Is bookkeeping as easy as the TV ads make it out to be? The truth is, it’s far from it. Those ads may be promoting user-friendly software, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all you need. In reality, bookkeeping requires a solid understanding of accounting principles and familiarity with the rules and regulations set forth by the Canada Revenue Agency. Many entrepreneurs, especially at the beginning stages of their ventures, attempt to handle the bookkeeping themselves or rely on a well-meaning friend. On the surface, it may seem like a simple task of tracking money coming in and going out. However, let’s delve into the specifics to see why it’s not as straightforward as it appears.
The B Word
Budget. Contrary to popular belief, budgeting is not something to be feared or avoided. In fact, having a budget can bring you peace of mind as you regularly review your finances to ensure you’re on track with your income and expenses. The element of surprise should be eliminated when it comes to annual renewals. You should be aware of when these renewals occur, whether they involve insurance, website hosting, or software subscriptions. By starting each year with a budget, you’ll establish a sense of accountability as your business grows. Moreover, it will help you avoid accumulating debt and overspending by comparing your actual financial reports (which reflect your current business state) with your budgeted expectations. A budget is essentially a projection for the year ahead. As long as you refrain from inflating your budget with unrealistic and overly ambitious income expectations, you increase your chances of achieving a healthy bottom line. Don’t forget to allocate a line item for miscellaneous expenses, so you can spend without feeling anxious about it. With time, budgeting becomes easier as you build a solid financial history through diligent bookkeeping.
The K Word
Knowledge. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. It’s crucial to understand the distinction between an accountant and a bookkeeper. Ensure that your accountant thoroughly reviews your financial records, explains tax advantages, and offers advice on strategies to enhance your business. If your bookkeeping is well-maintained, your accountant’s fees will be lower compared to handing over a disorganized mess of invoices and expenses during tax season. The bookkeeper, typically charging a fraction of the hourly rate of an accountant, diligently records and reconciles all your revenue and expenses as provided by you, the business owner. While bookkeepers are not advisors per se, we do share our knowledge with our clients on a customer service level.
The P Word
Profit. Let’s dive into the concept of profit. Merely tracking your finances isn’t sufficient to determine if you’re making a profit. It’s crucial for business owners to run reports on a monthly or quarterly basis to truly understand their financial position. It’s important to note that having cash in the bank doesn’t necessarily indicate a profitable position. Cash flow is a separate matter altogether. You may have a significant amount of cash on hand but suddenly find yourself facing a hefty tax bill. The bottom line, while important, is not the sole indicator that business owners should focus on. Take a closer look at your monthly expenses. What percentage of your income is allocated to wages? How much is being spent on optional expenses? Are there any subscriptions you’re still paying for but no longer need? It’s crucial for business owners to regularly set aside time to review their financial situation by examining reports and engaging in discussions with their bookkeeper. This practice allows for a comprehensive understanding of the overall financial health of the business.
The R Word
Reconciliation. It’s important to recognize that inputting income and expenses is just the initial step in a bookkeeper’s role. Utilizing software tools makes data entry relatively easy. However, the real challenge lies in reconciling all bank and credit card accounts, which is where questions may arise and missing expenses can be identified. Reconciliation constitutes the majority of the time spent on bookkeeping tasks. If clients co-mingle personal and business expenses, bookkeeping costs can skyrocket because extensive manual labor is required to separate each personal transaction from the business records and meticulously review each item on the statements.
If a business owner engages in expense tracking without reconciling the accounts, they run the risk of missing out on valuable credits and potentially leaving hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the table. Reconciliation serves as a crucial safeguard to ensure that no expenses go unnoticed and that every transaction is properly accounted for, minimizing the potential for financial loss.
The V Word
Value. It’s natural for everyone to prefer money coming in rather than going out. Outsourcing work and paying for professional services can often feel as burdensome as paying rent. Unfortunately, outsourced services are sometimes misunderstood, with a mismatch between the client’s request and the time it takes to fulfill that request. When business owners lack a clear understanding of the process, they may feel uncertain about whether their investment is truly paying off.
When it comes to bookkeeping, the task of organizing statements, receipts, and invoices for a bookkeeper can leave business owners feeling as though they’ve already done most of the work. However, it’s important to recognize that bookkeeping is a partnership. The best results are achieved when the business owner is organized, promptly answers questions when asked, and actively participates in the regular review of financial reports.
By fostering a collaborative relationship with their bookkeeper, the business owner can fully appreciate the value that professional bookkeeping brings. It ensures accurate financial records, provides valuable insights into the business’s financial health, and frees up valuable time and energy for the owner to focus on core business activities. Ultimately, the investment in a competent bookkeeper pays off by providing peace of mind and allowing the business owner to make informed decisions based on reliable financial information.
Over to You
At MYOB Inc., we take pride in our team of remote bookkeepers who possess extensive experience and expertise in various specialties. Our primary goal is to provide you with financial peace, enabling you to manage your business with clarity and intention. We understand the importance of accurate bookkeeping and its role in empowering business owners like you to make informed decisions confidently.
Whether it’s reconciling accounts, generating insightful reports, or offering guidance on financial strategies, our dedicated team is committed to supporting you every step of the way. We recognize that effective bookkeeping is a collaborative effort, and we value the partnership we establish with each of our clients.
By entrusting your bookkeeping needs to MYOB Inc., you can focus on what you do best – minding your own business.
Written by Jenna Pozzebon, MYOB Bookkeeper
On Thursday September 1st, our CEO, Karen Try met with Tyler Jeffery who is an Account Manager at The Business Development Bank of Canada [BDC]. In his role, Tyler works with small to medium-sized businesses to provide guidance and assistance in all areas of financial management so they may increase profitability and boost the value of their company.
The Business Development Bank of Canada [BDC] complements the charter banks and is a financial institution devoted to Canadian entrepreneurs. It is a Crown corporation that operates at arm’s length from their sole shareholder, the Government of Canada. The mandate of the BDC is to be the bank for all entrepreneurs, offering support for the business life cycle and making entrepreneurs’ well-being a priority. The BDC provides funding and advice to small and medium-sized firms in all industries and stages of growth.
Industries such as manufacturing, wholesale, construction, transportation, food, and beverages have been hit hard by the pandemic and have reached out when they have reached their line of credit. Because of flexible financing, advisory services, and smart capital, the BDC can often support businesses when charter banks cannot.
If you have additional questions about the BDC, you can visit their website: www.bdc.ca or contact Tyler directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. During their one-on-one, Tyler and Karen discussed various topics that small business owners may find useful. Read on to learn more.
Q&A with Tyler Jeffery
Q: What is the most common challenge that leads a small business owner to seek advisory services?
A: Business owners are good at what they do but often find they are lacking in financial management. Owners get consumed by the day-to-day business management. Tyler’s role is to assess the business’s current financial situation, identify gaps, and then help them to prioritize processes to improve cashflows and avoid financial pitfalls in the future.
The duration of the program is 8-12 weeks. During this time, Tyler advises his clients on the available funding opportunities, either in the form of financing at a reasonable interest rate or grants that are currently available. One example is the current grant referred to as the CDAP [Canada Digital Adoption Program] that was implemented by the government in January 2022. This grant helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) build their digital plan and adopt digital technologies to increase their competitiveness.
The CDAP covers items directly related to the digital plan, such as the following:
- Acquiring IT equipment
- Installation of new technologies
- Updating and/or expanding IT equipment
- Training staff on onboarded technologies
- Materials and support services directly related to onboarding the technology
- Further advisory services on particular aspects of the digital adoption plan
Q. Do you have general tips to help all business owners avoid financial pitfalls in their business?
A. The ability to analyze cash flows and maintain regular financial oversight is crucial for business owners. Developing financial acumen can reveal more opportunities to boost cash flow for a better and healthier organization.
Q. At what stage in a business’s life cycle would you recommend that a small business owner get in touch with you?
A. Tyler works with business owners at all stages of their business life. A new business owner that brings experience, a solid business plan, and cashflow projections can benefit from the services of the BDC. Generally, a small business would go to the BDC after 24 months in business with demonstrated growth and $250K – 350K (CAD) annual revenue.
Q. Since many small business owners relied heavily on rent and salary subsidies to survive the pandemic, they agreed to take out a loan that now must be paid back in full by the end of 2023. Can the BDC help those already cash-strapped businesses?
A. Where a chartered bank generally requires securities for lending, the BDC can be more flexible in financing a business with strong cash flow projections and a solid business plan. In other words, if a business is currently operating with positive cash flow and is solid overall, the BDC may be able to help as financing is typically more flexible.
At MYOB we strive to bring you helpful and valuable business tips through our biweekly blog. Sign up at the bottom of our website to receive our blogs direct to your inbox!
When it comes to running a successful business, a little knowledge goes a long way. The effective use of available resources is one way to gain that knowledge. Additionally, businesses can achieve new heights of success by utilizing their resources efficiently.
For many small business owners, however, managing their resources can be challenging. For one thing, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for managing all your company’s resources. Here are some recommendations to get you started.
Resources for social media
When it comes to using social media for business, you will want to keep in mind that there are significant differences between professional and personal use. Fortunately, there are many resources available both online and off to help you plan and create the best social media content for your business.
You’ll learn quickly that fact checking should be a top priority when sharing social media content on your company’s social media sites. We all want people to read, enjoy, and share our pages’ posts. However, before you share an enticing, hot-off-the-press piece in the hopes of gaining engagement, make sure it is accurate. As we have mentioned in previous posts, false information abounds on the internet, so verifying your sources when creating and/or sharing content is critically important for building trust and social proof with your audience. For example, if you are checking the validity of a story online (such as a political story, news story or celebrity based story), www.snopes.com can help you verify. When looking to verify statistics, try www.statista.com for accurate information.
The appropriate use of hashtags is another resource that helps businesses manage their social media. In fact, hashtag usage has skyrocketed on social media over the past few years. And, with the right hashtags, potential customers can find your company on social media platforms more easily, and your posts will reach a larger audience. Hashtag tracking tools, such as the one provided by BrandMentions (https://brandmentions.com/hashtag-tracker/#) aid in the discovery of popular and relevant hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms.
And lastly, there are the resources that provide you with analytics for your business’ social media platforms. In a nutshell, analytics are important since they uncover insights in social media that can be used to benefit your business. They will assist you in determining where to focus your social efforts, which networks are active, and what type of content has the greatest impact on your audience. Each of the main social platforms provides ways to access and view your pages’ analytics such as the number of followers, reach, impressions, and engagement.
Resources for bookkeeping
Proper bookkeeping for your business is essential for its overall financial health. Having your books neat and in order aids in tax preparation, among other things. Many business owners choose to keep up with their own books, but it’s time-consuming and labor intensive. One resource that is readily accessible to help you learn the ins and outs of small-business bookkeeping along with managing your books is online accounting software. A quick online search will produce several results from which to choose.
Creating and regularly reviewing a Profit and Loss Report (P&L) for your company is another valuable resource. The P&L is a financial report that summarizes a company’s revenues, expenses, and profits/losses over a specified period of time.
The main categories that can be found on the P&L include:
- Revenue (or Sales)
- Cost of Goods Sold (or Cost of Sales)
- Selling, General & Administrative (SG&A) Expenses
- Marketing and Advertising
- Technology/Research & Development
- Interest Expense
- Net Income
Another source of online information for bookkeeping and accounting fundamentals can be found on the websites for the Canada Revenue Agency (https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html) and Service Canada (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/portfolio/service-canada.html).
As your company grows, however, you may discover that you have less time to devote to precise bookkeeping. Hiring an accountant and experienced bookkeeper can assist you in staying organized and current with government filings while saving you from headaches in the long run.
At Mind Your Own Business, for example, we work with our clients and communicate with them regularly as we maintain their books and ensure that all government filings are completed on time. (https://www.myobontario.ca/are-you-ready-if-the-auditor-comes-calling/)
Resources for websites
An invaluable resource for any business website is Google Analytics (https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/analytics/). Installing Google Analytics is a smart option because it is a free website analysis tool that collects data and then produces reports with thorough statistics on who visits your site. As well, Google Analytics assists you in better understanding your site and app users to better evaluate the performance of your marketing, content, products, and other initiatives.
Some of the statistics you may find helpful include users, sessions, pageviews, and bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who left your site from the home (landing) page (they left the site from the same page they entered it on). A high bounce rate typically indicates that your site’s landing pages are not relevant to your visitors and/or the content isn’t what the user was looking for.
There are numerous advantages to implementing Google Analytics. It is a useful tool for all types of businesses because it provides information on who your website visitors are, if they’re engaging with your content, and how long they stay on your site.
Over to you
Small business owners are fortunate to have access to a wealth of resources to assist them in starting, running, and growing their companies. A good business owner is always learning; acquiring knowledge through various resources enables you to recognize and capitalize on opportunities around you, allowing your business to thrive in the face of competition and ensuring its relevance in your industry.
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger
Let’s face it… when you’re a small business owner, you have more important things to do with your time than gathering your bank statements, credit card statements, receipts, and deposit information for a bookkeeper. Not only is doing so quite tedious, but it also sounds really boring, don’t you think? But you know what’s even worse? A Canada Revenue Agency Audit!
When you think about it that way, organizing and staying on top of your finances doesn’t seem so bad! And although audits are unavoidable, having the right bookkeeping service can help make the process less stressful in the long run. If you’re considering hiring a bookkeeper, here are two valid reasons to do so.
1. Hiring a bookkeeper can assist small business owners in cutting costs.
Many people, for example, discover that they save money on accountant fees during tax season because their books are neat and in order.
One big lie we all tell ourselves is that we don’t need to write something down because we’ll remember it later. Or we’ll find those receipts for business expenses and/or dinners because we’d never throw something like that away, right? Why take that risk?
One reason you should keep accurate and up-to-date records of your revenue and expenses now is that you are more likely than not to forget three years from now – which could certainly come back to haunt you if you’re selected for an audit. So having your bookkeeping in order makes an audit go much more smoothly.
2. When your bookkeeping is organized, government filings can be kept up to date and deadlines can be met.
Filing on time is the law. Understandably, some businesses struggle to pay their HST obligations at certain times of the year due to a lack of cash flow. However, hiring a bookkeeper who oversees and keeps your financials up to date on a monthly or even quarterly basis helps small business owners make smart decisions about purchases, staffing, raises, and so on. This also includes liabilities such as how much HST they owe or payroll remittance they will have to pay. It is also important to note that there are penalties for late payment, but the law requires the HST report to be filed ON TIME. At Mind Your Own Business, we work with our clients and communicate with them regularly as we maintain their books and ensure that all government filings are completed on time.
Are you ready to get started? Great! Although you are always welcome to bring your bags, boxes, and folders of receipts for us to sort through, we also have a secure online portal where people can upload digital files! We are very customer-focused, and we are open to receiving your information in any way you prefer. Also, some clients prefer to do their own invoicing and/or payroll and we do the rest – but, once again, we can provide a customized service package based on what YOU require.
Many small business owners feel they need to oversee every aspect of their company, especially when they are first starting out. As their company grows, however, they may find it increasingly difficult to keep up with all the demands of the day-to-day operations. One main area where most experience challenges is with keeping track of their finances. And, of course, keeping immaculate books is a must.
Have you reached this stage and could use the extra assistance with your finances? If so, then you are probably ready to hire a bookkeeper who will help you get back and/or stay on track. But with so many choices out there, you may be wondering how to go about finding the one that’s the right fit for your business.
In their article, “How Hiring a Bookkeeper Can Strengthen Your Business,” Mindbody Business shares a useful list of the benefits of working with a bookkeeper. Here are some highlights:
You get “mission critical” info.
With a professional bookkeeper, your financial statements are compiled correctly and according to accounting principles. This ultimately helps your accountant file the taxes quickly and easily.
At Mind Your Own Business, we like to invest a little extra time with a new client. This extra time is spent listening to what they EXPECT, what they want moving forward, and what their perspective is about the service they are requesting. We also meet with each of our clients to help them understand expenses and cashflow.
You could pay less in accounting fees and taxes.
Experienced bookkeepers understand common expenses within your industry and can let you know which business expenses are tax deductible. This potentially saves you money in the long run.
In a nutshell, bookkeeping is customarily data entry based on statements and receipts provided by the client and reconciliations with all bank and credit card accounts. Our bookkeepers understand the rules of tax laws, as well as the fundamentals of basic accounting principles.
You will save time.
By spending less time on administrative activities, such as bookkeeping, you will have more time to concentrate on what matters most to you — your customers and business success.
Our company’s name says it all as we start the conversation with our potential clients! This is what we are saying to them: “We want to help you Mind Your Own Business! You are hiring us to serve you in the best way for you, so YOU can make decisions for your business.”
It is truly rewarding for us to share success with our respected customers who entrust us with their administrative and operational support services. Are you ready to get started? Contact us today by calling 519-657-4283 or by filling out our online form. Let us know how we can help you mind your own business better!
Customers moan and groan about getting bank statements, credit card statements, receipts and deposit information gathered together for the bookkeeper. What is less fun than that?
A Revenue Canada Audit!
One of the reasons that you should have an accurate and up-to-date record of your revenue and expenses is that you will never remember three years from now, who you dined with on February 10th or what you bought that day that you claimed an expense that is on that fading white cash register tape. Having your bookkeeping organized makes an audit much smoother.
Government filings can be kept current and deadlines met when the bookkeeping is current. FILING on time is the law. Understandably, at certain times of the year, some businesses struggle to pay their HST owing as the cash flow is low. There are penalties for late payment, but it is the filing ON TIME of the HST report that is the law.
For yourself, to see clearly where you are spending your money and what products or services are bringing money into the business, your income statement is a valuable tool for you to analyze your financial situation and make plans for business development moving forward.
Not knowing your financial situation is like running your business blindly. You may be surprised to see that your bread and butter is in the smaller activities and that you need to pay attention to keeping those thriving while you chase the big projects, or you may see that too many resources are dedicated to the smaller activities that are lost leaders for your company.
At Mind Your Own Business, we work with our clients and communicate regularly as we maintain their books and make sure the government filings are on time.