The Crucial Person for Your Board

In the years of interviewing top decision makers throughout the brewing industry, the one piece of advice that has stood out among the rest has been Eric Wallace’s.

Wallace, the founder of Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, Colorado, a top 50 U.S. craft brewery, said in our 2016 July/August issue, that the most beneficial business strategy for his brewery was the development of a board.

His board is comprised of experts in fields of law, banking, etc. Essentially, anywhere in his business he believes could use some strengthening, he finds an expert.

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The first step in that movement should be the easiest, but for many business owners it’s very difficult. That is, coming to terms that you don’t have all the solutions and you can’t do everything on your own.

Getting past that barrier can be tough for new business owners, and sometimes takes a humbling experience for realization — just hoping that “humbling experience” isn’t too severe.

While coming to terms with the need of experts at your side is essential, as you own a business I believe there is one crucial personality to your team that is often overlooked — that’s the CPA.

I’m sure my own CPA, if he’s reading this, is laughing at my statement, but it’s the truth. Early on in a business it’s important to ensure you’re within the laws of your city, state and country. At that point a legal representative is highly important, but as you move into the operating years of your business, the insight from a CPA can really save you a lot of money.

Here are a few tips for how to evaluate the CPA for your board:

  1. Trust: With a CPA you’re most likely looking to someone that has inside knowledge to the vital area of your business — your money. This knowledge could vary based on what you need from your CPA, but most likely they will still be examining your income, expenses and cash flow. Potentially they’ll be helping you with your tax filings, so you really want someone you trust that can help you through the hurdles.
  2. Experience: Of course years of experience are crucial, but I’m also referring to experience with businesses. A business will have areas that are different than simply your personal tax filings when you worked for someone else. As a business owner it’s important to have a CPA that has worked with small businesses and can give you guidance through all financial segments of the journey.
  3. Time: At this point as a small business owner you probably have realized that your time is much different than it was when you worked for another company. Sometimes you’ll be up starting a brewday as early as 6 a.m. Sometimes you have to travel to GABF to show off your skills and wear medals. Finding time to handle your taxes, both quarterly and yearly, as well as evaluate your income, must come when you can make time. If you don’t have a CPA that can match up their time with yours, you must reconsider who you’re working with. While you do have to work together, it’s crucial that both parties understand each other’s time and clear schedules for one another.

Regardless if you’ve filed taxes for your first year or 10th year, we can never emphasize enough the power of a strong CPA on your team. Not only can they help save you money, but they can also be a crutch when you’re trying to develop growth strategies and how you can make adjustments for extra cash flow.

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