Taking Eagle & Fox to the world on Amazon
Eagle & Fox had big plans for their business, but their accounting was holding them back.
_Here’s how A2X helped the Amazon retailers simplify their VAT reporting, speed up their accounting and grow their business. _
Fergus and Emma Macdonald run Eagle & Fox, a creative online retailer based in the old sea port of Leith, Scotland. They merged their two brands, Kilt Society and The Tartan Blanket Co, into one dream company – a smart and efficient move. Kilt Society and The Tartan Blanket Co both sell products through their own websites. They also cast a wider net using Amazon to reach customers in the UK, throughout the EU and in the USA. They work with manufacturers around the globe, including Inner Mongolia, where they source the best cashmere and lambswool for their blankets. They also support local trade; their specialist hand-made sporrans are made in Edinburgh. With their business expanding internationally, for Fergus and Emma, it seems like there’s been little time to breathe, let alone focus on resolving accounting headaches.
Browse through any of their websites and you’ll understand just how creative and inspired they are – but the complexity of selling and sourcing internationally was beginning to take its toll. Working with Amazon’s raw transaction data, the Eagle & Fox team was spending endless wasted hours trying to make the numbers add up manually – until they discovered A2X and its automated Amazon accounting service.
More hours in the day
Quality control plays an important role at Eagle & Fox, and the product focus can mean that, accounting isn’t often high on the agenda. But accounting still needs to be done. Up until they started using A2X, Eagle & Fox had been making do with Microsoft Excel to account for their Amazon sales, using time-consuming downloads of complicated Amazon transaction data and a few formulas run over it to calculate VAT obligations. This spreadsheet-based approach wasn’t just a time waster – it also left a huge margin for error. Now, with A2X, Eagle & Fox has streamlined their accounting – the tool works by processing international Amazon transaction data into a usable format and posting automatically to Xero or QuickBooks. This automated Amazon accounting process gives Fergus and the team the accurate information they needed at their fingertips, and more hours to focus on their products and their customers. “Now Amazon accounting takes 20x less time than it used to!”
Accrual accounting and the A2X solution
Eagle & Fox knew they were making bookkeeping mistakes, and they wanted their accounts to be 100% accurate. They also chose to automate where possible; why do things themselves when technology can do things faster and more accurately than a person with a calculator or spreadsheet? Global e-commerce giants like Amazon have complex systems that don’t always provide sellers the specific detail needed for business accounting and compliance in the formats in which it is needed. For example, business selling internationally comply with the tax rates of each country, and tax rates can vary for different types of products, not to mention the financial oversight needed to make informed business decisions. For Amazon merchants, A2X bridges that gap by making sense of Amazon transactions, enabling reliable business accounting. One of the headaches with accounting for Amazon sales is that the most convenient Amazon data feeds often straddle financial periods. A2X eliminates this headache by allocating the appropriate portions of Amazon settlements to the corresponding calendar months, to enable accurate accrual accounting and financial reporting. As Fergus says,”it really takes the pain out of bookkeeping for Amazon sellers”. “When we started selling on Amazon, we didn’t realise that settlements would straddle the end of a month, so we thought that our monthly reporting would go skewwhiff.”
Zero-rated VAT headaches
Merchants in the UK such as Eagle & Fox experience a very real pain point – how to account for items zero-rated for VAT. A2X consolidates the sales component amounts from Amazon with a variety of options specifically designed to support the complexities of UK VAT. This has saved Eagle & Fox considerable time each month and means the overall accuracy of their accounting has improved. It has changed the way they use their Xero accounting system, and A2X exceeded Fergus’ expectations. “A couple of years ago we got stuck on the zero-rated items that we sell. We don’t use a SKU pattern, and items change so we figured at the time it wasn’t worth it to take the A2X approach. Looked into it again recently and very glad I did!”
Support in numbers
The Eagle & Fox team are skilled in all things software, running their business mostly using online tools like G Suite, Dropbox, Front and Asana. A2X is just as simple as the other user-friendly tools they were familiar with. They were able to set the system up themselves, with just some support with setting tax rates, to ensure they were compliant. A2X might be based far from Leith, but service and accessibility is high on the agenda, regardless of where a client is based. “A2X has hugely simplified and sped up our Amazon accounting, and the A2X support was superb. They helped me work through the setup to ensure that we were handling all the VAT situations in the best way.”
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