Digital tools a ‘no-brainer’ for e-commerce seller Craig Anderson – who also happens to be a CPA
Jump on Craig Anderson’s LinkedIn page and it’s immediately apparent that he knows a thing or two about running a business.
Craig is a certified public accountant (CPA) with 19 years’ experience under his belt. He’s worked with accountants, bookkeepers and SMEs across a variety of industries, and started – then sold – his own practice. These days, he supports other accountants and business owners through his work as a business coach and mentor.
What you won’t find on Craig’s LinkedIn page is that he’s also the owner of multiple e-commerce brands. His main business is called Throne Boss, which he started just under a year ago to sell gaming bean bag chairs in the US and Australia. With high back support, a headphone hanger and large pockets for drinks and snacks, these chairs are popular with hardcore gamers.
Craig says his background in accounting has been invaluable for entering the world of e-commerce. In a few months, Throne Boss has grown quickly and Craig has been able to invest in digital tools like A2X to help him run it. As someone passionate about using technology to drive efficiencies, this was a “no-brainer”.
Amazon data notoriously hard to work with
Amazon is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the world, but it has a weak point. Despite its popularity and success, Amazon is infamous for its difficult sales data.
“It can be a nightmare getting information out of Amazon in a clear and cohesive format,”
Amazon pays its sellers automatically every two weeks. Each sale in the two-week pay period gets added to the payment balance – minus any associated seller fees. It can be tricky to accurately reconcile sales and fees with Amazon pay-outs. To run a business properly, you need that information, Craig says.
This is where a background in accountancy has its perks – working with clients, he became familiar with digital accounting tools like A2X.
“I was still a start-up so I saved my money until I could justify the investment with the sales. Then I plugged it in and backdated reconciling those amounts,”
A2X provides accurate financial info
Craig knew he had the upper hand coming into the e-commerce game with A2X in his digital toolkit.
It’s a small tool that packs a lot of punch, simplifying e-commerce accounting by categorising all transactions, across multiple e-commerce platforms, into tidy summaries and importing them directly into an accounting system.
“You’d spend hours every fortnight just trying to get reports that would give you the same information that comes out of A2X,”
This makes reconciliation simple and fast – and you can have confidence knowing your numbers always add up. According to Craig, this is what makes A2X “a no-brainer”.
“You need accurate information for compliance, but the most important reason is so you understand how your business is doing,”
Doing business better with digital tools
While Craig is an advocate of using technology to run a business efficiently, he knows not every start-up can invest in digital tools straight away.
This is when business owners must identify what apps will give them the greatest return at each stage of their business journey, he says.
Over the years, Craig has used a range of systems and he now has several apps to run his e-commerce business – “You name it, I’ve probably used it.” There’s Xero (his accounting system), Todoist for keeping track of tasks and Klaviyo to automate his email and SMS marketing – just to name a few.
For Craig, A2X was a top priority because, “If you’re serious about your business, then you need to be serious about having access to accurate financial data in real-time.”
Therefore, he would recommend e-commerce merchants use A2X from the start – especially Amazon sellers.
“Does it improve my business? Well, yes, because if I didn’t use it, I wouldn’t know accurately how the business is doing,”
“There’s no point in trying to run your business on what Amazon puts into your account because it’s just not correct.”
Double the advice
As a CPA and e-commerce seller, Craig gets the best of both worlds – and he has some stellar advice for other e-commerce entrepreneurs.
He says when it comes to your books, if you don’t understand your compliance obligations as a seller, don’t do them yourself. Work with a professional – and make sure they use A2X.
“Get it right and you’ll have accurate numbers from the start. Then all you have to do is push the numbers through.”
Finally, he says,
“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”
Rather than catching up on procrastination or making things perfect, keep moving forward – by using a tool that will help make the job easier.