Client Spotlight: SA PA Vietnamese Kitchen

Client Spotlight: SA PA Vietnamese Kitchen

Ky Nguyen, owner of the popular downtown lunch spot SA PA Vietnamese Kitchen, has this advice for other wannabe food entrepreneurs: make sure you have a strong team behind you. When he opened his business in 2012 he made outsourcing the accounting part of the plan. With a growing business including a food truck, brick-and-mortar location, and catering services he was going to have his hands very very full.

One of the first things that Tristan CPA did was to help reorganize the categories that SA PA was using for their financial statements, including their Profit & Loss account. This helped Ky get the most accurate and up to date information so he could make critical business decisions along the way. He says: “It’s good to have another person to talk over all of the financial information with. And Tristan is great, because he gets the business.”

Running a restaurant is a tough business, one where profit margins often run very tight. With a strong staff behind him, and consistent and reliable accounting from Tristan CPA, Ky says that he is proud to see SA PA turning a profit that supports the growth of his employees and business. He enjoys seeing happy customers devouring his carefully crafted egg-rolls, banh mi, pho, and savory bowls, knowing that he’s got “a good numbers guy” on his side that lets him focus on the food and his customers.

Check out SA PA Vietnamese Kitchen!

92 Bedford Street. Boston, MA 02111

Accounting In-House vs. Outsourced

Accounting In-House vs. Outsourced

Reliable and accurate accounting is key to the success of any business, but many business owners struggle when it comes to the decision of whether to hire an in-house or outsourced accountant. Being able to clearly understand the advantages and disadvantages of each will help you to decide which type of investment is best for your growing business. Below we outline three common scenarios that business owners face around accounting.

Keep in mind that there’s no one-size fits all answer to whether or not you should outsource your accounting work. Therefore we would strongly suggest that you weigh your options carefully, and seek a professional opinion on your specific situation.

Scenario I: You have, or are considering hiring, a full time accountant for your office.

Having an accountant on staff may provide more access and day-to-day control, but these minor advantages can be quickly outweighed by the cost and inflexibility of the scenario. A full-time accountant requires the same competitive salary, recruitment costs, office space, equipment, supplies, software licenses, and benefits as any other employee. On top of being costly, your accountant’s experience will be limited to your business, giving them less exposure to different problems, and their ability to increase production along with demand may be more limited than an outsourced accountant.

Scenario II: You or an employee are doing, or are planning to do, your own accounting work in-house using simple software.

As a business owner you may be thinking that you know your business best, and can rely on software to let you take care of accounting needs. It certainly appears to be the quickest and most cost-effective way to get started, but the increased risk of costly errors won’t be worth it. An employee turning ‘bookkeeper’ for a growing business is also dangerous for several reasons, the most dangerous being that the employee will lack the accounting knowledge needed to properly advise a growing or struggling business. Professional accountants are able to provide an unparalleled level of advice, as they are able to see much further into your business than you think.

Scenario III: You have, or are thinking of finding, an accountant that takes care of your books.

With advances in technology and the cloud, outsourced accounting has become a scalable, affordable option for many small to large businesses. An outsourced firm can provide much of the same ‘real-time’ access you would have with an in-house accountant with the advantage of reducing the burden of manual reporting by internal employees, eliminating costly mistakes.

Every accounting firm has different rates, pricing policies, and client experiences, so be diligent in your research and speak directly with the firms. Does the accountant treat you like another paycheck, or do they feel like part of the team that genuinely cares about your businesses success? Here’s a quick checklist of questions to ask:

What are your response times for questions?
Do you have a fixed cost package?
Do you work solo or on a team?
Do you offer a full service accounting solution?
Do you offer professional business advice?
Do you offer professional representation in case of an audit?

These are just some of the things that we provide at Tristan CPA. To learn more about how you can save money and still have high quality accounting service, contact us or get started today with our Quickbooks Review service!

Client Spotlight: Meraki Spa

Meraki Spa is a young and growing business in Newburyport, MA that is owned by sisters Krysteen and Jessica Vo. The spa offers premier beauty services to clients from all over the North Shore, including nails, massage, makeup, waxing, and skin care. Meraki carries on the legacy and hard work of Krysteen and Jessica’s mother, Nancy Lam, who worked in the nail industry for more than 20 years while raising her five children as a single mother. Krysteen says that she is most proud of Meraki’s culture of teamwork, and seeing the collective and individual  growth of her staff.

When Krysteen and her sister started their business they knew it was vital to have a CPA they could trust and rely upon. They also wanted someone with some knowledge of the beauty industry. Tristan CPA turned out to be the perfect fit. Krysteen says: “Tristan’s services have helped me to organize all of my bookkeeping, numbers, and reports so that I can focus more of my time on growing the business.”

Meraki will celebrate their two year anniversary this September, but they’ve already become a go-to for beauty and spa services on the North Shore. Krysteen credits Meraki’s success to having access to critical monthly financial reports that allow her to clearly see and evaluate their numbers. She says: “Self-evaluation is imperative to growth. Having Tristan take care of my accounting provides me with the ability to constantly self-evaluate on an objective scale so that I can determine better options and alternatives to pursue Meraki’s interests, including management, leading my team and meeting our goals.”

Check out Meraki Spa!

3 Important Financial Reports Every Business Owner Should Know

Many business owners see their success as the direct result of a strong work ethic and good marketing plan, but we know the real secret: it’s all in the accounting! Good accounting sustains a business, and provides data that will help the owner make the smartest decisions about where to go next.

There are many different reports that tell a business owner what the “financial” health of their company is, but the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flow provide key data to drive decision making at any stage of business. Startups need to make sure their business has a good foundation. Businesses in their second or third year need to evaluate how they’re doing and what needs to be changed. By understanding the following three reports, businesses will better unlock their true potential.

1. Balance Sheet

The Balance Sheet is a snapshot of the financial position of your company at a certain point in time. This includes assets (what your business owns), liabilities (what your business owes), and owner’s equity (the owner’s stake in the business). Included in this report is your cash balance and liabilities.

On a balance sheet, it’s important to understand the order in which the assets and liabilities appear, and whether they are considered “current” or “long-term”. Here is a quick break down to help you read and understand your balance sheet:


Assets often appear in the order of liquidity, or how quickly those items would be converted into cash in the normal business operation, which is the reason why cash is usually the first item on the balance sheet.

  • Cash, accounts receivable, inventory etc. are considered current assets because they can most often be converted to cash within a year.

  • Buildings and equipment are considered long-term assets since they normally would not be converted into cash within a year.


Liabilities are also appear based on liquidity, but for money going out, with accounts payable, taxes payable, payroll payable etc. appearing first. These are all current liabilities.

  • If you have liabilities that cannot be paid within a year, they are considered long-term, i.e. debts with terms over a year.

TIP: If you captured all of your accounting information correctly, both sides of the balance sheet equation should be equal.

2. Income Statement

An income statement shows the revenue, expenses, and the profit/loss of your company for a specific period of time (month, quarter, annual). Profit/loss is important because it gives you an idea how profitable the company is overall. Items in the income statement fall into two categories: revenue, the income earned for services performed or goods sold that period of term, and expenses, the costs incurred during that same period. Subtracting expenses from revenue will provide your profit/loss or net income/net loss.

TIP: Make sure to also factor in overhead costs such repairs, utilities, insurance and legal fees into your operating expenses to ensure your net profit is accurate.

3. Statement of Cash Flow

The statement of cash flow shows the movement of cash in and cash out for the time period. It is one of the most important reports for small businesses and startups because it allows you to see how readily a company can meet its debt and interest payments.

The statement of cash flow usually gets broken down into three categories: operating cash flow, investing cash flow, and financing cash flow:

  • Operating cash flow shows the money coming from normal business activities.

  • Investing cash flow shows money from investing activities such as equipment purchases.

  • Financing cash flow is money related to debts, contribution or distribution from owners.

TIP: To calculate your ending cash balance, take the beginning cash balance, add cash inflows and then subtract cash outflows.The final result shows the net change in cash for the period.

Financial reports tell the past, present and future of your business. The past is the decisions  you made in the beginning and how they affected your financial gain or loss. The present is a snapshot of what decisions you are making right now. The future is what you decide to do with the information these reports have given you. How you use this information will be the defining factor of your business’s growth or its demise. You can also use this information to benchmark your financial data with other companies in the same industry to see where you stack up.