This handbook exists in order to document everything that goes into what makes Small Batch Standard what it is: a specialized, expertise-based financial agency aimed at helping breweries grow profits, and doing so in a way that facilitates deep, successful relationships. In order to accomplish this, we need a team of self-motivated, independent, autonomous contributors all acting, in concert, towards the same mission. Our aim with this handbook is to capture what that looks like.
Because we believe the culture of our firm is rooted in the continual evolution and improvement of our approach, this handbook is a permanent work in progress that will grow over time as we grow over time. This is not solely a top-down manifesto, but rather a reflection of the working style, habits, and principles that underlie each member of the team’s contribution to the whole.
Why We Work
Our ultimate aim at Small Batch Standard is to get craft owners and operators back to what they got into the business to do in the first place: to brew delicious beer, to create memorable experiences for their customers, and to build a lasting brand and legacy.
We do what we do in order to enable those goals through financial discipline, intelligent strategy and decision-making, and generation of the profit necessary to allow the business and its owners and employees to reach their full potential.
Where We Came From
In 2010, Chris decided to put a stake in the ground and dedicate his firm to the craft brewing industry. That decision didn’t happen in a vacuum. He witnessed first-hand that service, technology, and the best of intentions are not a strong enough differentiator to build for the long-term, and had the foresight to understand that thought leaders would be the way of the future. Expertise was key. And this meant adopting the principles of building a niche practice, pricing based on value rather than hours, and pairing strategic advisory services with standard accounting deliverables.
These beliefs coupled with the rise of a profitable industry in need of major help culminated in the birth of Small Batch Standard. Since then, Chris and the team have continued to deepen their craft-specific skill set and experience, and progress even further down that specialized path. As a result, the last 10 years have been spent serving over a hundred craft breweries and distilleries in the U.S.
Some key ideas that helped pave the way:
- Ron Baker’s Firm of the Future
- Tim Williams’ Positioning for Professionals
- Simon Sinek’s Start With Why
How We Work
How we work is just as important as our end product. It’s guided by our core values and is embodied in our team, our process, and our relationships with clients, partners, and the industry. Our core values are:
- Follow The Law
- Cultivate Energy
- Embrace Technology
- Build and Trust The Process
- Operate With The Client’s Best Interest In Mind
Here’s what that means in practice.
Follow The Law
One of the primary outcomes that we provide for brewery owners is the peace of mind knowing that we have the compliance aspect of operating their business covered. This means that we are extremely diligent in our documentation, we are exacting in our standards for bookkeeping, and we ensure that, from the financial perspective, the business is operating in compliance with all state and federal reporting and tax regulations.
We work on a continuous basis throughout the year in order to build an exceptionally clean set of books that enable on time and accurate tax filings that de-risk the business and take away the nagging fear in the back of the brewery owner’s mind that they are doing something incorrectly.
This all speaks to the quality we deliver, but of primary importance is that everything we do follows the law. But beyond what’s down on paper we have an ethical responsibility to serve our client’s interests to the best of our ability, in every interaction, both internally and externally.
Typical CPA firms will rest on the laurels of their certification and status. They take on a large portfolio of clients, which are billed by the hour, creating a perverse set of incentives that maximize time spent billing, and minimize relationships, service, and results. The firm acts as a backstop for questions, sprinkling in some reactionary financial advice here and there, and then mobilizes once a year to scramble to complete annual tax filings, their cash cow.
If this behavior is “typical,” we are “a-typical” in every respect. We flip the standard model on its head, and in doing so become an integral part of the business for our craft partners. In order to do that, it requires ownership and energy.
Cultivating energy is about coming to work each week well rested, clear headed, and ready to eliminate obstacles and tackle what’s ahead. To not only perform the accounting and advisory functions for the owners and operators we serve, but to also bring energy, enthusiasm, and motivation to our relationships that make it enjoyable for our clients to work with us. In this way, we move the ball forward in a way that the “typical” CPA firm cannot. Your contribution means taking ownership of your schedule, process, and workflow in a manner that allows you to bring this level of energy to the table each and every day.