Sales & marketing is not my favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur. When a prospective client schedules a call it’s a victory, that while small, is the first step toward a mutually rewarding professional relationship, or not. Each call is as different as the cannabis executive on the other end of the line. I’ve spoken to owners of edible companies, dispensaries, brands, delivery services, extraction facilities, distribution operations, farms and fully vertically integrated cannabis organizations. Most calls go well even if we don’t move forward with providing services. A few memorable ones have not and that my friends is a story for another day. Either way they are always enlightening, I learn about a new regulatory challenge the business is facing, processes unique to that vertical, a new perspective on where the industry is going and how their company envisions the future of cannabis/cannabis consumption. That’s the fun part of the call. The not so fun part is answering the same questions, over and over. So, if you’re a prospective client or perhaps know someone who is, I’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions. I’ll be posting this on aliceandfran.com as a resource to get these standard questions answered so we can use our call time to address the important accounting and finance questions prospective clients have.
Are you a CPA? No. I’m a senior accounting & finance professional with over 15 years of experience across three industries and have held roles from manager of financial planning & analysis to senior operations controller.
Do you do tax returns? I do not. CPA’s, EA’s and tax professionals registered with the IRS file tax returns and advise on tax law and strategies. I do however have CPA’s in my network that I work with on a referral basis that will handle those aspects of my client’s business.
Are you a bookkeeper? No. My clients are required to have a bookkeeper or employee to handle the day-to-day entries in QuickBooks and upload documents to the professional data room. Training will be provided on the cannabis specifics and/or QB basics if necessary.
Will you work with my existing CPA? Yes with one major caveat, they must be on the same page regarding IRC 280E. I don’t take engagements with clients who have a CPA that is overly aggressive with what they are including in COGS.
How long have you been in cannabis? I started my transition into the cannabis industry in the fall of 2018. Aside from select CPA’s and bookkeepers that were servicing the medical cannabis industry there were very few finance professionals in cannabis until 2018.
What special training do you have? I completed the DOPE CFO Accounting for Cannabis program, have attended a slew of educational, networking and industry events in addition to a number of cannabis conferences in CA, Las Vegas and Portland, OR. My network includes over 100 cannabis trained accountants, CFO’s, CPA’s, EA’s, bookkeepers and attorneys. If I don’t know an answer to a question, I know someone who does!
Why are your services so expensive? They’re not. We provide virtual controller/part-time CFO services at a fraction of the cost of an internal hire. Our skills include not only accounting & finance but operations, administration and compliance.
Do you have an hourly rate? No and Yes. Our services are a monthly flat fee based on deliverables and adding value. Occasionally we do take projects such as business model review/update if there’s time in our schedule. We’re always happy to discuss what solution(s) work best for your business.
I want to hire you. My business partners are reluctant. Can you convince them? No. I used to try and found that the end result is always the same, a lot of time is spent on the phone and going back and forth on price and the client never signs on. If there is more than one decision maker everyone should be on-board before the initial call.
Who are your clients? I currently have dispensary, brand, delivery and cultivation clients. I don’t share client names or information. I have professional references on my LinkedIn profile and I’m happy to provide additional references once we’ve agreed to move forward with services.
Where are you located? North Hollywood, CA!
Can we meet in person? Will you be coming into the office? If you live/work in the LA area and would like to meet in person versus having a call I will try my best to accommodate. Otherwise our options are a phone or Zoom video call. No. We are a virtual firm and all of our work is performed remotely.
In which states do you offer services? All states with legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana. We specialize in the great state of California.
Once we sign up for services your our employee, right? No. Let me reiterate, no. We are a cannabis accounting & finance firm that clients contract with to provide virtual controller/part-time CFO services. As with any other professional services firm (attorneys, CPA’s, etc.) we report to the executive team and provide deliverables, not hours. We consider ourselves part of the team but we work independently.
Why should we hire you? Accounting is easy, especially for a small business like mine. I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to have amazing clients and to have moved past the “I just need clients” phase of growing a small business. What that means is that I no longer try to justify my fees or expertise. If you don’t think you need help or that you can get someone cheaper, by all means you are free to do so. There’s a decent chance you’ll be calling me or one of my colleagues once your books are so bad not even you understand them or after your first audit. We’ll be here!