By Ann Luongo
As any business owner knows, running each and every aspect of a business can sometimes become overwhelming. With so many moving parts to keep functioning, it’s important to make sure each of those parts is consistently operating the way it should. Fortunately, companies like Boardwalk Business Group can help take some of the weight off your shoulders.
Boardwalk Business Group helps nonprofit organizations, as well as start-ups through mature companies, become more financially sustainable by offering a continuum of core financial, accounting, bookkeeping, strategic advisory, and full-time, interim or fractional CFO services – all delivered by its trusted professionals who have Big 4, CPA, CFO and Board Chair experience.
Matt Cronin, founder of Boardwalk Business Group, recognized a need in businesses that could help those owners spend less time worrying about behind-the-scenes operations, such as accounting, bookkeeping and other financial concerns, and would allow them to focus on running a successful business.
“I became a CPA while working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Philadelphia. After 4 years at PwC, I became CFO for a national nonprofit, and subsequently the CFO and CEO for two other nonprofits,” Cronin said. “That included being the CFO and CEO for a Cape Cod-based nonprofit serving adults with disabilities, called LIFE (Living Independently Forever).
“All the while, I observed that many businesses and nonprofits that I came across had leaders who spent too much time running the ‘back office’ operations of their business. I saw an opportunity to create a business that helped run the ‘back office’ operations, while the business owners and nonprofit leaders focused on doing what they often do best – running their businesses.”
Cronin’s family has strong ties to the Cape. His grandfather was a local businessman, owning a popular restaurant in Yarmouth. He also started a business called The Aqua Circus, which later became The Zooquarium, and was owned within Cronin’s family for nearly 50 years.
“I grew up on Cape Cod, and started working for my grandfather at the Aqua Circus at 6 years old. My job was to clean everything – from the parking lot to the grounds, and to make sure everything was pristine. I knew at the age of 6 that I wanted to own my own business on Cape Cod. I also learned the concept of customer service at a very young age.”
Cronin launched Boardwalk Business Group in 2014, with himself as his sole employee. Today, Cronin and eight team members, who include professionals in all areas of business, offer their services to clients all over Southeastern Massachusetts, and as far as Miami and Saratoga Springs. They even have a nonprofit client who serves orphans in Tanzania.
“We aim to continuously improve ourselves and our clients. As long as we can continue to do so, we are open to serving more clients,” said Cronin. “Our team members range from multiple CPAs to experienced Controllers to talented bookkeepers. We dig deep to understand our clients’ needs and create a customized level of service that meets our clients in an efficient manner. Our goal is client success. While our core capacity is financial operations, we provide a variety of other services that help our client partners succeed.”
One example of that success is Champ Homes, according to Cronin. “They not only outsource their financial operations to Boardwalk Business Group, but also their operational management. We have worked closely with the Champ Homes Board to provide consistent, organized service and to lead the journey from a long-term founding director to the next generation of leadership.”
According to Cronin, there are many reasons why a client should choose to partner with BBG, which include:
Continuity and consistency. “I joke with people all of the time that since I’ve been blessed with four happy, healthy children, I’m going to be working for a very long time to put them through college. Thus, when I started this business in my late 30s, I planned to be doing this work for a good three decades. We have a number of clients that have been with us for our first five and one half years. Our goal is to serve the majority of our clients for many decades.”
Professional service. “I learned about customer service at the age of 6. I learned from PricewaterhouseCoopers Partners, upper management and co-workers how to provide value to clients. I’ve learned from the various Boards that I’ve served on what is important to business owners and leaders on Cape Cod. I’ve structured BBG based upon what I’ve learned from the many talented individuals that I’ve worked with and for through the years. BBG has a strong group of financial professionals with significant experience that adhere to this customer service approach and orientation.”
Team approach. “We have multiple team members that work on a client engagement. Thus, the cumulative knowledge and understanding regarding each client doesn’t sit with one individual. It sits with multiple BBG team members, and is documented. This minimizes the high cost that many businesses incur when the ‘business manager/controller/CFO’ leaves.”
Collaborative approach. “Our client’s success is our goal. This transcends just keeping accurate financial records and reporting on those records. This means volunteering at client events, helping clients think through and adopt goals and strategies, helping them create efficiencies and adapting evolving technologies.”
BBG services are highly valuable to nonprofits and for-profits, alike. These include bookkeeping, core financial services, fractional financial leadership, reporting and attending Board and committee meetings, payroll coordination, budget creation and analysis, audit liaison services, financial statement preparation, analysis of financial procedures and processes, automation/efficiency analysis, coordination of banking, legal and audit relationships, operational management, and interim services.
“We appreciate the value of diverse educational and professional backgrounds,” Cronin said. “Yes, we have team members with strong accounting backgrounds. However, we also have team members who have worked in various positions in a variety of industries, such as the restaurant management industry, the financial planning industry, education, manufacturing, healthcare, pharmaceutical and other industries.”
The long-term goals of BBG are to continuously improve and evolve to exceed the needs of its clients; helping its clients become more successful than they had ever imagined; employing a great team of individuals who feel more like a family; and having fun and helping individuals and businesses thrive.
Cronin and his team also give back consistently, not only as an organization, but as individuals. Each team member participates in community service and involve themselves as volunteers at many events that benefit the communities around them.
“Boardwalk Business Group is a sponsor for Sandwich Youth Baseball and Barnstable Youth baseball,” said Cronin. This includes a little league coach in each of those respective leagues. They are members of the CCYP Giving Circle and sponsor CCYP, and also support many local nonprofit events.
“With over 171 combined years of experience in financial and nonprofit leadership, business consulting and audit/compliance services, it’s our genuine passion for helping businesses to thrive that makes Boardwalk Business Group unique.”