A NEW ERA…
The organization had been one of our steadiest auto dealer clients for decades. Things had changed drastically in the auto industry since our relationship began, and when we sat with them to plan the future, we had every reason to believe the same would be true as the industry continued to evolve.
The organization appreciated our approach to looking ahead. Once the meeting started, our conversation went straight to the heart of two critical issues they were facing. If left unchecked, these issues would prevent growth, and potentially leave the organization open for serious internal and competitive challenges.
The first issue was their need to improve business processes and internal controls. As the organization had grown, increased transactional volume and employee count demanded a fresh approach to operational efficiency and oversight. The second issue had to do with their succession strategy. As a family business, multi-generational family members held management and leadership positions.
We helped them clearly articulate their goals and assisted in the steps to get there, including form of governance, entity restructuring and estate planning. We approached these challenges holistically, and we look forward to supporting their ongoing growth in the next era.
Navigating Through Complexities, Driving Toward Growth
Servicing auto dealerships comes from a place of passion for the members of our auto dealership industry group. We love everything with wheels, just as much as we enjoy supporting closely held, privately owned companies, especially those with the many intricacies a dealership brings.
An individual dealership is actually a number of separate businesses under one roof. Driven by sales, each interconnected department has its own set of challenges, circumstances and needs, and requires the right type of oversight and critical thinking to function optimally.
Today, we serve more than 30 dealers with 60-plus rooftops throughout the Western states, providing services that take us into their offices, homes and futures.
“In reality, there are many moving parts to a dealership. If you don’t have the right people supporting a dealer’s accounting office, it can get out of control in a hurry, especially when there is so much cash flowing in and out.” Dave Porter, Shareholder
Check-ups and tune-ups for your dealership
When working with dealerships, part of the our process involves performing regular financial health check-ups and procedures geared specifically toward each service area within the business, including used and new car sales, financing, service, parts and accessories, and the body shop. These procedures are designed to ensure that a dealership has the right controls in place to bring a new level of oversight, while also keeping an eye on its bottom line. That way, the dealer’s team can focus on making the entire operation run smoothly.
Our team members bring four decades of industry expertise, and also include professionals who have worked as controllers inside of dealerships. In adding their skills to the mix, each team member is instrumental in helping us expand our services and capabilities as we maintain an industry-specific focus that meets the needs of 21st century dealerships.
Gone are the days when the Ford dealer was the Ford dealer and the Chevy dealer was the Chevy dealer. Today’s dealerships are as vast and varied as they have ever been, built to respond to consumer needs and changing demands. This modern reality suggests that dealers who remain at the top of the chain must be forward thinking, open to change, and able to adapt when called upon to do so.
Having worked with auto dealers since the industry’s early days, we have seen this growth and expansion first-hand, and we have taken the measurable, quantifiable steps to foster success for our clients.
“Our experience helps us prepare for any situation. We know how things look when all the nuts and bolts are tightened. We’re comfortable in any situation, whether we’re supporting an existing client on the tax side, handling critical compliance issues on the auditing side, helping a client formulate a succession plan, and so on.” Preston Byrd, Shareholder
Going into overdrive for our clients
To truly serve auto dealers, a firm must remain deeply committed at the highest professional level. This notion goes beyond our experience, and speaks to our investigative natures and desire to learn. One added benefit we deliver is the twice-annual seminar we host that addresses the industry’s needs, covering topics such as tax planning, compliance, fraud prevention, legal issues and marketing.
Fraud is an unfortunate reality that faces many auto dealerships. When a business has a lot of cash flowing in and out, and doesn't have the most consistent procedures and oversight in place, the environment can be ripe for fraud. Our practice is built in a way where many of our auto team members also serve on our forensic accounting team. This dovetailing of services and specialties is no accident: in both settings, we bring a high level of discretion, inquisitiveness and perspective as we examine the underpinnings of a client’s internal operations.
“The vast majority of dealerships are family owned businesses. Their employees have come up through the ranks, and have the highest level of trust from their owners part of our job is to strengthen the internal controls to head off problems before they happen.” Doug Lovett, Shareholder
Firing on all cylinders
The goal of any dealership is to put people into cars, and to make a profit while doing so. Today’s car buyers are savvier and more informed than ever. Many arrive at the lot not just looking for a deal, but expecting dealers to hand them the keys.
As profit margins continue to shrink, dealers have to get more and more creative in the way they find profits. For some, this leads to mergers, acquisitions, or simply trying new things while at the same time looking to trim as much fat off of their operation without putting employees out of work.
Even when delving into the minutia, we choose to take the broad view toward providing the most robust service possible.
“Dealers can become disjointed when they start thinking about things like the effect of end-of-year inventory, or what accounting method is best for their income statements. Having us is like having a suite of CPAs right down the hall from their offices.” Stan Geffen, Shareholder
In forming strong partnerships, one of our primary tasks is to make life easier for dealers and their employees. When you factor in the many moving parts and complexities involved in every transaction, we seek to create a sense of calm that pervades a dealer’s overall operations, applying a top-down vision that is informed and supported by the experience and inquiry each member adds to the equation.