MEGA Group’s financial services unit, Expert Accounting, has proven itself invaluable to a host of BrandSource dealers. But for at least one of them — longtime MEGA board member Richard Wall — the accounting team has answered the call of duty twice.
Wall’s first encounter with Expert Accounting was with his family business, Wall’s BrandSource Home Furnishings in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON. Given his seat on the board, he was aware of the accounting group’s formation, and given the lack of financial expertise at Wall’s, it became one of Expert Accounting’s very first clients.
“We didn’t have anybody with much of an accounting background in our office,” he recalled. “No one was strong on that side of the business, including me. I knew what tools I needed, but didn’t have the time, the background or the understanding to use them.”
Richard had considered hiring an accountant, but that was easier said than done. “It’s hard for small independents to find somebody at a reasonable salary,” he said. “Often candidates are looking for a larger company with potential for career growth.”
Assuming he was even successful at finding a prospect, retaining him or her would be the other side of a dual-edged sword. “Finding someone is one thing, keeping them on staff is another,” he noted. “And if they leave, you’re back at square one with another burden on the business.”
“Finding an accountant is one thing, keeping them on staff is another.”
Fortunately for Wall’s, Expert Accounting had just begun coalescing, providing financial reporting, payroll processing, comparative analyses, business consulting and other services to MEGA members under General Manager Ron Muller and Accountant Jason Good, who had both owned and operated their own businesses. The group went on to manage the monthly financials for Wall’s BrandSource Home Furnishings for several years, until the family eventually decided to close the business and sell the real estate. But even then, Expert Accounting was there to guide the owners through the transition.
“They helped us out to the end,” Richard recounted.
Richard Wall (above), Wayne Hambly, Phil Brewer, John McLellan, Isaac Stubbe, and Eric Fitzpatrick acquired Renaud’s BrandSource Home Furnishings in 2008.
The Return of Expert Accounting
Wall’s second encounter with Expert Accounting came a few years later when he and five other investors acquired Renaud’s BrandSource Home Furnishings, a furniture, mattress, and appliance store in Miramichi, New-Brunswick. It was a sound venture: the business was well run, had served the coastal community for decades, and its team of 20 staffers was well organized. But in a flashback to Wall’s previous bookkeeping concerns, Renaud’s part-time accountant decided to move on after six years.
A decision had to be made — find a successor or outsource. Compounding the problem was that the partners were long-distance owners, with Richard Wall himself living a thousand miles from the store.
“Did we risk finding someone who didn’t know what they were doing or would leave after six months?” he asked. “Or turn to Expert Accounting, which was a quick and efficient way to get up and running fast?”
The answer was obvious, and in short order, Expert Accounting was handling data entry remotely for Renaud’s and producing a monthly financial statement for management. Those functions quickly grew to encompass a range of additional services and astute advice that improved the company’s performance.
Renaud’s BrandSource Home Furnishings is located in Miramichi, New-Brunswick.
A Powerful Arsenal
For Richard, perhaps the most potent tool in the Expert Accounting toolbox is its operational assessments, which are charted each month for clients. The team tracks Renaud’s sales trends, margins, inventory levels, and other key metrics, compares them to similar small businesses, and makes recommendations based on the data.
“We get a really nice, detailed report each month with 15 or 16 different parameters that can also be tracked on an annual basis,” Wall said. “They would then point out when it was necessary to adjust inventory levels, for example, or if our margins were lower in the appliance category than at comparable BrandSource stores across the country.”
Wall described the accounting team as “extremely proactive” and detailed, citing a time when they even picked up on a lease-to-buy tow motor the company had obtained for its warehouse. Wall and his partners can also call Expert Accounting directly should any issues arise. “You can usually get in touch with them immediately or at most you’ll get a callback within a few hours,” he said. “We’ll conference call occasionally if I or the office has a question or concern, and we conduct a year-end wrap-up when we review our overall performance and discuss anything that needs to be addressed.”
“Expert Accounting is a key component to the success of small to mid-sized companies”
Would Wall recommend Expert Accounting to other MEGA members? To his mind, it’s a no-brainer. “It’s a key component to the success of small to mid-sized companies,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about an employee going on vacation, getting sick or resigning, which leaves you vulnerable. Dealers are busy running all the other functions of their business and have enough other things to worry about.”
In contrast, “With Expert Accounting you have a team of people behind you, and a tailored report shows up in your email each month with real numbers to give you an official picture of what’s happening.”
“It’s a good, strong management tool for small retailers who don’t have their own resources,” Wall concluded. “Everyone to some extent needs it.”
– By Alan Wolf, YourSource News
About Expert Accounting
Expert Accounting is the seven-year-old financial services arm of MEGA Group. Led by Accountant Jason Good and General Manager Ron Muller, both of whom ran successful small businesses, the Expert Accounting team is attuned to the needs of the independent retailer and is well versed in the ways of the appliance and home furnishings categories. The staff is available around-the-clock to provide accurate and timely financial support that extends from monthly profit & loss statements and year-end tallies, to payroll processing, rebate submissions, accounts payable reports, and financial advice, all for a competitive fee.
For more information, contact:
- Jason Good, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-866-956-5328
- Ron Muller, email@example.com, 1-778-477-0040
- or visit www.expertaccounting.ca