Overseas start-up streamlines with tech hacksby
Digital nomad Alex Falcon Huerta shares her newest endeavour, supporting a wine start-up and helping to streamline its tech processes and troubleshoot issues as they arise.
Wine Adore was set up in Singapore by Luiz and Gustavo Pinheiro – both currently reside in Bali. The company imports wine from Portugal to Singapore. They then sell the wine to large hotels, restaurants and supermarkets. They managed to secure investors to allow them to expand and develop into the new wine markets.
Bali may seem like a million miles away from the UK, but the world can be a small place. One evening, I came across Luiz and Gustavo, who are originally from Brazil. In their teenage years, they lived in Bedford, my home town. We even attended the same school.
Luiz and Gustavo discussed their vision to expand the business in Asia and other parts of the world. Like many other start-ups, getting up and running is always challenging, but they managed to lock in large contracts.
They built a supportive team around them that allows them to focus on key parts of the business areas such as marketing and sales. Funds from investors allowed them to put their growth strategy into place.
I reviewed their accounting systems and helped them keep track of inventory and cashflow – critical areas to any new business. Once the right systems are in place for finances, it can support many decisions that could have an impact on the success or failure of a business.
Zoho and Shopify
Keeping track of their finances in Excel, they started to use Zoho Books, Zoho Inventory and ecommerce platform Shopify. I ensured the tech tools were aligned and could easily pull out management information. Looking at the data in Excel and Zoho, they needed to add in opening stock values to align with the warehouse.
We input the data to make it all match and ensured that Shopify line inventory was connected and synched. Without this part, we’d have to update each inventory item manually. Where there are many line items for inventory, it's important for them to keep track of quantities to know when to replenish.
As Shopify connects with Zoho inventory management, we checked the stock to the import company, then when the sales order went through, we then ensured the stock was released. The two products actually did sync. It is vital this is correct as it affects the stock valuation and quantities.
Some products I reviewed in the past didn't pick up on items purchased until the physical purchase invoice was received. The physical invoice can take weeks, which isn't a true reflection of stock. After testing a few line items, we managed to align all stock items. This part took some time and will need continuous reviews to ensure it remains accurate.
Bank feeds and CSV
Asia tech isn't as up to date as the UK on the banking side, which meant we had to find alternative solutions. To carry out the bookkeeping and applying the payments and income wasn't as easy as connecting the bank feeds as we do in the UK.
The alternative was to import a CSV file from the bank to the accounting software. The CSV from the bank would then need manipulating each time to ensure it is in the correct format for the accounting software. Since this will be an ongoing monthly task, identifying ways to make this efficient was imperative.
Luckily, the pandemic has pushed many high-end digital nomads to localised areas. I met with Excel Hero Training LLC founder Daniel Kogan at an entrepreneurs network event, BIG Tribe Bali. With his help and support, we implemented Microsoft Power Query.
Microsoft Power Query
As Power Query can extract and transform data into a required format, it can take data from sources, such as the long complicated CSV file, and clean it up to the required format and structure. Once the steps are set up in Power Query, you can change the source file.
Each time you need to do this restructuring of data, instead of manually editing a file and starting from scratch each time, you simply create a folder, add the new file, then apply Power Query with one click.
We have to transfer monthly CSV files from Singapore Bank into Zoho Books, so it makes sense to use Power Query. Since Daniel niches his work to the German market, I found an alternative YouTube video that can take you through how to set up Power Query. His advice is that every accountant should learn Power Query.
We still have some time yet to finalise, and bring the cashflow and finances up to speed. It's not an overnight project, but going forward it will be kept up-to-date on a regular basis. Inventory will be easy to track what's in stock, cash will be easily tracked and the all-important profit and loss and balance sheet will be updated with tax money to be saved.
Having specialist help from the start with any business can really make a huge difference to the direction and decision making. Most specialists will give you high-end results that will take the least amount of time. I have always believed in outsourcing and offshoring to help support business growth
You might also be interested in
The founder of Soaring Falcon Accountancy, Alex Falcon Huerta FCCA is a Xero MVP and member of ACCA's international assembly. With a background as an accountant working with some of the most agile and progressive small businesses in the UK, Alex is an early technology adopter who set up her practice to accelerate change both for her clients and...