Bean Ninjas & A2X: Shopify sellers hitting 8-figure target
Over the years, accounting expert Bean Ninjas has zeroed in on a specific segment of the eCommerce market, honing its skills and building a powerful tech stack along the way. As founder Tracey Newman explains, A2X is still a key part of that package, along with other big-name tech solutions like Xero, Dext and Klaviyo.
Some businesses start with one type of client and broaden their scope as they grow. Not Bean Ninjas.
As founder Tracey Newman explains, she’s spent her years in eCommerce accounting concentrating on the specific clients she wants to work with – from eCommerce in general to Shopify sellers to seven-figure clients aiming for that elusive eighth figure.
This process hasn’t reduced Bean Ninjas’ client numbers – far from it. As Tracey puts it, clients seem to resonate with the concept of a super-specialised accounting service. Because the Bean Ninjas team has been so focused on one area, it’s been able to get “really good at just a few things”, and that skillset puts it in high demand with growing eCommerce retailers.
The result? The business has had to introduce a waitlist and take on just two new clients a month – that way, it can continue to deliver the intensive, high-quality service it’s known for.
A2X still the best tool for the job
Bean Ninjas was an early adopter of A2X, using the tool to feed hyper-accurate sales data from Shopify to Xero – and simplify the accounting process. Despite the increased demands of the business, A2X is still a key part of Bean Ninjas’ tech stack.
“It’s a very strong selling point for us – we can say we know this product inside and out, we can implement it and a lot of inefficiencies in your business will go away. So, it’s just as valuable a selling tool today as it was three years ago.”
Now, the Australian-born business has offshoots in the UK and the US, and deals with high-volume, high-profit, multi-channel clients.
As Tracey wryly explains, “It’s been a bit of an evolution.”
Many clients now sell not just in a single market like Australia, but all over the world. This ups the accounting complexity significantly, with different sales taxes and registrations required in different locations.
Before: lack of understanding leads to issues
Bean Ninjas calls itself an ‘eCommerce growth accountant’ for a reason. It’s not about simply helping businesses get by, but focused on taking clients to the next level, and that comes with built-in complexities and complications.
Tracey explains that despite the high sales numbers, most clients are not big corporates – they’re mum-and-dad sellers running businesses from home, sometimes with offshore support or other outsourcing.
While these sellers will be fairly far along on their business journey, they don’t necessarily know about accounting or tech solutions. If they’re selling high volumes of stock, they’re likely to run into issues and struggle to choose the right tech for the job.
This means clients may have invested – or be considering – an expensive out-of-the-box solution without really understanding the implications or realising there are other options. They assume that, because their businesses are a certain size, they need a big, brand-name solution to deal with their financial processes.
Tracey challenges that assumption.
“It’s not necessarily a foregone conclusion that you need to go out to those bigger systems just because you’re selling X dollars, or have Y orders.”
After: helping clients navigate growth
Clients usually come to Bean Ninjas with one of three common problems. Some don’t have a connection between Xero and their shopping cart at all – which is where the team won’t hesitate to recommend A2X. Others will have that functionality, but find that it hasn’t been able to scale as the business has grown. Thirdly, some clients are already using A2X, but aren’t harnessing its full value, Tracey explains.
“If they’re omnichannel sellers, they might be selling through Amazon, perhaps Shopify, maybe they’ve got a b2b portal and a brick-and-mortar store. And at that stage, they’re looking to their inventory systems to integrate with Xero, but none of the inventory solutions has that connection solved, so they mostly send everything over – and that’s what’s causing the problem.”
That’s where working with a service provider like Bean Ninjas can be so powerful. Rather than paying big bucks for an inventory system that may not deliver the results they want, or continuing to spend time on manual reconciliation and double-checking, they get expert eyes on the problem.
“It’s a process of understanding how information is flowing through your ecosystem and making sure the right numbers are landing in the right places with best-in-breed tools like A2X,” Tracey says.
“We can say ‘look at the number one solution we’re seeing our clients use’”
Multi-channels, multiple markets, multi-millions – it all adds up to a complex accounting environment for Tracey and her clients. Tracey’s advice? Solve problems with automation but be flexible about the details.
“If there’s a business process issue, solve it with a piece of automation. But I wouldn’t say use only three or use 30. It’s a more fluid decision,” she explains.
Depending on the channels, markets, scale and type of business, clients might need a complicated ecosystem of apps and software, or a simpler setup. Because Bean Ninjas works with so many clients in the same eCommerce space, it has seriously in-depth knowledge of the best options.
“We can very quickly shortcut that huge investigative process to say, ‘Look, the number one solution we’re seeing our clients use is clear.’ You know, we can point them to the top two or three solutions, and clients really appreciate that,” she says.
Naturally, A2X is often top of the list.
“We feel confident that A2X is the right solution for our clients. And because we’re so niche, and all our clients use Shopify, A2X and Xero, it’s a well-oiled machine.”