If you’re like most Ace Hardware store owners, accounting is not the focus of your time and effort. You’d rather be out on the floor helping customers than spending hours importing financial data, reconciling accounts and putting together reports. That’s where your time is incredibly valuable. While this makes the decision to move to outsourced accounting easier, change always comes with a little uncertainty, so we’re laying out what the process is like for you.
As Wipfli is Ace Hardware’s preferred accounting partner, we’ve begun working with more and more Ace Hardware stores over the past year. We have the process down to a science, and it doesn’t involve as much work on your part as you might expect!
Getting set up
The first step is getting Wipfli user access to the systems that allow us to do your monthly accounting. This means spending a few minutes to request an ACENET login and add Wipfli to your business bank account as a view-only user, which allows our team to import your banking activity in QuickBooks Online. We also need access to your sales tax account so we can file your sales tax for you (a pretty welcome time-saver for many store owners).
Additionally, we request access to your payroll provider so we can properly record salary and payroll tax expenses. One of the benefits of working with Wipfli is gaining comparative reporting. Is your payroll higher or lower than other Ace Hardware stores? What actions can you take to make adjustments to help improve your operating results? This reporting helps store owners react to trends and make more proactive decisions.
Finally, we get you set up on Bill.com, which is an accounts payable solution that integrates with QuickBooks Online and streamlines the entire process of paying bills. A couple of clicks and you can pay your bills without having to write and mail a check! It’s a valuable time-saver and helps ensure greater accuracy in your financial statements.
From working with other stores, we’ve seen this whole process of getting Wipfli set up on various accounts take under an hour — even less so for owners who utilize online banking.
New stores vs. existing stores
The process is understandably quick and easy for brand-new stores, with Wipfli able to set up accounts and start balances from the beginning. The biggest question we get from new owners is how to access inventory and point-of-sale reporting from the Epicor system, and we’re able to work with business coaches to make that process easy and smooth.
But what about existing stores transitioning from an existing accountant or from doing their own accounting?
If you’re coming from an existing accountant, you simply need to request they send over your financial data up to the last month. If you’ve been doing your own accounting, it could take a little longer to get everything in order, especially if you’ve fallen behind by a few months (don’t worry; you’re not alone). If you are behind or there are inconsistencies in some of your data, we’re able update everything and get your store’s accounting back on track, so you don’t have to worry about a significant time commitment there.
The value of outsourced accounting services
Once everything is set up, Ace Hardware store owners begin seeing value from the time invested in the transition by the first set of financial statements we issue. We’ve gotten great feedback from owners on the sheer time savings they’ve gained in not having to close out books at the end of the month, and the peace of mind in knowing they’re getting timely, accurate and interactive financials with valuable reporting and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Many owners tell us how their time is much better spent out on the floor with customers and making sure their store is running efficiently, and how it was affecting their work-life balance to have to focus on accounting, too.
Others have told us how working with a local CPA had resulted in consistently late, inaccurate financials and how working with Wipfli has improved visibility, enabled proactive decision-making and prevented tax returns from going into extension every year. Read the stories of Ace Hardware of Coalinga and Ace Hardware of Hilton Head to see what success they’ve enjoyed since transitioning to Wipfli.
If you have any questions about the transition to Wipfli or questions about our outsourced accounting solution, contact us. We’re happy to walk you through the process and speak to our customized Ace Hardware offering.