Encountering twists and turns in the search for a solution
As business owners themselves, the Wong trio smiles when recalling their own “customer journey”—the pit stops and speed bumps that peppered their route to Ignite Spot.
“We’d love to say our journey to Ignite Spot was linear. That would have been ideal and would have saved us so much time and energy. But we had to backtrack a few times before arriving at our final destination.” —Kiani Wong, co-owner, Kaka’ako Kasuals
First option: A friendly local bookkeeper
The three business owners decided to engage a local bookkeeper. The goal was to keep dollars circulating locally, a move that could have benefited everyone in the community. But it didn’t take long to realize the partnership wouldn’t work out.
“They didn’t do much work for us unless we stayed on top of them,” explains Shay. “They rarely reached out to us to make sure all our boxes were checked, and that’s the kind of proactive service we needed. Because when you’re already busy, and you’re already struggling to get things done, it can be hard to remember what you must do to provide your accountant what they need to help you succeed.”
In the end, the team felt disappointed in their passive local bookkeeper and decided they were paying too much for too little output. They needed a proactive relationship, one where the bookkeeper would help them help themselves.
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Plan B: an attempt at using automated bookkeeping software
Next, the group tried Bench.co, automated bookkeeping software that allows business owners to manage their own books without all the tedious manual labor of data entry. Here, the goal was to save time and money while still keeping the task in-house.
A few weeks in, the team felt frustrated that the software couldn’t accommodate the nuances of a complicated and fluid business. Real-life scenarios like theirs require a human’s understanding and creative problem-solving.
“The service was not nearly as personalized,” says Kiani. “There wasn’t a human touch to it, and we needed that.”
Ignite Spot’s outsourced accounting delivers visibility, stability, agility, and more
Kiani, Nicole, and Shay were exploring and comparing their options just before the pandemic. Kiani had heard about Ignite Spot long before any of their efforts to get organized. Now, for the first time, she saw why such an investment might make sense in the long run. The group signed on with Ignite Spot and began gaining traction in their quest to make their books more organized, verified, compliant, and insightful.
Right away, Korbyn Gallegos, CPA, the team’s Ignite Spot accountant, provided a plan of action for the business owners to execute. It was a list of to-do items that would put Kaka’ako Kasuals on the right track to obtain stability, establish a healthy cash flow, and, eventually, achieve their long-term goals.
“Once we understood our situation a little bit better, Korbyn created a checklist of things that we needed to do every day so that we could get caught up—and then get building.”
While the business owners tackled the checklist, their new accountant Korbyn went straight to work on their books.
Ignite Spot’s team was nonjudgmental and understanding of the many nuances that put Kaka’ako Kasuals in a position to necessitate help.
Immediately, the accountants cleared about 10 months of records that were behind. Specifically, Korbyn posted and reconciled a thousand old transactions that needed to be handled. The outsourced accounting team also helped them address the massive issue of duplicate invoices and revenue. The tangle originated when Kaka’ako’s transition from Sage into QuickBooks Online inadvertently recreated hundreds of invoices.
Kaka’ako Kasuals Footwear
The pandemic arrives—and it’s uglier than anticipated
Not long into their new partnership, Ignite Spot saw the impending global health crisis and recommended a drastic defensive pivot. In a few short weeks, tourism—the entire industry—evaporated.
Kaka’ako Kasuals relies on tourism for the vast majority of its sales. When foot traffic collapsed, so did revenue. “We’re used to seeing 35,000 tourists arrive per day,” says Kiani. “Now, suddenly, there are 400 tourists arriving per day.”
And the impact isn’t fleeting. The World Economic Forum reports that the losses from COVID-19 could set the world’s tourism industry back 20 years. [Tweet This Fact]
Source: Statista data via the World Economic Forum
Thankfully, Ignite Spot’s service pivoted to accommodate and tackle the immediate and novel challenges. At their outsourced accounting expert’s advice, Kaka’ako Kasuals found ways to cut their spending by 40% to weather the shutdown while continuing to serve customers.
"Without insight into our financials, we wouldn’t have known what and where to cut to still be able to cover our operations. Now that we’re organized, we can stay afloat throughout this crisis and whatever other threats the future holds."
—Kiani Wong, co-owner, Kaka’ako Kasuals
Spying the opportunity to do more than simply survive, Kiani, Shay, and Nicole also pivoted to begin designing and distributing neck gaiters, which can be worn as face coverings. The products fulfill a need while allowing the brand to pursue a measured form of diversification.