January 25, 2019

Strategic Guidance Leads to Growth for Cheree Berry

The Situation

Cheree Berry Paper (CBP), one of the nation’s premier custom stationery and graphic design firms, has designed wedding invitations for first families and delivered paper possibilities to Hollywood’s most sought-after stars. They have expanded from a one-person shop to a team of more than 20 women in just over a decade so they are adept at managing growth. In 2017, in addition to a large-scale office move, they began thinking of adding a brick-and-mortar retail shop to their custom studio space. That’s when leadership realized they needed more than a tax provider.

The Challenges

“As we expanded into this new model, it presented a whole additional set of considerations,” said Kristen Armstrong, Cheree Berry’s CFO. “We needed an accounting firm who could mitigate our tax liability, but also an organization that could provide expense classification guidance, advise on inventory, and act as a strategic partner.”

New business lines require new areas of expertise, so CBP began looking for a new strategic accounting partner. Through a business connection, they were introduced to the team at Anders CPAs+ Advisors and knew this firm could offer the high-level business and tax guidance their growing company required.

“Even in initial getting-to-know-you meetings, I felt that Anders could become a long-term, trusted advisor,” shared Armstrong.

The Solution

Anders worked with the leadership team at CBP to maximize tax savings during the office move and creation of a separate retail store. The team worked hand-in-hand with Armstrong to separate margins from the retail and custom side of the business for a more accurate, 360-degree view.

“In addition to the practical and operational advice, Anders offers continuing education opportunities and introductions to an impressive network of people,” said Armstrong. “I’ve benefitted from seminars exploring everything from IT to tax law changes.”

She adds that the breadth and depth of expertise at Anders is unparalleled. “If our team doesn’t know the answer to a question right away, someone in the firm will—and they all work together for our benefit.”

The Results

CBP’s leadership now has quarterly meetings with their team at Anders to discuss everything from tax liabilities and margin growth or shrinkage to cash flow projections and long-term financial planning.

“Multiple stakeholders are in these meetings, and Anders does a great job of presenting the facts and then our options for actions, clarified with pros and cons of each decision,” shares Armstrong. “When we leave those meetings, the entire CBP team feels comfortable with what was decided.”

She notes that Anders feels like a true partner and advocate for the company and brand—and that translates into results.

“This year, CBP grew by approximately 10% and Anders strategic planning helped us achieve that,” said Armstrong. “Our Anders team understands the business as it is today, but perhaps more importantly, they understand where we want to go—and are right beside us as we take the steps necessary to get there.”

Learn more about Cheree Berry Paper or the Anders Women’s Initiative.

Contact an Anders advisor to learn how we can help you or your business.

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January 24, 2019

Collaboration and Strategic Startup Advice: the Perfect Fit for Babyation

The Situation

Samantha Rudolph and her husband, Jared, received an Arch Grant in 2015 to take their company, Babyation, founded on their proprietary redesign of an improved breast pump, to the next level. Fantastically, a cadre of vendors comes with the award—St. Louis companies that volunteer their time and talents to help startups navigate everything from accounting and finances to insurance and marketing. As part of the award, Rudolph was introduced to Anders CPAs + Advisors. Today, they are the only Arch Grant vendor she still uses.

“Everything was first-class—from the attention-to-detail to advice to responsiveness,” said Rudolph.

The Challenges

“A startup, by definition, is challenging,” said Rudolph, laughing. “From navigating growth to fielding investor questions to thinking about the evolution of Babyation, the birth and childhood stages of a startup are filled with unique challenges.”

Currently, they are talking to Anders about how the company structure should evolve when they are fully at market and past the “reserve your pump” phase—when they have an ongoing, continuing stream of revenue.

Thankfully, Anders has a team dedicated entirely to servicing startups so they have experience navigating a wide variety of road bumps across a multitude of product and service-based industries.  This expertise is invaluable for startup clients, especially when they are raising large amounts of capital.

“We needed a partner who could talk to our investors, was familiar with the investment documents we were using, and could grow as we grew,” said Rudolph. “Anders checked all those boxes.”

The Solution

The list of startup challenges is ever-evolving, but Anders is never more than an email or call away.

“They are willing to do whatever it takes. An investor had a question about tax implications and Anders immediately answered it,” said Rudolph. “That kind of responsiveness can have a direct impact on our continued funding and success so it’s powerful.”

In addition to business and personal accounting, Anders performs quarterly checks on the books and consults with Rudolph and other company leaders as the complexities of the business multiply.

“I just don’t have to think about it,” said Rudolph. “And that’s huge because there are so many other things I need to be thinking about at this stage of the business.”

The Results

She notes that Anders really understands the unique challenges and exposure of startups, and that they have the benefit of having seen hundreds of startups succeed.

“I’m continually impressed by Anders,” Rudolph shared. “I’m 100% confident that as Babyation grows, they will be able to provide the support and consultation that is right for that stage. Their historical knowledge of our company is helpful and allows them to customize how they support us as we evolve.”

In two years, Rudolph and her team have worked with hundreds of vendors and more than 50 in the consulting arena.

“Anders is the only vendor with which I’ve never experienced anything less than top-tier. It is amazing that they are able to provide this level of service for which they are known to such a large client base.”

Learn more about Babyation, the Anders Startup Group or the Anders Women’s Initiative.

Contact an Anders advisor to learn how we can help you or your business.

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January 14, 2019

Proactive Plays Make for a Winning Relationship with the St. Louis Surge

The Situation

The St. Louis Surge is St. Louis, Missouri’s professional women’s basketball team. In 2019, the team begins its eighth season with five Regional Championships and two National Championships under its belt.

Suffice it to say that the Owner and General Manager, Khalia Collier, who purchased the elite team in 2011, commits herself 110% to success.  A pioneer and trailblazer, Collier has taken on the challenge of building the first sustainable women’s franchise in St. Louis. In addition to this full-time job, she also leads the Saint Louis University Institute for Private Business. In both of these roles, Collier meets a lot of interesting people. That is, in fact, how she met Donna Erbs, CMO at Anders CPAs + Advisors.

The Challenges

When Collier met Erbs, she was already engaged with another accounting firm.

“And that relationship was…fine; the things that needed to get done were getting done,” said Collier. “But I had questions and I needed help navigating specific challenges.”

Collier didn’t feel that she could approach her former firm for consultative advice. That’s when Erbs assumed a role on an advisory board for The Surge—and Collier got to see first-hand how the professionals at Anders work.

“Donna would throw out some ideas that really helped jumpstart our grassroots marketing efforts and our conversations extended to growing this franchise, this business,” she said. “She didn’t try to sell me, she tried to help me—and that’s when I knew.”

The Solution

This year marks Collier’s fourth year as an Anders client. She says that because Anders understands sports as a business, she is challenged regularly by accountants whom she is now comfortable calling advisors.

“Anders helps me frame ideas in different ways and provides me with the information I need to make the best decision possible,” she says.

When she was debating a financing issue a few years ago, her Anders team collaborated with their colleagues to provide her with the pros and cons of each option.

“I felt educated by a team of consultants who want the best for me and my business.”

Collier also likes the fact that Anders understands her franchise is unique, but at its core, it is a business just like other businesses.

“And like other businesses, I need strategies to grow and scale,” she adds.

The Results

Anders has helped Collier both scale and grow The Surge. Under her leadership, the franchise continues to build championship programs each year, attracting post-graduate players from diverse basketball backgrounds. According to Collier, revenue has increased as well.

“Since I became an Anders’ client, I’ve seen a 20% revenue increase year-over-year,” she shared. “Next year, I’m anticipating a 30% increase.”

It is their proactive guidance and advisory function that continues to impress Collier—and is the reason she refers so many other professionals to the firm.

“I make decisions based on people—and the people here at Anders are helping me grow in a strategic way that feels right for me, for the franchise, and for our community.”

Learn more about the St. Louis Surge or the Anders Women’s Initiative.

Contact an Anders advisor to learn how we can help you or your business.

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January 11, 2019

Following Top-Tier Service to Navigate Change for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society

The Situation

Where service goes, Meg Stagina will follow. After all, as Executive Director of the Greater St. Louis Dental Society, the recognized professional resource for dentists in both their business and in their patients’ care, she knows a thing or two about how exceeding service standards leads to patient acquisition and retention for her members. That’s why she followed the Society’s long-time accountant, Jeanne Dee, to Anders CPAs + Advisors when she left her previous firm.

“We were entering a new era and continuity of the high standards Jeanne had been providing was essential,” said Stagina. “The fact that Anders had an entire department dedicated to not-for-profits and extensive resources was a bonus.”

The Challenges

The Greater St. Louis Dental Society had an idea: they wanted to establish a new 501(c)(3) entity under their existing organization. Was this feasible? Did it make sense? How did one even begin? Would the Board approve it? When should it launch? The questions and uncertainties seemed endless, yet there was also potential for something great.

“This was and is a huge undertaking; we are creating an entirely new financial entity,” Stagina shared. “There were questions from a variety of different perspectives—operational, financial, etc.—and from a multitude of stakeholders. It is a very intricate and complicated undertaking.”

The Solution

Jeanne, a partner at Anders CPAs + Advisors, and the not-for-profit team at Anders were there every step of the way.

“They helped answer all of the questions we had and address the complexities involved. Jeanne even sat in on meetings with our Committee to answer questions about what this could look like and the impact it could have.”

The team at Anders walked right beside Stagina and her team from concept to where this idea is now—an entity that is almost ready to launch and that will impact opportunities for future dentists in our region.

The Results

“The consultative layer of service we receive from Jeanne and the team at Anders is unparalleled,” said Stagina. “We were creating something from nothing and she was there providing thoughtful, educated responses to guide us in the right direction.”

Innovation can sometimes feel lonely, Stagina suggests, but she never feels alone with the Anders team backing the Society. She notes that Jeanne was instrumental in providing the Committee with the data they needed to feel secure in making a recommendation to the Board, which ultimately voted in favor of bringing this idea to fruition.

“Anders is a true partner; they have a passion for not-for-profits and their success,” said Stagina. “And they don’t just say that. They dedicate resources to their not-for-profit department to back it up. I know I have a trusted, reliable partner with the Society on our journey.”

Learn more about the Greater St. Louis Dental Society, the Anders Not-for-Profit Team or the Anders Women’s Initiative.

Contact an Anders advisor to learn how we can help you or your business.

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