Frequently Asked Questions

Most accountants are generalists who do a little of everything and work with every industry.  This causes them to be a mile-wide, but an inch deep.  At Scale CPA, we have specialized around three industry verticals – coffee shops, e-commerce, and technology companies – allowing us to deeply understand your business, pain points, and financial needs.  

Along these lines, being focused allows us to provide expert advice and materials that traditional accounting firms simply do not.  This includes providing a detailed, formal tax plan with over twenty strategies to slash your effective tax rate, and ongoing industry-specific KPI analysis and benchmarking for your business.

Most accountants just focus on checking boxes and putting numbers on forms.  They are only compliance focused.  At Scale CPA, our goal is to move beyond the compliance, and to ensure we are your strategic partner – providing key tax strategies to reduce your taxes, and offering detailed financial analysis to help you make better decisions for your business.

We are happy to offer a complimentary “gap analysis” for all prospective clients that may be a good fit for our services.  In this gap analysis, you can receive a tangible preview of what working with Scale CPA is like.  We will review your historical financials and tax filings, and outline any gaps in the process and specific areas for tax savings.  Often, in this exercise, we are able to identify significant tax saving opportunities or risk mitigation strategies.

Most accountants are generalists who do a little of everything and work with every industry.  This causes them to be a mile-wide, but an inch deep.  At Scale CPA, we have niched down our firm and focus specifically on the unique needs of coffee shops.

Along these lines, being focused allows us to provide expert advice and materials applicable to coffee shops that more traditional accounting firms simply do not.  This includes providing a detailed, formal coffee shop-specific tax plan with over twenty strategies to slash your effective tax rate, and ongoing coffee shop KPI analysis and benchmarking for your business.

We understand the many different revenue drivers applicable in a coffee shop (food, beverages, merchandise, third-party apps, event space rental, etc.) and the key expenses incurred (inventory, labor, rent, taxes, etc.).  We also are intimately familiar with the cash flow cadence, and the need to balance inventory, free cash flow, taxes and shop investment, enabling us to better advise on how coffee shop owners can invest their cash.  Our specialization enables us to provide crystal clear bookkeeping presenting these items in clear, easily discernable categories for tracking and evaluation purposes, along with specific tax planning strategies relevant to the industry (such as inventory accounting, FICA Tip credit, meals deductibility, WOTC, and turning personal expenses into business expenses), and CFO services where we can help optimize pricing,

We also have built a great community of other coffee shop owners, roasters, coffee educators, which many shop owners find useful to be tapped into and build connections in.

Tax returns are primarily the reporting of prior year information on IRS and state tax forms.  Tax planning is where the magic happens.  Tax planning is comprised of analysis around a business and business owner’s specific facts and circumstances and providing forward-looking analysis and guidance to implement strategies to reduce the business and business owner’s effective tax rate.

For purposes of small business, typically it is best to think of an effective tax rate as your total annual tax expense over your total annual income.  The goal here is to drive this as low as possible.  It is important to understand your current effective tax rate, and how that measures against an optimized rate in your industry and particular state of residence.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting is comprised of identifying important financial drivers and metrics in a business and presenting them in an easily understandable and accessible manner.  This can include identifying business trends around revenue, evaluating spending by category, benchmarking financial performance versus industry norms, and analyzing where cash is going (inflows and outflows).

Business owners need bookkeeping for a few reasons: 

  • The organization of the business’ revenue, expenses, assets, and liabilities will allow the business to produce financial statements (Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet); 
  • This information is needed for annual tax filings;
  • This data enables business owners to make better decisions, rather than just managing their finances from their bank account, where it is very difficult to know exactly what happened given the large amount of inflows and outflows; 
  • If owners ever would like to bring on an investor, receive a loan or grant, or sell their business, the first question of these parties is almost inevitably to provide the books!

Our team of experts is committed to continuous education and staying abreast of changes in tax laws and regulations. We invest in ongoing training and professional development to ensure that our clients receive the most up-to-date and accurate advice for their specific tax needs.

Getting started with Scale CPA is easy. Simply contact us through our website or shoot an email to info@scalecpa.com to schedule an initial consultation. During this meeting, we’ll discuss your specific needs and determine how our services can best support your business.  Further, we will walk through the most effective tax and financial strategies we have implemented at other businesses, similar to yours, and how we can best optimize your tax and accounting function.

Our onboarding process includes the following:

  • We provide a detailed engagement workplan so both parties know exactly what to expect from the engagement as far as deliverables and due dates are concerned.
  • We send over an information request and access to a secure shared portal to obtain key information to hit the ground running.
  • We draft an engagement letter outlining our responsibilities and obligations to you to set clear expectations.
  • We hold a kick-off call with you to set the engagement off on the right foot and ensure we are moving in lock-step and both parties are aligned on next steps.
  • Lastly, we schedule our ongoing touchpoints (typically quarterly or monthly) to ensure we have a consistent cadence to walkthrough your financial and tax strategies.
  • Then, once the initial onboarding steps are completed we proceed to our implementation phase.

First, we begin every engagement with a thorough review of your historical tax returns, bookkeeping, and financial processes to identify cash savings opportunities and areas of potential risk.

Then, we create and implement a formal tax plan, and integrate KPI reporting, trend analysis, industry benchmarking, and projections so you have clear picture of where your business is at today, where it’s been, and how it can optimize its tax and accounting functions going forward.

Finally, once a plan is in place, we have a dedicated team of CPAs and financial experts at your disposal to support you and answer any questions as they arise.

We have noticed this is often the primary reason businesses decide to move on from their previous accountant – because of lack of responsiveness!  Given this factor, and the fact that we value communication as one of our core principles, we have instituted a policy where all client emails are responded to within 2 business days (and often quicker).  Of course, certain questions will warrant additional research and work surrounding them, but in these cases we would confirm receipt of such question and outline a timeline for response.

We price our engagements on a fixed fee based on an agreed upon scope.  If the scope changes over time, we can always re-evaluate, but we have found that business owners prefer to know exactly what their services will cost and to budget appropriately for them.  

We take a holistic approach to all of our engagements and believe it is pivotal for your accountant to really understand and help optimize your business from a financial perspective.  Along these lines, we have structured all of our engagements to provide value beyond just the mandatory tax filings and bookkeeping, including providing KPI analysis and strategy sessions with a CPA who is an expert in your industry.

Please note that we generally do not believe in hourly billing, as this arrangement leads to a lot of uncertainty as to the amount business owners will end up spending, and typically does not work out favorably for either party.

Check out our pricing page to learn more.