Tyler Jefcoat | Founder of Seller Accountant
Success leaves clues.
Finance Strategists sat down with Tyler Jefcoat, founder of Seller Accountants. He shared his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the insight he gained from running the business.
Who is Tyler Jefcoat?
Q: Who are you and what’s your background?
I am from Columbus, GA. I have a BA in Accounting and my MBA both from The University of Georgia. I grew up as a kid who loved to gather the neighborhood kids and organize football games, but I never would have called myself an entrepreneur. I’ve had the privilege to start two businesses and sell one pretty early in my career and I’m grateful! I love coaching and learning.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?
I’m really thankful to have many great mentors but I’ll mention two here. My dad and my father-in-law have probably been my biggest influences. They both are savvy, hard-working, high-integrity businessmen who have done well by doing good. I think seeing my dad, Doug Jefcoat, create new initiatives and solve complex problems really inspired me. Dad serves his customers first and always follows through. And seeing how Jeff Crate, my wife’s dad. He’s constantly been looking to the future and pursuing new and big opportunities without quitting in the face of adversity; his grit has propelled me through challenges. I’m grateful to both of these guys for what they’ve taught me and for how they’ve believed in me as I’ve built my companies.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?
- Enjoy the journey. When I built my first company, I had a hard time enjoying the ride as we grew from the concept stage to nearing 100 employees. I think I was so focused on the tasks at hand that I didn’t pause enough to marvel at what was happening. I wish I had had more fun during those first 3 years. I’m building my second company now and although we are just as ambitious about where we want to see Seller Accountant go, we are being much more intentional to stop and smell the roses!
- Manage money earlier. What an absurd thing for an accountant who used to be a banker to say! But with our first company, we were so focused on rapid growth that we ignored financial indicators because I wasn’t paying enough attention to the numbers. This experience has propelled me in my current company to help CEOs do better than I did in this regard.
Q: What is Seller Accountant?
Seller Accountant is an accounting firm that only serves one business type: E-commerce brand owners and sellers. We serve as the outsourced partner to handle bookkeeping and fractional CFO (financial coaching) so that the CEOs of these small to medium-sized businesses can focus on growing smart.
Most of our clients will need to raise capital or will be looking to sell their brands in the next few years. We help them maximize profitability and enterprise value as they work toward those goals. All of the accounting that we do has to be the investor-grade meaning we create accrual, clean, defendable financials that can stand up under due diligence.
Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?
The following 4 are what we would view to be our core differentiators.
- E-commerce Focus – Only a handful of accounting firms in the country are truly focused on handling the complexities and nuances of e-commerce, direct to consumer, marketplace sales channels. This focus is ALL that we do at Seller Accountant. We do not accept clients who don’t fit this very vertical niche. This level of focus has helped us to become true experts for these customers.
- CFO Advisory – Seller Accountant provides the best advisory practice for e-commerce brands and is the preferred firm for many of the best brokers in the market because we drive superior results. Most accountants can’t get beyond the numbers to understand the implications of the financials but Seller Accountant excels at combining great accounting with a world-class strategic advisory service.
- Investor-Grade Financials – There are many ways to cut corners in the world of bookkeeping but Seller Accountant provides the cleanest financials for sellers who want to maximize both visibility and enterprise value. Cleaner, more understandable, more defendable, more believable books translate into better decisions by the current executive team and higher valuations when they go to market.
- Investing in college students as future leaders and entrepreneurs – Seller Accountant is on a mission to empower the next generation to lead well, innovate constantly and build game-changing businesses along the way. That is why we partner with top accounting students in what we believe is the most meaningful internship experience they will have. Most accounting programs are really good at teaching students theoretical accounting and are really bad and teaching them how to apply those concepts. Our internships address this challenge by allowing the students to understand how money actually flows through small businesses. In addition to a part-time job, we provide the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Accounting Leadership and we teach them about entrepreneurship in the hopes that many will start businesses. We love college students and want to see the next generation of leaders develop the skills and character needed to drive our world forward!
Q: What led you to start Seller Accountant?
- When I sold my piece of the healthcare company, I knew that I wanted to refocus on coaching business owners and I happen to be an accountant with a finance background.
- I made a lot of mistakes early on as the chief operator of the healthcare company because I didn’t have clear visibility into where our money was going. I realized that having financial clarity can make or break a business. As an accountant and former banker, I should have been the best financial manager for a startup but training doesn’t matter. Execution is what matters and we were growing so quickly that I made mistakes that I knew better than to make. We recovered thankfully but I started Seller Accountant to help other small business owners address financial performance issues earlier than I did.
- I also have a good friend and current investor, Brandon Checketts, who founded a software company called Seller Labs where they exclusively solve problems for Amazon sellers. Brandon and I had a brainstorming session on what other problems might be ailing sellers. Once I realized that accounting and financial decision-making were key pain points among sellers I was sold on trying to develop a model that addressed these challenges in a unique way for Amazon and other marketplace sellers.
Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?
I’ve learned and continue to learn so much about developing my vision, leading others, listening to customers, developing talent, and focusing on execution. But I think learning to communicate more clearly has been my biggest area of growth over the past 8 years. In order to succeed in both companies, I’ve had to learn how to deeply listen to teammates, referral sources, partners, and clients. I’ve had to learn to articulate with “compassionate candor” (as Kim Scott puts it) so that my team understands what we need and how to win.
I would say that I’ve become a bit of a communication junky constantly trying to figure out how to ask better questions at more appropriate times or how to answer questions more proactively or clearly. Really understanding where someone else is coming from makes it a lot easier to form a meaningful partnership.
My quest is to learn how to serve the people around me better so that we can all be more successful.
Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?
My wife and daughters will continue to be my core focus and I will continue making them my most important investment.
I see Seller Accountant having an important and disruptive voice in the e-commerce world. We will focus on solving sellers’ problems and serving them better and as a result, we will continue to grow exponentially as we have over the past almost 3 years.
I will continue to develop and coach other entrepreneurs through mastermind groups and I will be looking to invest capital in projects that disruptively solve problems and serve people.
About Seller Accountant
Have you ever had your accounting partner not know what an Amazon settlement statement is? Unlike other firms, Seller Accountant works exclusively with e-commerce sellers. If you sell on Amazon, eBay, Walmart.com, or your own website, we have the specialized knowledge most accountants don’t.
Learn more at selleraccountant.com