Bento began initially as a way for Jesse to track his ad performance with his clients. Over the years, the product has evolved substantially and now serves as a marketing hub to send emails, talk to customers on live chat, and even run surveys.
Their mission is to empower e-commerce and SaaS businesses with powerful, enterprise-grade tooling that is easy to use. Bento allows teams to deploy better messaging and automation without needing an engineer.
To save Jesse time while growing Bento to the next phase of its business, we’ve been tasked with managing their Xero bookkeeping. See how we’ve been able to keep Jesse out of Xero and limit his time looking at Bento’s books to only five minutes per month on average.
Bento recognized the need for airtight bookkeeping and automation as it helps to track costs, project earnings, and reveal revenue. In the past, however, Bento’s books were messy and a pain to maintain.
“My books were super messy. I neglected them because I was always in sales mode. For me, I just wanted to focus on selling and delivering my services.” —Jesse Hanley, CEO of Bento.
Bento emphasized delighting clients through services. Like many, this meant sacrificing time for less immediate needs like bookkeeping.
As a result, Jesse and his team failed to keep their books clean. They tried outsourcing the management of their books to a company in India, and this resulted in incorrect figures:
“I hired an outsourced team in India who did manage a lot of those books. But, it was chaotic, and it wasn’t correct. There were so many little things. It’s like ‘why is it Company A or Company B, you know when I’ve got multiple entities? Why is this transaction coded the way that it is, why is this transaction in this category?’ ”
For Jesse, much like other CEOs that we work with, the priority has always been on doing the things that only he can do. Bookkeeping was rarely the top priority.
“You just don’t worry about your books on a day to day basis because you’re really only worried about it at the end of the year. Like at tax time. And so there’s nothing that’s forcing you to prioritize that and get on top of it. It just builds up.“
Bento needed to focus on growth and service delivery. But, bookkeeping became a significant point of anxiety. Jesse needed to reduce duped entries and categorize transactions.
Further, Bento required standardized and clarified transaction codes. He needed to keep his focus on growing the business, which left little time for monitoring accounts.
So you can imagine the pain he felt when he was noticing errors in his Xero file.
“(They were) miscategorizing transactions… things that a Western firm would pick up on. They required a little bit more hand-holding to get it right. That made me not confident because I would have to go clean up months of little transactions every now and again.”
Jesse was frank with us when it came to how he felt about spending time in Xero:
“I don’t want to spend any time in my accounting software at all. I’d rather focus on helping customers and making sales and talking to my team.”
Jesse discovered Bean Ninjas through the Dynamite Circle community and the Tropical MBA (TMBA) podcast. On hearing about what Bean Ninjas could do, he was excited to reduce stress on his time by handing off bookkeeping to a capable partner.
Once we started the onboarding process, our team immediately noticed errors. It was no surprise that Jesse lacked confidence in Bento’s reporting numbers.
We launched services for Bento that would create a hands-off bookkeeping workflow. We tackled this in two phases.
Phase 1: Xero Setup
- Added Stripe accounts into Xero so we could gross up sales and take account of fees.
- Reconciled bank balances as there were missing and duplicated transactions.
- Setup Hubdoc to bring in bank statements so we can make sure everything is balanced and all transactions accounted for going forward.
After the Xero Setup was complete, there was still a large volume of unreconciled transactions. So we proceeded to a Xero Catchup.
Phase 2: Xero Catchup
- Reviewed existing data in Xero – checking Income Statement and Balance sheet to get a clearer insight into the client’s financial profile.
- Set up Bank Rules for repeating transactions to provide consistency and automate the process where possible.
- Looked deeper into unreconciled transactions to find similarities with what we already have in Xero reduces the list of queries.
- We added our suggestions for account allocations to unreconciled transactions. This way, we were able to show that we were researching and thinking about the business. And not merely generating a list of unreconciled transactions.
Bento’s books were now the cleanest that they’ve ever been. And Jesse’s accountant was pleased with the transformation too.
“It was kind of interesting when I talked to my accountant. I told her that I was using Bean Ninjas. She’s like, “oh, you’re using all the pro features in Xero, like your journal entries.” She was just going on about how good it was. Comparatively, with you guys, Xero is being utilized correctly and properly. I think to its full potential.”
“Whereas with the other guys, they were just doing the books. You know they’re just going in and logging everything quickly and then checking off that and then probably moving on to the next client.”
From the very beginning, Jesse loved our onboarding process. We allowed him to express concerns and goals for keeping Bento’s books. He was able to let go and have full confidence in our handling bookkeeping for his business each month.
Today, he reviews a simple email that reduces his time spent on books to mere minutes:
“I wait for your email each month. I fill out the spreadsheet, and then send it off. That takes five minutes because you guys are doing a good job. Amazing.”
Our process fits Bento. They want accurate insight into their business costs and sales only as needed. They no longer need to invest vast amounts of time and energy.
Bento continues to use Bean Ninjas. And, they receive solid, correct books that reflect their business every month.
“I just wanted to find a provider who could tell me, ‘I’m going to handle these correctly,’ and you guys did.”