Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Taking Inventory

I rarely come up against more differing opinions regarding accounting practices than when I talk about inventory.

Just yesterday I met with a prospective client who purchases parts which are drop-shipped and assembled at a manufacturer. Not a crazy idea. A smart financial choice it would seem. If I were to look at the books for this company, though I wouldn't actually see any of this activity. Why? All the inventory related activity is done outside of Quickbooks.

To use an ERM system or any kind of a external database for working with your inventory may be a sound decision for some businesses. Nevertheless, one should be able to look at your Profit and Loss Balance Sheet and see where your inventory assets are at any moment in time. Are they in transit to your warehouse? Are they paid for in advance but won't ship for two months? You may be able to tell me the answer to these questions by looking at your external database. What happens though if 3 years from now you are looking for financing or a buyer is doing due diligence. They want to see the past 5 years of activity. How much money did you have tied up in inventory at any one point? Pretty much any of the information they are going to be looking for is not going to be showing up in your financial reports.

The main reason companies can end up in this bind is because they build a system that is operation oriented instead of financially oriented. It is in fact possible to build a system that satisfies both needs but only if an accounting professional is part of conversation from the start. I've spent a lot of time trying to pull financial information out of a database that was built to track customer activity or shipping of inventory. It's all well and good that the folks on the operations side of things get to keep doing things in a way that makes sense to them, but at what cost?

Quickbooks is a very robust software. Add on some apps, some software designed to integrate like Salesforce or Wasp Inventory and it's stellar. It's simply not necessary to give up accurate financial reporting to gain operating ease. When operations and accounting are talking, it's a beautiful thing.

Drop by again as I further unravel some of the issues that concern today's small business. Thanks for reading and feel free to email me with any topics you'd like covered in future posts.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Just taking a moment to drop in and say hi to all of my small biz friends.

The economy is looking up just the tiniest bit but what I hear people talking about is still:
Cash Flow
Downsizing or Stabilizing
New Markets

The post-holiday slump can be challenging for any small business. Hang in, keep networking and remember to take care of yourself as well as your business. In the small biz world, if you don't take care of both equally, watch out! No room for a tired owner or business.

As always, I'd love suggestions for blog posts. Suggest away...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Special Help for Creative Folks and Others

That title is a bit tongue in cheek, but it is true. There's often something like the fear of a dentist when it comes to dealing with numbers for some folks. Especially the "right brained" ones.

Being creative or operating a bit on the "fringe" or out the the box doesn't mean that your financial life needs to be disorganized. Bookkeeping isn't that scarey. it's about organizing information more than math. Today's bookkeeping software does most of the math. You just need a little help in learning the way things need to fit together to file your taxes and see where your money is going.

I seem to have (nearly) infinite patience for wading through your paperwork and holding your hand through getting your year end stuff in order. I'm happy that I can provide that service to those who find it intimidating or frustrating.

Don't wait any longer! I'm here to help.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back in the City!

So glad to be back in Portland and seeing all my friends. Just a quick post here to tell you all that I'm looking forward to helping you in person with all your small biz and (especially) bookkeeping queries.

I've spent the past 5 months with a deep focus on inventory management. t I've come to understand more clearly that the type of system you need is very much based on how much inventory you have and how much you intend to grow your inventory. One of the biggest issues I see out there is folks not preparing for growth and using a cobbled together system.

Lots to think about here and I'd be happy to share more insights with you and see what we can get going for your small to mid-sized business.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What I've Learned Lately

Hello stranger!

Yes, this blog is still active and I am still active as a consultant as well. I've been spending more time on the finance side of life these days and that's just fine. The pendulum swings again.

I hope that everyone has had a chance to get away from the usual routine this Summer. Travel is my favorite way to gain perspective. Whether you live in the city or the country, they way you do business is very much influenced by your immediate environment. Taking a break can give your brain a wake-up call to think of new possibilities. I do some of my best thinking on trains.

I'm heading back for Portland in a few weeks and these were some of my thoughts as I was taking the train back from my apartment hunting trip:
  • Be proactive. If you see a trend, be prepared to hop on it before it's too late.
  • Stay up to date on new technology. It can be a bit hard to play catch up.
  • Don't be shy about connecting with old colleagues. That's what social media is for.
  • Stay open minded. You may have to shift gears quickly and holding onto old ideas will really slow you down.
  • And conversely, don't hop onto the newest thing just because it's new and shiny!
I'm sure that being in a new home will shake some new ideas loose and I'll look forward to sharing them with you soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

On the Side

Hey there folks.
I haven't posted to this blog for a while as I've become a full-time owner of another business, Krafti-Kit. I'd like to say to anyone reading here, if you have topics that you'd like more detail on, let me know. I get a fair amount of hits to financial reporting topics. If that's something you'd like to read more about, let me know. Perhaps it's the joy and hazards of working at home?

I'm still here and stay tuned for future posts! Happy Fall.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Better Late Than Never

That may be true in life...sometimes...but not in business. I think it's okay in blogging.

As you can see, I've taken a couple of months off of actively blogging here. I'm planning on taking off a couple of more months and wanted to let you all know what's going on.

I am a bit of a news "hound" to say the least, but you may have noticed that my blog is more focused on giving practical advice that's more "evergreen". I write less about the business news of the day and more about what you may be going through in your business right now. My idea is to create a body of knowledge for the small business owner that can be used, ongoing.

The one thing I continually see is that a person's ability to realize their goals is connected very much to their personality, their ability to be flexible and to handle the ongoing stress of going it on their own. In the past year, in particular, I've met a lot of wonderful folks who are doing just that. Meanwhile, my own practice has become more and more fluid and flexible as well. I've been focusing more and more on design: web, advertising, knitwear and a bit less on mentoring. I don't see that part of my work ending anytime soon as I really love it and it seems to find it's way to me again and again.

With these changes comes a bit of a brain shift. I suppose I'm in less of a mindset to write practical blog posts for the small biz owner right now. So, I'm giving myself a couple more months off on the blog and will return at the end of the Summer for more of what I do best here. Meanwhile, I hope you'll pass this blog on to folks who are small business owners so that perhaps they can find some use from my words.

Always, please feel free to contact me directly with your inquires into my mentoring practice.