Should you split the restaurant bill with your friends?

Personally, I hate splitting bills when dining out.  With partners, close friends, and family where dining out occurs regularly, I think that taking turns paying just makes things simpler.  There is one bill, one payment and everyone involved saves the effort and time required with splitting bills.  I also think it is friendlier and it feels less petty to have to split everything fair and square.  Coming from a family that thinks about money as a communal resource and seeing close friends adopt this turn-taking method, I thought it was a social norm.  In more recent years, I realize it actually isn’t the social norm, and sometimes it is just more practical to split the bill.

Ideally, I feel that it is on the restaurant to split the bill. I’ve seen this done really well at some restaurants that are able to easily split an appetizer seven ways.  This is unfortunately not an option most of the time.  Another reason why I hate splitting bills is because being a financial professional, the group typically turns to me to do the bill splitting!

Luckily for me, recent advancements in OCR (Optical Character Recognition) has made way for some really cool bill splitting apps.  One that I’ve tested is called Tab Bill Splitter.  It is an app that you can download to your phone that allows you to take a picture of your bill, enter your name and select the items you purchased.  The app spits out your total with tax and tip proportionately.  I can confirm that it can in fact split your appetizer amongst the table.  You can download this FREE app here:

Tab Bill Splitter for Android

Tab Bill Spitter for Apple

Note: I am not a partner nor do I get kick-backs.  I just simply thought this app was really cool!

One caveat that I have to add is all of the cool apps that allow you to actually exchange money between your friends is unfortunately not yet available in Canada.  OCR technology is not perfect either, and Tab failed me when I tried to split a massive Costco bill, but overall it is a nice solution and much better than me crunching out numbers manually or with my calculator phone app.

I am actually interested in what you think about splitting bills with your partner, your friends and your family.  Do you split bills or take turns or use a different method?

Your Start Up and E-Commerce Accountant

Jenny Tran, CPA, CMA

Our Mission: Servicing Forward-Thinking Start-Ups

I am a strong believer that the technological movement will revolutionize the accounting profession, and I want to be on the forefront of it all. Earlier this year I left my consulting job to start my own practice centered around cloud accounting. I targeted the startup scene. The business leaders that needed an accountant or bookkeeper were sold and they kept referring me to more of their entrepreneurial connections. Somehow they just didn’t connect with the brick and mortar accountants. It was rather easy to win these entrepreneurs over because my firm stood for much of the same things that they stood for, namely forward-thinking innovation.

What I want to address in this blog post are not the clients that I’ve won, but actually the few that have decided not to go with my firm unless we did their accounting the way that they are used to. As a new business owner, it is difficult to turn away business. I found myself preaching the benefits of what I could do for their business. When they start telling me that they don’t want or trust technology they leave me with two choices: take their business and do it their way, or tell them that I cannot service them.

Today, I had an interesting chat with Jamie Shulman, co-CEO of HubDoc about this very topic. He offered this tidbit that came from one of his business partners. Business data needs to be stored somewhere and there are limited number of choices. Paper? Your local computer network? Nothing is perfectly secure. A business needs to be able to weigh the risks to make a well-informed IT decision and not just make a blanket statement about not trusting technology. Being overly cautious about making a technological investment can be risky in and of itself.

There are many small businesses and not all of them are ready for cloud accounting. This is okay because there are many accountants that will service these businesses. I decided quite early on that Fint Cloud Services would put the interest of innovative businesses first and focus on what these businesses need. Putting our forward-thinking clients first means minimizing activities that would take resources away from this mission.

I will be showcasing some my clients through this blog in the coming months so stay tuned!

Your Start Up and E-Commerce Accountant

Jenny Tran, CPA, CMA