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EPISODE 364 39 mins

What you need to know about Bookkeeping for eCommerce

About the guests

Nathan Hirsch

Kunle Campbell

Nathan Hirsch is a lifelong entrepreneur and currently the CEO of EcomBalance and Outsource School. Nathan is best known for co-founding FreeUp.net in 2015 with an initial $5,000 investment, scaling it to $12 million in yearly revenue, and having it acquired in 2019. Today, he leads EcomBalance, an online bookkeeping service for eCommerce and digital businesses, and Outsource School, a membership teaching business owners how to hire effectively online. Nathan has appeared on 400+ podcasts, is a social media personality, and lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two dogs.

On today’s episode, Kunle is joined by Nathan Hirsch, CEO of EcomBalance,  a bookkeeping service provider for eCommerce businesses that gives detailed monthly reports and analysis so that business owners can make smarter decisions geared toward growth.

Nathan Hirsch was the founder and CEO of FreeeUp, a freelance platform that grew into a multimillion-dollar business until he sold it and exited in 2020. During the pandemic, he also went on and created two other platforms called Outsource School which teaches the best practices for hiring freelancers, and EcomBalance.

A client working with EcomBalance will be provided a team leader and bookkeeping staff and financial controller who all work together and specialize in eCommerce. Nathan emphasizes the need for a bookkeeper who will keep your books clean monthly and can provide reports on time as it is essential for most things like taxes and for buyers to be able to build interest and trust in the business.

It’s an insightful episode as you’d hear Kunle and Nathan talk about Nathan’s experience in building his businesses and being financially free for life, tips as an eCommerce seller as well as a service provider, the importance of clean books, and creating a clear division between the roles of an entrepreneur and a bookkeeper/accountant. They also give their perspectives on the eCommerce industry in 2022. This is a great episode for eCommerce sellers who want to build and scale a trustworthy business.

Here is a summary of some of the most important points made:

  • EcomBalance has a bookkeeping team with tons of eCommerce experience.
  • The EcomBalance team seeks to provide guidance for sellers with regard to the numbers in their business which in turn provides clear direction for the business.
  • “Our goal is to provide information where you don’t need a meeting with us every single month to understand your books.”
  • EcomBalance not only works with eCommerce businesses on Amazon but also in Shopify, Walmart, eBay, Etsy, and several others.
  • “We don’t do tax. Bookkeeping is bookkeeping and generally accepted accounting principles for clients all over the world.”

Covered Topics:

On today’s interview, Kunle and Nathan discuss:

  • FreeUp (Then and Now)
  • Going Into the eCommerce Space
  • About EcomBalance
  • Perspectives on Exiting a Business
  • Notes on Accounting on Accrual Basis
  • Aligning Bookkeeping with Accrual Accounting System
  • EcomBalance’s Process
  • Favorite Bookkeeping App
  • Tips for Financial Health Habits
  • A Look Into the 2022 eCommerce Businesses Performance
  • Business Maturity
  • Meeting with Clients (Reviewing of Books, Resolution, etc.)


  • 07:04 – FreeUp (Then and Now)
    • Started as a $5000 investment in their Amazon business
    • Grew $1 million in its first year to $12 million in its fourth year before it was sold
    • Acquired by one of the clients in 2019
    • Set up Nathan to be financially free for life
  • 09:41 – Going Into the eCommerce Space
    • Started in pandemic with the launching of Outsource School and eventually helped eCommerce sellers with parts of the business
    • Started EcomBalance
  • 13:02 – About EcomBalance
    • Team of bookkeepers that specialize in eCommerce.
    • Also handles non-eCommerce clients
    • eCommerce is the most complicated in terms of bookkeeping work in comparison with real estate, marketing, coaching, etc.
  • 14:41 – Perspectives on Exiting a Business
    • Hiring a bookkeeper to track the books every single month.
    • Knowing your numbers (profit margin, number of clients, revenue, etc.) builds a lot of trust with buyers.
    • Having good books if doing an accrual basis for eCommerce allows you to have better multiples.
  • 17:13 – Notes on Accounting on Accrual Basis
    • Cash-basis accounting.
    • “More accurate picture of what you’re making every single month”
    • Makes more sense for eCommerce businesses rather than for businesses like FreeeUp which is cash flow positive.
  • 22:18 – Aligning Bookkeeping with Accrual Accounting System
    • Using Quickbooks or Xero allows you to show your accrual in cash
    • “No entrepreneur should be doing their own books.”
  • 23:55 – EcomBalance’s Process
    • “It’s not a marketplace, it’s a service.”
    • Clients work with a team leader and a staff bookkeeper, as well as a financial controller.
    • Tax season becomes less stressful but the main thing is helping clients in making great business decisions.
  • 25:55 – Favorite Bookkeeping App
    • Prefer Quickbooks as the bookkeepers have a lot more experience using it but they also use Xero with other companies.
    • If clients use other apps aside from Quickbooks and Zero, EcomBalance will migrate them over to Quickbooks.
    • EcomBalance is also in partnership with A2X
  • 27:23 – Tips for Financial Health Habits
    • Meeting every 15th of the month to review books
    • Have your books segmented to know how each product is doing
  • 29:36 – A Look Into the 2022 eCommerce Businesses Performance
    • “Every business is a little different.”
    • Businesses that focus on building their brands continue to have success and are less dependent.
    • “Think of yourself as a business with Amazon being one of your channels. Focus on growing your brand.”
  • 31:48 – Business Maturity
    • Hire a CPA for your taxes
    • Work with a bookkeeper to do monthly books on time every single month
    • CFO for planning long-term and developing a strategy
  • 35:15 – Meeting with Clients (Reviewing of Books, Resolution, etc.)
    • EcomBalance provides income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow along with findings and recommendations.


  • “Being able to look at those numbers and make intelligent decisions without making guesses and gut decisions was a big part of us having success in our businesses.”
  • If a person doesn’t know their numbers and don’t have immaculate books, people that buy businesses in the eCommerce space won’t be touching that business.
  • “Cleaning up books is usually way more expensive than just hiring someone to do it correctly from day one.”
  • “We want to put numbers in a way that you can understand every single month so that you can make great decisions.”
  • Have a meeting every 15th of the month to review your books.

Links & Resources:

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On this episode, you’re going to learn about probably one of the most boring aspects of running a business but yet the most important, which is BIN counting or your finances. We’re going to specifically be talking about bookkeeping for eCommerce. It’s a great episode you do not want to miss.

This is the podcast dedicated to commerce insights for retail and eCommerce teams. Each week, on this podcast, I interview a commerce expert, a founder of a digital-native consumer brand, or a representative of a best-in-class commerce SaaS product. We give them a tight remedy to give you ideas you could test right away on your brand. You can improve commerce growth metrics such as conversions, average order value, repeat customers, your audience size, and ultimately your gross merchandise value. We are here to help you sell more.

This episode is an interview I have with Nathan Hirsch. It’s his second appearance on the podcast. He was running a freelance platform called FreeUp. They exited multimillion-dollar exits. He was generous with his staff who were out in the Philippines. He has the eCommerce bug. He went on to create a platform called the Outsource School off the back of FreeUp.

EcomBalances is his new venture, which is like a turnkey solution for eCommerce teams. It’s predominantly bookkeeping on QuickBooks and Xero, some of the top Software as a Service accounting platforms out there. They help you all do the BIN counting or the finances on a day-to-day basis. You touch base with a team once a week.

We talk about cadence. We talk about first-principle thinking, this is what this podcast is all about. We talk about the fundamentals you need to know about bookkeeping and how that affects accounting. We talk about cash basis accounting versus accrual accounting. We go through quite a ton from a finance standpoint and what you should know as an eCommerce founder towards tidying up your finances and getting a pulse of the business.

It’s one thing you must always do, which is get that pulse of the business. It’s not just the pulse of the business from a marketing standpoint but also from a financing standpoint. It all starts with bookkeeping and then it evolves to accounting and understanding your numbers, getting on top of your numbers. If you’re a founder particularly or you’re part of a small eCommerce team and you happen to be tasked with bookkeeping yourself, this is a great episode for you. I’ll leave it at that. Enjoy the episode.

Nathan, welcome to the 2X eCommerce podcast.

Thanks so much for having me. Good to be back.

You’re no stranger in this virtual studio we call 2X eCommerce. Last time, you were all about freelancers. There was a platform that you successfully exited called FreeUp. Tell us about FreeUp. Tell us about all that has transpired between the last time you were here and now.

Before FreeUp, I was a big Amazon seller and I scaled that business using VAs and freelancers, which is how I got into that space. Free up started with a $5,000 investment and us taking VAs and freelancers at new Amazon from our Amazon business that we weren’t using full time and leasing them out to other eCommerce sellers. That went well. People liked the service. They liked our people.

We turned that into a full-blown marketplace where we would pre-vet eCommerce VAs and freelancers before we let them on the platform and connect them with eCommerce sellers. Sellers would say, “I need someone who knows Amazon listing, graphic design, eCommerce customer service, or whatever it is.” We would match them up. We wouldn’t necessarily manage them but we’d be there if any issues came up. We had great support.

This business grew. We did $1 million in our 1st year, $5 million in our 2nd, $9 million in our 3rd, and $12 million in our 4th year before being acquired by one of our clients at the end of 2019, right before the pandemic, which was crazy. We had a successful exit there. We couldn’t have sold it to better people. Since then, we’ve been trying to figure out how we stay in the eCommerce space and what we do differently. That’s how the idea for EcomBalance, a monthly bookkeeping service for eCommerce sellers came about. I’m happy to dive into the sale.

What was your exit?

I can’t share the numbers of it but it set us up to be financially free for life. The people we sold it to honored every part of our agreement. We ended up taking $500,000 from the sale and giving it to our internal team in the Philippines. We have thousands of freelancers on the platform. For the 30 VAs that ran the internal operations of FreeUp, we rewarded them. It was a win-win for everyone.

That’s amazing. That’s life-changing, that money in the Philippines. Amazing stuff. You have 30 team members there. This brings me to the question here. With what you’re doing with EcomBalance, if you’re financially free, there’s a lot of meaning to it. Why do you care so much about the eCommerce community to want to deliver service after you’ve successfully exited in a way that’s financially and personally rewarding for you?

We sold it in November 2019. The original plan was to take a year off, travel the world, and not do anything. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit so we were stuck inside. We didn’t have a new business idea at the time. What we ended up doing is launching Outsource School, which is a hiring membership that teaches our exact hiring process. We don’t provide VAs or freelancers but you get our interviewing, onboarding, training, and managing process.

That’s pretty hands-off. We have a small team that runs that. We have a lot of members. People get a lot of value out of it. After running that for a good year, we missed the service side of it and being able to help eCommerce sellers with parts of their business and get in there. We didn’t know how to do it. Connor and I both like unsexy businesses.

If you think of hiring and bookkeeping, a lot of times, it’s not top of mind for people. We also love building businesses. Neither of us is ready to retire. Selling FreeUp allows us to build businesses in a different way where we can put more money upfront, higher US people, and spend more money on marketing without necessarily bootstrapping everything. We want to see if we can have the same success but in a different vertical.

When we think back to our success with our Amazon business, FreeUp, Outsource School, and hopefully now with EcomBalance, it came down to hiring and processes, which is what Outsource School is about but also knowing our financials. More importantly, it’s making good business decisions each month based on what the numbers are telling us. That’s something we did.

You want to make sure whatever bookkeeping service you hire knows eCommerce well. Click to Tweet

Each month of FreeUp, we had a monthly meeting with Connor and me. We’d review our numbers. We would review our income statement balance sheet cashflow and we would look at trends. We would compare this month to the previous month, this month to the same month last year. Are our expenses going up? Are our margins going up or down? Our fixed price versus hourly freelancers, which one is doing better? What track are they going on?

We would make these comparisons and then we would make the decisions. Do we invest in this conference? Do we hire more people? Do we hold off hiring until revenue catches up with expenses? Being able to look at those numbers and make intelligent decisions without making guesses and gut decisions was a big part of us having success in our businesses. We wanted to give other entrepreneurs the power to do that without having them do bookkeeping themselves. I don’t personally don’t believe any entrepreneur should be doing their own bookkeeping.

When you say we, who are you referring to as your partner? Connor?

Yeah. I have a business partner, Connor. He was my first hire back in college for my Amazon business, my first employee. He became my business partner shortly after that and we’ve worked together in every business so far.

With EcomBalance, is it strictly eCommerce stores? Is it strictly the eCommerce Industry?

We have clients that are not eCommerce. We have a team that handles non-eCommerce clients. We’re not 100% sure how we’re going to market that if we have a separate domain or whatever. Our target is eCommerce sellers. Hopefully, we’re known in the eCommerce space. I know a lot of eCommerce sellers more than any other business.

Our bookkeeping team has a ton of eCommerce experience. eCommerce tends to be the most complicated bookkeeping. If you can do eCommerce bookkeeping, you can easily do bookkeeping for a marketing agency, a coach, a real estate, or whatever it is. eCommerce tends to be the hardest. We want to provide an eCommerce bookkeeping solution.

Through our market research and what we’ve known throughout the years, if you’re an eCommerce seller and you hire a bookkeeper that doesn’t understand eCommerce, that’s going to create a huge mess. There are a lot of nuances that appear in an eCommerce business, whether it’s Amazon fees, Shopify fees, cost of goods sold, or inventory that don’t appear in other businesses. You want to make sure whatever bookkeeping service you hire knows eCommerce well and that’s what we bring to the table.

To not just speak only about eCommerce balance on this podcast, can you speak to an exit? You went through the exit of FreeUp and it went well. From a finance perspective and also a personal perspective, what do you think led to the clean exits you had with FreeUp?

First of all, we had immaculate books going back several years. One of the first things that we did in FreeUp before we were even profitable is we hired a bookkeeper. They kept track of our books every single month. We were getting reports even when we weren’t revenue positive and weren’t profitable. We saw our expenses and we made decisions.

What happened is not only did we have clean books that pass due diligence but that initial conversation that we had with the buyer where they asked a lot of questions about our business, we knew our numbers. When they asked about our profit margin, our number of clients, our revenue, and the direction it was going, we had answers to these questions.

Down the line, when they got access to our books and dug into them, everything they saw in our books matched exactly what we told them on the initial call. It built a lot of trust. It shows that we knew our business, we knew our numbers, and we weren’t making stuff up. That’s a big part of it. I know a lot of people that buy businesses in the eCommerce space. If the person they’re buying from doesn’t know their numbers and they don’t have immaculate books, they’re not touching that business. That’s the bare minimum.

The other thing of having good books allows you to do is, first of all, if you’re doing an accrual basis for eCommerce, that is going to allow you to have a better multiple. Joe Valley at Quiet Light who owns a company called EXITpreneur talks all the time that if you want to maximize your eCommerce business sale, having an accrual basis is incredibly important. It also allows you to have the right deductions. Most businesses sell at a multiple. The multiple could be 3 times, 5 times, 10 times, or whatever it is that EBITA is earnings before taxes and appreciation. What you’re able to do is deduct certain things.

For example, if I have a conference that I go to every single year, the person buying my business doesn’t have to pay for that conference. That $10,000 conference sponsorship can turn into a multiple of four so that could be an extra $40,000 that you sell it from. Having clean books allows you to do certain things like deducting conferences. It allows you to get the highest multiple but it also allows you to sell your business, to begin with.

Should we speak a bit more about accounting on an accrual basis? Do you want to break it down so readers can have a better understanding of what it means to run your accounting on an accrual basis?

Think of cash basis accounting. Let’s say that you pay a vendor, it goes on your credit card, or you receive money. The second it goes into your bank account or the second it’s charged on your credit card, it goes into your books. Let’s say you bought inventory. If you spent $50,000 in inventory today, if you do cash basis, that’s going to show up in your books right now even though you might be selling that $50,000 over the next three months.

If you do accrual basis, whether your cost of goods averaging or you’re recognizing it when you make that sale, that $50,000 is going to be spread out over three months. Let’s say you’re doing cash basis. You might show a huge loss in January but a lot of profit in February, March, and April because of that $50,000 one-time charge. That doesn’t tell you anything. You can’t make a decision based on a huge loss and lots of profit when that inventory was made for 3 months, 4 months, or whatever it is.

If you’re doing an accrual basis, you’re going to have a much more accurate picture of what you’re making every single month even though that $50,000 was charged in January. There are other things too. Let’s say you’re selling retail and you’re on Net 90 where Walmart doesn’t pay you for three months, accrual lets you factor that in. Whereas with cash basis, it’s not going to hit your books until you get that payment from Walmart.

Having a cruel basis for an eCommerce business is incredibly important. For FreeUp, it’s less important because we were charging clients and then paying freelancers a week later. There was no Net 90 or Net 180. It was cashflow positive. For most eCommerce businesses, accrual makes a lot more sense not only for making decisions every month but also for going to sell your business.

eCommerce tends to be the most complicated bookkeeping. Click to Tweet

From that point of view, it seems more of an accounting setup against bookkeeping. For instance, for people who are doing their bookkeeping in-house, what should they bear in mind if they want to adopt an accrual accounting system? Is there anything they need to adjust in their bookkeeping to align with an accrual system?

I’m not necessarily here to teach people bookkeeping accounting. I’m not a bookkeeper. We hire great bookkeepers. We hire great accountants. First of all, you should be using QuickBooks or Xero. Those are the top two accounting software. Trying to do accrual in Excel or doing bookkeeping in Excel or anything like that is not going to go well for you. If you use something like QuickBooks and you know what you’re doing as a bookkeeper, QuickBooks allows you to show your books in accrual in cash. You are able to see both sides.

If you’re doing in-house and you’re hiring a bookkeeper and a bookkeeper that knows eCommerce, that’s great. If you’re doing in-house and that means you’re doing your own books, my argument would be that no entrepreneurs should be doing their own books. First of all, it’s not a good use of your time. You should be focused on sales, marketing, and expansion. Second of all, most entrepreneurs are not good at bookkeeping and they have to pay to get their books cleaned up down the line. Cleaning up books is usually way more expensive than hiring someone to do it correctly from day one. That’s my overall advice.

I wanted to ask for the sake of transparency to make sure people understand what the implications are from a bookkeeping standpoint. With EcomBalance, you have a pool of bookkeepers that understand eCommerce. Does everything come through to your company and then your internal staff take on the accounts as a service? It’s not a marketplace. This is a service business, right?

It’s not a marketplace. It’s a service. Each client that signs up gets a team leader and a staff bookkeeper that work together. We have a financial controller as well. You’re getting three levels of people working on your account. The way it works is you can go on our site, EcomBalance, you submit for a quote, and you provide us information plus access to your current books.

We give you a quote assuming you agree to it and we’ll get you integrated. We have a great integrated specialist to get us view-only access to your account. That way, we don’t have to chase after you each month for statements and stuff. We already have the access that we need. From there, we’ll have a kickoff call with our team and make sure that we are all on the same page, answer any questions that you have, and then we’ll hit the ground running.

Once we get done with any catch-up or cleanup work, which may not apply, we charge you on the first of every month. We get you income statement balance sheet cashflow by the 15th, along with findings and recommendations and the health of your business. The unique value proposition is we’re entrepreneurs first. We’re eCommerce sellers first. We speak entrepreneurship. We want to put numbers in a way that you can understand every single month so that you can make great decisions every single month.

There are some added bonuses to that like tax season as less stressful. You can turn everything over to your accountant and we’ll even communicate directly with your accountant. You will be able to get investments or funding or sell your business easier. The main thing is helping you make great business decisions every single month, which is what’s going to allow you to not only take bookkeeping off your plate but scale your business.

Which is your favorite bookkeeping app, QuickBooks or Xero?

We’re compatible with both. We prefer QuickBooks because our bookkeepers have more experience with QuickBooks. We’ve used Xero with other companies. Our default is QuickBooks. If you’re already in QuickBooks or you don’t have books and we’re setting up for the first time, we’ll use QuickBooks. For some reason you love Xero or if you’re already set up in Xero, we’re not going to migrate everything over to QuickBooks. We’ll just use Xero. Those are the only two tools that we’ll use.

If you’re in like Wave, GoDaddy Bookkeeping, or whatever it is, we would not be compatible and we’d have to get you set up in QuickBooks. The other thing to keep in mind is A2X. We use A2X. We have a partnership with them. It’s included in all of our pricing and that connects Shopify, Walmart, or whatever it is to Amazon in order to get accurate feeds and accurate data, and it makes it way easier. At a bare minimum, if you’re an eCommerce business, having either QuickBooks, Xero, or A2X has to be part of your tech stack.

Is there any other point, any other tip you have for entrepreneurs building to sell? A lot of people are in eCom for the passion but they also invested some sorts of exits. From a financial standpoint, you mentioned the fact that you need to be on top of your books, you need to get that cadence. What are financial health habits should you build in place rather than having to scramble when you think, “Now it’s time to sell.”

A few other tips. You should have a meeting on your calendar on the 15th of every month where you review your book together. If you go to EcomBalance.com, you can get our meeting agenda and grab that and go through that with your business partner. You also want to have your book segmented. For FreeUp, for example, we had fixed-price freelancers and hourly freelancers. We could see our profit, our profit margin, our costs, and our revenue for those.

For an eCom business, you might have different marketplaces like Amazon Europe, Amazon Japan, and Amazon US. You might have different SKUs. Maybe you have five different SKUs. You want to see how each SKU is doing. There are a lot of sellers out there that might be selling ten products but only two of them are profitable and they’re wasting a lot of time and money on the other eight SKUs.

You need to be able to segment your books and know how each product is doing. When you go to sell your business, you want to be able to show how much money you’re making for each product. Some companies might only be interested in buying a certain amount of your products and not all of them. You can’t just have everything clumped together. That’s not a great way to make decisions. It’s also not going to help you sell your business down the line.

Nathan, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you. I enjoyed our initial conversation with FreeUp. It’s incredible to know you exited. EcomBalance sounds like a necessary service to free up the time and energy of eCommerce entrepreneurs and also help them understand their books better to run their businesses more efficiently.

Before I let you go, you’re privy to a lot of accounts and you’re subject to clients’ confidentiality. On a very macro level, what are you seeing in the performance of eCommerce businesses in 2022 with inflation? Are any regions doing better than others? Are you a global business? What trends are you seeing at EcomBalance?

Every business is a little different. The businesses that are focused on building their brand and getting through themselves a business not just an Amazon business, although Amazon is a channel they sell on, those are the ones that continue to have success. The little ones are less dependent on the different terms that Amazon or supply chain issues might take.

It completely depends. You have some businesses that feel it a lot. You have some businesses that don’t. My advice is to think of yourself as a business with Amazon being one of your channels, focus on growing your brand, and focus on growing your list. Focus on not just adjusting to every little thing that Amazon does but thinking bigger picture. Those are the clients that we love working with and that have seen a lot of success.

How long do you think this slowdown will take, 12 months, 18 months, or three years?

Within two years, things will resolve themselves. That’s my guess. Fixing a lot of the supply chain issues has a lot of benefits for everyone. I don’t know if it’ll necessarily go back to exactly the way it was before. Two years from now, if we’re still having a lot of the massive issues that we’re having now, I would be incredibly surprised. Who knows? I’m not necessarily the best at predicting the future.

Focus on growing your brand. Focus on growing your list. Focus on not just adjusting to every little thing that Amazon does. Click to Tweet

Now’s the time to go multi-channel if not omnichannel to squeeze out every channel. Another question I have was more around business maturity as to when you need an in-house financial person. Some DTC brands, for instance, have a fractional CFO in their mix to help with decision-making. They would love more time with their fractional CFO. It is what it is. Do you have an idea of the maturity from a revenue standpoint as to what you need from a personnel standpoint?

We know the tech stack, which you clearly explained. Thank you. We know we need bookkeeping from the get-go. As you mature in revenue, customer base, and things in complexity with channels, when would you start to need internal human resources to essentially force your financial side of things forward?

The way that I like to think of it is there are three parts. You’ve got your CPA or your tax person. It might be constantly different if you’re in a different country. You’ve got your bookkeeper and you’ve got your CFO. Everyone needs a tax person. You should have a tax person right now if you don’t already. If you’re in the US, I can recommend one. If you’re not in the US, get a referral from someone. They should be focused on your end-of-the-year taxes and tax strategies giving you advice and working with whoever your bookkeeper is. You need that from day one. You can’t delay that.

The second is the bookkeeper. You’ve got EcomBalance. There are other bookkeeping services. Usually, you have to be pretty big for it to make sense to hire full-time internal bookkeeping. Even if you’re a $1 million a year business, if you don’t necessarily have enough work for a full-time bookkeeper on payroll, at a certain point, you might but most businesses don’t need that. You’ve then got that CFO. Usually, until you’re in that few million dollars a year, you don’t need that CFO. For a CFO, there are part-time CFOs out there. You can hire a full-time CFO.

In my opinion, you want three different people. You can build a team around your finances. You want a CPA for your taxes. You want a bookkeeper to do the monthly books on time, every single month with that being their sole focus to put things in a way that you can understand and make a decision on. You want to CFO for planning and thinking long term and developing a strategy.

If you have all three of those working together, that’s how you can take off as a business. If you’re small, let’s say you’re under $1 million, you probably need a CPA and a bookkeeping service. Usually, having a CPA also doing your books doesn’t work. One, it’s more expensive than just hiring a separate bookkeeper. Two, the CPA is doing your books in a way to do your taxes. That doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, it just doesn’t necessarily give you the ability to make decisions every single month.

They also go through periods where they get very busy during tax time. They might not be able to do your books on time every single month. What you want as an entrepreneur is an automatic system where it’s like, “It’s the first of the month. By the 15th, my books get done.” It’s repeated every single month on time with no issues and no ups and downs. That’s how I recommend setting everything up. Once you get over $1 million, then you can start thinking, “Do I want a part-time CFO? Do I need a full-time CFO?” To me, bookkeeping and CPA stay the same.

You need that pulse on the business. I am speaking from direct experience. It’s only bookkeeping and clean and up-to-date books that will get you there. It’s that simple. With regards to the first of the month and then the 15th, that cadence, do you then provide reports? Do you have a meeting with the clients in terms of reviewing the books? Also, not every transaction is comprehensible. With bookkeeping, there’s always this back and forth or else you’d be presumptuous, especially with classifying in the chart of accounts. How do you guys do that in terms of the resolution of transactions that are not very clear?

We say the 15th but our goal is to get it out earlier. By the 15th, we provide an income statement, balance sheet, and cashflow along with findings and recommendations. We’ll do meetings upfront with the client, especially when we send that first set of books so we can get any feedback and make any changes.

Our goal is to provide information where you don’t need a meeting with us every single month to understand your books. In my opinion, if you have to meet with us every single month to understand what we’re sending you, we’re not doing a good job on our side. We want to put things in a clear and easy way with a nice chart of accounts where you understand your business. If you have questions or you want to set up a meeting or whatever it is, we’re happy to accommodate that.

For the most part, our expectation is you get the income statement, cashflow, and balance sheet every single month in a clear way for you to understand along with findings and recommendations. You can have an internal meeting with your business partner, your husband, your wife, your team leaders, or whoever it is to understand your business and to make business decisions.

You seem to talk a lot about Amazon. There are Shopify, Walmart, eBay, Etsy, and several other platforms.

We have clients that sell on all those marketplaces. They all fall under eCommerce so we can handle all of them.

I like your recommendation on the A2X, which joins up your desperate channels into a single accounting format that’s manageable to understand. We’ve covered everything. It’s been refreshing to hear some of that information and also enlightening in terms of some areas you shed light on that I needed to know about. For people who want to find out more about EcomBalance, it’s EcomBalance.com. You get the first month for free. There’s a number there. You’re global. Are you in the US? Is your service to US entrepreneurs? Do you work for various years? What years do you work with?

We don’t do taxes. Bookkeeping is bookkeeping, generally accepted accounting principles. We do bookkeeping for clients all over the world. Go to EcomBalance.com, mention this podcast when you sign up, and you’ll get two free months of bookkeeping to try us out.

Good stuff. Nathan, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the 2X eCommerce podcast show. Thank you.

Thanks so much for having me.

About the host:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

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