Within just a couple of years, Matt has been able to scale it from just himself to 55 employees.
Over the years, Matt has worked with thousands of clients and has helped them get their finances in order and get them past the fear of being judged on their bookkeeping.
He talks about how accounting isn’t the sexiest part of business, but it’s critical to a business’s success. Specifically, he shares practical advice on how people can use accounting tools, so they can keep more of their hard-earned money.
What you will learn
- Why fast growth can be dangerous for your business
- Why falling in love with the process of accounting will help you sleep at night
- What tools are important for controlling your business
- How bookkeeping for an Amazon online store is different from other businesses
- Why cash flow is important
- Reasons you should hire a bookkeeper or accountant for your business
- How technology has changed the accounting industry
00:00:03 - 00:00:31
Hi everyone and welcome to the Jeff Bullas show. Today I have with me, Matt Remuzzi. Now, Matt is the founder of CapForge where they focus on bookkeeping for online entrepreneurs. Now don't run away because bookkeeping is actually exciting when it helps you make money. So I used to hate doing my own bookkeeping. In fact, I discovered the secrets of bookkeeping awhile back and Matt's gonna show us how to make bookkeeping sexy, I think.
00:00:32 - 00:00:37
Big promise. Let's hope I can deliver on that.
00:00:37 - 00:01:30
So Matt started CapForge in 2000. Did a little few side projects, we could call them side hustles. I'm not quite sure what he was doing, but he got distracted in 2012. He doubled down on CapForge and today has 55 employees. Over the years, Matt's worked with thousands of clients and helped them get their finances in order and get them past the fear of being judged on their bookkeeping. He could talk about how accounting isn't the sexiest part of the business, but it's critical to businesses and I totally agree with that. I used to hate doing accounting. So I found someone wholove doing it, gave it to them and my life changed because it gave me control over my business.
So he's going to share some advice on how people can use accounting tools, how they can keep more of their hard earned money and who doesn't want to hang onto their hard earned money.
So welcome to the show, Matt. It's an absolute pleasure to have you here.
00:01:31 - 00:01:33
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
00:01:33 - 00:02:04
So Matt, you went, you're going through primary school, we went to high school, I'm using Australian terms here, so no one's worked it out, I am Australian, Matt’s American, lives in San Diego which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and you got to go to university and you said I'm going to study accounting or was it entrepreneurship?
00:02:04 - 00:04:09
Neither, actually, when I got to university I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I studied Psychology because I figured no matter what happened in life, the world's full of crazy people and having a good handle on that would probably benefit me. So I didn't know what I wanted to do, I took Psychology, I got out of that, I went naturally right to work in the restaurant industry because you know, that's what Psychology degrees can lead to, is working in the restaurant industry.
And a few years after that I decided I really didn't like restaurants, I really did want to be an entrepreneur, I just didn't know what I wanted to do. So I went back to school and got an MBA here at San Diego State University where they had an entrepreneurship track and so through the process of doing that, I got to meet lots of real world entrepreneurs, hear lots of stories about how to get started, how to, you know, launch yourself forward, be motivated, get going on your own thing and that kind of was what finally got me on the path of doing my own thing as a consequence of doing that MBA, the masters in business. I had exposure to a lot of accounting and finance classes. I didn't necessarily get started directly in accounting at that point, but I at least had the background. And so then years later when I saw that there was a real demand for quality bookkeeping services done by people who know how to do it right, but also focus on customer service and giving the client a good experience. I had the background to be able to pull that off at that point, but it wasn't something I never, as a kid growing up said boy, my dream of the day when I can do ledgers and debits and credits and that never happened. I'm an entrepreneur first and then as a result got into accounting because it was a good entrepreneurial activity. And then my strength was hiring lots of smart people who are good at accounting, who could work for me. And my real strength was going out and finding the clients. So I myself am not an A plus accountant, but I'm very good at hiring straight A accountants
00:04:09 - 00:04:18
Interesting. So basically you identified that accounting was something that almost everyone hated and was bad at as an entrepreneur?
00:04:18 - 00:04:19
00:04:19 - 00:04:22
And you worked out a way to solve their problem easily.
00:04:23 - 00:05:44
Well and I identify too that most accountants are not people you want to hang out with, they're not super friendly or outgoing. They don't necessarily take the time to really understand your problem. They live in their own world of accounting. And so I was good at sort of translating from business owner, what are your problems, your needs, your pain points and getting it into the hands of accounting people who could solve the accounting side of it, but you didn't have to talk accounting right? So a lot of accountants when they talk to business owners, they immediately start off spouting out, you know accounting regulations and debits and credits and talking about ‘oh you did everything wrong and you didn't recognize this revenue and you miss that tax deduction.’ The business owners are like “I have a thousand things to think about. I don't have any interest in hearing the nitty gritty of accounting. I just need these problems solved by somebody who's friendly and speaks plain English and does it for a reasonable price and gets back to me when I have a question or I send an email to get back to me quickly.” That was the problem I solved. There's lots of good accountants out there, but a good accounting firm that could also work well with business owners and deal with business owners on the level they wanted to be dealt with. That was the solution that let me go from starting in my spare bedroom by myself and now having a big office with 55 employees.
00:05:45 - 00:06:29
Look at it. I understand when you talked about the personality types of an accountant, they were inclusive, their attention to detail. Um I know because my brother’s one and and I guess and I hired him once to actually work on one of my businesses because I hated doing the accounting. Um so that's what I understood that I needed to, if I hated it, I wasn't gonna do it and I was gonna do it badly if I did do it. So hire people that love it and then get them to hand them the rails and so hand the reins, go off you go. And responsiveness is really, really good because you got to meet deadlines. It's very process driven, isn't it?
00:06:30 - 00:07:14
It absolutely is. And it's a two way street to some extent, right? I always tell clients like I can do 95% of the work, but I can't do 100%. I'm gonna, there's gonna be stuff I'm gonna need to ask you or request from you and you have to get it back to me and if you don't then now I can't finish the part that I need to do. So, you know, I'm willing to do most of the heavy lifting, but you have to be involved in the process a little bit too and after all it is, you know, your business, you know it best. So when I have some questions or need something from you, I'm hoping that you know we're going to work together on this, working together, we're going to get the best result if you know you completely shut me out, I'm just not going to be able to get it where it needs to be. So it is a little bit of a two way street, I'll do most of it, but I'm gonna need a little help.
00:07:14 - 00:08:44
Yeah totally, and I know that when my accountant says to me “Can you get us these receipts for the month?” and the ones that I've actually, you know, incurred through credit card and sometimes I haven't collected the receipt over $75 as a rule in Australia. Under $75 to produce a receipt. And I'm going, “oh my God, I don't want to do this”, but the reality is, yes, you've got a team, you've got to basically work with the accountant to give them what they need to get the job done. So the tax office isn't chasing your ass uh for outstanding payments or gonna find you for not producing a return on time.
Um and the thing too which is interesting, we'll talk about this. I'm fascinated by what your insight will be on this is accounting has changed a lot in the last 10, 20 years. We've gone from shoebox accounting in other words where all your receipts were kept in a shoe box and hand over the account especially with small businesses and that's when your accountant starts to hate you because they're expected to actually get more organized. So accounting in the last 20 years has been huge changes driven by technology a lot. So what are some of the big changes you've seen that people need to be mindful of to show them that it really is a lot easier today to actually manage your bookkeeping and your accounting and your taxes.
00:08:44 - 00:11:09
Right. Yeah. I mean there's been some really significant changes. One of them is that you know, now almost everything is available online. So in the old days even when I started, which isn't that long ago we still had clients we had to drive physically drive to their office, sit down and go through some of the paper that they had, there just wasn't a good way to get access to it other than asking them to scan hundreds of pages of documents, which wasn't something they wanted to do. But now excuse me, virtually everything is available online bank statements and credit card statements and merchant accounts and online transactions and you know, sales platforms like Amazon and Ebay and everything else. So one that means you don't have to be geographically close to the person doing your accounting because they can access it from everywhere. So now you can find an accountant or bookkeeper who is an expert in your industry like we focus on e-commerce and online, so you don't have to find a local person who knows e-commerce or online. You can find the best e-commerce online bookkeeper regardless of where they're located, whether it's across the country or internationally. And now they can do your stuff. And that also means you don't have to try and collect and gather all that paperwork and all those different statements and scan them or mail them or go through and mark them with a highlighter. It can all be done you know online and and the tools like Quickbooks Online and Xero make it much easier to pull that stuff in virtually. And now the accountant's job is more the mental part of it, right, putting things in the proper place rather than just manual data entry which doesn't add a lot of value, right, it's just typing and then you're more likely to make a mistake. So the whole profession has gone much more tech forward to where the software does the boring sort of time consuming bits and the accountants, if they're smart, can focus on just the more complicated part that you know a person needs to do that you can't easily hand off to an outsource firm or a VA or something like that. They're not doing that, that manual data entry. So there's plenty of accountants that are still in the old stone age kind of paper and pencil world, but they're costing you more money if you work with them because they're not taking advantage of the technology that makes things easier. And by you know, being able to use technology, you can now really go find the best person for the job, not just the person closest to where your business happens to be.
00:11:10 - 00:11:52
Yeah. Look, I don't think I've seen my accountant or bookkeeper at least a year. Uh they live in the same city, they don't need to and she's like and and sort of the whole covid things also highlighted. Um the question, do I really need to catch up with this person physically? Mhm. You're going because I'm going to drive there, find a park, drive back, have the meeting and you're going okay, maybe I don't need to. And it's almost like happening with doctors and naturopaths and you know, but the reality is asked that question and saying is this physical meeting really important because you don't need to most of the time.
00:11:53 - 00:12:16
It's yeah, I mean it's sometimes it's nice to meet in person face to face. But the truth is for the information that you need from an accountant or tax person or a bookkeeper, you don't physically need to be in the same place. A Zoom call will suffice just as well. So, you know, if you want to meet in person. Great. But it's absolutely not a criteria for getting the job done right?
00:12:17 - 00:12:40
Yeah. So there's a couple things I want to touch on that, you mentioned, number one is your client doesn't even have to be in your same country. You mentioned also that you were working with international clients. Working with international clients would be interesting in the sense that tax rules are quite different. But you're doing more like bookkeeping, which is pretty universal, is that correct?
00:12:40 - 00:14:03
Bookkeeping is fairly universal and when I should, I should clarify when we work with international clients, which I think we're up to about 30 different countries where we have clients who are from those countries, predominantly the work we're doing is they've set up a US based business. And so we're dealing with the US based business and then the funds, you know, go back to the home country and they pay taxes in their home country, using a local tax person because obviously we're not experts in, you know, the tax rules of all those different jurisdictions, but we're helping them with the US operations. Now we do have some in fact some who even Australian um their home business is based in Australia, but they're doing business predominantly, they're selling on say Amazon's US platform. So we are doing the books for them because we're familiar with that platform, but we might be doing it in Australian dollars. And at the end of the day, again they're paying taxes in Australia with an Australian tax prepare. But because we understand the e-commerce side so well we're better equipped to do the bookkeeping part than a local Australian tax person who doesn't particularly know e-commerce or Amazon, but they know the Australian tax laws. So by teaming up those two elements, you're getting the best of the bookkeeping, e-commerce expertise and the local Australian tax expertise.
00:14:03 - 00:14:11
Yes, I really end up with two types of accounts really is the bookkeeping type accountant. And the other one is the tax accountant.
00:14:12 - 00:14:13
00:14:13 - 00:14:44
I think a lot of people don't, when they start off, don't get that because they haven't had to deal with it. They just had a personal account that looked after the tax return every year for example. So I have two types of accounts, one who does the books and keeps the processes running there. The other one is the one that lodges the return. Uh and you're right about the American thing, I had to get together a tax form out of America called the 8-BEN
00:14:44 - 00:14:47
W - 8 B E N
00:14:47 - 00:14:59
Yeah. W-8BEN. And yeah, so that's basically that means that funds can be transferred to me because we have an agreement between the USA and Australia. So I don't have to pay tax in both countries, which would be really annoying.
00:15:00 - 00:16:26
Yes. Yes, there is a tax treaty and so, but yeah, I mean you have to set yourself up correctly to avoid having that inadvertent uh you know double taxation problem. And you know that's something we help clients with a lot even though we tend to do more on the bookkeeping side than the tax side. We're still happy to help clients you know work it out. And some clients come from countries with a tax treaty like Canada and Australia. And we have other clients who are from a country without a tax treaty like Russia and some of the African countries, we have clients there and there are workarounds to still avoid paying taxes in both places. But again you want to make it set up, make sure it's set up correctly so you don't shoot yourself in the foot and find out after the fact after you missed the deadline after it's too late to change, now the US is sending you a $25,000 penalty for having done it incorrectly. And it could have, it's literally just the difference between this form or that form. Use the wrong form now you get the penalty. So you know those kinds of mistakes thinking you're gonna save yourself a few bucks not bothering to hire a professional. You can do it yourself but you know so often the cost of doing yourself ends up being so much higher than just engaging with someone who knows what they're doing and they will do their best to then save you more than they cost you. And most of the time they can.
00:16:26 - 00:16:35
I totally agree. I used to try and do it myself and my eyes glazed over, I fell asleep and I'd be carted out of the room in a coma.
00:16:35 - 00:16:36
That’s not unusual either. That happens a lot.
00:16:40 - 00:17:39
Yeah. Well I look at the ledger and I'm going to debit credit going actually “which one's which?” Right? Um once incoming ones outgoing. Okay. Right. So but yeah I would recommend to our listeners when you're starting and that's going to cost you a little bit of money. But hire a good bookkeeper accountant from day one. Find a good tax accountant from day one. And guess what? Life gets a lot easier. I've heard of horror stories of people, “oh I'm entrepreneur making hundreds of thousands of dollars and business is booming.” They just forgot to lodge their attacks and suddenly they got quarter million dollars in tax liabilities and the government's after them. And that's scary. So I would recommend to anyone find yourself a good bookkeeper accountant, a good tax account and just get them to do it for you. And then it just takes all that pain and grief away.
00:17:40 - 00:18:41
Absolutely. And and and the right one, right that's an important piece. We had somebody who came to us wasn't a client yet who had gotten a letter from the IRS saying they owed $85,000 more on top of the tax they'd already paid and they felt like that might be too much and could we look at it and their current CPA had said “well you know my recommendation is just pay”
So we looked at it and and after revising what had been done because this CPA was again not familiar with e-commerce. Didn't know online businesses, didn't know Amazon. After we were done, not only did he not owe $85,000. He got a $75,000 refund. So our cost on that whole project was about three grand. $3,000 to go from $85,000 owed to $75,000 refund. Now on the face of it you might look at and say well $3,000 for accounting. That sounds like a lot. Well was it though? It seems like a pretty good deal to me.
00:18:41 - 00:18:48
Well you actually made that, you actually what, provided about 1,000% return on your actual cost.
00:18:49 - 00:19:48
Right. So you know it's it had been come to us in the first place, you know you never would have had to pay all that out and then try to recapture it. You would have avoided paying it out in the first place. So you know again it's something people don't know what they don't know. They don't realize the mistakes they're making or the size of the problem.
But what they do feel what I hear all the time is, you know, I let this go and I've let this go and now it feels like this giant weight hanging over my head and I'm so stressed out and I'm losing sleep, but I know I need to do it and I don't know what to do and then they finally come and hire us and we help them out and they feel like oh it's this huge weight's been lifted, which is great, but the better thing would have been not to let that weight build up in the first place. And that that's what we try to do is like you said, you know, catch it early, get started early and never get to that point where you feel this crushing weight of, you know, undone things that are hanging over your head.
00:19:49 - 00:21:14
Yeah, and they would have got more sleep. So I wanted to think of an accountant is like melatonin. So because they help you sleep at night. Um and uh that's actually a really good analogy um hadn't thought about that, but anyway, so um but the fact is you have to wake up in the early morning in a big sweat because you're worried about, you know, the tax liabilities because you've got it covered from day one. Look, the other thing I discovered too is I had a bookkeeper have today, she stopped just as a bookkeeper accountant. Um, for me about six years ago, she just happened to be an expert consultant on getting grants from the government for export. And guess what, 99% of my revenue is export of services, influence services, affiliate marketing, growth services. I get paid in US dollars. She, you don't know what you don't know which is the term you used. She has put six figures in my bank over the last five years from an export grant. So there's a lot of things that are good accountant will know and be across. Oh, that's so and small businesses need help, right? So accountants that are across and actually are passionate about what they do and do research. They're always reading, always learning. And I'm sure you guys have got a whole team of those that is worth gold.
00:21:16 - 00:23:52
Yeah. And it's not just, you know, I think a lot of people's mindset is around tax, right? So yes, you want to, you're gonna have to pay tax and yes, you want that number to be as low as you can. But that's not the only reason to keep track of your numbers, right? It's really important to see, look what, what am I spending my time on that's generating the most profit and what, what am I spending my time on that maybe isn't generating much profit or any profit at all. And am I big enough to where it makes sense to bring on an employee? Would that allow me to double my output and at the end of the day, right, make more money or am I trying to still do it all myself to save a few dollars? But really, if I was able to spread myself around a little differently, I could double or triple my output. Those are the kinds of management decisions and things you can think about when you have good numbers and you can see how much is coming in and where is it coming in from and how much is going out instead of just sort of this, you know, attitude of “well, I don't want to spend any money, I don't have to” but at the same time handicapping yourself and trying to do it all and not being able to do it well and not spending your time where you're getting the best return. So those are the things, not only we do, you know, break out and try and show to clients, but we also try to educate and help advise, look, I want your business to be successful. How can we make it more successful? What are the things that you're doing that bring in the most revenue that you can do more of. And what are the things you're spending time on that either, don't bring on in revenue or don't bring in enough to justify the hours you're putting in, let's try to figure out how we can cut those back or outsource that, or do you even need that, you know, that's the kind of stuff that good bookkeeping and keeping track of your numbers and really watching where you're at will benefit from and not doing it is really holding you back. It's kind of like, you know, if your training to run a marathon, but you never keep track of, how far have you run, how much time have you spend? You're not doing any sort of measurement or tracking, you're probably not going to get much better, whereas if you go into it and every day, you're measuring, how far did I run compared to last week, compared to last month and how much farther can I run now and how much faster am I going, You're much more likely to hit those goals. You can set realistic goals, measure to see how well you're doing in relation to those goals and then set new goals and keep progressing. If you're tracking a bookkeeping is like that, you're setting goals for your business and you're making sure that your time is being well rewarded and that's a continually growing process. If you're not doing that, you're much more likely to be standing still or even sliding backwards and not even realizing.
00:23:52 - 00:25:38
Yeah, I think using data and having dashboards is a very good thing, isn't it? Especially for business. So, you know, where you're up to and keep on top of things and keep growing. Um so I actually have a smartwatch called a Garmin Fenix 6S. I actually measure not only my exercise in other words my activity but also measure my inactivity called sleep. Um so the data is really important, but sometimes you get a little obsessed with data and I'm like okay I only got 38 minutes deep sleep last night. So what do I do to get that better? Well so maybe hire an accountant, that might be the best thing to do.
So but um so the other thing that raised with me, I wanted to raise with you, your specialty is sounds like it is in the e-commerce online store sort of space, which is fascinating because we're in the middle of, we're doing some work with big commerce which is an Australian version of Australian startup that's been around for 10 years now. Public company in America IPO-ed last year with about five or six billion uh, essentially like a Shopify, BigCommerce, I'm sure some people have heard of it. So with BigCommerce um an online stores and Amazon because now we've got Amazon FBA, fulfillment by Amazon, so you can actually have an online store you can sell on Amazon. So I think I'm curious about is how is accounting, bookkeeping different or what things you need to be aware of if you're doing an online store, an Amazon store, what are some of the things you need to be aware of?
00:25:38 - 00:27:43
Sure. So I mean the biggest thing that we see that, that's tricky with the accounting side of e-commerce um is the timing of it, right? So if you buy inventory, you may have to buy it three months, four months before the time they make it, they put it on a boat, it gets all the way here, it gets to the warehouse, it gets sent to Amazon's warehouse before you can even sell it. Right? And then when you sell it with Amazon they pay you once every two weeks. So you may buy something in January, sell it in April and not get paid until May. So keeping track of that can get challenging right? Because you're, once you start selling now you've got to put another order in knowing you're gonna, it's gonna be another four months before the next door to get into the warehouse and how soon am I gonna run out? And in the meantime I'm waiting to get paid for the first order and I got a place the second order. Where am I going to get the money for that? So it's definitely a more complicated business than say, you know, affiliate sales or service business where you know, somebody pays you today, you might not have even provided the service yet or the affiliate link pays out every couple, but you don't have any inventory cost with that affiliate link right? It's just content that's out there. You may have created that content five years ago and that affiliate link is still paying you. So it's much easier, uh, to keep track of things on a simpler kind of online business than with e-commerce specifically where there's this big time period between first spending money and finally seeing some of it coming back. And that's something, you know, we can, we put together and we can help clients understand and do cash flow forecasting and projections and things and make sure that they're not over buying and not running short and that what they're selling is profitable, but that, that's what makes the e commerce stuff tricky. Not that, you know, Amazon's made it easy to sell online, but keeping track of it and, and accounting for it all is more complicated than a lot of other businesses.
00:27:43 - 00:28:26
I totally agree with you. I, I had started a very fast growing business with 0-2 million turnover a year in just 18 months, two years. Okay. And as a salesman because that was my, you know, my specialty, entrepreneurial idea. Um, what happened was that I forgot about that cash flow issue because I've never experienced it. I'm making sales. Awesome. Great. Um, uh, we make bigger sounds just great. And then going “Shit. I've gotta pay for that stock because these terms have fallen due from the supplier.” I haven't got money back in from my customer yet. So growth can be your enemy.
00:28:26 - 00:29:33
Yes, Yes, I mean, and the bigger, the faster the growth, the worst it is, which sounds completely counterintuitive, right? Why wouldn't you want to sell more? But we've had clients who literally had to decide to turn down and order from a Walmart or Costco because they, well we've got 4000 locations, we need 50 units in each local. So you've got a, you know, send 100,000 units and before that their biggest order was like 3000 units, how am I going to pay for this? And then those places are notorious for not paying for 120 days, 180 days and then they hold back a portion for returns and damage and everything else. So you're like, great, I sold 100,000 units and I went bankrupt. Thank you.
Those two things happen together because of the giant growth, so you know, the same thing can happen with e commerce, it can scale very fast, you can have a viral hit, you can have somebody promote your product, you weren't even expecting or it just takes off, it gets great reviews and gets great traction and before you know it, you know, you're selling so many that you, you're barely can keep the lights on because all the cash went back to buying inventory.
00:29:34 - 00:30:34
Yeah. Look, I yeah, I basically had to close the business because that's what happened. Um and so I understand the pain, right. Seriously, that was painful. Um so what I did learn from that, I went okay, so especially with small supplies internationally, I do work for them as prepayment. I don't know you, I don't have a credit record with you, I can't chase you for money in the middle of Estonia when I'm in Sydney, bigger clients, like, you know the BigCommerce side, of course it's different, but when you've got small clients, so I learned from that lesson, going okay, we don't do anything until we get pre paid and so it's got to be trust to there. But the reality is I learned from that and so success can, fast growth can kill you, killing your business, which like you said, it doesn't seem to make sense to the, especially a sales minded growth centric entrepreneur. So I totally get it.
00:30:34 - 00:31:14
And it doesn't make sense to the outside world either too, right? You know, friends and family, wow, two million turnover right. When you buy in the mansion, where's the Lamborghini? And in the meantime you're like, I don't have 10 cents to my name,
So it's uh you have to be careful and understand the numbers because if you're just thinking, hey more sales is better and the faster I grow, the better off I'll be, hold on, you know, put the brakes on first. Let's make sure that's actually the case or you're going to run into that exact situation where sales growth literally runs you into the ground and kills you.
00:31:16 - 00:32:11
I totally agree. So, but it's hard, like, look, I didn't have sort of, had mentors had to hire them, but the reality is that when you're getting your hands dirty, your urine, yeah, you're in the trenches. It's really sometimes hard to see these issues because no one's told you about them. Well, your parents never have had this sort of challenge. It's a very different world what it was back then and when the middle, maybe some of the biggest changes in business and entrepreneurship we've ever seen in centuries, um, online stores. Okay. They were basically just a bit of an idea back in the 90s. Um, so yeah, so what are some of the top tips that you like to share with some of our viewers and readers and listeners? What, what would you recommend to them for onboarding? What are some of the processes? What are some of the top tips that you'd really recommend that you've observed over the last 20 years?
00:32:17 - 00:34:57
I mean, I would say this sounds, I don't know, maybe that's because this is gonna sound good, but I would say treat your business like a business right, if you're serious about it and you want to grow it and you want it to become your full time income if it's not already, treat your business like a business. So that means, you know, don't commingle your business account with your personal account, whether it's your bank account or your credit cards, right? Don't, you know, don't put this, this is doing accounting and doing all the back off. This stuff is part of running a real business, part of being a grown up, right, part of, take care of business. If you hire employees right, do it right. Follow the rules, pay them what they're supposed to be paid, take care of the accounting, take care of, of knowing what your business is supposed to be doing and kind of, if you're not an expert in something, but it needs to be done, then hire a professional to take care of it, even though it is a little cost now, it's gonna let you scale up into being a real business, it's much easier to do that in the early days than trying to unwind a big mess when you're already a year or two into it and you've done everything wrong and backwards and put it off and now you're paying this fine and that fine and you're trying to get, you know caught up with the tax people and everything else.
So just, it doesn't take much more work to treat it like a business and, and be serious about it, but it really
pays off in the long run and I think your growth and your success will reflect the fact that you've treated it like a real business and not just something that you're doing is this, you know, sort of side hustle here and there that you're not taking seriously and that you're not treating like it should be treated right? So and we help people clean up these messes all the time, it can be fixed, but it's just more work and more stress and more money to fix it down the road than trying to treat it right. And if you don't know that's fine, I mean everybody starts, you know, it's everybody's first time the first time but use this as an opportunity to reach out and talk to people and find out hey what should I be doing? What's the right way to handle this, what's the right way to, to run this business like a business? There's lots of people, be happy to help you give you some advice, you know, get you set up, we talk to people all the time who are not big enough or ready to be clients just and spend 20 minutes saying hey do this, do this, do this, that's gonna set you on the right path, then come back in six months when you triple the size you are now and we can help you out and make sense, but get on the right track early and it really pays off and treat your business like a business.
00:34:57 - 00:36:28
Yeah, I totally agree. When I started my business, but I've had model businesses but started the current one back in 2000 and well I just started a passion project. It really, there was no plan, a lot of people start without a plan, right, um that's fine, nothing wrong with that. Um so I basically didn't set up a company for it until the middle of it like four years later because I got paid for speaking, it was fine, but then I said okay now I need to become, take it from a passion project that was just a side hustle to a proper business, so I had to change my mindset four years later when I moved out of having this hybrid model of 9-5 along with a passion project, I had to change my mindset and the thing too is even today I'm still mindful that I need to keep growing as an entrepreneur and that mindset is really important is to keep that personal and business separated, have the right structures and processes in place. I think one of the big things I've also noticed watching other entrepreneurs also, my myself is um you got to move away from doing it all yourself, so when you start, sure you gonna be doing almost everything yourself, that's quite often the case, but then at some stage you need to start stepping away and become the conductor and the visionary for the business and delegate to other people. That's very hard for a control freak entrepreneur to do sometimes.
00:36:28 - 00:38:22
Yes, yes, I mean a lot of people. Uh yes, I first I agree you should have a general idea of how all the different parts of your business work. Even if you're not going to become the expert in the full time person doing it, you should have a general idea. So then somebody can come along and say, oh well yes, I'll take over the accounting for you. It's going to take 20 hours a week and I need to charge you a giant amount. You can say, well I've done it myself for six months. I know it takes two hours a month, so I'm not paying you 20 hours a week or whatever nonsense you're trying to pitch me, but you should start to back off and say what things again, sort of, what are the, what's the essence of my business that only I can do that or that I'm the best person to do the value that I bring to it right in your case, right. You couldn't put someone else up on stage and deliver your talks, only you can do that. But you could certainly have someone else do your accounting. You could, you could have someone else do your travel booking or your, you know, other things that you may have done in the past, but it didn't have to be you doing it right, so the highest and best use of your time because you only have so many hours in a day should be doing something that only you can do and everything else if it's you or someone else could do it as you get bigger and your time becomes more and more valuable.
Those are the things you should be pushing off and it doesn't mean hand it off and never look at it again because that's how you get in trouble too. That's how you find out. Your sweet little little bookkeeper who was working in your office has stolen a half a million dollars from you because you never looked at it. So look at it but don't spend your time doing it, just review it and make sure it's all on track or bring in a manager to review it and then you review the managers work but only you can do the things that you do best that make your business unique and special and the essence of what your business is but all that other junk hand it off.
00:38:22 - 00:39:52
Yeah, I came across, totally agree with that, and I came across a really great term by Eric Schmidt, the ex-CEO of Google in the past, he said your job as an entrepreneur and a leader is actually to clear the way in other words make it easy for your staff to actually get shit done. Mhm and in other words you remove the obstacles, um and I think that I went, wow, that is really such a great concept in that given the right tools, make sure it's, you know, they can get their job done without, you know, politics or red tape, reduce it and your job is to be that, you know, that leader that gets out of the way, still, like you said, keeps an eye on things, it still can't just for, you know, forget, but I thought that was really, really cool in the sense of you just need to make it easy for your team to deliver um and provide the vision and inspiration to do that, and it's a different mindset to being in the trenches in a sense. And so, you know, I was the original creator, a writer for the blog I started in 2009 and I had I've had to hand that off, and that's when uh that's that's that's what I do. Um and yes, I was good at it and still am, but I need to hand over the creation of the product to someone else. Um and it's uh I think as an entrepreneur, you have to have this evolving mindset, don't you?
00:39:52 - 00:41:24
Yes, yeah, most early stage entrepreneurs uh you know, our hands on everything, right, They're trying to do everything, they're trying to launch the rocket, but also build the space station and they're doing everything, but as you mature, you understand that that's not realistic and not only is it not realistic, but likely it starts to hold you back because you can't put your time where it needs to go because you're still doing all these admin things and you have to sort of back off from the control freak idea of I'm the only one that can do this or I'm the one that does it best and stand back and say well maybe that's true, maybe I'm the one that does it best but can I get someone else who can do it well enough that it serves the purpose and if the answer to that is yes then that's that's all it needs to be, it doesn't need to be you doing everything the way you do it, it just needs to be done in a way that gets it done to serve the purpose of being it. I've heard sort of what you were saying from Eric Schmidt, a similar kind of saying is that your job is not to do it, all your job is just to make sure it all gets done.
And that could very much mean handing off a lot of it to other people who do it. So again, just a mindset switch from I have to do everything to I have to make sure it all gets done but I can have help, I can have people who do big parts of this for me and and just my then my job is to hire good smart people and make sure they're trained and equipped to do it and then I get out of their way and I let them do their stuff and I focus on what I need to do.
00:41:24 - 00:42:04
I totally agree. And the other one too I think entrepreneurs need to fall in love with is not only what love what they're doing, but fall in love with the process of what they're doing and create processes with your team to actually help you scale the business. Because the great thing about processes is that it will help you grow faster by making it less friction. And actually when you onboard, somebody saying here's the process, it's there. Um and I'll fall in much more in love with the process over the last couple of years and using tools like Treollo, for example, that allows us to control the process through collaboration and these are the tools that did not exist 10 years ago. Right.
00:42:05 - 00:42:28
Yeah. I mean it was all sticky notes and you know whiteboards and you, you were sort of limited to the people who could come in and see it and and now you can use these tools much more effectively and share them with the team whether the team is local or spread across the globe, you can have that same kind of management input and collaboration that just wasn't possible 10 years ago.
00:42:28 - 00:42:40
Exactly. And there's just incredible examples of these virtual or remote companies. One of them is GitHub for example, 1500 employees and I don't think they have a head office.
00:42:40 - 00:42:41
00:42:42 - 00:45:13
And it's all done and what they've done is actually documented, they've got 10,000 pages of process documentation that is on public record, they actually show what their process is. So, and this is, so this is what's really, well in in this brave new world of distributed virtual companies that are managed by platforms and software that is sits in the cloud that didn't exist very much basically 10, 15 years ago are generally. The other thing about Xero and Quickbooks, they sit in the cloud now, they used to have to download on your computer and then you have to move the files around. So it's sort of like all these changes have crept up on us in the last couple of decades and a lot of people don't know how much easier it is actually to start and manage a business world in this digital world.
Um so just to wrap things up Matt, it's just been fantastic to get some wisdom out to our clients from and I love the fact that I can have a chat to you and you can share your wisdom of decades with listeners and viewers. Um that's what I love about the podcast, I sit here and actually pick your brain for an hour and I feel like I'm doing entrepreneur 101 every week as I sit down and have these fireside chats. So what maybe is top tips to leave our viewers that you've learned along the way that you, you mentioned one of them already before. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our audience? And also actually before we do that, let me get one.
So I know in having a little bit of look at your website and doing some research, maybe give us a quick thumbnail sketch on the onboarding process and how easy it is to basically set up a client for you guys. What's, what's the sort of like the onboarding process looked like just a thumbnail sketch?
00:44:38 - 00:47:31
So and this is something, you know, to your point about processes, right? We started with a process and then we're continuously improving it and looking at how can we make it even better, even more seamless, even easier. So for anyone that works with us as soon as we signed the agreement, this is the scope of work. This is what we'll provide, you know, be providing, this is what we're charging and our rates are all fixed flat rate. So you know, before you even start with, it’s exactly what you're paying the price doesn't change, it's, it's set, you know what you're getting and you know what's going to cost. As soon as you get that signed, our onboarding team reaches out to you and essentially we give you a client portal, we go through each account that you have for most accounts. There's the option to provide third party view only access. That's what we're looking to set up. So we set it up one time with you, takes only a few minutes and then from there on we can get everything we need without having to bother you. We don't need you to go in and download statements or download transactions or send us anything. We can go in and get it.
So our onboarding processes going through each account, you have an establishing access for what we need and then hopefully after that we have a minimum amount of bothering of you that we need to do. We'll do everything on our end. And then if we do have some questions on some transactions, we put, you know, again we use our client portal, we put them right there so you can log in and answer them. We'll also send them to you the email, we're also happy to chat with people on the phone. So we try to make it as easy and seamless to work with us as possible. We try to make the onboarding quick and painless because that's the first step in us being able to work with any client is getting access to the information we need. So you know we try to make it quick and painless and work with the client to customize it to whatever specific things they have going on, whatever they have, that they need, you know, we have some general buckets of pricing on our website, but literally every single client, we review exactly what they have going and then give them a custom price for that. They may have $10 million a year of turnover, but if they only got three accounts, they're probably still at our minimum price. Right? And on the other hand, a client that may only have half a million dollars of turnover a year, but for whatever reason, is open 12 different credit cards and sells on six platforms and has all kinds of things going on. They're probably not going to be at a minimum price. So well, you know, quote each client according to their specific needs, their wants and then we give them a flat rate price and then we onboard them and the onboarding can be as little as an hour or a half an hour, even if they've just got a minimal number of accounts and then we're kind of off to the races and you know, even there, how we work with clients were continually evaluating how well is this working and is there anything we can do better? And I'm always trying to find out how do we do something better and if we find it, we make that the new process and that's the new process for everyone going forward until we improve it again. So just kind of incremental improvements in how we do things that we're always open to learning how we can improve.
00:47:32 - 00:47:55
That's fantastic. So, and that basically make sure you've got a bulletproof process and make sure that they can manage their cash flow. They got their numbers for each month or each week. Um and they're basically on top of their business. So, and be done from anywhere in the world, which is awesome. So maybe just one top tip to finish up.
00:47:55 - 00:49:22
Yeah. So I mean, the last thing I would suggest is whether you're doing it yourself or whether you are, you know, working with somebody like us or another provider, make sure you're using the right tools, right? And I would say that's either Quickbooks Online or Xero. There's other accounting options out there. You can get bookkeeping software from GoDaddy, there's something FreshBooks, there's a lot of other options. But most of those other smaller options, the cheap options or the free trial options. Wave is free. You're getting what you're paying for right there, not full service accounting solutions. And so your reporting is sort of hamstrung, you can't get a full good report out of it, you can't do everything that you should be doing. So use the right tool for the job, right? You don't want to use a sledgehammer to put a nail in and you know, you don't want to drive a huge iron spike with chopsticks, you think is the right tools for the right job in this case for almost any small business and particularly what we've been talking about here. Online businesses, e-commerce business is the right tool for the job is either Xero or Quickbooks Online and then there's bigger options to Sage and Soho. You can pay thousands of dollars a month for accounting software, but that's got bells and whistles and features you'll never ever need. So get the right tool for the job, whether you do it yourself or you get somebody to help you because using the wrong tool is just not, it's gonna give you sub optimal results and you're gonna have to switch over later anyways.
00:49:23 - 00:49:56
Well, I'm really relaxed that I use Xero. So I mean, yeah, that is a free platform, but you've been using, I used to use an Australian Cunningham platform in the past, NYB but we switched to Xero about four or five years ago and it's been awesome. So um yeah, Quickbooks or Xero. God, I'm relaxed. I can go to sleep tonight because I've got the right tool. Um Okay, so how does everyone find you guys, Matt Remuzzi, how do they find you?
00:49:56 - 00:51:02
Sure. So the best place to find this is online on our website. CapForge.com. You can kind of read about what we do in our services and the various things that we offer and there's a contact form right on their [email protected] email comes right to us or there's even a phone number if you're in the States, want to give us a call or jump on a Google Meet or a Zoom call. However you'd like to reach us from there. You know, all our contact info Linkedin, Facebook, all that stuff is on the website. So I say start on the website, CapForge.com
And then from there, whatever you're, you know, preference for contacting us is go ahead and use it. I'm happy to have a free consult with anybody. Whether you're just starting. You've been in business for years, whether you have one question or 100 questions, you know, reach out, let's have a conversation if we can help you. Great. If we can't help you now, but down the road, great. If we can help you now or never. But you just got a question. No problem. I'm a big believer in Karma. Uh, it'll come back one way or the other. You know, you'll know somebody who needs us or whatever it is. No problem. Reach out first. We'll figure out the rest later.
00:51:02 - 00:51:28
Awesome. Thanks Matt for sharing your wisdom with us. It's been a fabulous hour spent just diving into the boring process of putting that you've got to fall in love with. Um, actually sexier than, you know. Um, so it's sexy when it actually helps you make money and helps you sleep at night. So thank you very much for your time. It's been an absolute pleasure Matt.
00:51:28 - 00:51:40
Thank you for having me. Yes, profits are sexy, so that's what we want to see. We want to see those profits, the sexy, sexy profits. We'll help you with that. So thanks for having me. It's been great.
00:51:40 - 00:51:42
It's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you.
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