Talking Cannaccounting with Simone Cimiluca-Radzins

Simone Cimiluca-Radzins is one busy woman. Not only does she run LIV Consulting, a successful CPA and management consulting firm that specializes in helping cannabis businesses, but she recently launched Kalogia, a LinkedIn-style site that connects people working in the cannabis industry. We signed up pretty much the moment we heard about it, and we’re super excited that Cimiluca-Radzins took the time to answer a few of our questions. Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

SMOKE BREAK: When you were studying to become a CPA, did you know you were going to work in the cannabis industry?
SIMONE CIMILUCA-RADZINS: When I was studying to become a CPA, I had NO IDEA I would be working in the cannabis industry. Always a cannabis fan (and back in my college years we called it weed), I never thought my academics and skill set could be used to help a social justice movement.

Why did you decide to focus on the cannabis industry specifically?
In late 2013, I left my management consulting job in Paris, France and moved back to Los Angeles. I was burnt out from 12 hour days and constant travel and wanted to help small- to medium-sized businesses. After consulting in LA for a few months, I read an article in a mainstream publication about the evolving “cannabis entrepreneur.” I told myself: “I’m going to be a cannabis entrepreneur” and make an impact. From there, it was a ton of investigatory work, understanding how I could serve the industry, and making connections. 
 
How is accounting for cannabis professionals different from working with people who have “normal” jobs and businesses?
Accounting in the cannabis industry is TOUGH. From 280E (punitive taxes for cannabis operators) to working all in cash, cannabis operators have an uphill battle from the get-go. The major difference is these operators can’t deduct normal operating expenses (beyond their cost of good sold), so forecasting cash and working capital is a challenge. Furthermore, operating all in cash increases the risk of misappropriation of cash and inaccurate books and records.
 
Why did you decide to start Kalogia?
I started Kalogia to connect cannabis professionals and advocates together. I wanted to build a community that professionals in our space could go to network, share ideas, and gain information and insight.
 
What’s one essential tax tip you’d give to budding cannabis entrepreneurs
Just one!? Best tax tip has to go with accounting: Don’t wait until the last minute to get your accounting records in order. Accounting should be done on a regular basis to help make business decisions. That way, business owners can forecast their cash flow, analyze their data, and stay nimble to adapt to the market.