Are You Ready if the Auditor Comes Calling?

Are You Ready if the Auditor Comes Calling?

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.

Being TrustWORTHY

Recently, an IT service provider confidently declared his expertise in handling a task. Trust was given and the results were disastrous. This service provider ruined operating systems and deleted software, gave inaccurate advice and left the customer with a lost contract, three days of downtime, huge frustration and a lesson learned. The original task was ultimately completed.

The lesson? Take the time to check track records, testimonials and whether expertise claims are coming from someone skilled in self promotion or whether they are earned through experience and success.

At Mind Your Own Business, we urge new clients to have a meet and great, no charge meeting with us first with a full discussion to avoid surprises. Our goal is to be worthy of your trust, so that we can work together to help you mind your own business better.

Summertime – the Perfect Time for Action

“Never mistake motion for action”  Ernest Hemingway

We have realized that action in moving our businesses forward creates momentum. Conversely, falling in a rut can result in a standstill.

Many business owners look forward to a slower pace in the summer, some stolen time away to the cottage or even the great outdoors at home. However, this does not mean that action has to stop in moving your business forward. In fact, a slower pace is a fantastic time to consider refreshing branding, renewing your website, focusing on business development and developing creative strategies. These actions are time well invested.

Last year, a colleague at a networking group warned us all to make sure that our networking efforts were more than “not working” ! We can run around being busy without advancing business goals. Summer is an excellent opportunity to reflect and focus on business development.

At Mind Your Own Business, we love to brainstorm with business owners and help them move forward and grow. Check out our Services page and realize that having Virtual Administrators on your team can lighten your load all year!

When Invoices are Months Overdue

Actual Excuses received for not paying an overdue invoice for work completed:

  • Business has been slow but picking up
  • Kids have needs
  • Ailing parents
  • Recovering from surgeries
  • Settling my divorce finally and freeing up monies that have been locked up
  • Avoiding bankruptcy
  • I need more time

My favourite excuses received include an email that was sent to me from a delinquent client who claimed that his computer crashed and he lost my contact information. What? You’re emailing me! This IS my contact information………

This excuse is almost award winning for creativity:
I sent an etransfer last week but you didn’t accept it.

I even received an email early one Saturday morning saying that the etransfer was sent yesterday and the password I need to use “will be” [insert password here]. Half an hour later, the etransfer came along. This client was 7 months overdue with a deadline of yesterday – I suppose he woke up the next day and jumped on email to “rectify”?

Non-payment will always be a challenge in business, for every business. This is such a common topic of discussion between small business owners because non-payment is really tough on a small business or new business. It’s wonderful to have compassion and give each situation careful consideration. However, the time spent chasing, reminding, waiting and feeling frustrated and disrespected is time wasted.

Make sure your business is always moving forward and evolving. It’s OK to revise policies and start new ones, such as requiring a deposit from new customers, discussing payment requirements up front, having a contract with clear payment policy and scope of work outlined.

All reminders, emails and phone call dates should be documented.

For the really sticky, overdue accounts, pass the file to a good Collection Agency. This will cost you money, and save you time.   But Time is Money after all. Clear the file off your desk and out of your mind. Focus on business development and on the other valued clients – a better place to invest your time and energy.

The Home Office Entrepreneur

There are an increasing number of small business owners setting up home offices. Mind Your Own Business is a Virtual Administration company, operating from home offices.

Home offices decrease overhead costs such as transportation – either public transit or parking and gas expenses, no additional rent, less expense related to clothing required and less spending money needed for coffee and lunch breaks.
It is important to have a designated space in the home that is workspace only so that work is done in the office. A separate phone line is recommended to avoid family members answering business calls, but also to have control over the hours when business calls are received and answered. It is important for the small business entrepreneur to attend networking groups/events to meet and interact with others and have mentors and colleagues to brainstorm and exchange ideas, to avoid isolation and the feeling of being disconnected.

Clients benefit from outsourcing work to companies with low overhead, such as Mind Your Own Business, as higher overhead costs are not passed along in project pricing.

Customer Service and Sales

Businesses seek to achieve a healthy bottom line as well as a good reputation. Excellent customer service is critical to establishing repeat business and increasing sales.

Recently, during a weekly visit to a favourite business, one of the staff mentioned that she needs more money and would be asking the owner for more hours. I asked her what value she brought to the business to make her stand out from the others to get these additional hours. She looked puzzled.

I continued by saying that the staff had never attempted to upsell, introduce products or make recommendations to me. She replied, “We don’t get commission”. I explained that offering me additional products or services was actually excellent customer service AND a sales opportunity. If I were the owner, I would give the increased hours to the employee who was proactive and offering the best customer experience AND contributing to sales.

Communicating with regular customers about products and services IS good customer service. This can be done at the point of sale, or by social media, newsletters, emails or targeted phone calls.

Are you satisfied with your sales? Are your customers informed?

We can help you mind your own business better!