HomeCannabis Industry InterviewsAndrew Hunzicker: Cannabis Accounting and Tax Training Program

Andrew Hunzicker: Cannabis Accounting and Tax Training Program

Andrew Hunzicker is the Co-Founder and Owner of DOPE CFO, @dopeCFO. With broad experience providing executive leadership and business counsel to companies across industries including retail, manufacturing, energy, medical/bio, and tech, Andrew co-founded DOPE CFO and has built up a national cannabis accounting/bookkeeping training program to help students in over 38 states unlock a new world of clients.

Andrew was runner up for Portland Business Journal’s CFO of the Year in 2017, making him the first cannabis CFO to ever be nominated.

He is an expert in cannabis startups, CFO services, turnaround and high-growth strategies, capital sourcing, mergers, exits and wealth protection.

We got the opportunity to interview Andrew. Learn more about him and his company DOPE CFO.

RELATED:  Paul Gelardi Creates Hightech Extracts


What is DOPE CFO and your role within it?

Andrew Hunzicker: DOPE CFO is a national Cannabis Accounting & Tax Training program that provides educational resources to accounting professionals (CPAs, EAs, Bookkeepers, etc): knowledge required to help cannabis business owners ensure full compliance with rigid regulations at the city, county, state and federal levels. Accounting, tax and financial regulation in the U.S. cannabis industry is unlike any other field in the world, and many cannabis companies—who would otherwise succeed in the profitable and rapidly-growing industry—are facing high penalties, revoked licenses and imprisonment due to a lack of specialized understanding surrounding best practices.

Cannabis companies require complex, accurate Absorption/Cost accounting in order to remain compliant and audit-ready, but currently none of the Big 4 serve the cannabis sector, nor is there GAAP guidance. DOPE CFO provides the critical missing piece that allows Accountants to quickly enter the cannabis space, and learn the proper way to serve these companies. The program helps students provide world-class service to cannabis clients, including our proprietary VIP system, Perpetual Data Room, and over 170 work papers (including cannabis Chart of Accountants and Cost Accounting Templates) to establish financially successful cannabusinesses of their own. Since launching in January 2018, DOPE CFO has grown to more than 180 students in 39 states nationwide.

RELATED:  Josh Camitta: MJ Arsenal Shares Tips on Buying Bubblers

When was DOPE CFO founded and what drew you to the cannabis industry?

Andrew Hunzicker: I first entered the cannabis niche in 2014 and was CFO at a prominent cannabis cultivator (Hifi Farms) and was quickly drawn in by many factors: exploding niche (fastest growing in US), huge lack of accountants and guidance, complex accounting (cultivation/farming, chemical manufacture, food production, labs, & retail, complex cost accounting required, consolidations, multi-entity, related parties and more), very easy to find and help CEOs and Investors, Ave revenue size for a “mom and pop” dispensary or farm, usually mid 7 figures, entrepreneurs and CEOs passionate about this movement, and the fun factor. I started helping accountants in 2015 when they sought me out for help in the space and that need to be evolved into DOPE CFO in 2017 when I founded with my partner Naomi Granger, CPA, MBA.

RELATED:  Katie Stem Interview: CEO of Peak Extracts

Why should people choose DOPE CFO?

Andrew Hunzicker: At this point, there is no other “shortcut” available for those that want to enter the cannabis space (bookkeeping, Controller, CFO, tax prep, etc), want to learn the ins and outs quickly for serving these companies in their day to day accounting (not just preparing tax return once a year), who want to learn everything quickly about the niche (legal/political, accounting, tax (280e, 471), operations, compliance,), and also our world-class system to find and serve these businesses as well as earn very high fees (cannabis clients simply pay more).

RELATED:  CEO Highlight: Sarah Remesch, Founder of 270M

What trends do you see shaping the industry and where do you think it’s going?

Andrew Hunzicker: Eventually, 280e will go away, but we will still have a great niche: complex accounting, multi-entity, verticals, etc. That is still a while out, and in the meantime, compliance will remain key (and even after 280e, likely to have FDA involved) so this niche will need thousands of Accountants and trained experts for a long time.

RELATED:  Tyler Beurlein Interview: What is Hypur?

What’s the most difficult experience you’ve had in the industry so far?

Andrew Hunzicker: Client service can be demanding: cleanup work is often a big “mess”, and educating the CEOs around why this is a good thing (adds huge value to their firm) that they have great books that are “audit ready, lender-ready, investor ready, any time/all the time”.

RELATED:  Ricardo Baca: Founder & CEO of Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency™ and Creating the Diversity-in-Marketing Internship

And the most rewarding?

Andrew Hunzicker: When our many students and CEOs send nice thank you letters and recommendations around how happy they are that they found us. As we tell CEOs, “we work remote, you will never see our pretty face, we do things right, we know exactly how to do cannabis accounting and tax, our fees are extremely high, but you will be able to sleep at night, your firm will grow in value substantially, and will be very thankful you found us, just as all our other clients are”.

RELATED:  Dr. Safiya Lyn: Integrative Medical Cannabis Expert & Emergency Medicine Physician

Do you have any advice for hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs who are considering joining the industry?

Andrew Hunzicker: Yes, focus every day on building your education, expertise, and knowledge: join digital and real-world cannabis groups (grassroots lobbying, political, accounting, etc), attend events, learn all the issues: accounting, tax, political, operations, software, cash/banking, etc.

This is my general advice to any small firm owner: Pick a great niche (cannabis is the best), become an expert and provide world class service to your clients. The icing on the cake in cannabis is you can become a participant, as this is more than a niche, it’s a national movement, and by doing that, you actually get to know MANY CEOS (they are the ones pushing this movement locally and nationally) and establish your brand.


Thank you so much, Andrew, for taking the time to do the interview. We really appreciate it.

RELATED:  Paul Gelardi Creates Hightech Extracts



Keep exploring...

Prime Edibles: Creating All-Natural and Handcrafted Gummies

Why medicate with more sugar? Prime Edibles has created an all-natural, handcraft gummy bears. In this interview, we asked Dillon Witmer, founder of Prime...

Boveda: Why Correct Humidity is Crucial in Storing Cannabis

We interview, Charles Rutherford II, Business Development Director of Boveda, @BovedaInc the importance of the correct humidity in storing cannabis.   Charles answers the following questions...

Related Articles

Joe Dolce: Creating Medical Cannabis Mentor, Online Courses for Healthcare Providers, Dispensary Personnel and Patients

Joe Dolce is the CEO and Co-Founder of Medical Cannabis Mentor, a state-of-the-art online...

Iram Cesani: Award-Winning Digital Marketing Manager for MagicalButter

Iram joined MagicalButter.com back in April 2017 and hasn’t looked back! As the MB...

Ed Rosenthal: New Educational Cannabis Book

We interviewed @edrosenthal on his book - This Bud's for You. Aside from that...

Rachel Gillette: Practicing Law in the Risky Cannabis Industry

Rachel Gillette is a Partner at Greenspoon Marder LLP, a national full-service Am Law...

Katie Stem Interview: CEO of Peak Extracts

Katie Stem, CEO of Peak Extracts, @peakextracts started her first business at age 22. While...

StashLogix: Secure Cannabis Bags with Combo Locks

Skip, founder of Stashlogix introduces to us their awesome innovation - a super durable...

Aliza Sherman: Creating a Wellness and Cannabis Resource Site for Women

Aliza Sherman is the CEO and Co-founder of Ellementa, @ellementawoman, a national network and resource...

Rick Batenburg III: Investing in Smart Cannabis Investments

Rick Batenburg III is the Chief Investment Officer of Cliintel Capital Management Group (CCMG). He...