Sage helps chocolate business manage seasonality

Integrated payments help the owners keep an eye on cash flow from multiple stores, while forecasting can help them anticipate adjustments for scheduling or supplies.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

When your business is subject to seasonal sales whims, it is important to invest in an accounting and payment processing system that can help balance the peaks and valleys of revenue against ongoing expenses.

That was one reason that Davidson Chocolate, a family-owned business in the Charlotte, N.C., area, that will sell upwards of 1,500 pounds of chocolate during the 2012 Valentine's Day season, invested in Sage financial software.

Chief financial officer and co-owner Sue Elliott used to manage the books on spreadsheets, but the Sage software provides several benefits that go far beyond simple accounting.

Those include the fact that the Sage application directly integrates payments, so that she can view cash flow from the company's multiple locations without having to wait for paperwork from the stores; as well as built-in forecasting, so the business owners can figure out how to staff its stores, whether or not it needs to order more suppliers, and how it is tracking against past seasons and other holidays. For example, Davidson recently decided to keep its stores closed on Sundays, except the ones right before a major chocolate holiday. Aside from Valentine's Day, Davidson Chocolate experiences sales spikes at Easter, Mother's Day, Graduation season, Halloween and Christmas.

"Our business will never be even throughout the year, but the software helps us even things out," Elliott said.

(Store image courtesy of Davidson Chocolate and Sage)

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