Small State, Big Impact

jvRhode Island CPA James Ventriglia Runs on Dunkin’

“I serve as the back office, if you will, for many of the Dunkin’ Donuts franchises,” is the very understated way RISCPA member James P. Ventriglia describes the accounting services he performs for 125 Dunkin’ Donuts locations stretching up and down the East coast for the coffee restaurants global giant.

Jim, who still handles his Dunkin’ Donuts account from his Cranston CPA business headquarters, started out doing payroll and monthly accounting for a handful of the locations for the Canton, MA based company after a franchisee owner approached him. It was 1991, and he says at the time he did not know that much about the brand and recalls thinking “I’ll give it a try and see where it goes.” Five grew to 125 locations in his portfolio as the Dunkin’ Donuts franchises multiplied across the country and eventually around the globe. The iconic pink and orange double-D signs are now found at 14,000 locations worldwide, stretching from Cranston to China. Jim handles accounts for ten states, handling all restaurants in Rhode Island and much of New England, and stretching south to Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida.

Although technology is certainly transforming how the Dunkin’ restaurant franchises handle their daily operations, Jim says it’s not changing how the company chooses to do its financial record keeping.  “Cloud computing is not currently being as heavily used for my end of the business,” says Jim of the accounting services he provides which include accounts payable, monthly financial statements, and payroll services for thousands of workers employed at the franchises he covers. “When you perform payroll, including W-2’s for over 6,000 workers, there remain concerns about the cloud and security issues around that.”

Jim says that Dunkin’ Donuts, like all quick service restaurants, is adopting to the transformation in how customers place orders and pay for them, as current trends show more than 50% of transactions at purchase are not occurring with cash. Although, Jim points out, “location of the Dunkin’ restaurant matters, as we find at some older locations, cash is still prevalent for more than 50% of order payments, while newer locations tend to see higher use of non-cash transactions.” There’s also an important distinction for the Dunkin’ brand versus fast-casual dining restaurants, Jim notes. “Our restaurants are often accessed by a driving customer, and so traditional ordering and cash payment may be more typical at the window.” 

So how are technology changes impacting workers?  “Supplying adequately skilled counter help is getting harder and harder for the restaurants,” he acknowledges. “Staffing is a huge challenge because the pool of people to draw from has changed and the younger worker supply has actually shrunk.” He says the scope of employee training programs due to technology upgrades is a growing cost area for the brand. “New employees receive a longer off-site training period than they used to and the in-store training and newer on-line training programs are more comprehensive than in years past and they are constantly being updated,” he explains.

Despite the large account Jim services for Dunkin’ Donuts, his CPA firm operates with a small staff of five employees. Although the Dunkin’ account represents about 90% of the business, he and the staff also provide services to a handful of smaller local firms.

Lastly, not only does Jim enjoy consuming the coffee brand of his main account, (a large hot, cream and two sweet and lows) his commitment and loyalty is evident even on his car, which has the license plate, DNKN. (the NASDAQ symbol for the Dunkin’ Donuts company)

 He laughs, “I guess you could say I literally run around on Dunkin!”

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