720 – The Evolution of Small Business Financial Management with Gauvreau & Associates CPA’s Bob Gauvreau
Transform tax burden into savings.
The guest on today's episode is Bob Gauvreau, FCPA, FCA, and LPA at Gauvreau CPA.
Bob has been working in public accounting for 10 years and has been practicing at his own firm since 2008. At Gauvreau & Associates they value the culture of hard work and commitment, and strive to provide financial freedom to all clients. Each client's story is different, and no challenge is too much for them.
Learn more about the consulting and accounting work Bob does and much more on this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur.
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And I only do this with friends. Right? And so, Bob Gauvreau. Not only have you been a friend for over a year, and I think we originally connected in having you as a guest on The Thoughtful Entrepreneur. And then as we got to talking, I'm like, "Bob, man, I need to hire you." And so Bob Gauvreau. We also I think we may have gotten connected through the Tony Robbins world, perhaps or at least we saw that we had some mutual connections there. You've spoke I've spoke in that in that world. But Bob from a high level would would you mind sharing what you do?
Bob Gauvreau 1:10
Yeah, absolutely. Well and, yes. And it was great to connect. And yes, I love connecting off to going Yes, we should work together. And I'm so grateful that we have, yes, so I have a CPA firm. It's a traditional CPA firm to one extent, and then it's non traditional in another way. The traditional side is we do accounting, bookkeeping tax, and the non traditional side is we get really proactive in how we work with clients to help them with future related decisions, as opposed to just being reactive, which is like the tax and accounting world. So yeah, we have multiple programs, including our virtual CFO program, which we've now branded as the Ascent Peak Performance Program for entrepreneurs who want to grow scale, and really build wealth inside their business and in their lives. So that's working with business owners closely to help understand exactly where they are in their business, and help make strategic decisions to move forward strategically, yeah, into the future.
In this conversation, I'd really like to address the evolution of financial management and financial decision making for small business owners. Because I think a lot of us start at a level and maybe we're just working as a freelancer or consulting. And they're like, hey, this thing I seem to be getting some good business here, then, you know, invariably, one of the first things you're going to run into is, you know, taxes are different. It didn't, you know, if you've just been doing your own taxes as an employee, and now you're doing taxes as a small business owner, it's a different world. And so could you kind of frame like early, early, early stage when it comes to financial management, and, you know, especially as it comes to taxes and bookkeeping, and decision making, and then we'll kind of go from stage to stage here. Because I want to paint a very realistic picture of what it's like. So if someone is very new at business, or they're a freelancer right now, I want them to start thinking ahead of like, when I get to this stage, it's time for that next level of bringing in support, you know, using the right tools, you know, having the right mindset for the financial distance is going to be required and the financial activity that's going to be required for you to successfully run your company. So yeah, so early, early stage, where are we at?
Yeah, good. Well, great multitude of questions in there, Josh. So I'll do my best to try and try and cover everything. But...
Bob, explain the world.
What is finances? No. It's great. And you know, it's interesting, because there are people are always going to be in different phases of their business, right, a mature business, you know, you've gone through the trials and tribulations and you know, where the pain points have been. But for a new business owner that's out there, right, you've kind of taken a leap, maybe you're still working. And this is a side hustle, which is great. A few things to keep in mind, if that's the stage that you're at, first and foremost. Don't forget to track your numbers. The easiest thing that we can do right now is utilize software to do some of that for us. So we're big fans of QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Online can pull into a bank feed and help you manage your transactions because if you can't manage them, it's gonna be really stressful when it comes to tax time when you try and figure out where all of your expenses went. And you could be over reporting your taxable income. And one other thing I'll say for the you know, the new business owner is if you are going to be making money if it looks like Business is good. Don't wait until, you know, February of the next year to start pulling together your income because all of a sudden, there's this big tax liability you weren't expecting. And now you're behind the eight ball with cash flow, and you're scrambling to try and figure out how you're going to pay that tax bill. Don't put yourself in that position. At a minimum, start putting money away. When you start, if you're making money, and you're making profit, put something in a separate account, now. Maybe don't have to follow the profit first methodology to a tee. But if you don't know what that is, look it up. But at least have some of your income go into a separate account for that liability that will come. And if you don't want to invest in working with someone to trail and track that along the way in your first year. Just make sure that you have that security net sitting there until you know how everything works. Does that makes sense, Josh?
yeah, I am guessing. And Bob, what's what's your website, I wanted to make sure that I kind of shared that upfront here, as we're talking, um, because I can just tell you, like you and I have been working together, you've, we've been using you and your firm for bookkeeping, for kind of financial decision making CFO type work. And so I just want to make sure that, you know, "who is this?" And we'll get get that out there. Because I have many more questions. And I have some assumptions, based on things that that I've seen, as I've talked with a lot of business owners, just in terms of like those those mistakes that are really, really easy to make it but at the early stages.
yeah, absolutely. So our firm is Gauvreau CPA, our website is exactly that. So it's G A U V R E A U cpa.ca. If you were to get on our website, and you wanted to work with us, there's a box in the top right, that says "Get Started". Right there, it gives your our all of our contact info book an appointment, we're happy to help. But yes, let's, let's deal with some of these pain points. And, you know, if they resonate with you, as a business owner, let's try and eliminate them from your life. Because finances can be one of the largest stress not only on you, but on relationships. So let's eliminate some of these major issues that are in there just by making some proactive planning and making some proactive choices.
You know, I love the concept of surrounding yourself with smart people. And there's a lot of good general information available in terms of like, you know, maybe it's taxes, or bookkeeping, or even just best practices. That's great. Like, we should all be learning that stuff. But as a business owner, I think the sooner you get to a position where you can say, listen, it is your job, to think about this to look for opportunities to look for, you know, just, you know, be doing an ongoing SWOT analysis about this aspect of our business. Right. And in certainly, I could just say, personality wise, finances are not the most fun part of business, I could certainly say things like bookkeeping, and taxes. I mean, you know, those are probably the first jobs that I'm like, "I gotta outsource that," like, I want that done. I want it done well. I want to be able to have clarity as we go, because that's going to impact my decision making process, I think, and I wonder, Bob, and maybe you have a pulse on this. How often people disregard or ignore their financial stuff. Um, because maybe it might not be as exciting or, you know, it's not exciting, but I wonder if sometimes we look at finances as being a little bit of a downer, you know, because if you're scraping it out at the early stages, yeah, I mean, cash flow is just gonna be an issue. It's Welcome to the club. You know, you're not alone. If you're like, "crud, I wish I had more money at the end of the month here. And it's not available." It happens, but then some months, you have really excellent months.
Josh: Any observations on that?
Yeah. Well, now that you've made me decide, I want to leave my chosen career path. Get out of those finances, right? No, I get it though. Right. So, you know, I'm an entrepreneur at heart as well. And, you know, I think that's a little bit unique for maybe someone in my space because we're technicians, right? But what I would say is, you know, as an entrepreneur, or somebody who's trying to create something and trying to create a life for yourself, and whatever that means, and you're trying to create this, this new venture, it's consuming all of your energy and your thoughts and you get momentum. But then you have to stop and deal with something that you don't know, understand, or anything right. It You get frustrated, you get bogged down, and you could be out there selling or doing what it is that you really enjoy. And, you know, an easy, easy solution to this, especially when you start, you know, if there's no significant volume going on in your business, it's really easy to outsource these things, whether it's the US or to somebody else, you can find someone to outsource this, and it's gonna be really simple for them, it might take you eight hours to figure it out. But it may be, you know, 30 minutes a month for somebody who actually knows what they're doing. So it's a really easy thing to get off your plate, so you can focus on revenue generation and value add.Josh:
Yeah, and so, um, what what are general best practices when it comes to So again, I kind of came up with three areas that I think are pretty common, right? Um, so there's taxes, which I think in taxes are inevitable, I mean, you cannot, you cannot be in business and not, you know, focus on your business taxes, that's not an afterthought. If taxes are an afterthought, you are almost certainly going to find yourself in a bad position, where, then owe money to the IRS, and you have to pay interest in penalties on that, and then you end up losing money. You know, and I know that it's one of those things that can kind of creep up on you. And the other two buckets that I kind of came up with and thinking about, you know, just day to day, bookkeeping, your payroll is kind of part of that, right, you know, just your expenses. And, and making sure that, you know, we have clear reporting of that, that's all very, very vital. And then I'd say, you know, based upon those things, then there's the strategic decision making based on what the numbers are, or am I missing a bucket there when it comes to finances and business?Bob:
No, I and then I think, you know, the only other area that I would say, is, is more the future oriented, it's like, what are the what is the outcome that you're actually trying to achieve here? You know, instead of just saying, "yep, you know, we're trying to sell the more people, we're trying to figure out how we grow our business." But what does that actually mean? Let's quantify that, and build out a roadmap on how to get there. It's interesting, you know, with the roadmap building is an area that I spend a lot of time on, because I think it's very important for people to be able to quantify, and benchmark what steps they need to take. And I liken this to, you know, the Friday night dinner with my wife, there's two options right? Before I get home, I can text her and say, Where do you want to go for dinner, we book a reservation, I get home probably late. And I get in the car and we drive straight to the restaurant, we enjoy our meal. It's exactly what we wanted. And we go home, we've we've made an efficient night, we've had a great experience. And it's been great. The other option, which happens more than I would like to actually admit to is that I go home, we start talking about Oh, where would we like to go to dinner, we get in the car, we start driving around looking for inspiration, we don't really know where we're going, we've driven up and down the same streets two or three times, we decide on something after the fact that wasn't really what we wanted, or wasn't what one of us wanted, we go home feeling unsatisfied, the two are completely likened to building out a road map for your business. If you want to drive around aimlessly, not really knowing what you're looking for, or getting the roadmap, plugging it into the GPS, here's where you turn left, here's where you turn right. This is when you show up, and you get the experience you actually want. That's what building out your business future looks like, let's understand, this is what we want to accomplish. Great. Now we have a destination, let's build out the map on how to get there. So that's, you know, for me, that's my passion. Because, you know, people like you, Josh, we're helping people and making a big difference in an impact in their lives. I want to make sure that your impact is maximized by helping you get to your destination.Josh:
Yeah, yeah. I and listen, I got to tell you that, you know, Bob, you and I, you know, in kind of our work together, here's, here's how we work and just, you know, kind of illustrate this for someone who's contemplating. Okay, so I have a tax person. You know, I have someone doing my Payroll and Bookkeeping and that sort of thing. Um, when am I ready to bring, you know, an advisor in to start having those conversations around decisions based upon numbers and stuff. You know, I think a lot of times in business, it's just go go, go, go, go go. And I think a lot of the decisions are very marketing based, you know, operations based. And can you maybe talk about if you are experiencing, de, de, de, de, it, it's probably time for you to bring in As a strategist, someone can kind of serve in a virtual CFO route. Role. And how do you help someone make that decision?Bob:
Yeah. So right out of the gates you think of, Okay, if you want to invest in having a finance expert on your team, someone who's knowledgeable and strategic and has experience in growing a business, right, because we want to invest in in those type of people, you're looking at a quarter million dollar plus, to have that person available to you. So the other option is to say, How can we do this fractionally and get access to somebody who's really the right person to help us at that time? And so what is the right time? I guess, Josh, is is your question. So the time is where you're ready to invest, you're ready to grow, you're ready to scale. But you while you're investing, you want to make sure that the decisions you're making are financially responsible, and are being based on fundamental number based evidence, right? Because numbers don't lie. If you start investing into you know, different areas of marketing, which is always great. Or you're investing in new equipment, or in new lines of business or another location, how do you know that that is the right financial strategy for you, maybe staying in your same location and offering more volume at the same one product is going to be a better outcome for you, right? When you start to have questions like that, and you don't have the answers available to you. Or, you know, even if you have a great bookkeeper and a CPA, I like my team is of 35 people, I've got bookkeepers, CPAs, tax specialists, right? I'm surrounded by fantastic people. And even if you have those people in place, to be able to analyze that information and help you move forward with it and make good decisions. If you're concerned, you aren't clear on where you're at, and the decisions you need to make. You need a financial person to help back your decisions. Give you confidence, to know that you're making the right choice, and ultimately realize great financial results.Josh:
Yeah, yeah. So um, Can ,can I ask, like, you know, in terms of like hiring a VCFO, what's, what's the range on that? If you're just like, you know, for example, like you and I, it's not huge engagement at this point. But what what is the, what's the investment that maybe someone might be looking at for someone who's fairly competent? gonna say, well, let's look at all your numbers. Let's look at your past. And what are your goals right now. And I can say, you know, Bob, you know, the, the thing that you've been able to bring is, is clarity and in looking at the numbers and stuff that I don't necessarily see. Right. And so I think I remember one conversation was just simply about profit margin. And they're like, you know, based on Josh, based on what I'm seeing, let me interpret this for you. And let you know, cuz I remember this conversation very vividly. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, it's, he's like, you know, and so basically, like, here's the number you need to get to, right, in order for you to have X amount, you can pay your bills, that sort of thing right there. Now, anything you're from here and above, your profit margin goes way higher. So your goal, and then it becomes about goal setting, right? Like, this is the number you want to be hitting. If you're telling me you want this lifestyle. So rather than just guessing. And just you know, I think a lot of business owners are just like, more and more and more and more and more and more and more. Well, yeah. But wouldn't it be nice to, you know, know exactly what your goals are? Right? Like, if you like, for example, sales, like you want to you want a number, right, and you want to aim for that number? And if it's just more, more, more, more more, I mean, that's nice. But I think that's, I don't know, I don't see a lot of big companies doing that. I did. It's, you know, I think you want to be intentional about targets.Bob::
Totally. And, you know, it was interesting, I had a meeting with a new prospect there a week or so ago, growing business, sales background, you know, fantastic human. I'm very intrigued to watch the future success of this individual. He was fantastic. And it was interesting. He said to me at the beginning of the meeting, you know, one of the mistakes that I made was that I always listened to one of my mentors who told me you can sell yourself out of every problem. And I'm like, Well, what do you mean by you can sell yourself at every problem? He goes, if I just sell enough, I'll bring enough money in that eventually I'll make money. And I was like, Yes. But what if you didn't have to sell yourself out of your problem? And what if we could solve your problem right now by tweaking a few things on your business model? And as soon as you're clear on it, like you were saying, Josh, when we understand what our product Fit margins are in our breakeven point, right? And we say, Yep, we're gonna make 40% profit on every job. And once we've covered all of our ongoing expenses, that 40% profit drives rate to your bottom line. And when we can start looking at that and saying, Well, how much do you want to make? I want to make $100,000 500,000 a million dollars. Great. So here's the sales number you have to hit in order to realize those targets. And guess what, based on your average sale price being $5,000, that's 10 sales per week. Now you've got a specific target for your sales person to say you've got you need to hit two sales per day, and you will make a million dollars in your business this year. So it's, it's all about, yes, let's quantify it, let's understand the model. Let's tighten it up as much as we can, so that the profits are good. And then let's blow this thing up and start marketing everything and driving extraordinary results. Now, the one question you had Josh was, you know, what does it look like? You know, what's the relationship in having a virtual CFO or fractional CFO, people call it different things? You know, for us, we have a really great program. Now we're north of the border in Canada, which is great for our American friends, because we charge in Canadian dollars. So yeah, even better.Josh:
It's a good exchangeBob:
right now. Well, right now and the past 100 years, it's been a great exchange rate, right? It always ends up working out. But we charge, you know, we have a set program. And the reason it's a set program is that we know that we can generate the results and the outcomes that people need. And it's you know, it's flexible within a certain range. But you know, there's certain elements of it that we need to provide, we need to provide outcomes to people in a certain way. So we have a virtual CFO program. It's an individual program, and it's got a group training component to it, which is completely optional. But the one on one piece is, every single month we meet, we meet for an hour, when we initially meet, we build out that benchmark, we build out your future success model. And then every single month, we look at the actual results. And we compare it to our benchmark and say, Are we on track? Or are we not on track to our, our desired results, and I can pick up so much information by looking in those financial numbers, I can tell you exactly what you did that worked well, I can tell you what you did, that didn't work so well. So we focus on strategically saying, let's eliminate the not so well and make more of the what you did well, so that we get better results. And it's just that easy for someone like me to go in and do that. Because I work with over 500 entrepreneurs, I see people in multiple different industries, to be able to identify, you know, areas of opportunity and areas of weakness, things to change. So for us, it's a 20 $500 a month program, which I think is around 16 $100 us a month to get that sort of advice, guidance direction. And really, if anything, clarity and confidence on where you're at. Yeah,Josh:
yeah. And I can tell you that emotionally, it's reassuring, because I want to share I was thinking about this earlier, when you're in business, a lot of times, you know, if you're in marketing mode as the CEO, it's always like, oh, life is good. Oh, we're blowing up. And you just see it all the time. And you're like, bro, the urine business man, it's not always rosy and you know it right? It just, but you got to put on this, you know, you got to put on this act for your audience. And you're also, you know, you can't, you know, you want to, you don't want to be a downer in front of your team. So, there's certain conversations that I just you really might not have the freedom to have. Right. And so as a result, you know, that saying it's lonely at the top, you know, they're just, you know, if you're stressed about something financially, who are you supposed to talk about, you know, maybe you can or can't talk with your family members about that. But I can tell you that, you know, having someone who is, you know, just concerns themselves with financials, knows and has seen everything in business, you have a lot of experience. Like it's just good to have someone that you can like, man, I just want to talk about this stuff. You know, here's what I'm excited about. Here's what I'm concerned about, you know, and you know, like I said, I you know, for me its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Like I look at everything going on in that lens like what what are my big threats Right now financially, you know, where am I weak? What What do I need to really work on right now and just be able to go through that exercise with you? Like, um, you know, even if you don't have any? You know, it's just like, well, Josh, I don't know that I've got the answer for that. But, but it's just nice to converse about it. So you can say, yeah, seen this before? Let me tell you what I've seen other people like that is a healthy conversation to have as a business owner.Bob:
Totally. And and, you know, what if we have so many different conversations in so many ways, but one thing I will say, you know, is that common discussion is always, you know, why is my cash flow? Not like, You're telling me, Bob, I'm making, you know, I'm making $100,000 a year, why do I have no cash left in my business account? Right? And, you know, I just got off a call with a with a client who is having that same sort of frustration, and being able to answer not only answer the question, but to say, this is what's happening showing you teaching you that this is, you know, this is the outcome of this product, and how this business model works, and saying, Now, let's fix it. Right, let's learn from it, so that it doesn't happen, let's fix it. And let's make the cash flow in our business better, because 94% of all businesses that fail fail, because they run out of cash, not because they don't have a great business with that's profitable, yet that they run out of money. Right? So there's, there's so many different discussions that we could have, and I you know, I've got sheets on here's a, here's a plan for improving your cash flow, right? Like, let's stop spending all of our net income on buying new equipment or inventory or reinvesting in r&d, let's use the bank's money. You know, let's that's an easy way to to better utilize and optimize cash flow. So, you know, there's so many tools in the tool belt, from learning from experiences from other people's failures, other people's successes, that you know, somebody who you can lean on, that's got financial expertise, and has seen what works and what doesn't work is invaluable to financial success in your business.Josh:
Yeah. Now, Bob, you've got an event coming up as of when we're recording this. So for those who are watching the live stream right now, yay, for you, you're gonna hear about this, or watching the recording and it's still prior to this event. Can you give me the details on this? Cuz you gotta you got some celebrities coming in?Bob:
I do. And I'm so pumped about this, Josh, and thank you for letting me share this. The prerequisite of this is it's been a tough 12 months, right? Like we're, we're What's the date today, March 26 2021. And 12 months ago, we got hit with a global pandemic, and economic shutdowns and uncertainty. And you know, fear, right, this this fear of uncertainty, financial health, economic global concern, right. It's been a tough year. And as a business owner, we've dealt with so many challenges, and, and uncertainties throughout the year, and our team has put our heart and soul into making sure that any information that's available to create greater certainty has been provided. And we've done this, we've created communities where we just want to share and just help, right, so this event for me is the extension of that I'm done with, let's survive, right? That's been the last 12 months. Now it's time to thrive, right? We've survived. Now it's time to go out and make some money. Let's now go out, figure out our financial business model, understand our goals, and let's go out and get them. Right. That's what 2020 one's going to be about for us. So we created this extraordinary event, sort of impromptu. But I reached out, I guess, as a prerequisite. I wrote a book last year called the wealthy entrepreneur. And it's coming and it's being launched in bookstores on April 6. And it's it's really great. It's a simple, it's a simple process. But a lot of the things that we just spoke about that are do it yourself. And I got really tired of thinking about selling books. It wasn't exciting to me, it wasn't helping enough people in a in a proactive way. So I said, well, instead of investing in that, how about I go to the one person that I would love to collaborate in the world with and see if they would come be a guest speaker at my impromptu live event. So I reached out to Gary Vaynerchuk and his team and said, I am thinking about putting on this event for entrepreneurs. That's going to help them once they've been inspired to jump into entrepreneurship and doing something incredible. I want to show them how to be financially successful with it. Gary Vee is the guy that, that I was really inspired or has inspired so many people to jump. And his team said, Yes, Gary will come and hang out with us. So I'm like, Yes. Oh, man, now I have to put on a live event. Ah, this is great. So we've done it, the event is going to be held virtually, on April 9. It's called the ascent summit, ASC and t summit.com. Tickets are $97. As part of that, you get a copy of my book. You know, we've put a value on the event. It's over $10,000 and giveaways, as being part of it. So for $97. And, you know, I've kind of recently come up with this to say, I like there's so much value in there to add six figures to your business, that if you don't, I will personally coach you to get it. And I am so invested in this Josh and so passionate about it, I just want to help as many people as we can. So we're doing this, the only thing you need to do is show up and be present, and go through this together implement what we myself, Gary Vaynerchuk, David Neagle, Jen cam, all some of the top speakers in the world we've brought together for this day for business owners for entrepreneurs, I'm so pumped. I would love everybody to be there. But let's see what happens.Josh:
Yeah, I think there's something you know, again, if I think about the type of business owner that I want to be right, and if I'm a business owner, man, I am just on top of everything financially, like I get it, I understand it, I understand risk, I understand opportunity, I understand, you know, everything in the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, as it comes to money in business, it is a subject I just I don't know, that you can over invest in wisdom and knowledge in that area of business management, because if you do it well, it is just your business just going to be way less stressful for you. And inevitably, you will be more successful, right? It's just less you have to worry about cuz you're on top of stuff, as opposed to the business owner, that's just, I'm just gonna remain ignorant of what's going on over there. I don't want to look at it. I just wanted I just got to sell, sell, sell, sell, sell. Right. And, and I know the personas I unders I've been both of those personas, I gotta tell you, I like having a lot of financial wisdom about everything business wise, I pay way less in taxes as a result of being very, very smart about that. I make decisions about opportunities, financial investments, and so forth based on the knowledge that I have, as a result of of the work that my team and I put into this and Bob our work together. So I just want to endorse the event that's coming up as a great first step in it. Of course, another first step would be if that event is over, by the time you're watching this or listening to this, you can just simply go to your website GauvreauCPA.com, right?
Josh: Yes, that's it. Yeah, that's Canadian. GauvreauCPA.ca and gauvreau is G A U V R E A U cpa.ca. And of course, the event if you if you're able to make that in time, that that one more time the URL for that.
Josh: Right. A S C E N T summit.com?
Bob: That's correct.
Josh: Awesome. Yeah. Bob Gauvreau. My fractional, virtual CFO when working together for over a year now. And again, Sean on your team does our bookkeeping as well. fabulous, fabulous relationship you. I recommend you to everybody that you just fantastic, great to work with your team's great to work with. And as a result, it's just an area of my life. I don't have to worry about which I love to do,
Bob: That's what we try and do Josh.
Josh: thank you so much for this.Bob:
Thank you sir. I appreciate this so much.Josh Elledge outro:
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