The year is 1924. You’re the owner of a small hardware store, and a vendor has come to sell you sponges. The problem is, the sponges are too expensive. So you ask for a better price. The vendor says if you buy 100 sponges, he’ll sell them for a lower price overall.
That’s not ideal for you as the owner of a single, small store, but you decide to go around to other hardware stores and ask them to go in on buying the sponges so you can all enjoy the lower price — and it works! You’ve suddenly changed the retail landscape forever with the buying power of the co-op. Sound familiar?
It does for Ace Hardware store owners, and it does for Wipfli, too. In my previous article, I discussed the benefits of outsourced accounting services and how they free store owners and other employees up to spend their time on the floor helping customers and providing the excellent customer service Ace Hardware is renowned for. Outsourced accounting also provides timely, accurate and trustworthy numbers and reporting that help owners make strategic decisions to grow their business.
The Value of Co-Op Pricing
These outsourced accounting services we provide have an element of the co-op in them. Wipfli didn’t just become the preferred accounting partner of Ace Hardware because of the depth and quality of the services we provide — although those were large factors. Ace corporate also needed a good price for the co-op, and we were able to identify the services Ace Hardware owners needed most and put together a robust package at that price point. And just as the co-op boosts Ace Hardware’s buying power, providing an increasing number of Ace Hardware stores with outsourced accounting allows Wipfli to keep prices low, especially considering both the breadth of work we do and its overall value.
So what else does this co-op accounting pricing setup get you as an Ace Hardware owner? Plenty! First, Wipfli works directly with Ace corporate, which puts us right out front when it releases new programs so we can help stores adjust quickly. We also know the ins and outs of the co-op, and especially the intricacies of accounting for it. Plus, we’re invited to Ace Hardware tradeshows and other events to showcase the value we can bring to owners, answer questions and talk about the transition process.
On top of that, we bring a high level of experience in your industry, and our associates are cross-trained in services so that you’re never reliant on just a single person to provide you with timely, accurate financials and reporting. You get a team that delivers actionable insights into your business, value-driven results and the strategic capabilities of a large firm — helping you react to trends and make proactive decisions.
The Resources of a Large Firm, With the Personal Service of a Small Firm
Essentially, co-op pricing means getting the resources of a large, national firm with the price and personalized service of a small, local firm. And more available services means more value. For example, owners looking to transition to the next generation or sell can get a more in-depth and knowledgeable valuation because we already know the business so well. You don’t have to spend the time bringing an outside firm in and giving them all the information they need to provide an accurate valuation.
The value of co-op pricing also lays within the fact that Wipfli is working with so many Ace Hardware stores. One of the things we provide in business intelligence reports is an ideal range for payroll as a percent of revenue. We can present to owners where they fall in this ideal range, which is based on the payroll statistics of Ace Hardware stores overall. The more stores Wipfli works with, the more (and varied) comparable data we can collect and put to use helping you make more strategic business decisions. Co-op pricing makes it possible for reporting to grow and become even more valuable.
Ready to Get Started?
Tap into another level of the co-op’s buying power. With Wipfli’s outsourced accounting services, you gain an experienced accounting team, comparable data and a wide range of value-added services — all at a price that’s hard to find if you’re not part of the Ace Hardware family. Contact Wipfli to learn more.