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2021Alaina DorseyInterviews

Stress-Free Cannabis Business Accounting and 280 E Help w/The Number Grinder Erica Edwards

Photo Credit: Cannabis Promotions

The Number Grinder is a cannabis business accounting company led and managed by Erica Edwards. Regardless of cannabis being federally illegal, your business is obligated to pay taxes to the IRS—and get it right! But never fear: Erica is highly experienced with grinding numbers and loves saving her clients from stress, fear and heartache when it comes to finances.

Cannabis businesses can get her insight on the essentials of filing taxes for your cannabis/ hemp business. And if you’re looking for an accountant, she lays out how to find the perfect fit so you’re not left in the dark with your books. Based in New York, Erica is a medical cannabis patient and excited for the upcoming legalization in her home state. Kick back with the audio and reference the written interview excerpt below.

SoundCloud Audio Embed:

[A = Alaina the GOAT Dorsey | E = Erica Edwards of The Number Grinder]

A: Today on FADEDviews X Vee_traveling_veg_cannabis_writer, we are covering Erica Edwards of The Number Grinder. She’s the Afro Latina owner of a cannabis accounting company, she fucks with cannabis, and she’s based in New York. Here’s the floor for her to introduce herself.

E: Hi, I’m Erica, and I’m the owner of The Number Grinder. We do the bookkeeping and accounting for cannabis businesses, and I excited to talk to you today!

A: We’re gonna talk about why you’re worthy of growing The Number Grinder, and the importance of hiring somebody of your caliber to bring on for accounting, as well as important aspects of accounting for a cannabis business. 

But before we get into that fun stuff that people don’t find fun, what was your introduction to cannabis? How long have you been a consumer?

E: So like for real for real, my introduction to cannabis was through my best friend—we were just already sisters. During my sophomore year of college, we’d get together and I was responsible for snacks, she would get the green and we would just chill in my living room and  talk about the week. That was my favorite day of the week! She introduced me to cannabis. She would make bongs out of apples and water bottles, but it was just it was social for me for a while. 

I ended up getting back problems before I turned 30: I ended up having a slipped disc and instead of taking oxy, I became a medical marijuana patient in New York. I ended up going down a rabbit hole of the whole program and ended up at a networking event. Someone spoke about the need for ancillary businesses, and I saw I could do that since I’m an accountant! I’ve been doing accounting for years. After doing the research of the specialty of cannabis accounting, I fell in love with it. It’s so different than other accounting for other businesses. 

A: Right, right, right! Before we get into the ins and outs of that, how’s the cannabis scene been in New York? How are you feeling about the legalization on the way?

E:  I’m excited about it, of course! It’s a step forward, but I definitely feel like there’s a lot more steps to go. I’m a little nervous about how things are gonna roll out, but I’m happy that it was finally legalized. You can go outside and smoke without worrying so that’s exciting.

A: What are you nervous about as far as the rollout?

E: In watching other states rollout, seeing how slow it’s been and all of the intricacies of coming up with the laws and the regulations. For example, Illinois: I don’t know what’s going on—I’m hoping we don’t do that. And then business-wise, some genius in the room slid in the law that they want to put an extra tax per THC level. As an accountant, it’s really freaking me out. Like, how are you going to separate that out and figure out how much tax for THC levels?? That’s going to be a nightmare. So, I’m hoping they do something about that.

A: Continuing on the subject of cannabis business accounting, where did that specific education come from?

E: Naomi Granger messaged me on LinkedIn, and she was like, “I see that you’re an accountant: have you ever thought about doing accounting for cannabis?” I was like, “Wow, how did she know??” It was just so interesting that she found me, and then she helped me to learn more about it. She runs a program that educates accountants and bookkeepers on cannabis accounting. I’m a part of her organization National Association of Cannabis Accounting and Tax Professionals  and she’s always dropping gems on giving great information on cannabis accounting. I’ve met a lot of other great accountants along the way—thankfully, mostly women of color. I love that.

A: What are good resources for cannabis businesses if they’re not ready to invest in an accountant yet? Or do you think this is not a good idea and they should just invest in a cannabis accountant?

E: I don’t know how someone who doesn’t do accounting for a living would be able to do their own. The best research would be to reach out to cannabis accountants. Maybe they’ll give you a consultation, maybe…but probably not.

A: What are some tips for finding a qualified cannabis accountant?

E: Definitely, someone who knows 280E and the tax code. Someone who says to you, “Oh, we can work around that or we’ll figure it out” isn’t good. They’re not qualified to do your accounting or your taxes: they will most likely get you in trouble. There’s no way around 280E.

A: Are there any other qualifiers you recommend they look for? You’ve had clients where you’ve had to clean up someone else’s mess.

E:  Choose a cannabis accountant who’s open and flexible. There’s so many changes, and often times, accountants will get into their groove and will just want to do things their way. That doesn’t fitsinto the cannabis industry: there’s so many changes you must be flexible and ride the wave really because there’s no set rules for things. Banking is difficult—at any point in time, you can get shut down. Get someone (like me) who’s a great problem solver.

A: Alright, now we’re talking about fun stuff! What’re your favorite strains?

E: My favorites are Jack Herer, Pineapple Express and Sour Diesel. 

A: So you’re more of a sativa person?

E: Yeah, or a Sativa-dominant hybrid.

A: What’re your desired effects?

E: I definitely use it for pain management, like when my back starts to flare up. I prefer sativas because I’m a business owner and a mom to an eight year old! I can’t be laying around the couch (as much as I would love to). But then sometimes I can’t turn my brain off at night so that’s why I need the indica (Mango OG) to help me sleep.

A: How about on the CBD/hemp side of things?

E: I consume CBD sometimes to help with my anxiety. I have CBD pain cream that I use.

A:  To close out, where can people find you? How can they contact you if they have questions about their accounting for their cannabis business?

E: The best way to reach me is email: I’m on LinkedIn and Instagram @thenumbergrinder. Those are the best ways to reach me.

A: Thank you for your time, Erica gonna let you go. Thank you for the viewers who’ve tuned in and reach out to The Number Grinder for your tax, bookkeeping and accounting needs!

Written by: Alaina Dorsey

Edited by: Veronica Castillo 

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