Next month, the American Booksellers Association will present the Principles of Bookstore Finance Workshop, a full-day education session led by Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books in Seattle, Washington, and ABA Chief Financial Officer Robyn DesHotel.
The workshops will take pace on Saturday, October 15, in Baltimore, Maryland, and on Wednesday, October 26, in San Francisco, California, prior to the start of the New Atlantic and Northern California independent booksellers association trade shows, respectively.
DesHotel will present a framework using the components of financial management — bookkeeping, budgeting, cash flow management, financial statements, and business finance — and will illustrate the importance of each, as well as how to put them to use.
“What we want to do, from a 101 level, is make the case for the importance of those five tenets of financial management,” said DesHotel. “If booksellers use all five, it will give them the right information to be able to make sound business decisions. And that’s the ultimate goal.”
Sindelar will focus on how to read and analyze a bookstore’s operating statement in order to improve it. “We’ll use ABACUS to help us discuss some common best practices for categorizing various income and expense items on an operating statement and how to recognize when lines of your operating statement — and therefore your business — are getting out of balance,” said Sindelar.
“I am not an accountant, so I have had to translate all of the financial information I’ve learned over the years into day-to-day bookselling language and logic,” said Sindelar. “My goal is to provide a bridge for anyone having trouble reconciling the numbers they look at on a spreadsheet with their actual experience of running their business.”
The workshops are ideal for owners and managers, said DesHotel, but may also be helpful for booksellers who aspire to someday run a business or a bookstore, or those who simply have an intellectual curiosity about how business owners manage finances.
“You don’t need a math background to understand the material,” DesHotel stressed. “We’re going to take pains to define everything and to make certain that everybody understands the concepts. If you have some basic understanding of business and an interest in what makes a business successful, then you may find there’s something in this for you.”
“This is a 101 workshop about taking care of your bookstore’s financial health,” added Sindelar. “It is an ideal class for anyone who is either new to that role or who has been in that role for a while but doesn’t feel comfortable with the tools they are using.”
The workshops will each kick off with a meet-and greet over coffee to allow booksellers to get to know one another and the instructors. Lunch will also be provided at the workshops.
The first workshop will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on October 15, 2016, ahead of the NAIBA Fall Conference, at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, 300 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland.
The second workshop will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on October 26, 2016, ahead of the NCIBA Fall Discovery Show, at the San Francisco Conference Center, 255 S. Airport Boulevard, South San Francisco, California.
Registrants will receive materials that they agree to review before the event. Registration is $85 per person, and fall show registration is not required to attend the finance workshop.