The Value Cannabis Accountants Provide for the Pre-Revenue Process

Pre-Revenue Accounting for Cannabis

In order to apply for a Cannabis business license, state and local agencies often have similar (but different) requirements and hoops that hopeful operators must jump through in order to make it through the process. The licensing process is daunting and expensive for the simple fact that states' and local jurisdictions' requirements make it so that the prospective license holders may have to shell out thousands (or even millions) of dollars, and/or be on the hook for that much in expenditures, before a license is even granted. Our Cannabis real estate blog touches on the importance of acquiring real estate before opening up shop, but real estate is just one of many steps in this process.

In this blog, we’ll describe why Cannabis CEOs and business owners should invest in an accounting expert before going through the process and cover such topics as raising capital, handling investor concerns, and setting up pre-revenue accounting systems for...

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Your Guide to Cannabis Real Estate, 280E, and Entities

Real-Estate as it Pertains to Obtaining a Cannabis License

Did you know that finding a location and going through the permitting process is one of the first things that Cannabis licensing authorities are asking for from applicants? One of the greatest challenges that Cannabis business owners face is finding a place to operate. Just because Cannabis is legal doesn’t mean that local authorities will allow operators in their jurisdiction. Then there’s zoning and dealing with the community at large to approve an incoming Cannabis business.

Keep in mind, finding an approved location happens before there is any guarantee of a license, so there is a huge amount of liability and financial entanglement involved early on. And since the licensing process can be a huge game of hurry-up-and-wait, having a strategy and utilizing an accountant that understands how 280E effects real estate, how to prepare and maintain your financials for the licensing process, and how to properly...

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The Current State of Cannabis Accounting (and How You Can Get Involved)

Where is Cannabis Accounting in 2022? 

Ever since the green wave of Cannabis started sweeping the nation, the state of bookkeeping and accounting has been changed as we know it. With more and more states legalizing both recreational and medicinal marijuana, the need for experienced accounting professionals is higher than ever.

But Cannabis Accounting isn’t as simple as one may hope. You may be familiar with some of the rules and regulations put in place from 280e and 471, but do you know the extent of legal trouble you could be putting your clients through if they’re not compliant? 

From having to pay massive fines to losing their licenses, there is a lot at stake when it comes to accounting and bookkeeping in this industry. 

In this blog, we’ll talk more about the state of Cannabis in the United States today, where it’s going in the future, and how you can assert yourself and your firm as experts in the industry.

What does Cannabis in the U.S....

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How Poor Bookkeeping Cost Altermeds Over $78K in Penalties

Poor Bookkeeping Cost Colorado Dispensary over $78k in Penalties

When it comes to cannabis record-keeping, not every dispensary wants to spend the fees on an accountant specific to the niche. That’s what happened to one dispensary owner in Colorado, who owes $391K in tax deficiencies and an additional $78K in accuracy-related penalties.

But how exactly did this happen?

According to the notice of deficiency for tax years 2010 and 2011, the IRS found poor record-keeping, lack of check registers, no physical inventory counts, reduction of COGS, and the denial of ordinary and necessary business expenses were more than enough to penalize the dispensary.

In Altermeds, the Tax Court upheld the imposition of a 20% tax penalty on the taxpayer for the underpayment of the tax liability resulting from the deductions taken. Various medical and recreational marijuana practices have been legalized in the majority of the states; however, the last major hurdle, the Section 280E prohibition,...

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First AICPA Cannabis Conference Paves the Future for the Industry

AICPA Cannabis Conference 2021 - The Future of Cannabis Accounting and Tax

As states across our country continue to legalize Cannabis every year, CPAs, bookkeepers, and accounting professionals are steadily encountering new clients who want to serve the Cannabis industry. The AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants} has now recognized the need for providing guidance and support to accountants who may support the quickly growing Cannabis market. 

Calling on industry leaders, the AICPA held its first 2-day Cannabis education conference, the AICPA and CIMA Cannabis Conference, on November 8 and 9, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Among the Cannabis accounting and tax leaders that presented at this conference are DOPE CFO Founder Andrew Hunzicker, CPA, along with DOPE CFO students Paula Collins, Molly Mayfield, and Carlos Vela. 

Read on for highlights of the DOPE CFO member’s presentations.

Conference Overview

The AICPA and CIMA Cannabis Conference 2021...

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Do’s and Don’ts of Cannabis Cost of Goods Sold and IRC 471-11 Accounting and Tax

Legally Reducing Tax Liability in the Face of 280E

Due to the fact that Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug (in spite of the fact that the majority of states in this country have voted to legalize Cannabis in some form or fashion), ALL Cannabis companies must comply with 280E. There’s little grey area here, but if you’re in the business of harvesting, producing, manufacturing, or selling Cannabis in any way, shape, or form, your business is not able to legally take deductions.

IRC 280E clearly states:

No deduction or credit shall be allowed for any amount paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business if such trade or business (or the activities which comprise such trade or business) consists of trafficking in controlled substances (within the meaning of schedule I and II of the Controlled Substances Act) which is prohibited by Federal law or the law of any State in which such trade or business is conducted. Source: Cornell Law


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8 Ways Cannabis Startups Differ from Traditional Startups (and the Vital Skills Accountants Need to Help Them Flourish)

Cannabis startups are much more complicated than traditional startups. They face a set of unique challenges that require accountants to be clear on state licensing rules and federal regulations regarding controlled substances, making Cannabis companies 10x more likely to fail than non-Cannabis.

We’re not talking about not being successful in business -- we mean getting audited and paying massive fines, criminal charges against CEOs for illegal market activity, loss of licensure, and running out of money due to poor financial planning and insights.

We promise there’s a way to help things run smoothly and set your clients up for long-term success. It just requires understanding the day-to-day challenges a Cannabis startup faces and dedicating yourself to learning the skills necessary to help your clients navigate those issues.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with a new startup and have no idea where to even get started to figure out the ins and outs of Cannabis...
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11 Cannabis Accounting Experts Share Industry Software Tips

11 Cannabis Accounting Experts Weigh in on Industry Software Workarounds

Cannabis accounting software is hard to come by, and options that do exist are abysmal at best. Most vendors won’t come near the federally illegal industry. Also, the software that is available tends to be buggy and won’t typically integrate well with your clients’ existing accounting software. 

Without efficient “out-of-the-box” software solutions in place, you’d have to resort to pen and paper and archaic spreadsheets. Not only is that method time-consuming, but it’s also incredibly error-prone and inconvenient. You need smooth, systematic, and repeatable software solutions and workarounds to streamline accurate Cannabis accounting, which will keep keep your clients profitable and compliant.  

We questioned more than 800 accounting professionals that are currently in the DOPE CFO program and are successfully helping clients. To help you navigate the...

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5 Accounting Myths Cannabis CEOs Believe (and How to Debunk Them)

If you’re a Cannabis accounting professional, or are working towards learning how to serve clients in this space, you may have already experienced the frustrations of trying to reach out to Cannabis clients, only to be told that you’re not needed because they “already have an in-house bookkeeper” and that they’re sure their current accounting system is just fine. Until Cannabis CEOs understand that their practices are often inaccurate and self-damaging (as they likely don’t have access to or an understanding of the cost accounting tools required), they may not understand until they’re slapped with a severe penalty. 

Understanding the myths that business owners believe about Cannabis accounting can give you a leg up on understanding their perspective, and may better form how you pitch your value to them when you do reach out. For every myth they believe, you can counter with a well-researched answer, illuminating the consequences of...

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How to Properly Price Your Cannabis and CBD/Hemp Accounting Services in 6 Easy Steps

Properly quoting accounting fees is complicated in any industry, but establishing a pricing policy for the wily Cannabis and hemp/CBD niches can be especially challenging and overwhelming. 

If you find it hard, or even scary, to price your Cannabis and hemp/CBD accounting services without undercutting your value, you are not alone. 

Many accountants struggle with raising their fees beyond low hourly rates. Learning how to package your services, create clear offers to reflect your value, and develop a system for charging appropriately for cleanup, onboarding, and ongoing work will enable you to confidently set your price and find clients who will happily pay it.

Here are six easy steps you can take to make sure you're pricing your Cannabis accounting services correctly.

Position Yourself as a Premier Provider 

Stop charging for your hours and start charging for the value of your work. This is a complicated numbers game with ever-changing rules and regulations....

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