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How to Grow Your Business Through Accounting Outsourcing

How to Grow Your Business Through Accounting Outsourcing

Outsourcing routine tasks is an easy way to simplify and grow your business. Accounting, customer service, and marketing are easy places to start when it comes to outsourcing. None of these tasks are unique to your business but all are necessary for a successful business. 

Fewer in-house employees and the legal and financial complexities that come with them mean you’ll be able to quickly adapt when the time comes to grow your business. But is outsourcing your accounting right for you? 

Consider these five advantages when looking to hire an outsourced accounting team.

Save Money and Reinvest to Grow Your Company

Employee hiring can be expensive. Recruitment, pre-screening reports, training, and payroll taxes add up quickly when hiring a full-time accountant. The ongoing salary and taxes will eat into your profits even when your business is in a lull. 

By using an outsourced accounting team, you’ll pay a fraction of the money you’d spend on full-time employees. And that money you’ll save can be used to grow your business. 

Perhaps your winery needs to replace its aging cooperage or purchase a new point of sale system for your retail operations. Reducing your payroll costs can help fund these new investments and grow your business.

As an extra bonus, no more searching for an employee with decades of experience in the beverage industry who knows the industry jargon and nuances. You’ll have a team of winery accounting experts on hand.

Promote or Reinforce Good Business Habits

If you’ve been attempting to do your own bookkeeping and find that it’s not a priority and doesn’t get completed until the bank, the tax preparer, or an investor asks, you’re not setting yourself up for victory. Accounting is the language of business and your business needs to be fluent. 

When you work with an outsourced accounting firm, you’re working with a team of financial experts with years of experience in bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, and internal controls.

An outsourced accounting team can help with calculating winery inventory costs and design internal controls to prevent employee theft. Relying on your team of experts allows you to have up-to-date bookkeeping records so you’ll always know where your business stands. 

These solid habits will pay off when the time comes to expand your business. Outside investors will love seeing that you have complete control over your business and its operations.

 Receive Unbiased Advice From Your Accounting Team

If growing your business means soliciting outside investors or competing in a new market, your outsourced accounting team can provide you with the unbiased advice you deserve. 

Your team of experts can offer tips on how to reduce your cost of goods sold to obtain a higher profit margin to make your winery attractive to investors. Or they can help you evaluate various warehouses to find the best fit for you. 

And if you’re in need of improving cash flow, ask your team how you can reduce your accounts receivable and encourage customers to pay quickly. Offering a discount for prompt payment may cut into your profits but if it decreases your need to rely on expensive short-term loans to meet your cash needs, it may well be what your business needs to hear. 

Outsourced accountants can see your business from the outside, something that may be challenging for the business owner. They can see what’s working and what isn’t. And any fair and trustworthy accountant will give you an honest take on the health of your business. 

Reduce Burdens on You and Your Managers

As a winery owner, you’re pulled in dozens of different directions. Harvesting, production, operations, finance, and customer relations all compete for your attention each day.

You can alleviate stress on you and your management team by letting a team of expert accountants handle the day-to-day finances. Let them get into the trenches so you don’t have to. They will keep your bookkeeping records current so that you’re free to focus on areas that need your personal touch.

Relying on your team’s expertise gives you the confidence you need to make sound business decisions. 

Your expert outsourced accounting team can even help with production reporting and TBB compliance –  freeing up your operations team to focus on quality production.

Grow Your Business Together

When the time comes for your business to expand, your outsourced team will be able to grow with you. You won’t be slowed down searching for and hiring additional full-time employees. Start with a team now that has the ability to meet your needs today and tomorrow.

Rely on a team of experts who can help you answer questions like:

  1. Am I pricing my cases correctly?
  2. Which customers are most profitable?
  3. Can I afford to offer seasonal sales incentives?

And if the time comes when business is slow, your outsourced team can easily be scaled back. You won’t have to continue incurring overhead payroll costs when revenue has dipped. Your outsourced team can fluidly adjust to your business needs.

If you’re considering outsourcing your accounting, do your due diligence to find the right team of experts to complement your business. With the right outsourced team, you’ll be able to tap into the top talent in the accounting industry setting your business up for continued success.

Let Protea be your team for today and tomorrow. Discover why we’re the premier winery and beverage accounting experts on the West Coast by requesting your complete business evaluation today. 

Bookkeeping Basics for Small Business – Why Bookkeeping Matters

Bookkeeping Basics for Small Business – Why Bookkeeping Matters

Few of us like to think about bookkeeping and accounting. Without it though, you’ll find yourself in the dark about how your winery is performing.

Bookkeeping is the backbone of all businesses. To know what’s happening at the most basic financial level, you’ll need to have a great bookkeeping system. 

Today, learn why bookkeeping is essential for a small business and how it prepares your business for continued success.

Understand the Who, What, and Why

Accurate and timely bookkeeping lets you know who owes you money, who you owe money to, and how much you own. 

Accounts Receivable

Your bookkeeping will allow you to know:

1.    Who owes you money,

2.    What they owe you, and 

3.    Why they owe you.

You’ll have receivables if you’re making sales on account. And without good bookkeeping, you won’t know whether you’ve been paid for all of your sales. 

Keeping on top of your receivables will help you maintain your cash flow and avoid charging late fees and chasing collections.

 

Accounts Payable

Tracking the who, what, and why with bookkeeping helps you with payables too. 

You want to know who you owe money to and how much you owe them. Paying your vendors and suppliers on time avoids paying late fees and helps to maintain a strong working relationship. Plus, these vendors could provide trade references when you’re applying for credit with another supplier or a loan from a lender.

 

Equity

Great bookkeeping lets you know how much equity you have in your business.

Your equity is more than just the cash you invest. It’s also the assets, liabilities, and accumulated profits of the business. Equity calculations are important when applying for loans or taking on new investors. If you don’t know how much equity you have in your business, a lender or an investor won’t be comfortable giving you money.

 

Improve budgeting and planning

Proper bookkeeping is essential for budgeting and cash flow management. 

When you keep track of your receivables, you can manage your cash flow better. You want to ensure that money is flowing in on a consistent basis to offset the money that goes out each month. If you let several customers become past due, you’ll need to use other resources, like delaying payments to suppliers or using your own capital, to make up for the cash shortfall. 

Keeping on top of your bookkeeping and cash flow will let you budget effectively. Budgeting is an essential process for anyone in the beverage industry. It allows you to allocate money to processes critical for your business’s success and prioritize spending. 

Without a solid budget, you will feel like you’re just running in a circle, never knowing if you’re meeting your goals. Investing a little bit of your time now to get your bookkeeping in line to prepare your budget will free up your time and energy. 

Elevate analysis and decision making

Great bookkeeping will produce essential reports you’ll need to make decisions for your business.

Although you may be in the winery industry for your love of wine, you’re also in business to make money. You’ll need an income statement, also called a profit and loss statement, to know whether you’re turning a profit. The income statement will show you profit margins and where you’re spending money on overhead expenses.

With a current income statement, you’ll be able to make decisions on whether it’s necessary to cut costs or if you need to grow your sales revenue. 

The income statement receives most of the attention of business owners, but the balance sheet is just as important. Here you’ll be able to see everything you own and owe in one place.

This is where you’ll see if you’ve kept on top of collecting on your receivables and how much inventory you have on hand. The balance sheet is also where you’ll see your equity amount. 

Streamline Tax Planning and Prep

Do you find yourself scrambling each year to get your company’s financial affairs in order for your tax preparer? Although some last-minute calculations for things like depreciation are common, most of your financial information should be up-to-date at year-end. 

Your bookkeeping is essential to preparing your financials for tax time. It will ensure you receive the maximum deductions and credits.

And when your books are organized, you’ll likely receive fewer questions from your tax professional.

Access to accurate financial data will put you on the path to success. And if you need help with your bookkeeping needs, start by asking us how we can help.At Protea, our dedicated and experienced staff are industry experts in the winery industry. Let us help with the day-to-day finances so you can get back to making great wine. Our team works hard to make sure you’re positioned on the right path. Reach out today for an evaluation to learn what Protea can do for your winery.

Preparing Your Winery for Natural Disasters

Preparing Your Winery for Natural Disasters

It’s been a tough summer. First, the COVID pandemic slowed down commerce, and most recently the massive wildfires are burning throughout Northern California. This year’s fires came earlier than they historically have and this early arrival means grape harvesting is caught in the crossfire. 

Many winery owners are rightfully nervous about what the future holds and are thinking about what they can do to protect their business. Fortunately, the government has stepped in to help businesses impacted by the wildfires and there are numerous action steps you can take today to help prepare you and your business for future natural disasters.

Extended Tax Deadlines

The IRS recently granted some relief to taxpayers impacted by the California wildfires.  It extended the filing deadline for all tax returns and payments that were due starting on August 14 through December 15. The new deadline for these returns and payments is December 15. The California Franchise Tax Board followed suit and issued a similar extension.

So, C-corporations that timely filed for an extension to file their annual tax return would have had to file by October 15. The new deadline is now December 15.

Likewise, S-corps, partnerships, and sole proprietors would have had to file by September 15 but now have until December 15 to do so.

Any estimated income tax payments that would have been due on September 15 are now bumped back until December 15.

Those 3rd quarter payroll tax returns and any payment that would have been due on October 31 are now due by December 15.

If your county has been declared a federal disaster area by FEMA, you will receive this automatic extension. This new extended deadline is automatically applied by the IRS and there is no need to file any paperwork.  As of September 2020, FEMA has declared the following counties federal disaster areas: Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Yolo, Butte, Solano, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Monterey.

All penalties and interest will be waived so long as you file all your returns and pay all your tax by December 15. 

Disasters and Insurance

Most wineries have multiple layers of insurance protection. Property, business interruption, and viticulture policies just to name a few. 

Now might be that time you need to make use of your insurance. If you’ve suffered damage from the wildfires, contact your insurance agent right away. Many property insurance policies cover natural disasters like wildfires. And some policies will cover a portion of lost revenue and increased expenses due to business interruptions.

Reviewing your insurance needs should be a regular occurrence. And if you haven’t had that conversation with your agent in a while, now is a good time. Talk through all your business needs to craft the coverage that’s right for your winery. 

Disaster Preparation

It’s never a fun topic to discuss but disaster preparation and plans should be an important part of your winery’s business strategy. With a proper plan and early preparation, you can lessen the chance of being negatively impacted by a natural disaster.

Regular Maintenance Is a Must

Winery owners should make sure their property is in the best possible shape to withstand any natural disaster. Repairs and maintenance should be made regularly, including clearing fallen debris and removing dead or dying landscaping. 

Create a Continuity Plan

Have a plan in place to communicate with winery staff in the event of an emergency. Create a contact list with all employee’s names and phone numbers and establish procedures about how communication will happen in the event of a disaster. Don’t forget to consider how you’ll communicate with customers and suppliers. 

Have a point person at your winery who is responsible for monitoring natural disasters. This person should have clear authority to make decisions about the safety of your crop, inventory, and staff. 

Ensure your plan includes how you’ll protect your equipment, buildings, and inventory.

Protect Your Electronic Data

With so much of your business data stored electronically, be sure that it’s backed up regularly. The backup should happen off-site so that in the event your computers and servers are damaged, you’ll still have access to all your records.

If you’ve been hesitant to use the cloud to store your data, consider making the switch. Most cloud storage providers make multiple backups each day and access is easy from anywhere you have an internet connection. Cloud storage could help your employees to continue working even if your winery has been evacuated or damaged from a natural disaster.

Document, Document, Document.

Keep thorough and complete records of all your business assets and keeping pictures of all your assets will help if you have to make a claim to your insurance carrier. 

You’ll want to document:

  1. The type of asset, including model number and serial number, if applicable
  2. The year it was placed in service
  3. The price you paid for it
  4. Any customizations made to the asset

A good place to start would be using a fixed asset schedule or report. If you don’t keep this schedule, your tax accountant should have a copy. 

Keep in mind all your assets might not be on the fixed asset schedule. Inexpensive equipment like computers or office furniture may not be on the fixed asset schedule, but you’ll want to keep track of those, too. 

Managing and Protecting Inventory Before a Disaster

Inventory is one of the largest assets a winery owns. With a robust inventory management system, you’ll know exactly what you have, and protecting your inventory from a natural disaster should be included in your contingency plan. 

Your wine racks should be sturdy enough to withstand the shaking of an earthquake or strong winds from storms and your wine inventory should be well organized and labeled correctly. 

Keeping your inventory system up to date and organized will be helpful in the event you need to file an insurance claim. 

Your inventory management system should know the exact dollar value of all your inventory at any given moment.  And if you hold a large amount of inventory, ensure your insurance policy covers all of it.  A report with your costs and quantities can be created quickly.

If your business has been affected by the wildfires in California or you could use a helping hand with your business strategy or accounting, get in touch with Protea now.  Our professionals are experts at bookkeeping for wineries and work tirelessly to ensure your financial goals are met. Learn how outsourced accounting and bookkeeping can save your winery time and money. 

Why Customer Retention is Imperative For a Winery

Why Customer Retention is Imperative For a Winery

The primary goal of many wineries is to develop, cultivate and produce products that promote repeat business and retain customers. Wineries exist to satisfy customers’ needs through products or services and it’s important for a winery to retain these customers. Since we operate in a competitive business environment, it is important to identify how we can increase customer retention levels.

Let us first define customer retention:

Customer retention is a combination of intentional repurchase behaviour and psychological attachment of a customer to a particular product or service (Al-Hawari 2005:231; Peelen 2005:239; Godson 2009:72; Cant & van Heerden 2010:444). McManus and Guilding (2008:779) also define customer retention as an attitude where a customer’s attachment to a product, service, brand or company is developed. According to Zhang, Dixit and Friedmann (2010:128), customer retention is the likelihood of a customer choosing a particular brand with reference to his/her past purchases.

Why is customer retention important?

Retaining existing customers is cheaper than acquiring new customers.

By retaining customers it allows a winery to generate more profits with each additional year of the customer-relationship. Research has shown that 12 – 15% of customers are loyal to a single retailer, but these customers represent 55 – 70% of total sales, and the only way to increase customer retention is to increase customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers have the tendency to return to the same store and they end up buying the same product.

What happens when customers are dissatisfied? The negative aspect of customer dissatisfaction is that customers lower their expectations when buying from the same winery or stop buying from the winery completely.  Conversely, customers that are satisfied have the tendency to return and possibly refer new customers to your winery. As a result, the winery increases its customer retention and lowers customer acquisition costs, which in turn increases the profit of the business. One of the focal points of a winery should be on customer satisfaction as it can possibly yield greater profitability than customer acquisition strategies.

The question then remains, how to satisfy customers and develop a winning customer retention strategy?

Provide quality products

Quality is more than just producing a quality product. The quality of a product should be customer-driven. What is the customer looking for exactly and how do they define quality? It all comes down to how the customer experiences the product. It is important to note that the higher the quality of the product, the more likely a customer will be satisfied. Quality is also not something that you can improve overnight. Take for example the comparison of wine produced in the early 19th century to today’s wine. The use of modern-day technology, a variety of cultivars, viticulture, and overall winemaking experience allows us to produce outstanding quality wine. It takes time to design and build a quality product from the ground up.

Customer service

Customer service is intricately associated with good quality products. It is important to respond timely to the disgruntled customer and resolve their issue promptly. Customer service is one variable that you can easily control and oversee. Implement standardized service response systems that can deal with inquiries and complaints promptly. These response systems and remedial actions are vital to realize increased levels of customer satisfaction. Your ultimate goal should be to decrease your customer service queries, this in turn evidences that you are producing a quality product. An investment in quality and perfecting your product will reduce your need to deal with customer complaints.

Training and preparation are key

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail!” – Sir Winston Churchill.

It is important to train employees and convey to them that customers are the ultimate judge of quality. Provide employees with a detailed guideline and proper training on how to deal with disgruntled customers. This is especially important as these employees will be representing the brand and they have a big influence on how a customer can perceive the brand. It is important to listen to what the customer is complaining about and utilize this information constructively to improve the overall quality of your product.

Build a relationship of trust with the customer

When a customer trusts the product, the quality, and the brand, they tend to share their experience with family and friends. A case study by Nielsen found that 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising when making a purchase decision. Therefore, nothing comes close to the influence of word of mouth, and satisfied customers share their positive experience with more than five to ten people. Customers need to be able to trust what they buy. By building trust you are providing your customers with something of value which leads to a positive trend towards brand awareness. The winery sales team needs to be thinking about how to deepen the relationship with their customers, especially when they are not in buying mode.

Use automation to your advantage

There is no doubt that technology is there to help us. Try to make use of automated marketing software to engage, re-engage, and keep your customers up to date on what’s happening with your winery and products. Specifically, success stories at wineries have been reported using Customer Relationships Management (CRM) software such as Salesforce, Hubspot, Commerce7, WineDirect, and eCellar. All these CRM systems complement a full marketing methodology for wineries.  Make sure to use standardized email newsletters, event notifications, gated content, promotional emails, abandoned shopping cart reminders, and survey emails. Marketing automation will keep you one step ahead of your competitors by communicating more effectively and efficiently with your customers.

Use social media to your advantage

Social media can power your brand forward but can also be detrimental to your brand. Use social media to research your target audience, analyze your competitors, create engaging content, generate website traffic and grow your audience. Make use of customer reviews online and utilize this space to promptly deal with issues customers may have. By promoting brand awareness online, you create credibility and build trust with customers based on your online activity.

By implementing the above strategies, a winery can increase customer satisfaction, leading to an increase in customer retention. In today’s fast paced competitive market, the wine industry needs to focus their efforts on retaining customers and realise the importance thereof.

References:

Al-Hawari, M. 2005. The effect of automated service quality on bank financial performance and the mediating role of customer retention. Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 10(3):228-243.

Cant, M. & van Heerden, C. 2010. Marketing management. Cape Town: Juta.

Godson, M. 2009. Relationship marketing. New York: Oxford.

Magatef, S. & Tomalieh, E. 2015. The Impact of Customer Loyalty Programs on Customer Retention. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 8(1):81.

McManus, L. & Guilding, C. 2008. Exploring the potential of customer accounting: A synthesis of the accounting and marketing literatures. Journal of Marketing Management, 24(7/8):771-795.

Peelen, E. 2005. Customer relationship management. Essex: Pearson.

Zhang, J.Q., Dixit, A. & Friedmann, R. 2010. Customer loyalty and lifetime value: An empirical investigation of consumer packaged goods. Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, 18(2):127-139.


4 Benefits of Outsourced Accounting For Wineries

4 Benefits of Outsourced Accounting For Wineries

Accounting and bookkeeping are the heartbeat of the business side of your winery. Unfortunately, these critical functions are too often overlooked by busy owners. While it’s tempting to take shortcuts, or simply rush through the tasks, that can lead to inaccurate financial statements. That’s why Protea Financial offers outsourced accounting services.

While it’s certainly understandable – you have your plate full with so many other business tasks – errors in your accounting and bookkeeping can derail your business. And often without warning.

In 2019, it was reported that 82% of small businesses fail due to cash flow problems. And this infographic from SmallBizTrends shows that 30% of all small businesses are continually losing money due to poor financial management.

With business growth, wine sales and general management stealing your focus, you may consider outsourcing your accounting to ensure financial accuracy and promptness. Outsourcing your winery accounting can help reduce your workloads and divert some, or all of your financial tasks to qualified, highly-skilled accountants. The results will be evident. Once you have outsourced your winery’s financial tasks to an experienced accountant, you can rest assured that your business accounts are in safe hands.

Don’t believe us? Consider this: A survey in 2018 showed that over 80% of businesses outsourcing their accounting function would recommend their accountant to other businesses. If you’re not yet convinced, we’re going to tell you about all the benefits of outsourced accounting.

What Can an Outsourcing My Accounting Department Do for My Business?

Outsourced accounting can take some elements or even the entire function of accounting outside of your business. This will make room for other tasks – especially those that are particularly time-consuming. Whatever your current accounting situation, outsourced accounting can offer you a far more comprehensive solution. Here are 4 of our favorite benefits of outsourced accounting.

1.     Accounting Firms Are Made For This

Wine accounting is a complex and challenging task. Not only does outsourcing your accounting take the work off your shoulders, but it places it in the competent hands of highly trained and experienced accounting staff. That’s right, with many accounting firms, you’re no longer relying on one person to manage your books, often you’re getting a whole team.

2. You Can Cut Your Overhead

When you outsource accounting, you will only pay for the work done. In the USA, worker illness and injury cost businesses a total of $225.8 Billion. You need not be one of them. By outsourcing your winery accounting needs, you skip the hassle of payroll taxes, sick leave and vacation time. Therefore, significantly improving your winery’s profit margin. You also eliminate the risk of suddenly losing staff – an issue that most businesses face when someone goes into long term sick leave or quits without notice, leaving you and your books high and dry.

3. Trained Accountants Are Meticulous and Logical

There’s nothing quite so analytical and precise as the mind of an experienced accountant. By nature, accountants are highly logical and willing to deep dive into the details in order to produce the best outcome. Often, accountants utilize highly complex software in order to manage your accounts and to produce the most accurate results possible. One of the many benefits of outsourced accounting is of course, the accountants themselves.

4. You’ll Save Money

While paying someone to do a task you managed yourself might not seem like it would save you money, it definitely will in the long run. You are now free to take care of your business in other more effective ways, or to hone your focus into one element of finance such as bookkeeping and redirect the rest. So the fee your business pays to an outsourced accountancy firm will pale in comparison to the profits from a more active business. In fact, around 30% of businesses outsourcing their accounting functions have been able to increase profit with the guidance of their new accountant. 

How Protea Financial Will Bring You All the Benefits of Outsourcing Your Accounting or Bookkeeping

To remain successful, wineries need business leaders to run fast while remaining agile, as well as access to accurate financial data. The opportunity cost of not having superlative accounting is potentially enormous. Protea is here to empower you to cultivate business growth, while your outsourced accounting team manages your financial back office.

Our clients enjoy the benefit of having a team structured around your business needs. The strategic benefits of outsourcing accounting start with the savings. It’s the stack of talent that works with you around the clock to maintain the integrity of your company finances. No matter what happens, your Protea team will have your back and strive to make your job easier.

Begin your journey with Protea by requesting an evaluation today. Our goal is to design a winery financial strategy that allows you the freedom to scale at the pace you desire.