When business success leads to multiple business locations, financial management complexity grows at an exponential rate. This was the situation facing one of our restaurant clients. With eateries in multiple cities and significant staff at each location, trying to figure out the best path for improving the overall business was becoming a nightmare. Working together, we provided them with the detailed insight they needed to make the right decisions for each location and for the business overall.
When the client came to us, they were overworked trying to keep track of a thousand different things across multiple locations. Despite their efforts, they still weren’t getting the insights they needed to make proper improvements. For instance, they knew their best-selling menu items. Unfortunately, they didn’t know their margins at each restaurant. Without this information, they didn’t know where their costs were out of line, and couldn’t capitalize on the things they did know.
We helped by converting them to our standard chart of accounts, and tailoring it to their locations and revenue streams. We then provided both consolidated and location-specific financial statements each month. This immediately helped them isolate their food, liquor and payroll costs. These could be seen for each location and understood across the whole group. This allowed them to implement internal inventory and management changes to improve operations at the under-performing locations.
In addition, the standardized reporting systems we put in place reduced time spent adding up receipts and digging through bank statements late at night, making for a much happier, well-rested client.
Payroll is often the largest expense and most time-consuming function a small business owner performs. With over 200 employees working different shifts in different cities, hunting down timesheets, entering hours, and correcting mistakes with a different customer service rep at their old payroll processor was a never-ending headache.
Signing up with EZ Payroll, the payroll division at Haworth & Company, changed everything. What once took days now took minutes. Utilizing Employer on the Go, the client was able to delegate to their restaurant managers to enter hours and upload payroll support. Reports were ready to review and authorize online any time from their computer or mobile phone, and employees had their own private portal to download paystubs and W-2’s, eliminating a huge number of admin hours pulling requests. The client signed up for HR On-Demand as well, filling a gap their small business had always struggled with but couldn’t afford to hire.
In addition, the client appreciated the integration of payroll with accounting and tax at the same firm. They didn’t have to send payroll reports each month, and their business advisor coordinated with EZ Payroll so that the tax benefits from self-employed health insurance expenses didn’t fall through the cracks at year-end.
After running multiple locations for years, our client thought they had it down. They had a feel for the business environment and they were doing well, but could they be doing better?
Working with a trusted business advisor opened their eyes. Detailed review and discussion of their financial statements exposed issues that had been hidden and mitigated by the success of their best location. Underperforming locations were closed, and soon after a new location was opened that had a greater chance of success.
We explained the concept of cost segregation to them as a way to reduce taxable income and increase cash flow by managing the timing of their asset depreciation. After agreeing that this approach made sense, we then brought in a specialist who has helped them to accelerate the depreciation of what otherwise would have been classified as a 39.5 year depreciation property.
Eventually a buyer approached our client. The offer was attractive and they asked us for our input on what selling the business would mean for them. We discussed the differences between an asset and a stock sale, capital gains vs. ordinary income, and the risks of depreciation recapture. We were able to provide the client with a tax projection based on the buyer’s initial proposal and their most recent financial statements and tax returns. After reviewing all the details, we went further and even advised how they could counter the buyer to better help themselves. Thanks to all of this information, the client was able to walk away from a deal that otherwise may have enticed them into a situation that wasn’t in their best interest.
The complexity of managing the finances for a multi-location business with a significant number of employees can easily drain the energy of any entrepreneur. Fortunately, we enjoy helping these kinds of clients get back to what brought them into the business to begin with. Our expert team uncovers the insights contained within the numbers to uncover the best path forward. Contact us to discuss your challenges and see how we can help.