BDO and Hairstrong: Powering the success of a young entrepreneur

November 23, 2021

From the moment she started her business, Nicole Baranowski knew her accounting was important—but she also knew it wasn’t her strong suit.

She had come up with the idea for an adjustable scrunchie at Western University. As a competitive collegiate athlete who loved her long hair, she knew that most accessories worked for only certain types of hair. Then she took a course in entrepreneurship—and quickly realized that her personal pain point was a business opportunity.

“I wanted to revolutionize the way hair accessories are made—because most of them are one-size-fits-all, which doesn’t make sense considering none of us have the same hair type, style, texture…it’s all different…if clothing has sizes, why can’t hair accessories?” says Nicole.

The future looked bright when she launched Hairstrong in July 2019. But she needed an accounting advisor to support her big plans.

Getting started with BDO—and QuickBooks Online

Nicole found out about BDO through her university incubator program and has worked with her BDO advisor, Senior Manager Andrew Moss, ever since.

Initially, Andrew’s advisory role centered around helping Nicole get her business set up, and compiling her year-end and tax returns. At the time, Nicole was using an alternative product for her bookkeeping.

Andrew noticed that her year-end reporting was inconsistent, and he didn’t have online access to the general ledger to keep her accounting up to date. Andrew recommended QuickBooks Online (QBO) to keep her year-end reporting more consistent, and connected her with a QBO advisor, who walked her through the platform.

Once she was up and running with QBO, she felt confident enough to handle everyday bookkeeping herself, while continuing to rely on Andrew for more complex accounting needs.

“I really like the invoicing, because it’s really easy to do … I also like the future budget planner … it’s nice to see real-time changes through the planner instead of having to manually update with Excel, which saves a lot of time,” says Nicole.

“More than just an accountant”

As Nicole’s business quickly grew, Andrew helped her make connections to help her expand further. Andrew also helped her apply for Dragons’ Den—a reality show where entrepreneurs pitch ideas to investors—by going over key business metrics with her so she was confident in her presentation.

“He introduced me to lawyers to get trademarks done, and to his own group of people who could wear this product and could help spread the word,” says Nicole.

She’s continued to work closely with Andrew and credits him with being more than just an accountant. She considers him an invaluable source of advice and support.

“Andrew regularly asks me how I’m doing and about the business. He genuinely cares and takes an interest in it by finding ways he can further support me. If I need help, I know that I have someone to rely on,” says Nicole.

Before long, Nicole received her first international wholesale order and sold her product to Olympic athletes, all while completing her master’s degree at Ivey Business School and diligently managing her daily schedule.

Andrew and Nicole continue to meet in person once a year, and touch base every three months. As someone who enjoys working with start-up and scale-up companies, Andrew hopes he can continue to help Nicole grow her business for years to come.

“When the opportunity comes along to work with somebody who has that drive and determination,” says Andrew, “we’re very keen to support their needs and help grow their business. It’s about building trust and lasting relationships with our clients.”

For more information, contact:

Andrew Moss, Senior Manager, Assurance & Accounting

Matthew Sturges, Partner, Leader—Outsourcing Services

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