Today, we’re talking to Lon Spooner, owner of Great River Sportsman and one of the small businesses who won the #QBBetterTogether contest, along with his accounting professional, Linda Connely, at Fiscally Fit Tax & Accounting Services. Find out more about Fiscally Fit Tax & Accounting Services in this profile. #QBBetterTogether focuses on the relationship between an accounting professional and one of their small business clients, highlighting the impact that relationship can have for both small businesses.
Shauna Maher: Welcome Lon! Can you tell us a little bit about Great River Sportsman?
Lon Spooner: Great River Sportsman is a local supplier for all things camping, hunting and fishing. I wanted to make a change in the town and felt it was missing out on a store like this, so in July 2015, we opened to help fill a void in the town of Cassville, Wis. Now, we’re helping to raise the profile of the town by employing more of its residents and boosting tourism.
SM: Why did you decide to get an accountant? Was there a tipping point in your business that prompted your decision?
LS: Before moving here, I worked with a large company, so I understand the value of having an accountant. It’s important that a small business owner can run a business from both a financial and operational perspective.
SM: How did you find Linda at Fiscally Fit Business Services? What made you decide to hire her?
LS: We used Intuit’s® Find-a-ProAdvisor functionality. We needed someone to help with both our POS and QuickBooks® Online, and Linda’s experience matched that need perfectly. And, she is only 30 miles away, which is great for this rural area.
SM: What aspects of your business does Linda help you with? What’s the biggest advantage to partnering with her?
LS: Linda helps with our POS system and everyday bookkeeping. She also shares data with another firm that does our taxes, such as donations and depreciation schedules.
Having someone who understands my business is invaluable. She manages the data for me and works with my product distributor to receive auto downloads of the catalog into my POS system to avoid manual entries. As a result of working with Linda, the time savings we’ve seen are tremendous.
SM: What apps has your accountant recommended? How have those apps made a difference in your small business?
LS: The apps Linda has suggested sometimes work so well that I forget they are there! We love Hubdoc, TurboScan and Bill & Pay. I never worry about being late or past due – the apps make everything so simple.
SM: What are the keys to having a successful working relationship with your accountant?
LS: Your accountant should know your business well enough to make recommendations on ways your business can grow or change for the better. An accountant should go beyond the numbers and also focus on cultivating the relationship with the small business. My success is Linda’s success, and vice versa.
SM: What’s one of the biggest business challenges your accountant has helped you face? What is the biggest business success you’ve had as a direct result of working with your accountant?
LS: Our biggest challenge was getting to the starting line. We wanted to make a good first impression on potential customers and the locals in the town. Linda was right there with me, dawn to dusk, helping us get everything finished for opening day. She cares, and when one of us is successful, so is the other.
She’s very good about pointing out ideas for me – she’s even a product consultant.
SM: What’s the best advice you’ve received from your accountant?
LS: Linda really is my partner and advisor. She helps me review my product and watches out for me and my business. She’s always on the hunt for new ways that we can succeed. For example, she noticed that the business was missing out on a piece of the market by not catering to children and families who are vacationing here for the summer. Now, we carry products to support those customers and my business has grown once again.
SM: Why would you recommend that other small businesses get an accountant?
LS: Accountants let you grow – they give you back time and energy so that you can be devoted to your business, rather than worrying about the financial components. At the bare minimum, every small business needs at least a bookkeeper for daily transactions to make sure bills are paid and that the day-to-day processes of the business are taken care of. On top of that, accountants help you follow the rules to ensure you are meeting all appropriate business practices.