a number of years, but they have not been freely available to small businesses with limited resources. However, now with the release of generative AI models that can be accessed by anyone via the Internet, franchise owners can also benefit from automation and computerized analysis that can work 24/7. The question now is not if, but how and when.

The most likely implementation could occur through a franchise specific bookkeeping service. Many such providers are working with cutting edge tools long before regular companies try them out to maintain a competitive edge. Where technology can help a provider scale up faster, match a client’s needs better and outperform the competition with higher quality accuracy and efficiency, it makes sense to adopt it. And like the small businesses they serve, many bookkeeping providers push the envelope to grow their markets aggressively.

Added Value Very Possible

Unlike standard bookkeeping, franchise bookkeeping combined with AI can also begin to produce trend and behavioral analyses as well. These downstream products can give franchise owners an added edge on how they operate, adding to their ability to produce the critical margin that makes them a franchise success. It could very well be the key tool needed to maintain a margin consistently, ensuring long-term ownership in a franchise agreement versus being terminated by the chain company. That can literally be a career treasure for a franchise owner given the risk involved.

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