Managing Brewery Finances: Welcome to the Adventure!

Managing Brewery Finance

My goal in starting this practice was to help a lone brewery accountant create and manage an awesome set of books. When I was in charge of an accounting system, I found it super scary that the only people who would find my errors were those outside of the brewery. Now, I want my clients and students to always feel confident that they are producing the best set of books possible. This is why I teamed up with the University of Vermont Craft Beer School to teach a series of courses called, Managing Brewery Finances. The necessary knowledge is spread over three courses taught this fall and next spring. Each course builds upon the knowledge of the other courses. My goal is to have the brewery accountant independently running their accounting system after the three courses. My aim is to make these courses practical. I am designing these courses so that you will learn something each week that you can immediately use on the job the next day.

Watch: Brief Overview of Course 1

Creating and Running an Accounting System

Everything is built on a foundation and accounting systems are no exception. You must have confidence in how the books are put together before you can use them to analyze the performance of the brewery.  Often times, the accountant is the only business person at the brewery. In week one, we will start the course by identifying key administrative resources. It will be nice to know where to begin your search when faced with odd ball questions. Some answers differ by state, so it will be helpful during the group activity to see how the results compare. 

All of accounting is based upon an understanding of debits and credits. In week 2, we will dive into accounting theory to better understand debits, credits, journals, ledgers and financial statements.  Troubleshooting is much easier when you can understand the flow of debits and credits within the accounting system. Then, we will work beyond debits and credits to build a customized chart of accounts. You must understand what information you want to learn from the financial statements before building out the chart of accounts. Did you know that most breweries are really two or three different businesses mashed into one set of books? Identifying the micro businesses within a brewery is key to the creation of a chart of accounts.  

Week 3 is where we formalize the understanding of a ‘period close’ and financial statement review.  How do you know when the books are done? When can you tell your ownership that the financials are ready for review? Having a strong period close gives you the confidence that you can trust the financial statements. There are several unique things to look out for when completing the period close. We will discuss the most common pitfalls and how to minimize them. The end result of an accounting system is the creation and presentation of financial statements. We will discuss the steps in reviewing the income statement and balance sheet and understanding when the financials are ready to present to ownership or management. 

Everyone in the brewery looks to the accountant to tell them what is going to happen in the future. Week 4 is all about forecasting. There are several types of forecasts. Most people are familiar with an annual budget and that’s where we will start. Budget creation is very important in understanding where the business is heading in the next year. Once the new year begins, the budget immediately becomes a forecast. The forecast is what companies use to guide their immediate decisions. I teach a 360-degree view of forecasting so that ownership can understand where they are at any point in time. Accounting forecasts are important, but the capital and cash forecasts are almost as important as the accounting forecast that they are built upon.  

Attend the Brewery Management Courses

Each course is four weeks long and costs $750 per course (there is a 20% discount for Pink Boots Society members and Brewery Association members). Each week starts with an optional web session where we discuss the week’s course material and assignment. I am designing the homework time commitment to be 3-6 hours per week. However, each assignment is meant to be very practical. You should pick up something every week that you can use in the brewery immediately. I am very mindful that no one has extra time on their hands. 
Hope to see you there!

Information and Registration 

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