Bookkeeping by Tom

Bookkeeping by Tom

Keeping up with rapid growth

How A2X helped Tom Ewanchyshyn manage the books for growing fashion business

Although Tom Ewanchyshyn has done a lot of things in his career, bookkeeping and accounts have always been part of the picture. At just 15, he was helping do the accounts for his family’s business. Later, he established several small businesses of his own and managed the bookkeeping for those enterprises too. Finally, he moved into the financial sector for a decade, before shifting gears into part-time bookkeeping as he headed towards retirement.

As Tom’s career was winding down, his stepdaughter’s was just taking off. Sarah Sue MacLachlan launched her sustainable clothing label, Sarah Sue Design. The Canadian-made clothing label started small, then accelerated during 2020 as COVID kept people home – and shopping online. As the business grew, Sarah found herself struggling to keep up with the accounts – and Tom stepped in to help.

With his bookkeeping skills – and a bit of help from A2X – he was able to sort out the complexities and make sure the back-end kept up with the front.

“It was where I needed to be at the time. I entered into early retirement and Sarah needed assistance, getting things caught up and straightened out,” explains Tom.

Falling behind business growth

Sarah started her business because she was passionate about her product and good at what she does. She grew the business over time, building a strong social media following and a team of equally passionate staff.

However, like many small business owners, Sarah’s front-end talent wasn’t matched by back-end skills. Although she could manage the bookkeeping at first, it became more complex and time-consuming as the business grew. She was selling online through a Shopify site and running a bricks-and-mortar retail store when the business really took off – and keeping up with the accounts quickly became unsustainable.

That’s where Tom’s bookkeeping expertise came in. As he explains, the online side of the business was the most complicated.

“The problem was reconciling what was in QuickBooks with what was coming in from Shopify. Trying to figure out which sale was in which deposit, and then having to be concerned about provincial and federal sales taxes. It was a conundrum. It was frustrating. It was stressful – and a major reason I think small businesses fall behind in the bookkeeping when they’re following their passion,” he explains.

From frustration to flow

Tom could manage standard accounting – but he knew that he needed something different to simplify the Shopify accounts.

“I knew that there had to be a faster way and that there had to be software out there that could do it. Because even though I wasn’t familiar with Shopify, if I’m not figuring it out then there are thousands out there like me. So it was just a matter of, ‘Okay, let’s look around’,” he says.

After searching online, trying some other apps and chatting to other bookkeepers in QuickBooks forums, he came across A2X and everything changed. The app automated the reconciliation process, taking that complicated data from Shopify and transferring it into QuickBooks without a hitch.

Tom explains: “It just brought everything to a point where I look at the deposits when I’m doing the bank reconciliations, and everything flows through as desired with QuickBooks Online, allowing for the matching of deposits and sales. Everything just flows.”

In a rapidly growing business, A2X has been a game-changer. Tom is now able to keep up with online and in-person sales, including various provincial and federal tax rates – without spending hours manually reconciling or double-checking figures.

Smooth integration, time-savings, and business insight

Before finding the app, Tom says reconciliation was a fiddly, time-consuming manual job.

“I was back and forth between Shopify and QuickBooks, to try and make up reports and then reconcile them.”

Because he started using A2X early on, it’s hard to quantify the time manual reconciliation used to take – but Tom estimates it would be around five to six hours a month, based on the size of the business now.

Because A2X integrates so smoothly with Shopify, it’s now a matter of minutes – if that. The app acts as a bridge between Shopify and QuickBooks, translating complex data and making sure everything adds up.

“I go into the bank accounts and do my reconciliation through QuickBooks Online. And they’re awesome – it’s bringing in the sales, it’s bringing in the taxes,” Tom says.

As a result, the accounts are cleaner and easier to access, giving Sarah, Tom and the team better insight into how the business is performing. In an uncertain time of rapid growth and market changes, this is crucial.

“We can access cash flow reports quicker, access payables and receivables faster. We have a better handle on where the business is at any point in time,” Tom says.

A2X has made a huge difference to Tom, helping him manage the accounts for Sarah Sue Designs without the stress or time investment. For Sarah, it means more time to work on the front-end of the business, selling product, marketing online and managing her staff.

Without it, Tom says, things would have been very different.

“We wouldn’t have been able to catch up on our books as well as we did, we’d still be struggling on, trying to get caught up. It would have increased the stress level for both of us, and no one needs any more stress in their life.”