Jennifer Antolin has been around the McDonald’s business her entire life. When she was 15, she spent three years working for her father at his McDonald’s franchises and learned firsthand the rigor and work ethic it takes to make it in the restaurant industry.
After several years living outside Canada, she decided to return and learn more about the business from her father. After three years of mentorship, and with his encouragement, she purchased his two McDonald’s franchises in Milton. She ran them for four years until the opportunity arose for her to purchase her current four franchises in Guelph, Ontario.
The move to cloud accounting
Making the leap from two to four franchises was a big business decision, but Jennifer trusted the infrastructure at the Guelph franchises, and was enthusiastic about moving to the university town. However, with increased responsibilities and employees, she knew that she would need to “start trying to find ways to optimize my business and look for ways to be better, to be more efficient and to be more nimble.” So, she turned to BDO’s Cloud Accounting Services to boost her operations and free up time to focus on her people.
Jennifer had been taught to do her own Profit & Loss (P&L) statements, which was helpful when it came to learning the ins and outs of the business early on but was increasingly time consuming. She recalls handwriting the statements on graph paper, then having her bookkeeper format them, and then getting it to their BDO accountant at the end of the year. But with her franchisee responsibilities growing, Jennifer knew she needed to boost her efficiency.
Her accountant recommended she take advantage of BDO’s outsourced bookkeeping. She was introduced to BDO’s Cloud Accounting Services group and eventually met Lisa Crosby, a Senior Manager of Cloud Accounting Services at BDO. Working with Lisa, and using Xero and Hubdoc, Jennifer immediately noticed that she was spending far less time cutting checks and filing invoices. With her transition to cloud accounting, she now uses far less paper, which has made a positive difference in her efficiency and quality of work.
“We had file folders full of paper and documents and it just seemed like such a waste of paper, a waste of space, and a waste of time filing this stuff. Now, monthly, I have a thin envelope that I put into a box that has all of my information because everything else is saved to the cloud,” Jennifer says.
Support from her advisor
Jennifer also appreciated Lisa’s passion to go the extra mile for her clients. In addition to having her restaurant bookkeeping and accounting under the same umbrella, Jennifer recognized how Lisa and BDO were invested in every aspect of her business. “We actually changed over two different systems this past year, and Lisa joined in on multiple calls to learn more about how those systems ran and how she would be able to effectively understand them for her reporting as well.”
Lisa also noticed an uptick in her team’s efficiency and ability to easily customize reports to suit Jennifer’s needs thanks to Xero.
“Once we switched to Xero, I found it much easier to maneuver than the old system. I can easily review and make changes to reports and then quickly send them to Jennifer when she needs them” shares Lisa.
BDO’s outsourced bookkeeping services deliver accurate monthly financial statements to Jennifer, which gives her added flexibility and takes work off her plate. With Xero’s help, Lisa can better advise Jennifer as her business grows.
“Jennifer is able to see results in real-time allowing her to pivot her business quickly, if needed. When it comes to her year-end, there are no surprises and the least amount of adjustments are required thanks to the benefits of cloud accounting” explains Lisa.
The Hubdoc software has also allowed Jennifer to increase efficiency exponentially and has cut down significantly on back-and-forths with her supervisor. Her time uploading documents has been cut in half, and she finds the software incredibly user-friendly.
“There’s far fewer questions on a monthly basis for my supervisor. Previously we were sending reports back and forth a few times before they could be finalized, but this is no longer the case. That’s another huge win for me” says Jennifer.
Growing her business
Jennifer is planning to open a fifth franchise. Thanks to her increased flexibility and time saved on paperwork, Jennifer can focus on running her restaurants while also growing her business.
Jennifer says, “Knowing that there’s somebody there supporting the needs of my business and having access to a cloud accounting platform that’s easy for me to use allows me to keep my focus on my people and operations. Having Lisa is a great support for me and she’s there to help me with any questions I have when it comes to finances.”
From her early days in the business handwriting P&Ls to now using BDO’s outsourced bookkeeping services and Xero cloud accounting software, Jennifer has seen a significant uptick in her productivity and her franchise’s financial success. She has taken the hard earned business lessons from her father into the twenty-first century, and through partnering with BDO and Xero, the sky’s the limit.
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