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Interview with Joshua Santana & Maria Degaine, Co-Founders of Cerboni Financial

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Nate Lozier
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Joshua Santana and Maria Degaine are the Co-founders of Cerboni Financial and Consulting Services, a respected outsourced accounting firm that provides financial planning, business strategies, and consulting services to the restaurant and hospitality industry. The company was founded in 2017 and now serves clients all over the country. Cerboni is an all-in-one accounting and financial solutions firm that has grown tremendously over the years, delivering consistent and detailed financial data that help clients catapult their business towards growth and profitability.

Joshua is a Houston native whom graduated from the University of Houston in Accounting. He joined Santana and Associates, Cerboni’s sister tax services company, in 2008. Over the last 15 years, he has been the tax specialist that provides guidance for all clients needing assistance pertaining to tax prep/filing, audits, tax strategies, and tax appeals for both personal and businesses. Joshua continues to bring his tax expertise to help clients strategize and reach their financial goals.  

Maria, Co-founder and Partner at Cerboni, received her education in Business Development from the University of Univali in Brazil and has been in the hospitality industry for over 17 years. Her experience began at the well-known Sun Valley Resort in Idaho as an integral part of the management team. She later went on to open the most luxurious Swiss boutique hotel in Brazil called Insolito Boutique Hotel & Spa, and four fantastic restaurant concepts. After her accomplishments in Brazil, Degaine decided to move to the United States and began investing in the restaurant industry.

Together, Maria and Joshua understand the operational side of the restaurant business as well as the financial side. This is the reason they decided to join hands and create Cerboni Financial and Consulting Services, to bring the expertise and knowledge to restaurant owners and help them cut overall costs and look for ways to increase their bottom line. Cerboni has been awarded the best all-in-one accounting solutions firm for restaurants by IBTIMES.

How do you work with restaurant owners to improve their profitability?  

For Cerboni, it’s fundamental to understand the restaurant operation, to create budgets and profitability targets that allow our clients to make smart financial decisions. When our clients understand their financial performance, they are able to be proactive with ongoing issues that affect their bottom line. Moreover, our CFO team works hand in hand with our operators to seek opportunities within their organization and exceed company goals.

How do you ensure compliance with state and federal tax laws for restaurants?

Our team of experts stay current on new rules and regulations and understand the various types of taxes involved with a business. We utilize this expertise and ensure clients are fully aware and compliant to avoid any penalties.

If you could create a new dish for a restaurant menu, what would it be and why?

If we could create a new dish, it would  an Asian-inspired Lambchop with spiced risotto and a side of sauteed greens. This dish would hit all flavor notes of sweet, salty, spicy, and umami; and would be indicative of our services — all-inclusive to create an amazing experience that goes together in harmony and meets all your needs.

What do you think sets a successful restaurant apart from one that struggles financially?

A successful restaurant focuses on short term, mid-term, and long term goals. Our CFO team creates a really unique customized report package that allows clients to compare the performance of periods, locations, and concepts side by side. We truly believe that financial forecasting is a great way to better control the trajectory of our client’s operation. A restaurant owner must be proactive, perform financial analysis, creating budgets and profitability targets to reach the business goals and its growth and profitability.

If you are a Restaurant365 partner and interested in participating in a partners interview, please reach out to Pinar Alptunaer at palptunaer@restaurant365.com.