Transform #3: Accounting For Pest Control with Matthew Woodcock

Matthew Woodcock, CPA is the assistant controller at Sprague Pest Solutions. He joined us at Sage Transform 2022 to chat about how and why Sprague moved to cloud ERP to enable multi-entity accounting for their 19 locations.

Attention: This is a machine-generated transcript. As such, there may be spelling, grammar, and accuracy errors throughout. Thank you for your understanding!

Matthew Woodcock: [00:00:00] One thing that most people don't understand about pest control is all about relationships. That's what spring is about. We're about relationships. It's working with our customers to help find solutions to issues they're having and doing it in a respectful way and in a way that gets them what they need but in an efficient way. It's a very creative enterprise. Each person looks at these problems differently and they find unique and different ways to solve an issue. It's not as simple as just spraying something. You need to go and find the source, figure out what's going on, and and then how do you capture that in accounting numbers?

Blake Oliver: [00:00:32] This episode of the Cloud Accounting Podcast was recorded at the Sage Transform Conference in October of 2022 because it's a little shorter than our usual episodes. This episode does not qualify for free CPE on the earmark app. However, it's a great interview. I hope you listen and I hope you enjoy.

David Leary: [00:00:53] So you are a CPA?

Matthew Woodcock: [00:00:54] I am a CPA. Yes.

David Leary: [00:00:56] Cpa. So you did some college bookstores and then you got into 20.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:01:01] 20 plus years at the bookstore at the University of Montana.

David Leary: [00:01:05] Okay. Oh, I see.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:01:06] And then moved back to the Tacoma area to be closer to family and found this great opportunity with Spring Cut Solutions and started as their accounting manager and was recently promoted as to their assistant controller.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:18] So tell us about Spray. Sprague is a Sprague pest solution.

David Leary: [00:01:22] I'm just.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:22] Starting. Yeah, we're already started. Oh, yeah.

David Leary: [00:01:25] This is trout here. I didn't realize.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:28] We could do an official start. If you want.

David Leary: [00:01:29] We can edit that in. Yeah. I just start now and then add it. Yeah, We don't have to edit it. We'll just do it from right here. Exactly. This whole thing. Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm David Leary.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:39] I'm Blake Oliver.

David Leary: [00:01:40] And again we are live at Sage Transform in Orlando. Orlando. Orlando. Beautiful. Orlando. I know. If I wanted to say Sunny, I checked on my shoulder.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:49] It's a little bit cloudy today.

David Leary: [00:01:50] And we now have a customer.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:52] We're talking to a Sage Intacct customer.

David Leary: [00:01:55] Which is our favorite interviews.

Blake Oliver: [00:01:56] I think our intact customer is Matthew Woodcock of Sprague Pest Solutions. Matthew, welcome to the show.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:02:03] Thanks for having me, gentlemen.

Blake Oliver: [00:02:04] Do you prefer Matt?

Matthew Woodcock: [00:02:05] I go with whichever.

Blake Oliver: [00:02:06] Matthew. We'll save some air time, we'll say. Matt, tell us a little bit about Sprague Pest Solutions.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:02:11] Sprague Pest Solutions is a family owned business. Since 1926, we're about to celebrate our 100th year. And for years it started off as a small, small organization in Tacoma and have grown into 19 locations over the western United States. And we do strictly a commercial pest control.

David Leary: [00:02:31] And are these franchises or these.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:02:33] Know all managed out of our home or corporate office in Tacoma and then locally managed as well by our branch managers in each of these locations.

David Leary: [00:02:43] And then they're all employees and it's state where we have to. Got it. Okay.

Blake Oliver: [00:02:48] 19 locations. And how long have you been with the company?

Matthew Woodcock: [00:02:51] I got started in 2017, so five years now. Five years, celebrated my fifth year, got my fifth five year jacket, and we all get something special every five years. And so. Yep.

Blake Oliver: [00:03:01] And what's your role?

Matthew Woodcock: [00:03:03] I'm the assistant controller with the company. Okay.

Blake Oliver: [00:03:05] Assistant controller. So your duties encompass I mean, you must be closing the books, right?

Matthew Woodcock: [00:03:11] Overseeing. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Managing the day, helping to manage a team that oversees the day to day accounting needs, as well as closing the books for Sprague. And we also have many LLCs that are part of the team as well. So managing all those. So was one of the things that attracted us to Sage.

Blake Oliver: [00:03:28] Are your 19 locations franchises? Are they corporate.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:03:31] Owned, corporate owned.

Blake Oliver: [00:03:32] Corporate owned? Okay, so you're consolidating up 19 different locations into a single ledger.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:03:39] Yeah, we track yeah, we track each of our branches on their own to check profitability in that sense. Present a consolidated income statement. And then as I mentioned, we have a lot of LLCs that are used to have different owners for some of our locations, kind of real estate versions or not. Real estate. Yeah, real estate. So we're using the multi entity approach with Sage with lots of zeal. It's helping us combine things so much. We were using QuickBooks before that and Dynamics four part of for this part it was very difficult to consolidate.

David Leary: [00:04:13] So you're using two different goals.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:04:16] We use one goal now for everyone.

David Leary: [00:04:18] But before you had two goals or multiple goals and then not just separate gels, gel application comes up for packages.

Blake Oliver: [00:04:26] So are you part of the transition? Oh yeah. Okay. And it was so dynamics for the main corporate entity. And then you had QuickBooks for the other. Got it. So yeah. Tell us about how you discovered intact. Like, did you know them already? Did you go out and, like, find them.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:04:41] During the pandemic or. We got a new controller, Alison And she helped lead us through kind of a discovery process to see what operations were out there or other options were out there, including upgrading dynamics to D 365 there was Sage. And to be honest, I can't remember some of the other ones I've taught my head. We went through demonstrations and got to talk to some of the companies using this and decided that Sage was a good option, a good solution for us.

Blake Oliver: [00:05:10] How did you decide and why did you pick it?

Matthew Woodcock: [00:05:13] We looked at it first when something was cloud based. Having entered into the pandemic, our previous solution was hosted, so it made it difficult for a lot of us to work from home and get things done. And then with 19 locations, we want to be able to get this information out to people in an accessible and easy way where they could access it as well. So we're growing towards that. So cloud computing was one big part. The multi entity approach was really important to us where we could have all these different companies represented and be able to consolidate the reporting. And then it had a lot of good ability to tie in different programs from different parts of our company. We're still working on getting all that on board, but it's showing a lot more hope and promise than it did with our previous ERP.

David Leary: [00:05:57] So, so so obviously it was in the pandemic must be related. We're going to take on baking and you're like, we're going to roll out intact. Yeah. And so what is that process like? Is it quick? Do you do modules at a time like how how are you rolling this out new, Right. I mean, yeah.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:06:14] We're we're into we're just finished our full first full year on on Sage. It was a process because you're trying to bring over the historical data. We started with the GL and the AP. Those were the main focuses, and it was trying to determine what was important to bring over. We need detail on what we didn't. We went live July 1st. But I'm not sure all the data was actually in until probably August or September because of the different parts of the module. So it took some time to like because you bring in your fixed assets, you have to bring in all the we have lots of vehicles out there to get all the information in.

David Leary: [00:06:49] So to touch on something you kind of said, they said what we want to bring over, like when you roll this out, is this an opportunity for you to reinvent how you do things at your organization? Like you, you're not just changing your software. You're changing the way your team works and processes.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:07:05] Maybe not quite that revolutionary, but certainly gives you an opportunity to confirm what is important, what's the important data point. So you want to bring over because if you're going to use ERP, you want lots of data, all our data points, because you want to be able to create some fantastic reports that are interactive and use all these pieces than just what's coming out QuickBooks. So it's deciding, do we need every line item of every account or do we need a summary? Do we need everything from every one of the entities or does some of this stuff just need to be summarized? We do from the spring, from the operating company. We want a lot of data from there because we're trying to analyze the efficiencies and profitability. So it's amazing in that aspect. It did certainly give us an opportunity to talk about what our processes were and what made sense for something as simple as do we want to keep having paper invoices, Do we want to go digital? We want to scan everything that's coming in. Do we want to be printing checks anymore? Do we want to push more towards the ACH and credit card options? What are some other ways to increase efficiencies there?

David Leary: [00:08:04] So when you talk about these the details or the level of reporting or the ultimate the output, right. Playing there out of that, is this like a call your team's making or do you go out to managers in your company and what do you need from the accounting department, the accounting system and make decisions that way? Like what's.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:08:21] That? I think it's both. I mean, our team grew during this pandemic and through this process, our accounting team now has is there's seven of us, seven of us now. We started with four maybe, and trying to get all the. During a pandemic. A lot of people have time to really sit and evaluate what's going on and what's work and what's not working. And our senior management team had a lot of questions that were sometimes difficult to answer because we didn't have all the data. So that was one of the launching points we would started with. We worked internally within our team to figure out what kind of information we wanted to gather and report on. And also with our external teams, both the branch managers, regional managers, as well as our senior leadership teams. Everyone wants, everyone wants data, everyone wants reports, but they want it in a way that makes sense to them. Some people love looking at things line by line. Some people just want a quick dashboard review.

Blake Oliver: [00:09:14] What's an example of data that you can now provide with intact that you couldn't do before? Like a request maybe from an executive or a manager like the you that they're really happy to be able to say we're.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:09:26] Being we were able to give more concise kind of a cash position report or a projection report because we now we know what's going on with all the companies, what we're doing with what's needed from an AP perspective.

Blake Oliver: [00:09:38] So cash across all the different entities, like just a number.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:09:41] It's able as well. It's able summarize it into a more readable form. Part of the challenges we and Dave mentioned this earlier, you don't just bring on a an ERP all at once. It's going to take different modules. So we're just getting some of the modules up and going. So we're still bringing purchasing on. We've got fixed assets on there now, budget and planning. We're trying to incorporate that as well. So it's taking some time to make sure each of these are done the way we want them and they're talking to each other. And the biggest hurdle we've got right now is trying to get our our system that's out in the field, our field operating system to visit with Sage. And so we're getting close to that. But that still takes time.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:18] What's your field operating system? Is it something you had.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:10:22] As an industry, one called pest pack done by work wave? Okay, So and that one's really important because it works on all our handhelds that are 200 plus throughout managers have out in the field. And so that data needs to we want that to get flown into Sage. We're not quite there yet, but we'll get there.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:38] And is that a custom integration you're building or is that something they support?

David Leary: [00:10:41] Little bit both.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:10:43] We're working with one of the consultants, Sockeye, but it's mostly our IT team is working through it there. We have a really good IT team that's gone through and understands Pest pack and is now learning Sage very well. So they're just trying to get the two to talk to each other.

Blake Oliver: [00:10:57] What what else is in your tech stack? What other apps are you guys using? And part of accounting finance.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:11:05] Whether it's a payroll system or currently using pay loss. And so we were trying to get that also to work with Sage. That's i think what's going to our i.t. Team's going to tackle next after they get pest back integrated with it and then it's time to reevaluate and see what other things we want to add. And that's partly why I'm here at this conference is to see what's coming down the pike, see what other exciting things because there's, we're trying to deal with what we know. But what you learn here is what you don't know. There are so many opportunities and exciting things coming down the pike, so it's like, Oh, maybe we want to do this now, or maybe we need to pivot and start doing that now.

Blake Oliver: [00:11:37] So anything in the expo hall? Catch your eye.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:11:40] Not yet. I'm still trying to catch up after the keynote stuff. I was taking a lot of good notes in that one.

Blake Oliver: [00:11:45] Yeah, there were a lot of a lot of improvements. There are a lot of new features and sage, but anything that like What was your favorite? You have a favorite.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:11:52] I like the whole idea of being able email invoices to each of our entities and have them be pulled in from our AP person. I know Candace, our AP person would love that. And what else do they talk about? Yeah, I wrote down the notes, but that's why their notes. Because they're not in my head right now.

David Leary: [00:12:10] What's something that we don't know about pest control or tests? Like what's something interesting you guys do? Or there's like, you know this because you're in the accounting department of a pest control company that, like, nobody knows. Well, actually, one of the way we have to count for something the special way like gallons or. I don't know.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:12:25] Oh, boy. You want one of those? Oh, I was going to say that one thing that most people don't understand about pest control is all about relationships. That's what Sprague is about. We're about relationships. It's working with our customers to help find solutions to issues they're having and doing it in a respectful way and in a way that gets them what they need but in an efficient way. It's a very creative enterprise. Each person looks at these problems differently and they find unique and different ways to solve an issue. It's not as simple as just spraying something. You need to go and find the source, figure out what's going on, and and then how do you capture that in accounting numbers? How do you show your efficiency? How do you show that? Because our route managers are getting all these tools to do, but they don't necessarily use that whole tool on that job. So how do you do some job costing on that and figure out if that route is really making money?

David Leary: [00:13:13] So you guys are the customer is like a subscription model. They just pay you every month, you service them or is it one off custom jobs? Both. Okay.

Blake Oliver: [00:13:22] And you said it's all commercial, right?

Matthew Woodcock: [00:13:23] That's correct. We focused mostly on commercial. We do commercial pest control, fumigation, bird control.

Blake Oliver: [00:13:29] Did you say birth control? Oh, burn control.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:13:32] We have not started in birth control, and I hope we don't. That's outside my expertise.

Blake Oliver: [00:13:36] I mean, maybe the. Maybe the chemicals could do that, but yeah, probably not. Not FDA approved.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:13:40] My technical team would be yelling at me right now, so I know you didn't. You listen in this class.

Blake Oliver: [00:13:44] Bird control.

David Leary: [00:13:45] Got it. It's when I'm looking at your Web site and it's very similar to a lot of accounting firm websites. You have your industries menu, and it's agriculture, commercial property, education, food processing, retail, health care, hotels, resorts. It's very restaurants. It's very simple. And then you have the services you provide and you provide risk assessments, consulting audited facilities like it's in a weird way, like there's probably a lot of overlap in the accounting firm.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:14:09] It's a.

David Leary: [00:14:09] Service. It's a different kind of yeah, we're.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:14:11] A service industry. I mean, and that's what accountants are. We're a service industry. So it is you're right. That's a great similarity. I hadn't thought about it in that aspect, but now I'm going to go back and start looking at that submit, bring that in DWC up and see how much we're like.

Blake Oliver: [00:14:25] So what is your cost of goods in pest control? Obviously, the chemicals.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:14:31] Chemicals are a small part of it. It's labor, it's people because they're out doing the jobs, they're providing the service that is so important to our customers. And that's the biggest one. I would say probably I should know these numbers and Alison's don't yell at me about not knowing these numbers, but no.

Blake Oliver: [00:14:49] You can make up numbers. We don't know roughly. I mean.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:14:53] The products are a small part. There are small part, but they're not the big part. The big part is the labor trying to manage the labor. And that's where efficiencies are so important because you're trying to I guess the other big one right now is fuel. I mean, we have all these vehicles going out there and fuel costs this year have gone up because of obvious reasons. And how do you manage that back to trying to find route efficiencies and and ways to only do a job once, not having to go back out and do it a couple of times because maybe it didn't work the first time or improving it.

David Leary: [00:15:23] So that's true. That makes a big difference. Wrap it up.

Blake Oliver: [00:15:26] Yeah. Matt, thanks so much for joining us and sharing your story and insights. We really appreciate.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:15:33] It. I appreciate you guys. Thank you so much for doing this.

Blake Oliver: [00:15:35] If where is Sprague Pest Control located?

Matthew Woodcock: [00:15:38] Like a home. A home office is in Tacoma, Washington. And then we're in all the western United States from mostly Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona. And we do some services in Montana and Wyoming as well.

Blake Oliver: [00:15:58] So, okay, So if one of our listeners owns an accounting firm and wants to get pest control for their office, where should they go.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:16:04] Go to Sprague Pest dot com. Is that correct? You are looking at the website.

David Leary: [00:16:09] Yes, that is correct.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:16:11] Yes. Please go to Sprague Fest dot com and we or call our number 253272 4401 of our people will be happy to help.

Blake Oliver: [00:16:19] You That's great you still have people that answer the phones.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:16:22] Oh you know it that's.

David Leary: [00:16:22] Part of it. There is a client you could go get. So I landed. I was getting my luggage at the Orlando airport here and cockroaches around on the carpet. So there's a client. You can probably afford to turn this into a business.

Matthew Woodcock: [00:16:34] We're not in Florida yet, but you're right. I'll have to go check it out.

Blake Oliver: [00:16:37] Thanks, Matt.

David Leary: [00:16:38] Thank you. Thank you.

Creators and Guests

David Leary
David Leary
President and Founder, Sombrero Apps Company
Matthew Woodcock
Matthew Woodcock
Accounting Manager at Sprague Pest Solutions
Transform #3: Accounting For Pest Control with Matthew Woodcock
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