Advise and consult

Shawn Pouliot wanted something more out of an accounting firm. Any accountant should be able to handle the mundane but necessary activities such as payroll and filing quarterly taxes, but the restaurateur and investor wanted someone who could advise him on a variety of issues and even help with business planning.

Pouliot found that someone in the management advisory services group of Midcap & Co., a CPA and business advisory firm.

“They look at what do you want to get into,” says Pouliot, president and CEO of JKD Holdings, the umbrella company over his ventures. “Then they help you research the most cost-effective way to go about it. At the same time, they made me aware cheapest isn’t always the best. You get what you pay for. They help with figuring out how much you have to start with.”

Midcap still handles the basic financial stuff.

“You have certain things done monthly or quarterly that just have to be paid,” Pouliot says. “Being able to trust them and rely on them to handle affairs on my behalf, I don’t have to sit there. I don’t have to crunch the numbers. It takes a lot off my mind.

“It frees me up to be able to manage the 50 employees that I have at (Riverside Kitchen). It gives me more time with my family. Basically, I turned over the whole accounting department, whether it’s my business finances or my personal. They take care of everything — writing checks, certain bills are paid. I don’t have to worry about it. I just know it’s done.”

Many accounting companies provide far more than the basic financials, a good thing for many business owners who are so busy running their businesses they fail to take the time to set long-term goals and objectives.

“They typically fail to plan as far as two-year goals, three-year goals, five-year goals,” says Mark Sipos, a partner with Midcap. “A lot of times they fail to plan. That’s what usually happens.”

Even if a company has a full-time accountant, that person may lack the management skills to help the owner move the entity forward.

“A lot of our clients are small, individually held companies,” Sipos says. “They might have some back-level accountant to do payroll, but what they are really missing is a controller. They can’t afford to have someone there full time; they don’t need somebody there full time. That’s where we step in and help them, provide those type of services that a controller normally would. We act as their independent controller.”

An accounting firm can act as the liaison between the owner and the entry-level accountant, who collects sales data and other financial information.

“We bridge the gap there and what all those numbers mean to you, how you can improve those numbers,” Sipos says. “Why aren’t they as good as last quarter? If they are better, why was that, or was that by accident? Did you do something different? Did you raise prices? Do we need to raise prices?”

That’s the kind of advice Pouliot will be looking for in his latest venture into the restaurant business. He took over Luna’s Deli and Restaurant and planned to reopen it last month as Riverside Kitchen.

No matter what business you’re in, Pouliot suggests looking for an adviser, not just an accountant.

“Whether you’re a little guy or a big guy, the great thing, if you’re a little guy and you have big dreams they will help you get there,” Pouliot says. “They’ll put a plan together, a business plan. They’re great at business plans. They’re really working together with me on where I am at today, where I want to be tomorrow, where I want to be in a lifetime. They work very close with me on those things.”

HOW TO REACH: JKD Holdings, (866) 869-4775; Midcap & Co., (330) 762-8825 or