The Secret Chocolatier

It all started with a single chocolate truffle and dream to open a family confectionary. Three years and many delicious confections later, the Secret Chocolatier is satisfying the sweet tooth of customers at home in Charlotte, NC, and across the country - thanks not only to hard work in the kitchen, but to efficiencies in their everyday administrative operations. An important ingredient in their recipe for success is

When pastry chef Bill Dietz, his wife Karen, daughter Robin and son-in-law Andy Ciordia, were ready to take their chocolate creations from local farmers' markets into their own shop early in 2011, Andy took the lead in handling the company's finances and day-to-day management. He's motivated to keep things running smoothly, believing "the business of doing business is not the business you want to be doing" - an adage inspiring to anyone who wants to grow a company.

" keeps us flowing, and that's important, especially in our small business."

Every start-up business owner knows that getting your company off the ground requires hours and hours of hard work, many of which are spent doing a variety of administrative tasks that leave little time for performing the sales and marketing duties that bring business in the door. Ciordia says that " is like another set of helping hands in our company," enabling him to keep his bookkeeping tasks to a minimum while focusing on the other things he needs to do to run the chocolate shop.

"Efficiency and technology are my favorite things, and as a back office solution, gets the job done," says Ciordia - so it's no wonder he selected over other financial management options. In searching for a tool to help manage the shop's accounting functions, he "read a lot of reviews, and showed up in a tech journal as an electronic accounting solution that plays nice with QuickBooks." He needed a system that integrated with their software and "didn't take more than 3 clicks to use.

" was an easy choice." In fact, he adds, "the implementation process was so painless I barely remember it!"

"Cloud-based fits in perfectly with the motif of our modern, technology-oriented shop. We have a wireless system with no plugs anywhere," explains Ciorda. " helps keep the four of us on top of things when, otherwise, paper would fall through cracks. It also keeps me from running to the mailbox." Plus, fosters productivity outside the shop and fits in perfectly with his on-the-go lifestyle: "I can use anywhere - at home, on an airplane, or on vacation."

"We're still early in our initiative," explains Ciordia. "We're paying some vendors, bills and rent. We don't have too many invoices running around loose yet." Even so, he's looking at using's invoicing system. "There's more wiggle room with mail," he contends, "and's electronic payment process makes everyone more accountable." He recommends as a solution for other small businesses because "if you do any billing - or have more billing and less people than you need - will save some time, save some stamps, and save some moving around."

Ciordia foresees growing the company with and taking advantage of additional functionality. "As more people come into the admin side of company, there are a whole lot of things we can use in," he says. "I expect that as we grow and build a sales team, they will create invoices that I can approve. will manage the details on what's been invoiced, what invoices are closed/paid and what is outstanding."

At the end of the chocolate-infused day, Andy, Robin, baby Logan, Bill and Karen are building their company for the love of family, creativity, and serving their customers. helps them focus on what's important. It automates financial management tasks that would otherwise be time-consuming and cumbersome. " keeps us flowing, and that's important, especially in our small business."

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