A key aspect and skill in managing a company is the ability to understand financial statements. Because we operate in a competitive business environment, it is important to be able to identify a company’s financial position/health, business trends and risks at an early stage. The ability to analyze your company’s financial statements forms a key part in cultivating overall growth.
Let us dig into the basics of financial statements:
The Balance Sheet
The foundation of the balance sheet reflects the “book value” of a company at a specific date, also known as the reporting date. The balance sheet provides a clear overview of the company and can be divided into three components namely, assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity.
Assets: Anything that the company owns or is owed, and represents an accurate quantifiable value can be attributed to this asset.
Liabilities: Any legal obligations owed by the company to third parties. In a simplistic term, liability can be seen as the opposite of an asset.
Owners’ Equity: this refers to amounts invested by or owed to shareholders. If you had to subtract all the liabilities from all the assets you should effectively arrive at the owners’ equity value. The amount reflects the net worth of the company that belongs to the shareholders.
The term “balance sheet” is indicative of one important accounting principle which is that it should always balance according to the well-known formula: Assets = Liabilities + Owners’ Equity.
The Income Statement
The income statement (also referred to as the profit & loss statement) is an accurate record summary of revenue, expenses and other transactions over a given period. This is a particularly important document that allows you to analyze the progress and performance of your company. You can easily determine if your company is making a profit or loss, analyze expenditure/costing, identify business trends, etc.
The Income statement typically includes the following basic information:
Revenue: The amount that the company earned from sales.
Costs of goods sold (COGS): This figure is the cost of what it took to produce your goods. A simple way to put it, for each product that you sold, how much did it cost to make and get it into the hands of the customer.
Gross profit: This is the total revenue less the cost of goods sold.
Operating expenses: These are costs incurred to keep your company operating but aren’t direct materials or labor related to producing your goods or services. Examples of operating expenses include property insurance and taxes, building repairs and maintenance, utilities, administrative staff wages, etc.
Operating income: This is the income amount that reflects the gross profit less the operating expenses (other than COGS).
Net income: This is the company’s profit after all expenses and taxes.
The income statement provides you with a good indication of how well your company is performing. You will also be able to analyze financial trends on profitability, excess expenditure, cost-saving and if there is any excess cash to invest back into your company.
The Cashflow Statement
This cash flow statement provides a detailed overall view of what has happened to the company’s cash and the movement of cash over a given period. It is vital that a company has enough cash on hand to meet its obligations. A cash flow statement is typically broken into three sections namely, operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities. This allows for the reader to determine the following:
- Operating activities indicate whether a company can generate cash from their normal operating activities (selling their goods or services).
- Investing activities indicate the cash earned or spent from investments. This can include buying/selling physical property, vehicles, fixed deposits, patent rights, etc.
- Financing activities indicate the cash raised/spent to settle debt and/or equity financing.
A positive cash flow figure reflects more money coming in than going out. A negative cash flow figure reflects more money flowing out (being spent) than flowing in. A negative cash flow figure is not necessarily a bad indication and this can relate to various strategic cash flow expenditure by management. The cash flow statement is vital when it comes to decision-making pertaining to the company’s cash position. It portrays the ability of a company to operate in the long term and short term based on the in and outflow of cash. Knowing this not only allows you to plan and budget in the long term, but also allows for better short-term strategical decision making.
Bringing it all together can provide meaningful information
Whilst accountants work with financial statements on a daily basis and for them it is second nature, the same cannot be said for all business professionals and it sometimes becomes difficult to understand the financial jargon. You can however learn the basics of understanding financial statements and the benefits it can yield when it comes to analyzing the statements. Financial analysis of the balance sheet, income, and cash flow statements can provide useful information such as:
- The financial health of the company
- Assist with financial forecasting, budgeting, and cash flow planning
- Maximizing gains or minimizing losses
- Identifying trends and new opportunities to grow the company
- Identifying and avoiding undue risk
- Improving and visualizing strategic business decisions
- Allows investors to analyze the profitability and market value of the company and decide whether they would like to invest
The possibilities of financial analysis and the usefulness of metrics are endless. It is important to have accurate financial statements prepared by experts that will provide you with invaluable data to analyze. The data itself won’t save your businesses – only you can.
Protea Financial is Your Outsourced Bookkeeping and Management Accounting Services:
The good news is that you can learn how to interpret financial statements even if you do not have a financial background. At Protea Financial we match our solutions to the needs of the customer. Protea Financial can support you with everything from bookkeeping services, preparing financial statements, order processing, inventory tracking, handling management accounts, and tax schedules in order to support your tax accountant. Protea’s goal is to provide timely, accurate, and high-quality financial information on which a business can act. We can work with you to provide an evaluation and find the best solution for your business.
Running a successful winery requires you to manage numerous departments—production, processing, sales, and administration, to name a few. Often bookkeeping and accounting are some of the first areas neglected when there’s not enough of you to go around.
When you find yourself scrambling at tax time or with a pile of unopened bills, hiring a bookkeeper can help ease your burden. With a professional in charge of your day-to-day finances, you’re free to tend to the areas of your winery that need your expertise.
A Bookkeeper Will Allow You to Focus on Your Business
Great bookkeeping is the backbone of any successful business. Ensuring your bills and employees are paid on time, your taxes are filed, and your financial statements are current are just some of the things a great bookkeeper does.
While you may think that doing your own bookkeeping saves you money and allows you to better understand your business’s finances, every bit of time you spend crunching numbers is time away from building, managing, or expanding your business.
You didn’t get into the winery business because you enjoy accounting and administrative work. Your time is better spent working on producing wine.
Bringing in a professional to help with your bookkeeping can prevent you from being spread too thin and burnout. Stay focused on what you really love doing and leave it to the financial expert to handle the numbers.
A Bookkeeper Will Help You Better Understand Your Business
You know a lot about wine grapes, harvesting, and selling wine. Chances are you aren’t a skilled accountant.
You may know how much your grapes cost but do you know you receive a 10% discount if you pay your vendor a few days early? A bookkeeper will help you manage cash flow to ensure your business takes advantage of any money-saving opportunities.
As your winery grows, knowing how much cash you have in the bank isn’t enough. You’ll need to know how much money you have coming in and going out in the future. Keeping track of it in your head can lead to cash flow struggles.
A great bookkeeper will manage your accounts receivable and accounts payable to keep cash moving.
Having a bookkeeper who’s devoted to your winery’s books allows them to be able to spot irregularities early. Maybe a vendor is charging more or you are selling more than in the past, but you aren’t collecting more sales tax. Addressing any inconsistencies from the start will save money and time in the long run.
An experienced bookkeeper can help streamline procedures too. They can help standardize how documents are retained or create a calendar to manage due dates of bills.
A Bookkeeper Will Help Keep Your Business Compliant
Taxes come in many shapes and sizes. Federal payroll and excise taxes. State payroll and income taxes. Sales taxes and business licensing.
Bookkeepers excel at organizing, recording, and filing. Experienced winery bookkeepers know the ins and outs of the various taxes your winery will need to pay. They will ensure processes are in place so that your taxes are filed and paid on time, preventing you from incurring penalties and reducing your anxiety.
State regulations govern the winery industry. Keeping on top of your winegrower’s license, wholesaler license, and your on or off-premise retail license is another area an experience bookkeeper can assist. They can ensure your licenses are renewed before they expire and can provide any necessary reports.
If you have loan covenants to maintain or investor reporting to prepare, an experienced bookkeeper can manage this to ensure you don’t miss a deadline.
With a dedicated bookkeeper, year-end tax time can be less stressful. Your bookkeeper has kept your financial house in order throughout the year. This makes it easy to hand over your tax records to your tax professional.
A Bookkeeper Can Save Your Business Money
In addition to the compliance aspect of tax time, your bookkeeper is probably less expensive than your tax professional. Having a bookkeeper on staff who timely records your transactions decreases the amount of work your accountant has to do to prepare your tax return.
A high-quality, experienced bookkeeper will have a general idea of how much things costs. While they may not know specifics about the winery industry, they will know prices for office supplies, telephone service, and bank fees. This wealth of knowledge will prevent you from paying more than you should.
A bookkeeper will ensure your bills are paid on time so you avoid late payment fees or interest. These unnecessary expenses reduce your profits and may harm your business’s credit score.
Bookkeepers can also monitor your budget. They can provide reports comparing your budget with actual expenditures and will be able to zero in on any differences. With enough experience with your winery, they can also assist in developing future years’ budgets.
Even if you’re just starting on your business journey, hiring a bookkeeper early will prevent the stress and struggle that comes from DIY bookkeeping. And those further along the business path, now’s the time to consider the benefits a bookkeeper can provide.
Whether you’re looking to hire a bookkeeper as an employee or outsource it, having a professional in your corner makes sense. You’ll be able to focus on taking your winery to new heights.
While extremely rewarding, getting a winery up and running can be very difficult to do. Not only does it require a large amount of capital and resources to start with, but you also won’t even start selling wine until a few years down the line. It’s a large investment with a substantial amount of risk – especially if you don’t plan accordingly.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can use financial forecasting and cash flow planning to ensure that your winery is set up for success.
What Is Financial Forecasting?
Financial forecasting is the process of estimating your expected financial status in future periods. Usually, forecasting involves making use of existing data and is most commonly seen in income statements. However, more complete financial models will have forecasts for all of their financial statements, including the balance sheet, cash flow, and statement of owner’s equity.
Financial forecasting models vary from business to business. Some companies use historic figures and data as a basis for future trends, which are easier to calculate but not as reliable. Other companies favor studying expansion and inflation rates and other forecasted data, which can be more time-consuming but possibly more accurate.
Here are some of the most commonly used methods of financial forecasting to give you a better idea of how they work:
Arguably the easiest financial forecasting method, the straight-line method uses linear growth as basis for computation. If you were to chart the growth on a graph, you would notice a straight line moving up or down, hence the term “straight-line.”
To calculate using the straight-line method, all you need to do is calculate the growth rate of any relevant data you wish to forecast, such as sales. Then, multiply the current data by the growth rate to get the future amount. This process can be repeated indefinitely.
The main downside to the straight-line method is that it’s not a very accurate one, especially for smaller, more volatile businesses.
Linear regression is a popular method of financial forecasting that makes use of trends and extrapolating forecasted data from them. Similar to the straight-line method, linear regression does involve lines, but instead of the values forming the line, the values are fitted into a linear equation.
Because of its accuracy, linear regression and its various sub-methods have become one of the most common ways to forecast financial data. Unless you have the knowledge and expertise, however, you may want to refer to professionals for an accurate analysis.
What Do I Do with Data from Financial Forecasting?
Once you have a predictive model of your financial data, you can then begin to make decisions to maximize gains or minimize losses. If you’re expecting more sales in the future, you can increase production now to gain even more profits. If sales are forecasted to go down next year, you may want to cut your losses by lowering your prices. The data itself won’t save your businesses – only you can.
What Is Cash Flow Planning?
Cash flow planning is a subcategory of financial forecasting. Instead of predicting all of your financial data, however, it focuses on the future inflows and outflows of cash in your business.
Cash flow planning is such an important tool because cash is the most liquid asset that drives nearly all transactions. A business that runs out of cash dies.
To make an accurate cash flow plan, you need to consider multiple factors. Here are some of the most important ones:
This is by far the most important (and most predictable) outflow of cash. Every day, week, month, quarter, or year, you have recurring expenses that the business must pay to keep running. Common examples of this are payroll, rent, and utility bills.
Not everything goes perfectly in business. Sometimes, your business may incur losses that aren’t part of your regular expenses. These losses aren’t very predictable and can leave you with little to no liquidity.
Examples of losses include accidents (such as car accidents), natural disasters, and even spoilage. Since you can’t really predict when these events will occur during the year, some businesses set aside an amount that’s reserved for losses.
The market’s always changing, and so do the prices of goods. For wineries, this can be the difference between a large profit margin and barely breaking even. By understanding and taking into account the price changes of materials, ingredients, and even equipment, you’re able to more accurately determine your expenses and earnings for the period.
How Often Should I Make Cash Flow Plans?
Since cash flow plans involve your most liquid asset, they are best made on a month-to-month basis or even more frequently. A lot of businesses would benefit at looking at their expected cash position before making weekly payments so they can consider if delaying of payments are necessary or if they need to talk to investors or lenders to extend funds to get through high cash flow period (think about all the additional needs for cash during harvest).
Making cash flow plans for the next year is difficult, and often changing but most businesses need to plan more than a few months out, especially manufacturers, which would include wineries. At a minimum a business should be forecasting 3 months out but forecasting 1 year out will be very important to allow to make better decisions.
After making a cash flow plan, you should now have a good idea of what to expect for the next few months, and whether or not you’re going to have sufficient funds to cover your current needs.
Financial forecasting and cash flow planning are useful tools to help you make financial decisions to maximize your profits and ensure your business never runs out of cash. Financial forecasting can give you an idea of the general direction your business is headed, whereas cash flow plans help you stay on top of your month-to-month operational expenses and assisting in making long term financing decisions..
By understanding how financial forecasting and cash flow planning works, you can guarantee the success of your winery for years to come.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As wineries search for growth in today’s digital world, the accountant vs bookkeeper debate has become all the more relevant. Innovation, technology, and eCommerce have made traditional marketing strategies for wineries nearly obsolete.
As RaboBank recently highlighted, only those wineries who respond to market changes with the needed urgency will thrive, and wine businesses that have leveraged the power of eCommerce have already seen massive returns. In this effort, the need for winery accounting and bookkeeping management has also risen.
Accountant vs Bookkeeper: Who Does What?
Before we get into which professional is right for your winery, it’s important to highlight the differences between them; each specializes in different responsibilities between financial and operational management within your winery business.
An accountant is responsible for recording and presenting the financial well-being of a business. The most pertinent profiles for Ecommerce wineries are management accountants and tax accountants.
Management accountants take charge of representing the financial performance of your digital business through drafting budgets, reconciling balance sheets, and analyzing financial reports stored on your eCommerce platform, among other actions.
On the other hand, a tax accountant does tax reporting management. That includes calculating your business taxes and offering counsel on your business strategy to minimize tax audits and lessen the possibilities of tax law breaches.
Unlike accountants, a bookkeeper records any and every financial transaction that your winery does. They are important team members, as they are responsible for identifying, recording, and labeling the purpose of every financial transaction in your winery.
Is an Accountant or a Bookkeeper Right for my Winery?
The Ecommerce winery business model calls for both management and tax accountants. Management accountants are important as they provide you with the financial insight you need to gauge the effectiveness of your business strategy and make better financial decisions. While some winery executives feel that they can handle finances on their own, doing so will take them away from other important areas of business development, like sales and digital marketing.
Similarly, tax accountants are all the more important now than ever as winery businesses now need to enter into unchartered waters of eCommerce. Onboarding an accounting professional who has the right legal and tax knowledge in the digital field will steer you away from possible tax infringement.
Bookkeepers take care of major responsibilities. However, practice shows that they are often too bogged down by data entry tasks that they don’t have the time to deal with possible financial issues, or provide actionable analysis and insight into the business’s key performance indicators (KPIs). While accountants can absorb the role of a bookkeeper, they tend to be overqualified and too expensive for the role. Furthermore, hiring all three professionals individually is too costly for most wineries, and the winery owner or executive is still responsible for making sure all three individuals work together seamlessly.
Luckily, the solution to this financial dilemma can be solved by getting in touch with Protea Financial.
Protea Financial: Ultimate Winery Accounting & Bookkeeping Services
Protea Financial is an accounting and bookkeeping firm that designs and implements customized accounting solutions for businesses. We are not a tax preparer, but we support businesses of all sizes in managing their finances so that they can focus on other facets of their business development.
Our services include tax schedules, managing financial accounts, preparing accounting documentation, and bookkeeping.
For wineries, we have an all-inclusive service that covers responsibilities needed for tax and financial management and bookkeeping, and our services are significantly less expensive than if a winery were to individually hire each professional.
By housing all professionals under one team, we deliver the same services at a rate that’s below the average marketing-price while maintaining premium quality and accuracy. Furthermore, the winery’s leadership does not need to spend time training, overseeing, and making sure unrelated financial professionals are working together productively.
Our team, led by Zane Stevens, consists of almost 25 accountants that, together, bring decades worth of accounting and financial managerial experience to our projects. We are poised to assist you in driving your winery business to success.
Get in touch with us to set up a consultation for your winery accounting and bookkeeping needs. We will conduct a thorough evaluation of your winery financial life-cycle to develop and propose a strategy that will lead you to financial freedom.
Set up your evaluation today.