CEO, Cadenhead Services Pest Control
"Having real-time access to reliable data about his business is helping his company grow"
Cadenhead Services Pest Control
“There’s a big benefit to having a CPA who’s versed in being able to pull reports in your software. (PCO Bookkeepers) has the ability and access to do that, whereas me trying to figure it out would take a lot longer. It’s just like having a CPA on the payroll.” —Michael Cadenhead
After Overcoming an Audit, Cadenhead Turns to PCO Bookkeepers
Michael Cadenhead is the second-generation owner of Cadenhead Services Pest Control in Crestview, Fla. He grew up in the company and then did his own thing, working in the computer and technology space before eventually returning to the family business to help his father sell it in the early 2000s. Ultimately, he decided to purchase the company from his father.
“You can’t put a value on being your own boss,” Michael says. “Some days it’s the greatest thing in a world. But some days I’d rather work for Burger King.”
Michael is joking, of course, but his point is being the CEO can be quite stressful. Case in point: In 2017 Cadenhead Services Pest Control was audited by the Internal Revenue Service for tax years 2015 and 2016.
The company’s accountant, a local CPA, made an error related to the Affordable Care Act that prompted the audit. Enduring the audit process was challenging with a CPA who wasn’t knowledgeable about the pest management industry, Michael notes.
“I got through it, but it made me realize I needed to find someone who had an expertise in accounting and bookkeeping for the pest control and field service industries,” he says.
So in 2018, Michael turned to Dan Gordon and the team at PCO Bookkeepers, a firm that works with more than 300 pest control and lawn care companies across the U.S. to provide accounting, bookkeeping and CFO services; tax preparation and planning; and accounts payable management. Michael knew Dan from his involvement in trade associations, and he’d read Dan’s book, From Technician to CEO: The Evolution of a High-Growth Pest Control and Lawn Care Company. “I always knew Dan was the go-to guy in the industry.”
Michael’s process with his former accountant included putting all of his financial information in a box. Then a few months before taxes were due, the CPA would pick up the box, go through the records, maybe ask him a few questions and file the taxes. When it came to financial reporting and decision making, Michael kept his own records in-house to understand his financial picture to the best of his ability.
“There were a conversation one or two times a year, typically around the time taxes were due,” he says. “I was shooting from the hip back then.”
Now, as a client of PCO Bookkeepers, Michael has monthly contact with his accounting team at a minimum. He has a defined month-end close, PCO Bookkeepers reconciles his books, and he gets a monthly report from the firm showing him exactly where he is financially. Plus, he sees how his numbers compare to other companies in the industry with the comprehensive benchmarking report all PCO Bookkeepers clients receive.
Additionally, Michael can turn to PCO Bookkeepers anytime with accounting, finance or business management questions, and he knows he’ll promptly receive an answer with pest management-specific wisdom.
“Just last week I had a conversation with (PCO Bookkeepers Managing Member) Brian (Post),” Michael says. “That typically happens towards the end of the year when it comes to big decisions to see where I can spend some money to save some money.”
Ultimately, Michael says having real-time access to reliable data about his business is helping his company grow 15 to 20 percent per year.
“Because I have the information more readily accessible, I can make better decisions,” he says. “In the past, I would be slower to adapt or make changes because I wasn’t 100 per cent sure where my business may or may not be.”
Michael also says he’s grateful that he could rely on the PCO Bookkeepers team for their knowledge during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-changing circumstances surrounding the Paycheck Protection Program.
“You have to have somebody in the industry who knows what’s going on to help you make better decisions about special rules and changes to the tax law,” he says. “In the future, I know I’m going to be able to sleep well at night.”