Wipfli logo
Insights - Articles, Blogs and on-demand webcasts

Articles & E-Books

Coalinga Hardware
Kerry Kitazaki, Owner
"Wipfli very quickly became a trusted advisor to me and my store. They take the time to go over financials with me and really make them usable, so I know I’m not just on solid footing with my accounting — I can actually save money and make the best decisions regarding the future of my store, too."


Coalinga Hardware is an independently owned Ace Hardware store located in Coalinga, California. It is committed to offering its customers knowledgeable advice, helpful service and quality products.


Coalinga Hardware came to Wipfli with two main challenges: 1) The business wasn’t getting timely financial information from its local CPA, and 2) it wanted to work with a more cost-effective firm. Additionally, because Ace Hardware is a co-op and has great buying power, Coalinga Hardware was buying the majority of its inventory directly from Ace Hardware, which meant its owner, Kerry Kitazaki, needed to gather that additional related financial information and forward it on to the local CPA he worked with. This process was about to see vast improvement.


Certainly, a major benefit to Coalinga Hardware was that Wipfli is more cost-effective than its local CPA firm, but the store saw more benefits than simply saving a little money by making the switch. When Wipfli went through its accounting process, our team saw opportunities for improvement and additional savings.

As it turned out, Coalinga Hardware was processing inventory from Ace Hardware on a cash basis. Wipfli cleaned up this process, introduced generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) that further benefited the store and automated uploading the financial information from Ace Hardware’s intranet directly into QuickBooks Online.

Dialogue between the Wipfli team and Coalinga Hardware owner Kerry Kitazaki provided a valuable educational element that gave him the chance to ask questions, learn how his numbers compared to other stores and if his costs were in line with theirs, and evolve his processes so the store could become more efficient and poised for growth. Key performance indicators (KPIs) developed by Wipfli further provided analytics on his store, such as the ideal range for payroll as a percent of revenues.


Now Kerry has the ability to see if his payroll is in line with other Ace Hardware stores, giving him confidence that he’s operating his store within guidelines and adequately controlling costs. He also appreciates not only that he’s getting timely financial information from Wipfli but also that he’s getting far more information than he did before. He now has enhanced visibility and transparency into aspects of his business that allow him to make better decisions and help his store grow.

Coalinga Hardware has already engaged Wipfli to prepare its tax return, which will be done without needing an extension and while finding additional savings — something that has made Wipfli stand out from the rest of the pack.

Relationship Executive(s)

Tony J. Battaglia, CPA, MBA, Director