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Burlap & Barrel

How we helped an ethical spice company save 30-40 hours a month on invoicing and AR

The company: Burlap & Barrel
Industry: Food and Beverage
 Ethan Frisch and Ori Zohar
Website: burlapandbarrel.com

Meet Burlap & Barrel, a single-origin spice company and social enterprise. They partner directly with small farms, sourcing fresh spices that have never before been available in the US, selling both DTC and wholesale.

The challenge:

a tangle of invoices and payments so complicated they needed hours of internal investigation

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Burlap & Barrel is a bustling business, working directly with farmers in over 20 countries around the world to source their spices. While a lot of their sales happen DTC, they’ve also got a growing B2B business that includes bulk, food service and grocery sales. 

Wholesale is big for them. But so were the costs of managing it all. Mostly because getting paid was taking up a ton of their team’s operational bandwidth.

They were invoicing with QuickBooks, but it didn’t integrate with Shopify. They set up a Zapier integration to connect the two tools, and ended up with a 20% error rate. Payments would go missing, or be applied to the wrong invoice. 

It was a mess. And someone (or in this case, someones) needed to fix it.

“I would call it ‘financial forensics,’” says Ori Zohar, Burlap & Barrel’s co-founder and co-CEO. “We’d get a payment, we’d have no idea where it came from or what it should be applied to, or why it was different from the amount we invoiced - was it payment for multiple invoices? And then we’d go into a financial forensics mode to get to the bottom of it.” 

And all that investigating meant Ori and his team were spending a ton of time on invoicing and AR, even though they were already using professional tools. 

“Day-to-day operations were taking maybe five to ten hours a week of just managing our finances in ways that were not value-added,” says Ori. “Time spent not helping our company grow in the way it needed. And there would be two or three of these mistakes a month. As a company where resources are valuable, we don’t have a lot of time for this. It came at a high cost to us.” 

And it wasn’t just impacting the company — their invoicing issues were also impacting their customers. “Anything out of the very, very straightforward thing of them paying online with QuickBooks was a really challenging operation,” says Ori.

A check would come through, and by the time it got deposited and marked as paid in QuickBooks, the team might already have marked the invoice as late, followed up on it, and start chasing a check that had already been issued. 

“This whole crazy manual process was so inefficient,” says Ori. “And there were other costs. Our clients were mad. We looked unprofessional. It was a big cost to the business.”

The solution:

one seamless system that syncs all their sales, invoices, payments and accounting

Burlap & Barrel needed something simple, but with all the functionality they needed — and more than anything they needed a clear, accurate view of what was really happening with their B2B sales and AR.

Is that you, Streamlined?

(Answer: yep, it is.)

We got Burlap & Barrel set up with their own system in a phased transition — continuing to close any existing invoices in QuickBooks, while Streamlined handled all the new invoices.

The outcome:

An invoicing workflow that actually flows

With Streamlined, Ori and his team found a way to look after invoicing and AR that worked — for them and for their customers. Their new system syncs seamlessly with their sales in Shopify AND with their QuickBooks accounting, so they can see exactly what’s happening with every order and payment at a glance.

When checks come through, they’re automatically deposited and reconciled right away. Even when one check is supposed to cover a whole bunch of invoices — getting it sorted is painless. 

For Ori, that means that he no longer has to spend any of his time trying to untangle numbers, and someone from his team can look after it. In his words, “The day-to-day stuff is totally off my plate, I don’t have to think about it anymore. That’s been really, really wonderful. Sleeping well at night is the biggest thing that Streamlined has given me around this part of our business.” 

No more weekly meetings, the whole team crowded around a table covered in invoices and financial statements trying to figure it all out. 

Instead, one person can manage invoicing and AR, and everyone else can save their energy for the work they want to be doing — things that can actually move the needle for the company.

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The goal for any AR system in my mind is for it to be largely invisible. It just works. It just flows. Streamlined does that, and that makes me really happy. We've been saving time and getting our invoices paid faster since we switched over.

Ori Zohar
Co-founder and Co-CEO
Burlap & Barrel

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