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  • Writer's pictureSherri-Lee Mathers

Our Square Top 11 Setup Mistakes (Part 2 of 2)

Updated: Oct 5, 2021


In the last blog post, we looked at the first 5 of the Top 11 Square setup mistakes we commonly see being made by BC craft breweries. Read Part 1 HERE. Let's explore some of the more technical mistakes that are commonly made in Square setups.

#6: avoiding add-on features

Add-on features in Square are worth exploring, depending on the needs of your business. Square for Restaurants offers additional features breweries may find useful, especially those that offer full-service food. A particularly valuable feature is Teams Plus, which allows you to set up Team Permissions, Time Clock, and view individual sales stats for your staff. Team Permissions are critically important and often overlooked. Incorrect permissions can allow employees access to critical settings. Depending on the size of your team, this feature could prove far more valuable than its nominal monthly fee.

#5: inconsistent item & category setup

Categories create a framework for your Square reporting both within the dashboard and through many accounting integrations or third-party apps. They also allow for category-specific tax rules and the ability to leverage your dashboard reporting in a structured and useful way. Categories can be used by third-party apps to bring sales summaries into your accounting software. You should work with your bookkeeper to create categories that translate to your accounting software's chart of accounts and stick to the categories you've agreed upon. Read more about categories in sections 4 and 3.

#4: uncategorized items

Making sure every item in your library is categorized is equally important as having a correct and concise category list. Every item must be categorized in your Square account to ensure these items flow correctly to your reporting. Uncategorized items commonly occur when staff use the custom amount keypad on the Square terminal. We also frequently see uncategorized items such as refundable keg deposits or event deposits come through as sales when they should be reported as liabilities. These uncategorized items create discrepancies in your bookkeeping and taxes, resulting in over- or under-payment of taxes and extra bookkeeping costs.

#3: allowing staff to make changes

Square is user-friendly, and staff can easily add/remove items and categories all from your POS iPad. Let's be clear - just because they can do it doesn't mean they should. It's best to have one or two people in charge of managing your Square system who regularly communicate with your bookkeeper. Incorrect addition or editing of items or categories can disrupt third-party app automations and cause issues in your carefully organized reporting. We most commonly see uncategorized items, incorrect taxes, or incorrect use of variations. You can reduce the occurrence of incorrect edits using Team Permissions and correct training.

#2: incorrect tax setup

Configuring your taxes is one of the most important steps in your Square setup process. An incorrect tax setup leads to incorrect reporting, over- or under-payment of taxes, and potentially exposure to an audit. Tax codes in Square also show up on your customers' receipts, so it's important to make sure they are clear and easy to understand to avoid frustrated patrons and present your business professionally.

#1: setting up your square without support

Finally, the most important mistake to avoid is completing your Square setup without the support of a tech-savvy bookkeeper with Square knowledge. The open-platform style of Square software means it can be set up in innumerable ways, but not all setups are created equal. In order for your business to run smoothly both in front of house and behind the scenes, you need to be on the same page as your bookkeeper when setting up your Square POS system. See our previous blog for more details.


Balsam Way provides regular Square Diagnostic Reviews for our clients, including a video walk-through and ongoing support to help maintain your Square POS. Click HERE to book a call with our craft operations and education specialist to help optimize your Square setup and get your brewery POS running smoothly for both the front and back end.


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