- What is MightyGood Solutions
- Benefits of public exp. in a startup environment
- Challenges ahead
- Early career advice
Tyler started his career with KPMG in the audit practice. When he decided to make the switch, he joined a local startup that was about to hit a huge inflection point. Read on for more detail!
I was born and raised in Kansas City. I went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas to get a Master’s in Accounting. From there, I got my CPA and began working with KPMG in Kansas City. My decision to come back to KC came from knowing I wanted to get back here eventually, so I might as well start growing out my professional network where I wanted to be long-term.
I was with KPMG for about three years - seems longer looking back - working in the audit practice and was primarily spent on one of the larger clients year-round during my time there. I loved certain aspects of audit but it’s a tricky balance because you work in the client services market yet in practice the client doesn’t always want you to be there. That led me to switch to the private side where I joined a local startup, Mighty Good Solutions, as an Operations Manager then as their Controller for the last year and a half.
At MightyGood we are manufacturers of consumer goods primarily focused in the areas of health and wellness, hygiene, and medical devices. Consumable items are our bread and butter. We serve as the middleman between big box retailers and our manufacturers. Our value prop is that we keep our overhead costs low by maintaining a lean manufacturing structure which in turn allows us to invest in R&D and pivot quickly based on consumer trends.
We went from $540,000 in revenue in 2019 to $41 million in 2020. A big driving factor behind that was obviously due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We leveraged our relationship with Sam’s Club, who asked us if we could make three-ply masks for them, which then turned into more products like hand sanitizer and flushable wipes.
With all that said, we’ve maintained a small team structure through the growth cycle. I came in as employee number four in mid-2020 and we’re still just a team of seven employees today. We’re a small, but mighty team we like to say.
As Operations Manager I was overseeing our routing and freight. That included everything from invoicing, monitoring A/R and cash receipts, to developing an inventory system to manage our inventory levels. I was in that role for about six months before being promoted to Controller where I’ve switched my focus to the accounting side of things with record keeping and financial reporting. It’s been a great experience thus far because the early experience on the operations side helps you when you’re looking at the accounting records and trying to communicate the full narrative on what’s going on and most importantly, why it’s happening.
Anyone coming from public accounting, and specifically the audit practice, should leverage their control process experience. It’s tough to realize it until you’re on the other side of the table, but early-stage companies will really value that mindset as they build out frameworks and processes to scale quickly.
When I came to MightyGood, there weren’t a lot of holes in the framework, but there were areas that we could button up and put formalized processes in place. In public accounting you’re involved in walkthroughs with large public companies, and just by testing those processes from start to finish will allow you to contribute right away.
The other thing I would say is the broad scope of industries you are exposed to. In a startup environment, it’s an all-hands-on approach so you can be asked to give input on a variety of topics that impact the business. For me specifically, I was able to lean on my experiences auditing companies in the freight and consumer goods industries to help us operationally as well as develop the inventory tracking system.
I was nervous about the financial reporting aspects of the job. In public accounting you’re not the one preparing the financial statements or creating the journal entries, you just operate in a reviewer capacity. However, all the accounting knowledge needed to perform the job comes back to you quickly as you’ve still been exercising that side of your brain in public. I do have the benefit that our accounting thus far is straightforward; we don’t deal with huge estimates or allowances. I will say that technology is a huge benefit in today’s world because once you map everything on the front end, you just hit a few buttons and the reports are published for you.
This will go back to my point on having a strong framework and good processes, but once we had those in place nothing has really changed. Yes, we’re dealing with bigger numbers, but the processes haven’t really changed. Doesn’t matter if we’re doing $10,000/month or $10 million/month.
The excitement or change just comes from our ability to start developing new products and entering new markets.
I would say the biggest challenge we’re facing right now, as cliche as it sounds, is dealing with the unknown. With our industry, we must go through regulators and pass a lot of different compliance requirements. The challenge we face is that we don’t control their timeline, but when you’re in the manufacturing industry it’s crucial to control your supply chain cycle as you try to control costs to ramp up and deliver to your customers on time.
It presents a lot of obstacles for us to sort through from an accounting and finance front. We must come up with different plans based on different outcomes to manage cashflow. Since we’re still a small operation and have some traditional financing in place, any huge swing in cash flow projections could cause some significant curve balls for our business. On the flipside, it does make it exciting because each week is a little bit different, and you must be ready to adjust.
We are primarily selling through Sam’s Club and Walmart right now but some of our big initiatives of 2022 are to increase our online presence, either from our own site (MightyGood.com) or getting setup to sell on Amazon. We want to make sure our products are more accessible, and currently you would need a Sam’s Club membership to buy there. We’ve put a lot of resources into our website in cleaning it up, making sure it’s user friendly, and visually appealing.
We’ve got some cool products I’m excited about that we’re hoping to roll out in 2022, but unfortunately, I can’t speak on those just yet. What I will say is that they are pandemic related products and if all goes well, we believe they will help a lot of people and find their way into homes across the country. Stay tuned.
I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently as far as the career path I chose. However, I wish I had been more vocal and given more thought to what industries I wanted to be a part of. At KPMG, or any Big 4, you can get stuck into thinking you should get on the most high-profile jobs or the biggest clients versus thinking about what experiences you want to gain from your time there.
It’s tough to do this in your early twenties, but I would challenge anyone in that position to really think about the industries they want to work in long-term. I think some people rely on having that Big 4 credential to set them up for their next move, but you’ll make that transition even easier if you can add that industry knowledge while you’re still there.
Put another way, don’t worry as much about being on the engagement that has a great team culture or better work/life balance. Yes, those things are great and help you get through some of the tougher days. But you’re going to work long hours regardless of what client you’re on, so you might as well do it in the industry that will set you up for that specific job you want down the line.