Helping you navigate the course to greater success!
New blog entry in the Back to the Books series: Hubdoc. Why we use it, what it can do for you, and why you should use it.
New blog entry in the Back to the Books series: Quickbooks Online. Why we use it, what it can do for you, and why you should use it.
New blog entry in the Back to the Books series: Quickbooks Online. Why we use it, what it can do for you, and why you should use it.
Also, remember we have our Back to the Books sale! Half-off setup fee for existing businesses, half-off first month's fee for businesses less than 12 months old!
Our referral discount still holds. Any business that refers business to us gets one month free for every new client.
@Quickbooksca @receiptbank @hubdoc @sharefile @tsheets
We use a standard set of tools to help our clients automate their bookkeeping and to keep their companies under control and growing, which we use as appropriate. Not every tool is suitable for every job, so we mix-and-match as appropriate. We will be discussing each of them in turn over the following few weeks.
First, we have three tools - “apps” - that we match to each client we take on. Our standard packages all come with these three apps built-in, namely Quickbooks Online, Receipt Bank and Hubdoc. Every client we have can benefit from the efficiencies of these three. Both Receipt Bank and Hubdoc sync with Quickbooks Online, speeding up entries into your books as well as attaching images of the invoices to the entries in Quickbooks. These images are in all cases retained for the seven years demanded by the Canada Revenue Agency, and help render your books audit-proof.
Second, we’ll have a series of posts to deal with specialized add-ons, like TSheets, Plooto, Wagepointy and Square, that are useful within certain industries like home improvement contracting and bricks-and-mortar stores, or for more complicated situations than Quickbooks Online’s built-in subroutines can handle. There are currently something like 150 different apps that work with Quickbooks, synchronizing their transactions and again, improving the efficiency of entering transactions into the company books and improving audit-proofing. Other tools like Constant Contact don’t actually generate transactions in Quickbooks but exploit the data in Quickbooks to improve the efficiency of your marketing and for other similar processes.
On Monday, we’ll start with Quickbooks Online itself.
Just in time for back to school and back to work, we're offering a back-to-School / Back to Work special.
For new clients, we're offering a 50% discount off of our standard $1,000 setup fee, regardless of which service level you opt for. As always, the setup fee for any company that has been in business for less than 12 months is waived, so for those companies we offer a first-month discount of 50%.
This offer lasts until October 1, so if you're looking to outsource your small business bookkeeping, please call us now!
ShareFile is a way to send and receive files securely using an online web portal. We are currently exploring this tool with the idea of rolling it out to our clients by the end of July.
You the client will be able to upload and download client files from ShareFile using the portal that we've recently added to this site. You will be notified when a file is ready for download by e-mail through ShareFile.
Watch this space for further updates.
One of the most powerful apps for business is the @ReceiptBank app. It's one of my Top Three tools that come standard with all three of my standard value pricing packages. If you're my client and you're on Quickbooks Online, you have Receipt Bank. One client of an Ottawa bookkeeper who was at the Intuit Thrive conference in Toronto last fall put it this way: “Hubdoc is for my bookkeeper. Receipt Bank is for me!”
What does it do? It imports picture files, be they in GIF, PDF or other format. These can be published to your cloud bookkeeping software, or your employees can use it to create expense reports for reimbursements, or other similar actions.
Using it is easy. There are three ways to import the image:
Apparently in the future, they're working on being able to link PayPal payments to Receipt Bank, too. Yes, I have business clients who use PayPal. I'm looking forward to that feature.
When should you use Receipt Bank? The “why” answers that.
So when should you use Receipt Bank? Every time you have a receipt or bill in your hands, or in your e-mail in-box.
We have started to receive our first tax clients with all their slips. This is great, we can file your taxes today if everything's in place, but if you don't have all your slips yet, do NOT panic. They're not even due to Canada Post until the end of the day on Monday, February 29th. If you still haven't gotten all your slips by the 10th, then with certain exceptions, you should start chasing down the issuing party.
Call us for a quote today.
I hate doing this, but prices are going up for me just as they are for everyone else. Intuit just announced a price increase in their Quickbooks Online software package, and that is a cost I have to make sure I cover in my own pricing.
However, they've told me that for all my clients who have signed up by March 16th, the price of Quickbooks Online will be grandfathered for two years. That's a savings I'll be passing along to my clients – anyone signing up by the middle of March will have their costs grandfathered at the current rate for two years, but after that the new pricing structure will be introduced. Call or e-mail me before that date to start navigating your small business through the stormy seas to the land of success. Watch this space for further details about the new prices – or act now to avoid the additional costs.
Cash payments. Credit card slips. The need to get the things recorded – and stored. How to solve this problem?
All of my clients who are on Quickbooks Online have an account on Receipt Bank, a cloud-based app that syncs with Quickbooks Online and stores a picture of the receipt for the seven years demanded by the Canada Revenue Agency. And a LOT of my clients are still getting used to this.
It really helps, though, for four reasons:
And the app is dead simple to use: Just whip out your cell phone, turn on the app, take the receipt's picture, click on the check mark and off you go to your next stop. Toss the receipt in the trash can as you leave. When it arrives at Receipt Bank, I'll handle the rest of the processing. You can also leave notes, like special handling instructions or the names of who you were meeting with.
At my end, I can check the HST amount matches, ensure the charge is going to the right account. You don't need to do a thing.
Some clients assume it's just for cash transactions. Don't be afraid of using Receipt Bank every single time you buy something, even if you're using your business credit or debit card that is already synced up to Quickbooks Online. You should save the receipt anyway, so why keep it on scraps of dead trees in your own place of business when you can just keep it stored off-site?
Every year I have clients panicking over “My slips haven’t arrived yet!” … by the end of January.
To put everyone’s mind at ease, here’s the deadlines courtesy of BMO Nesbitt Burns and the Canada Revenue Agency. Please note that these are dates when the issuing party has to have them into the mail by you, NOT when they should have arrived by. Don’t panic if on February 29 you don’t have all the slips – they could still be in the mail. They might not be due to be mailed to you for another month.
This year being a leap year, the following slips are due to be mailed to you by February 29, 2016:
The remaining slips need to be in the mail to you by March 31, 2016:
Start 2016 off right. If you’re starting out, we’ve got a New Entrepreneur Special: No setup fee, a savings of $500 off our usual setup & training fee!
I’m now offering clients three basic options at a fixed monthly rate: Silver Service, Gold Service and Platinum Service. All of these include Quickbooks Online plus two applications (Hubdocs and Receipt Bank), daily monitoring of the bank balance, and at least one session in your office. The more you need, the more it will cost.
Quickbooks Online has rapidly developed into an extremely useful software that will give your small business the face of a sophisticated, much larger and much more professional firm.
See the Services page for options for fixed-price features, and see which one is right for your small business.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” - Ben Franklin
One important task for every business owner is "plan". We usually express this in terms of budgets: how much are you going to charge, how many sales will you have, will you make money? Do you need to cut back spending, or ramp it up? And if you're on a calendar year, as so many small businesses are, then November is the month to sit down and build a budget for the upcoming year. Call us for professional assistance, with spreadsheets and accounting software designed to provide you with the analysis that will help you see where your business is going and what you need to do to improve your bottom line.
As promised, I've been checking out what's new in the Desktop versions of Quickbooks 2016. Here's a quick hit of what's new, concentrating on what's useful for the typical user:
Bill Tracker: Lets you see what's payable, what you have on order, and other useful information
Auto-copy ship-to address (not available on Pro version): You can now auto-copy the ship-to address from your sales orders and estimates into the
Purchase Order when you generate a PO off either of these forms
There's now a useful report as to what was fixed and what cannot be fixed when you run Rebuild Data File.
Bulk clear "Send Forms" list: Before, you'd have to clear each line item from the list of forms to be e-mailed. You can now clear all these with minimal clicks. I don't know why they haven't done this with "Print Forms".
Just a reminder, if you haven't upgraded from a version of at least 3 years ago, you'll lose the ability to upload data from your bank account or credit card. If you haven't, I recommend upgrading as soon as possible. Give me a call and schedule an appointment for me to upgrade your systems.
Those of my clients whose books are on my system have already been upgraded without any issues.
Where has this year been going to? For most Ontario students, next week marks the beginning of a new school year. For all of us, including the grownups, it means the hazy, lazy days of summer are behind us. We now have to get back down to business. If you're looking to mark this new season with a new business, to test your entrepreneurial chops and strike out on your own, it's time for you to give us a call. We can help you get your books set up for your new business and deal with those thousand and one little details that go along with starting your own firm. Until the end of November, get your new company's books set up on a professional accounting software program – a $90.00 value.
Starting your own business this fall? With the end of the summer holidays, it's a tempting time. And you don't have to handle it yourself.
We're offering a fall special, a free setup special that will involve setting up your books on a computerized accounting platform and ensuring that your record-keeping reflects the professionalism you want for all areas of your business.
Call us today!
Never say "never" again. Yet more tips.
I've had a couple of clients now make donations to foreign charities, hoping that they can deduct this off their 2014 tax return.
In most cases, that's a big fat "No, but it's nice of you for being so generous". Typically, you can only deduct your foreign charity giving off of the tax return (if any) that you file in that country. The only foreign charities that you CAN give money to and get to deduct off of your Canadian return, a change introduced with the 2013 taxation year, are those who are on the list of those who have received "a gift from Her Majesty in Right of Canada", and only for set periods of time.
The full list is here, and as you can see it's not lengthy at all - three for all of 2014.
And probably my last post on Personal Income Taxes for this year. This time, we're talking about Personal Income Taxes, deadlines and such.
A lot of people get confused about the differences between the US and Canada, and taxes are one subject.
The United States' deadline for filing their tax return is April 15. As that date approaches, you'll hear more news items and jokes referencing that date. Canada's filing deadline is April 30 – two weeks later.
This year, both dates fall on a weekday. If it fell on a weekend, you'd have another day's grace.
I just left a message for a client whose tax return I'm doing, asking for additional information that wasn't in the folder he dropped off. This will delay his return, until I can get that.
Remember when getting your taxes together, not to forget that there could be a credit for you if your principal residence is in Ontario - include the rent or property taxes you paid in the taxation year in question.
Another post on Personal Income Taxes, this time on the issue of the Canada Revenue Agency and security.
The Canada Revenue Agency's name has been used in vain by "phishers" trying to send you to webpages that they, rather than the Government, control, in an effort to scan personal information off of you. The Canada Revenue Agency doesn't work like that.
If you've given them an e-mail address, they can and will use that rather than sending out letters in envelopes telling you such routine things as "we've assessed your tax return". They WILL NOT provide you with links to any website in this e-mail, and this routine notice e-mail will use a no-reply sender's address with a cra.gc.ca domain name. If it invitingly offers you a link, it's spam, so delete it.
Remember: stay secure on the web. Don't click on any link unless you know where it's coming from.
It's time to start worrying about taxes, isn't it? Well, let me take some of the worry out of it.
First, the various forms aren't due into your hands until the end of February. So if they haven't arrived by February 15, don't be too concerned about it yet.
Second, RRSP's: Let's say you want to contribute to the RRSP this year. How much can you contribute? The Canada Revenue Agency keeps track, and tells you on your Notice of Assessment, which you probably... well... can't find anymore. CRA has a phone number you can call the Tax Information Phone Service (TIPS) at 1-800-267-6999.
And yes, I do offer T1 personal returns, with e-file, for when you get your slips.
It's December, and everyone's running around with lists: presents to get, groceries for Christmas dinner, items needed for the Christmas trip to see loved ones, cards to send (either the old-fashioned paper kind or e-cards), the list of lists goes on and on.
But there are also to-do lists at work: it's time for preparing for T4 slips, reconciling your payroll records against your general ledger. For those on a calendar year end, it's time to polish up the budget and the marketing plan for next year. And of course there's the list of outstanding receivable – for those of you with retail clients, this is often the most remunerative time of year, so you want to push collections while they are flush with cash from the Christmas sales.
For help with the bookkeeping aspects of this, from budgeting to collections to payroll, give us a call. We'll help your business get through its Christmas lists, and prepare for a prosperous New Year.
As a small business manager, you know the value of knowing what your competitors are up to. Just as important is what your own business is up to – are you making money? Are you charging enough to cover your costs? Should you be concentrating on Product A or Product B?
And that's where a good budget comes in. You take a look at your costs to make or acquire that product or provide that service, and then you make sure what you're charging covers those costs and provides a profit margin for yourself. No sense in charging so little that you can't cover the cost of the gas to deliver the product or service.
Too few small businesses budget. "Not budgeting" is "failure to plan" – and that translates into "planning to fail". Don't plan to fail. We can help. For many of you, the new year is fast approaching. Now is an excellent time to look back at the last three months and prepare your plan for 2015.
Many of us keep our books on the calendar year. It's not mandatory for most of us who are incorporated, but it is definitely easy to remember and handy to prepare our statements and tax returns.
So for those of you who are on the calendar year, the fourth and final quarter of the year is dawning in just a couple of days. This is the busy quarter, the wrap-up quarter, where we reconcile our accounts to help us issue our employees' T-4's in a timely basis, to file our HST returns, and to give that final push to our sales to see to it we're meeting our budgeted targets.
If you need help with your administrative tasks to concentrate on that sales push, give us a call at 647-995-0371. We can take the scut work off your shoulders and dig out the information that lets you do what you do best: build your business.
To most of us, the start of "Fall" comes with the first Tuesday after Labour Day. We've closed up the cottages, returned from wherever we're vacationing, and are refreshed, renewed and ready to go back to work. It's a new school year, and for some of us a new fiscal year, a time to rededicate ourselves to our activities.
If you find yourself ready to start a new business, or to get your current business into better shape, give us a hail. The first meeting is always free. Our bookkeeping and computer conversion services can get you that professional look that gives you an advantage over your competitors, and provides you with improved cash-flow control to keep you profitable.
On top of our usual fare of decreased fees for Quickbooks Online, we've got a special offer starting this month. The photographer who took my head shot is Michael Willems, and he's not only a superb photographer, but an excellent instructor as well. Clients of Layng and Layng who also use his services or buy his products get a 10% discount. Thanks, Michael!
It's now halfway through the calendar year. I hope everyone enjoyed the Canada Day weekend, with fireworks and camping trips and barbecues.
Now, as you settle back in, it's time to do your mid-year review. Is your company performing as you anticipated at the start of the year? Let us sit with you and review your business' performance, and see if the plan needs adjustment to meet your hopes and dreams.
Once you've done that, you can go on a nice long vacation with a clear conscience.
Happy Canada Day! Relax and enjoy this day. Tomorrow, start out refreshed for what many of us will be a short week.
This morning, I received what looked like an e-mail from Revenue Canada. Just click on the link and enter my personal banking information to claim my $521.51 refund.
Except I could spot the warning signs a mile off. Can you?
- CRA does not send you an e-mail. They either send you a cheque by mail, or a notice by mail and direct deposits the refund.
- This e-mail supposedly came from "Revenue Agency " . The REAL Canada Revenue Agency would be using "gc.ca" as an extension. (and it's easy to spoof an e-mail address).
- It was addressed to "dear taxpayer". While the reason for this flag sounds Big Brother-ish, it's not: CRA knows the name of the people it's sending non-generic information to. You CAN get on its mailing list, but that doesn't contain specific taxpayer information.
This e-mail is going to be forwarded to the authorities so they can act on it. I suggest you do the same.
For anyone on a calendar year, this month wraps up the first half of the year. It's time to get things in order so that you can enjoy the summer and maybe take some time off over the next couple of months. Unwinding is important to ensure you can continue to perform at peak effectiveness.
It's been a busy half year here, as we added a new accounting software to our bag of tricks (Freshbooks – great for the small sole proprietor who just needs something to keep track of the basics and e-mail out invoices with that professional look), became a Telpay professional and converted to the Pro File income tax software.
In the future, we're hoping to add more software to make our offerings even more flexible.
I hope that all of you have managed to file your tax returns, but if not, we still offer a low rate of $30 for a simple return with free E-filing.
In addition, I'm proud to offer a new service – Telpay! With Telpay, one of the oldest third-party payment processors in Canada, you can pay your suppliers, your employees and the government without writing a single cheque for a remarkably low rate. You can also get set up to receive payments, including automatic debit, from both companies and from individuals. If you get it through Layng and Layng, the setup fee is waived – a $99 savings.
Talk to us now!
From the Canada Revenue Agency:
Good news if you haven't filed your 2013 T1 Personal tax return yet. Because the Canada Revenue Agency e-filing site was down for five days, you now have until May the 5th to file.
Call if you need your return done! The deadline may be delayed, but it hasn't vanished!
And we start yet another month. Like many of you, I've had quite enough of winter, but before we allmigrate to vacation in warmer climes for the March break, we'd betterget ready.
For our businesses, we need to get ourbooks are up to date. It's easy with software like QuickBooks, whichallows you to upload your banking and credit card data daily, toautomatically e-mail invoices and statements to your customers,purchase orders to your suppliers and pay stubs to your employees. You can even send and receive payments by e-mail.
Enjoy your March Break, everyone!
Another deadline – income taxes. Personal income taxes.
For those of you with a business thatemploys people, it's time to get the T4's out to your staff – ithas to be done by the end of February. If you need help, call andwe'll get you over this hump.
For all of us, we need to file by theend of April – and this year, we are offering personal taxpreparation at low rates and reasonable services. You can even bookus to come in and process your staff's returns at your workplace as aperk for them at a bulk billing rate.
Another year has passed, and like a fresh page in a new notebook, another page in life is open before us, full of hope and promise.
Take full advantage of this: if you are starting up a business or looking to run it more efficiently, call us. We'll help you take full advantage of the available systems.
We wish you, your family and friends a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!
Quickbooks is a powerful accounting package with tons of features to help you be more efficient. You can interface with your e-mail system to send out sales invoices and purchase orders, keep close track of your receivables, and use your bank's on-line banking to keep tight financial controls and quickly process transactions in your company's bank and credit card accounts. Call today for an optimization review or to get started. Start the New Year off right!
We wish you and yours a merry holiday season!
This year it seems the advertising of the Christmas sales started earlier than ever - a local radio station started playing seasonal music on November 12. It is possible to over-advertise - to push so hard on a theme that it becomes just background noise, ignored by your intended market. You should constantly re-examine your marketing strategy to ensure you aren't costing yourself sales.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
- Ode of Remembrance, from Laurence Binyon's Poem, "For the Fallen", September 1914
If your business is, like so many sole proprietorships and partnerships are, on a calendar year, this month is the time of year to finish up those housekeeping tasks: a final review and polish of your budget, and attacking the issue of receivables.If your clients are retailers, November and December are the months when they are most flushed with cash. It's the perfect time to make collection calls and clean up your receivables.If you find yourself with an out-of-control receivables issue, call us to help you get on track. We can show you how, Using good accounting software like Quickbooks, you can get a handle on collections and have the money you need to operate.
Call us today!
The world is all about changes - not always bad, bus sometimes for good as well. We recently decided to change the firm's name, to something that sounded far more professional and reflected the image we have of this firm, and the hopes we have for the the future. And that forced a domain name change as well. We're rolling out new services in the future, as well - more on that as it comes to fruition in the future. Stay tuned!
The kids are back at school, the grownups are back at work, and it's time for you to get your Grand Plan into play.What is a Grand Plan? It's more than just a budget - it's a road map that you use for your business success. How many clients you think you'll get, how many you'll have at the end (for you constantly need new customers to replace those retiring or moving away), and how much your business is going to earn and spend over the next period - quarter or year, or even longer. It takes into account the steps you need to take to make your business great. Lenders and potential investors love these, for an operational plan tells them you are serious about building your business. If you don't have a Grand Plan, call us and we can help you. Those entrepreneurs who fail to plan, are really planning to fail. Don't plan to fail - plan to succeed.
I hope that everyone enjoyed their Labour Day weekend! But to most of us, the end of the Long Weekend marks the start of a new season - new schools for our children (drive safe with all of those carefree, and occasionally careless, youngsters!) and new business plans and strategies for us.We can help - you need good information to base your plans on, and that is what we're all about: giving you the information you need, in a timely basis, so that you can plan intelligently, and react intelligently when your plan starts going off the rails.
For many of us, the summer is a fallow period: vacations at the lake, travel, recharging batteries, and so on.August is also the season of back-to-school sales. With the new school year, it's often a convenient time to review your business plan, so that when you return to work, you do so with a renewed energy and focus, ready to take your business to the next step. Even if it isn't your business year end, it's a convenient time to make a fresh start.Let's work together to review that business plan, making it realistic and attainable, yet encouraging you to stretch yourself.
It's not just an option. Disasters can happen to any business. In Toronto this month we've had two monster rainstorms, with flooding and power outages that played havoc with not just individuals, but businesses as well.
Large businesses have disaster recovery planning that involves all senior members of the management team, but you, the small business owner, are the only person who can fill that role. Do you have such a plan, and how good is it?
Part of a good disaster recovery plan is to back up your financial data, and to have that backup in a secure area away from the business. If you work from home, that can be a problem. We strongly recommend that your financial data be backed up, and for the typical small business owner a simple memory stick is all you need. We are willing to back up your data and retain it off-site, if you aren't using a hosting service that has its own data backup plan. If you are using our computers and software, then when our sessions are over, you will keep the memory stick while the original data remains on our computers.
When you have us use our computers, there will always be three sources of data: the original on our computers, your own back-up copy, and a third backup retained by us.
Happy Canada Day to one and all!
For many of us, it's time for vacations recharging our batteries. It can also be a time to re-examine your business plans and strategic direction. Is there anything you want to change? Are your earnings where you need them to be? Are your costs under control?
This might be the perfect time to contact us. After you have refreshed your batteries, we can help you hit the road running after Labour Day.