The Benefits of Creating a Personal Budget

The Benefits of Creating a Personal Budget

Do you wish you had more money? Who doesn’t!

Although you might dream of winning the lottery or investing in the next Apple computers, chances are that you won’t be the next Bill Gates (Sorry!)

But that’s no reason to despair. Creating a personal budget is one of the best ways to maximize the money you do have and create a plan that prioritizes your spending for the future.

Many people think that budgeting means giving up stuff you enjoy doing, but it’s actually the opposite! When you create a personal budget, you’re clearly allocating your money for the things you want to do – based on your financial limitations.

By creating a personal budget, you can save yourself tons of headaches that come with overspending and ending up in debt. This, in turn, frees up more of your money to spend on things you enjoy rather than being surprised by unknown expenses in the future.

Although budgeting does require a little bit of extra work, it’s really worth the time and effort! Here are some of the most significant benefits of creating a personal budget:

Budgeting Gives You Control

When you sit down and create a personal budget, you’re taking control of your money and not letting your money control you. However, it’s important to note that any sound financial plan should be flexible so you’re able to adapt in case of emergencies, such as a medical expense or an urgent vehicle repair. In fact, that’s precisely what budgeting is for! By creating a personal budget, you’ll save yourself the stress of suddenly needing to adjust to a lack of funds because you failed to plan how to spend appropriately.

A personal budget will also give you control over deciding if you’d like to sacrifice short term spending, such as visiting Starbucks every day, in exchange for a long term goal, like going on a cruise or buying a new TV.

Budgeting Keeps You Organized

When budgeting, we recommend using a template or an online app to keep your finances organized. By writing out all your monthly expenses including cable, internet, mortgage/rent, insurance, groceries, gym memberships, etc., you’ll make it easy to see exactly how much you need to spend on individual services. Not only does this help you stay organized in terms of monthly expenses, but if one of your bills goes up, it makes it much easier to spot it. For example, if you’ve budgeted $40 a month for insurance and your next bill is $53, you’ll be able to quickly notice the change because you have everything clearly written out.

Creating a personal budget that’s plainly written down will also help you be proactive. For instance, because you saw that $13 increase in your insurance bill, you would be able to call your insurance company ASAP to try and haggle a better rate.

Budgeting Builds Better Habits

Once you’ve created your personal budget, you’ll need to stick to it! By working hard to make sure you’re spending your money according to your budget, you’ll build new and better spending habits. Over time, you will find that these habits become easier and easier to maintain.

Part of working within your budget means shifting your expenses from unnecessary categories to the most essential household categories. This will free up your money for the most necessary expenses, as well as for debt reduction. By creating a personal budget and building better habits, you’ll begin to see real financial progress.

Budgeting Manages Debt

Here’s a surprising statement: Not all debt is bad!

Taking out a mortgage or having a student loan can be constructive forms of debt that could improve your financial standing in the future. However, it’s imperative to fully understand your debt in order to keep in control of it. This means knowing your interest rates, terms, and the length of your loan.

Budgeting not only provides a clear picture of what you need to pay down your debt, but it also helps you understand how much debt you can afford. By creating a personal budget, you’ll be able to determine how much of a debt load you can take on without getting stressed. It can even help you figure out if taking on debt is worth it at all.

If you already have debt, a personal budget will help you find which areas you can reduce your expenses so that you can afford to start making extra payments towards that debt.

Budgeting Gives You a Better Life

These just scratch the surface of the many advantages to creating a personal budget. From being in control of your finances to staying on top of your bills to managing and paying off debt, budgeting always “pays” off. When you create and stick to a personal budget, you’ll find you have much less stress in your life, be able to save some extra cash, and move towards your financial goals faster.

Creating a personal budget does require you to sit down and take a little time, especially in the early months, but once you’ve become accustomed to living within your budget, you’ll see results that you never even imagined.

Of course, creating your monthly budget is just the beginning. Remember to schedule monthly budget reviews and stick to them if you want to see your financial health increase in line with your goals.

The Number Works Can Help Your Business Budget

We’re big fans of creating a personal budget for your everyday finances, but we also understand the importance of budgeting when it comes to your business too! If you’re a small business owner or a creative entrepreneur, we can help you grow your profits and budget all your expenses.

So, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Number Works for services including cloud-based bookkeeping, full cycle accounting, financial statement analysis, and strategic tax planning. Let’s work together to take the pain away from managing your business’ finances.

How to Leverage Technology to Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line

How to Leverage Technology to Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line

Times are changing and fast! If you want your business to succeed, it’s imperative to adapt and keep up with trends in technology. By leveraging technology in your business, you can create a positive, productive, and, most importantly, profitable environment.

Investing in technology for your business can actually make you money, more than covering the cost of upgrades. For instance, are you a sales-based business? Then you’ll want to invest in sales management software. If you’re a manufacturing company, then you’ll want to look for programs that will help you manage your inventory and distribution.

To properly leverage technology in a way that will improve your company’s bottom line, ask yourself (or your team):

  • Will this technology help generate more revenue?
  • Will this technology help my business become more efficient or productive?
  • Will this technology minimize risk?

With that in mind, here are three ways to leverage technology that can benefit any company.

Leverage Cybersecurity Technology

Did you know that 4.5 billion records were stolen worldwide in the first half of 2018 alone? What’s more, Statistics Canada found that approximately 20% of cyberattacks that happened in 2017 were aimed at small businesses with 10 to 49 employees.

A successful cyberattack is not only bad for your business’ reputation, but it can quickly become a major expense. In fact, the Ponemon Institute found that Canadian companies spent $6.1 million on breach-related expenses, and approximately 50% of Canadian businesses felt employee productivity was impacted due to a cyber-security incident, according to Statistics Canada.

The lesson is that you can’t let a cyber attack affect your company’s growth. You need to invest in proper cybersecurity technology. Almost every company can benefit from investing in advanced detection and protection tools. For example, some technologies use defensive deception techniques to identify attacks early on and move critical data before it is accessed or damaged. This is a great way to minimize risk and improve your bottom line. You might also consider investing in the use of decoys, web application firewalls, IPS, and web-based deception solutions.

Leverage Digital Marketing Technology

Every business needs to generate leads and go after potential customers if they want to keep growing and scaling. One of the best ways to do this is by leveraging digital marketing technology.

For example, Facebook isn’t only great for connecting with friends or watching cute cat videos; it’s also one of the best advertising platforms around. By investing in paid Facebook ads, you can reach scores of new leads. And the best part? Facebook makes it easy to target your exact audience, so the money you spend on advertising has a higher chance of reaching the people who are actually interested in buying your product or service.

Another fantastic way to reach potential customers is through email marketing. In fact, email generates $38 for every $1 spent, which is a whopping 3,800% ROI!

Investing in technology such as MailChimp can be a great way to automate your email marketing, allowing you to focus on the strategy behind your email campaigns. MailChimp also features reports that make it easy to see how successful an email campaign is at engaging your target audience. This truly is one area where leveraging technology can make your bottom line soar.

Leverage Cloud-based Accounting Software

Do you find managing your invoices, bills, and receipts a hassle? As an entrepreneur, you probably love what you do, but what you probably don’t love is spending hours and hours managing your books. You can’t let it fall by the wayside though as failure to properly manage your books can result in financial disaster for your business.

Fortunately, there’s an ever-growing suite of organizational tools and technologies that will help you reduce the headaches of managing your books while also giving you more free time to do what you love – grow your business!

Cloud-based accounting software, also known as software as a service (SaaS), provides you with access to technology on a subscription basis. This allows you to access your business data anytime and anywhere with an internet connection (sometimes on almost any device).

You can grant access to your cloud-based accounting software to anyone on your team. That means your staff can quickly and easily do their work regardless of their physical location. For instance, if your sales rep needs to add an expense receipt or your project manager needs to verify an invoice from a supplier, cloud-based accounting software will streamline the process. It also helps keep all your invoices and receipts organized, so tax time is a breeze.

If you’re looking to boost your bottom line, then you’ll definitely want to leverage the power of cloud-based accounting technology.

The Number Works Can Help

We specialize in launching cloud-based accounting systems! We also provide bookkeeping, cash flow strategy, and business plan management because we want to help you turn your passions into profits.

So, if you’re looking to make better informed business decisions and get a stronger understanding of your business’ finances, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today and find out how we can help you tell your financial story and boost your company’s bottom line.

Financial Tips for Freelancers: How to Keep Up with Quarterly Taxes

Financial Tips for Freelancers: How to Keep Up with Quarterly Taxes

Being a freelancer comes with so many benefits. You’re in charge of your own schedule, you can work from home, choose your clients, and you’re even in charge of paying your own taxes!

Ok, so that last one isn’t the most fun. But it’s important!

When you’re a freelancer, taxes are a bit more complicated as most freelancers pay their taxes throughout the year instead of just in April.

So, should you pay your taxes quarterly, or once a year?

The answer is… both!

If you’re a freelancer who owes $3,000 or more to the CRA in the current and previous two tax years, you must pay quarterly-estimated tax payments. In general, payments are due on March 15, June 15, September 15, and December 15. Phew, that’s exhausting!

At The Number Works, we understand how hectic it can be to file your taxes once a year, let alone making payments four times, so here are our best tips for freelancers to help you pay your quarterly taxes without any headaches:

1. Put Money Aside for Taxes

The best way to stay stress-free come tax time is to budget for it.

Unlike salaried employees, income tax and payroll deductions, such as the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance, are not withheld at the source. This means that, as a freelancer, you’re responsible for paying all of your income taxes while simultaneously contributing to the employee portion and the employer portion of CPP and EI.

It’s a lot to keep track of. That’s why it’s essential for you to set aside money each time you get paid to cover your quarterly income taxes. For example, if your marginal tax rate is 30%, you should set aside 30% of your earnings from each invoice.

We recommend taking 30% of each payment you receive and putting it in a separate bank account. This way, you’ll have enough money saved to cover those quarterly instalments every time tax time rolls around.

2. Keep Your Payment Options Simple

Did you know the CRA gives you three options to calculate the amount of your quarterly tax instalment? The first two options base your instalments on your 2018 taxes or an estimate of your 2019 taxes. But, be careful! If you underestimate your 2019 taxes, the CRA will charge you interest based on a higher instalment than was needed.

That’s why the third option is our favourite. With this option, the CRA calculates the amount of your instalment and sends you that calculation as a reminder. The total for the year will equal your previous year’s instalment base. By paying the amounts shown on the CRA notice, you won’t be charged any instalment interest, so long as you pay on time.

The CRA should send you two reminders. One in February for the March and June instalments, and one in August for the September and December instalments. Keep in mind that even if you don’t receive a reminder, you still have to pay. In this case, call the CRA and confirm the amount you owe.

The CRA also has a calculation chart for the current year that will help you determine your taxes, credits, Canada Pension Plan contributions, and Employment Insurance premiums, so you can figure out how much you owe.

3. Opt for Automatic Deductions

Did you know that if you fail to pay your quarterly taxes in full, the CRA charges interest on the deficient amounts as if you owed the money? Yikes! And if this interest charge adds up to more than $1,000, the CRA will add an extra fee on top of that. Bottom line: Always pay your quarterly taxes on time!

And the best way to make sure you don’t forget to pay your quarterly taxes is to set up automatic payments from your bank account directly to the CRA.

If you’ve followed our first tip and put 30% of your earnings into a separate account, you can grant the CRA permission to debit this account automatically. It’s the best way to have a stress-free tax time.

4. Hire a Professional Accountant

Sure, freelancing comes with its fair share of perks, but it also takes a lot of work. You have to find your clients, market your services, and plan everything in between. So, it’s probably safe to say that accounting isn’t at the top of your to-do list.

In fact, 23% of small businesses fail because they don’t have the right team behind their business and 29% fail because they ran out of cash.

It’s clear to see why having a professional accountant on your team is the key to success. Not only can a professional accountant help you by properly managing your cash flow, but they can also stay on top of your quarterly taxes for you.

Plus, investing in a professional accountant can save you money in the long run by maximizing all your tax deductions and avoiding late fees. A professional accountant will ensure that your quarterly payments are noted on your annual tax return so you get credit for them and don’t accidentally pay them twice. It’s well worth the cost.

If you’re looking to hire a professional accountant or need help reviewing your quarterly taxes, contact The Number Works today! We love helping freelancers build a thriving business and giving peace of mind to all our clients. Knowing a professional accountant is in charge of your books is priceless, if not tax deductible!

How to Create an Unstoppable Virtual Support Team for your Business

How to Create an Unstoppable Virtual Support Team for your Business

Are you a budding entrepreneur? If so, chances are you’re a natural-born risk-taker! But trying to do everything yourself as a business owner is a risk you really can’t afford to take.

Every business owner needs an unstoppable support team, and in today’s digital world, there’s no reason your rockin’ team can’t be a virtual one!

Not only can an unstoppable virtual support team make the difference between the success and failure of your fledgling business, but it will also help keep you sane. Seriously! So many small business owners exhaust themselves working countless hours to take care of their business. While I have great respect for all those hard-workers out there, a bit of assistance from a stellar support team can not only help reduce that frenetic pace, but also boost efficiency and allow your business to grow.

Go For the Best

Typically, an unstoppable support team is made up of two kinds of people: mentors and specialists. Some you hire, some you pay for, and some you find by networking and outreach. Of course, you want your team to be as cost-effectively as possible, but don’t be scared to pay for experience and expertise. Having savvy people by your side is an investment that pays off by saving you years of hard work and mistakes.

As soon as you begin to draft your business plan, you should be on the lookout for members to add to your virtual support team. It’s a great idea to make a list of everyone you know who might be able to help you and your business thrive. Think about family members, old friends from college, even friends of friends who might help you gain the perspective your business needs. Remember, if you believe the person is mature, experienced, and has some relevant know-how, then they could be valuable to you.

The best part about working with a virtual team member is that it doesn’t matter if they move away. Using tools like Slack, Trello, Skype, and good old-fashioned email, you can connect with your entire team, no matter where in the world they’re located.

Decide On Your Team Members

So, what’s the relevant know-how and experience you should be looking for in your virtual team members?

The makeup of a virtual support team might differ a bit based on the industry, but almost every company can benefit from these experts: a designer, a copywriter, an ad specialist, a virtual assistant, and, without a doubt, an accountant.

A talented graphic designer will ensure that all of your branding is flawless, giving your business a truly professional look. Don’t underestimate the power of graphics in today’s online world. Graphics are what catches the eye to entice people to buy from your business. Adding a graphic designer to your team will help communicate your message and enhance the overall feel of your brand story.

Eye-catching graphics are essential, but so is the text that goes with them. An excellent copywriter will get people to click that ‘buy now’ button in record time, making them a major asset when it comes to writing sales copy pieces like your marketing emails and sales pages.

Facebook and Instagram are some of the best advertising platforms out there, and their ROI can go through the roof… if you know what you’re doing! An ad specialist is someone who can create marketing materials that position your calls-to-action in a way that gets you what you’re looking for: more clicks, more sign-ups, and more clients.

A virtual assistant is an asset to any great support team. Virtual assistants are there to lighten your load and take care of more mundane, daily tasks, so you’re free to grow and scale your business. Virtual assistants can help you in so many ways, from taking care of your website to keeping your systems up and running. They may even be able to help the rest of your team with light design, copy, and marketing work.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Good Accountant

No matter what size or type of business you run, you’ll need a professional accountant on your team. Why? Because it’s vital that you accurately track and report all the cash flowing in and out of your accounts that have to do with sales, expenses, and salaries.

Properly managing your books is provincial and federal law, but most importantly, it’s the only way to gain an accurate assessment of how your business is operating.

A professional accountant will be able to provide you with the information you need to make informed financial decisions to help your business succeed. In fact, one of the most common reasons companies fail is because they don’t have a professional accountant on their team.

Plus, the expense of hiring an accountant often pays for itself! A professional accountant will know the ins and outs of tax law, ensuring you’re maximizing your deductions, claiming all your credits, and ending the tax year with the biggest return possible.

Leverage Professional Networking

So, now that you know precisely who you should have on your virtual team, don’t limit yourself to local industry meetups or inviting people out to coffee. The whole world is your networking oyster, thanks to the power of the internet.

To attract the right people, make sure you have a stellar LinkedIn profile and active social media accounts, including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Joining Facebook groups is a fantastic way to network and find the perfect virtual team members, while your LinkedIn and other social media profiles are the best way to make a good first impression on your potential hires.

Contact The Number Works

If you’re in the middle of assembling an unstoppable virtual support team and need a professional accountant in your corner, you’ll want to work with The Number Works. We’re a virtual bookkeeping, accounting, and financial coaching firm that helps creative entrepreneurs tell their financial story.

We offer a wide range of services, including cloud-based bookkeeping, full cycle accounting, financial statement analysis, strategic planning, and taxes. In other words, we’re your one-stop shop for all your business’ accounting needs in Hamilton and the surrounding Southern Ontario area.

Don’t hesitate to reach out and discover if we’re the right fit to join forces and help your business succeed.

Is Incorporation a Good Idea for Your Small Business?

Is Incorporation a Good Idea for Your Small Business?

Are you a small business owner wondering if you should incorporate? Are you worried about costs and what will change about your business?

For most businesses, it’s actually not a question of “if,” but “when” to incorporate.

Incorporating a small business offers many potential advantages, as well as a few disadvantages. Whether the pros outweigh the cons depends a lot on your business’ individual situation.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating a small business so you can determine what is right for you.

The Advantages of Incorporation

Limited Liability

Most people decide to incorporate their small business because it offers the advantage of limited liability. If you run a sole proprietorship, then you as the business owner must assume all the liability of the company. This means that as a sole proprietor, your personal assets, like your house and your car, can be seized to pay off any business debts.

However, if you incorporate your business, then you become a shareholder in the corporation. As an individual shareholder, your liability is limited to the amount you have invested in the company.

Furthermore, as a shareholder in a corporation, you can’t be held responsible for the debts of the corporation unless you’ve signed a personal guarantee.

Corporations Have Unlimited Lifespans

Did you know that even if the shareholders die or quit the business, or if the ownership of the business changes, the corporation will continue to exist? This is not the case when it comes to running a sole proprietorship. Thus, many people see this “immortality” as another advantage of incorporating.

It’s also easier to sell a corporation than it is to sell a sole proprietorship.

It Helps with Taxes

Once your small business becomes a corporation, you can figure out when and how you receive income from the company, which is a real perk come tax time.

If you’re incorporated, rather than taking a salary from the business as soon as it begins to generate income, you’re allowed to take your income at a time when you’ll pay less in taxes. You can also earn income from a corporation in the form of dividends rather than a salary, which can also lower your tax bill.

Lastly, if your business is incorporated, it may qualify for the federal small business deduction (SBD). The SBD is calculated at the rate of 10.5% on the first $500,000 of taxable income, which could lower your net corporate business tax to a much lower tax rate than what is applied to your personal income.

It’s Easier to Raise Money

There are more ways for corporations to raise money, which could help your small business grow and scale faster. Like a sole proprietorship, corporations can borrow and incur debt, but they can also raise money through equity financing. This means selling shares in the corporation to angel investors or venture capitalists.

Equity financing is a nice benefit in that equity capital typically doesn’t have to be repaid, and there is no interest on it. (However, you must remember that by issuing shares, you are reducing your percentage of ownership in your business.)

The Disadvantages of Incorporation

Added Paperwork

Once your small business is incorporated, you’ll have to file two tax returns every year, one for your personal income and one for the corporation, which means increased accounting fees.

Plus, corporate losses can’t be deducted from the personal income of the owner, as they can in a sole proprietorship or partnership.

It’s also mandatory for corporations to keep a minute book composed of the corporate bylaws and minutes from corporate meetings, the register of directors, the share register, and the transfer register. These are all corporate documents that must be kept up to date at all times.

It’s Not Always a Tax Advantage

Unfortunately, corporations aren’t eligible for personal tax credits. That means every dollar a corporation earns is taxed, whereas, if you run a sole proprietorship, you may be able to claim tax credits that you can’t claim as a corporation.

Less Flexibility in Handling Business Losses

If your business suffers operating losses as a sole proprietor, you can use the loss to lower your other types of personal income for that year. However, if you run a corporation, these losses can only be carried forward or back to lower the corporation’s income from other years.

Limited Liability Depends on Credit

While the main advantage of incorporating is limited liability, it can be undermined by personal guarantees and/or credit agreements. If a lending institution doesn’t feel that your corporation has sufficient assets to secure debt financing, they usually insist on personal guarantees from the business owner(s).

In this case, even though the corporation technically has limited liability, the owner still winds up being personally liable if the corporation fails to meet their repayment obligations.

It’s Expensive to Register a Corporation

Another disadvantage of incorporating is that it costs more to set up a corporation.

Why?

Because a corporation is a more complicated legal structure than a sole proprietorship or partnership, so it’s more costly to create. This includes the previously stated maintenance and related fees and increased accounting costs.

It’s Harder to Close a Corporation

Closing a corporation in Canada means you need to pass a resolution to dissolve the corporation, settle all payroll accounts, and send a copy of the Certificate of Dissolution to the Canada Revenue Agency. Then you must file your final tax returns for the corporation.

So Should I Incorporate My Small Business?

The answer is, well, maybe!

Now that you’ve read about the advantages and disadvantages of incorporation, it’s time to discuss your personal situation with your accountant and lawyer before making your final decision.

Here at The Number Works, we can help give you a much more exact picture of how incorporation might work to benefit your business and if all the trouble and cost of incorporation is worth it for you.

So don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and let us get behind your success!

How to Start the New Year Off on the Right Foot with Your Accounting

How to Start the New Year Off on the Right Foot with Your Accounting

With the new year is upon us, it’s the perfect time for us to make resolutions to better our health, finances, or social situations.

But did you know that as a business owner, New Year’s resolutions offer you a fantastic opportunity to make some positive changes that will contribute to your future success? Especially when it comes to your finances and accounting!

So, if you’re looking to start the year right, here are some essential accounting tips that will help you tackle the daily accounting challenges of your business and get you on track for success!

Plan Ahead

As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”

As a business owner, planning your fixed expenses for the whole year, rather than a monthly basis, will help you start 2019 off on the right foot. Don’t forget to take seasonality and other potential downturns into account so you can be sure that your minimum expenses are always covered.

During your business’ peak sales months, plan to set more money aside. This will help you cover your expenses if harder times come later in the year. By getting a firm grasp on your company’s fixed expenses, you will have a clear view of your business’s future and how to plan for taxes appropriately.

You should also take this opportunity to plan for emergencies. Determine how much money you can set aside for any significant, unexpected expenses, such as losing a major client, economic downturns, or other crises. The amount of money that needs to be in your emergency fund depends on the minimum expenses necessary for your company’s survival. A good rule of thumb is to set aside at least six months worth of expenses.

But what if you can’t afford to save that extra money right now? In that case, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a line of credit set up with your bank so that if something unexpected takes place, you can use that money (with an affordable interest rate) to keep your business afloat.

Take Time to Review Your Business

Set aside some time to reflect on 2018 and determine how your revenue and profits compared to the previous year. Determine if your sales numbers are trending upwards or downwards. And ask yourself some critical questions such as, how much money did you have to spend in 2018?

Did you make a list of goals for 2018? If so, did you meet those goals? Taking the time to review 2018 should help you figure out how your company has changed over the past year. If your business hasn’t improved, analyze the figures to find out why and what you can do to see more growth in the new year.

Leverage Technology

It’s 2019, which means the days of tracking your expenses manually are over! If your business isn’t using computer software to help keep track of your finances, then it’s time to make the leap!

The good news is multiple technologies allow you to track all your expenses quickly and efficiently, so you can choose the one that will be a perfect fit for you and your company. By leveraging accounting software and cloud-based technology, you’ll be more informed about your business’ finances, saving you both time and money!

Switching to computer software or cloud-based technology will also help provide a near real-time idea of how your money is being spent, as well as the records to prove it.

Get a Head Start on Taxes

Not unlike how you should set aside money for emergencies, you should also set aside money to cover your taxes. I highly recommend meeting with your accountant at least twice a year – once in May and once in October. This way, you can get a sense of what your business’s taxes will look like in the coming year. Plus, understanding how your financial picture is evolving can help you keep up with how your business is growing and how much you’ll need to cover what you’ll owe.

By seeking professional tax planning advice, you’ll not only feel confident that your business is complying with federal and provincial tax regulations, but you’ll also ensure you’re getting all the deductions and credits your company might qualify for.

Hire a Professional Accountant

Every tip and trick I mentioned above will be made that much easier by hiring a professional accountant. Although it may seem like an added expense, hiring a professional accountant will actually save you money in the long run, plus your accounting fees are tax-deductible!

So, if you’re looking to make 2019 your best year yet, outsource your bookkeeping and accounting needs to The Number Works! You’ll receive all of the benefits of competent financial reporting without the headache of needing to onboard, train, and pay a full-time employee.

The Number Works is your one-stop shop for the best accounting in Hamilton and the surrounding Southern Ontario area. In fact, no matter where you are in Ontario, I can help your business seamlessly using virtual technology.

I offer a range of professional services including cloud-based bookkeeping, full cycle accounting, financial statement analysis, strategic planning, and taxes. Combine this with my passion for process, efficiency, simplicity, and helping small businesses succeed, and you’ve got the winning formula to help start the new year off on the right foot with your accounting.

So don’t hesitate to get in touch with The Number Works today and meet all of your business’s New year’s resolutions!

Why Hamilton, Ontario is a Great Place to Start a New Business

Why Hamilton, Ontario is a Great Place to Start a New Business

Did you know that Hamilton is southern Ontario’s most populated and economically active region?

Over 1 million* educated and skilled workers live within a 30-minute drive from the city. Meaning that if you live in the Greater Toronto Area and you’re thinking about starting a new business, you might want to shoot Hamilton to the top of your list!

Here’s why…

You’ll Find the Support You Need

It’s easier to start a small business when you have the necessary support and information nearby. The Hamilton Small Business Enterprise Centre offers every budding entrepreneur the tools and support they need to grow their business. The Centre is a one-stop shop for business information, guidance, and professional advice on how to start and run a thriving business.

The Hamilton Small Business Enterprise Centre offers free consultations on:

  • How to prepare a business plan
  • How to identify the rules and regulations that could affect your business
  • How to determine which government and private sector programs could be useful for your business
  • How to get help during the critical start-up and growth phases of your business

You can also sign up to take part in four different workshops covering the following topics:

  • 10 Steps to Starting a Business
  • Business Planning
  • Marketing Strategies and Social Media
  • Bookkeeping and Taxation Basics

But what if you have more in-depth business questions? Maybe you need to know about zoning, how long it would take, or how much it costs to set up or expand?

The One Stop for Business part of The Centre is available to help answer all these questions, in addition to having all of the applications you need to complete and if you need a licence or not.

What it really comes down to is that Hamilton has a very strong sense of community, a great #shoplocal spirit and pride, and part of that it the support network for startups. With all this support in one easy to access place, it’s really a no-brainer! Hamilton is an ideal place to start a new business.

You’ll Attract Employees

Of course, there’s so much more to Hamilton, Ontario than just the Small Business Enterprise Centre.

For example, Hamilton is home to McMaster University and Mohawk College. These institutions are excellent resources when it comes to research and innovation/apprentice training.

Moreover, the graduates of these fine institutions, along with their relative proximity to other towns and cities in the area, offer a pool of over one million skilled workers available to you. Now that’s a lot of talent to pull from to help your business grow and succeed!

But what about if you were hoping to bring some talent with you when you relocate? Well, the cost of living in Hamilton is far cheaper than in a big city like Toronto. Hamilton also has some of most comprehensive quality medical care in the province, including six hospitals and a cancer care centre.

As a city, Hamilton doesn’t only concern itself with big business and industry; it also has a focus on the neighbourly things that matter, such as parks and playgrounds. This makes it not only the ideal place to start a business, but also a family!

You’ll Find All the Necessary Infrastructure

Did you know Hamilton is a transportation hub of Ontario?

This city boasts the Port of Hamilton, is in close proximity to railway links, and it has the 400-series highways. What’s more, the John C. Munro International Airport acts as a large courier/cargo hub, perfect for any international shipping and receiving your business might need.

Another bonus to starting a new business in Hamilton is that it has a lot of available land for industrial development at a fraction of the prices in and around the GTA.Plus, the Hamilton agricultural sector is exploding, to the tune of $1.26 billion annually. So, if your business is related to this sector, you don’t want to think twice. Hamilton is the perfect spot for your entrepreneurial initiatives!

You’ll Have Access to the Best Accountants

Here’s a professional tip: one of the best ways to grow your Hamilton-based business is to partner with a professional accountant that you can really trust. The Number Works Professional Corporation is located right here in Hamilton. We’re a virtual bookkeeping, accounting, and financial coaching firm that’s here to help any entrepreneurs in Hamilton and the surrounding Southern Ontario area.

We’d love to help you get started with your new Hamilton business, or help get your existing business on the right track. Your business will benefit from many of our financial services, including cloud-based bookkeeping, full-cycle accounting, financial statement analysis, strategic planning, and taxes!

By outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting to us, you get all the benefits of competent financial reporting without any headaches from onboarding, training, or paying a full-time employee. The Number Works is your one-stop shop for all your accounting needs.

So, if you’re looking for an accountant who has a real passion for helping your business succeed, let’s connect! Together we can make sure your new business in Hamilton, Ontario is a wild success!

 

*https://www.hamilton.ca/moving-hamilton/economic-development/doing-business-in-hamilton

How to Get Your Accounting in Order Before the End of the Year

How to Get Your Accounting in Order Before the End of the Year

Time flies when you’re having fun, but it might fly even faster when you’re running your own small business.

The new year is fast approaching, signifying a time to set personal goals, make improvements to your life, and focus on the future. But the new year is also a time when you want to look ahead at where your business will be going and the goals you wish to achieve in the new year.

And what’s the best way to set goals for your business and make improvements with a focus on the future?

By getting your accounting in order, of course!

Proper accounting is the foundation of any successful business, so whether you work with a CPA, a bookkeeper, or DIY, this year-end checklist will help you get your accounting in order so you will be all set for the next twelve months!

1. Review Your Profit & Loss Statements

Number one on your list of things to do before the end of the year is to review your profit and loss statement.

Why? Because it’s a helpful reminder about how your company is spending money. Doing a check now will also ensure that all your expenses are categorized, making it much easier to reference them in the new year.

It’s also a good idea to go back over your Profit and Loss Statement one more time after you reconcile your bank accounts, receipts, and other potential concerns.

Pro Tip: Accounting software such as QuickBooks will sync directly with your bank account or credit card statement to help you categorize your expenses.

2. Balance Your Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

Another critical accounting tip for the year-end is to ensure that your financial statements match up with your bank and credit card accounts, as well as your year-end statements.

If you’re using online accounting software, make sure that your ledger balance matches too.

3. Get Your Shoebox Organized

Are you the type of person who keeps your business receipts in a glove box, shoe box, or drawer? If so, it’s definitely time to upgrade your organizational system!

To keep on top of things in the new year, you should separate all your expense receipts into categories, then tally each category. By organizing your piles of receipts as you go instead of keeping them in a big jumbled mess, both you and your accountant will be much happier around tax time.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Even the best organizational system can break down, every now and then. Whether you use cloud-based accounting software or stubbornly cling to the shoebox system, if you find yourself with unrecorded transactions by the end of the year, then now is the time to get organized.

Bonus Tip: Be sure to copy down your thermal receipts as they tend to fade over time.

4. Get on Top of Your Accounts Receivable

Did you know CB Insights found that up to 29 percent of startups fail due to cash crises? That’s why, before the year is over, you should try to close out all outstanding receivables.

You should aim to collect all unpaid invoices and reissue or void checks as necessary by the end of the year. By cleaning up reconciliation issues and collecting as much as possible, you’ll be able to maintain better control of your company’s cash flow. Expediting payments before taxes are due will also be a big help.

5. Take Physical Inventory

If you’re running a service-based business, you probably don’t need to take physical inventory. But for those who run a product-based business, it’s crucial to get an accurate account of your inventory before the year ends.  

Make sure to match your inventory with your end-of-year balance sheet. Knowing how much you’ve spent on inventory throughout the year and its current value will also greatly help your bookkeeper.

6. Asses Your Accounting Practices

The start of a new year is the perfect time to reconsider whether the accounting system you’ve been using all year has done the job.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have I been able to input all the financial data I need to track?
  • Have I gotten the financial information I need to make informed decisions and fulfill all tax and government requirements?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then it’s time to implement some changes to your accounting system.

You may need to consider hiring more staff to handle data entry, or maybe it’s time to try a different accounting software solution.

No matter what the issue is, if you take the time to resolve it now, you’ll ensure that your business continues to grow and succeed in the year to come.

7. Take Time to Look Back and Plan Forward

The end of November is a great time to review the past year’s performance and stack the results up against your preset goals and milestones.  You can then use this information to help you judge the viability of your upcoming year’s objectives.

Pull out your original business plan, objectives, and/or action plans, then start to revise them by setting new goals and action plans for the future. Making visual and tangible financial goals at year’s end can be a useful guide for where you want your business’ books to go over the next 12 months. If you do this now instead of waiting until December 31st, you’ll have a jumpstart on your new plans as soon as the New Year begins. This will help make your next fiscal year even more profitable.

 

Every emerging company wants to grow, but many don’t establish the procedures that are required to make growth happen. So, take action before the end of the year and tick these procedures off your checklist. Not only will this help your business scale, but you’ll also be better prepared when tax time rolls around.

We Can Help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to get your business ready for the holidays and New Years, don’t worry! An accountant can really help!

If you find that you don’t have the time, need a second pair of eyes, or would like a more detailed review of what all the numbers mean, we’d be more than happy to work with you!

Get in touch with us today! We’ll help review your financial position and make sure your business is prepared for the end of the year.

Is your Business Prepared for the Holiday Season?

Is your Business Prepared for the Holiday Season?

Did your business have a good summer? Hope so, because winter is fast on its way!

As the cold weather starts to set in, we’re reminded that the holidays are just around the corner. And although it’s not quite December yet, as a business owner, the festive season can take up a considerable chunk of your time – and your money! So it’s important to start preparing for the holiday season well in advance.

Maybe you’ve already begun stocking your shelves full of candy canes and tinsel, in preparation for the holiday cheer. Or perhaps you’ve noticed the need for extra inventory to get ready for your sales, discounts, and promotions. Whatever your usual holiday prep, here are five tips to make sure your business is more than prepared for this year’s holiday season!

1. Keep on Top of Your Cash Flow

It’s no surprise that the financial health of a company is one of its most vital aspects for any small business owner or entrepreneur. By understanding your business’ cash-flow, you’ll be able to properly budget for your added holiday inventory, as well as forecast for the new year.

It’s amazing how quickly the last six weeks of the calendar year can slip away from busy business owners. Even if you’re busy preparing for the upcoming festive season, it’s important to take the time now to go through your accounting ledgers and see where your business stands.

This is where an accountant can really help! If you’re too busy, need a second pair of eyes, or would like a more detailed understanding of what the numbers mean, give us a call! We’d be happy to help review your financial position to ensure that your business is adequately prepared for the holidays.

2. Stay Organized

Getting ready for the holiday season means organizing your books! Be sure to have all of your receipts and expenses filed neatly in preparation for the upcoming tax season. You may also wish to do some winter organizing in your filing cabinet or digital filing system.

Trust us. If you take the time to do this now, you’ll be stress-free in a few months when you need to budget and forecast for the new year. It will also free up time to focus on a strategy for your holiday inventory (more on that in tips #3 and #4.)

Most importantly, now is the time to double- and triple-check that all your invoices have been paid and anyone who owes you money is paying up! You’ll want to catch any clients with overdue invoices before they go on their Christmas break.

3. Strategize Your Sales

Now is the perfect time to do some research on your customer’s preferences so that, when the holiday season arrives, you’ll be stocked up on precisely what your target audience wants to buy.

Carve out some time to engage more meaningfully with your customers by asking them what they like—or dislike—about your business’ current products or services.

Collect customer feedback by going through the comments and criticisms left on your website or social media channels, being sure to track and log this feedback in your company’s CRM or customer database. To gain additional data, you could even conduct an online survey with a holiday incentive for completing it!

4. Expand Your Offerings

The holidays are a perfect time to introduce a new product or service! Don’t underestimate the power of innovation. As a small business owner, you know that taking risks by offering new products or services can often be rewarded with increased sales and customer growth. Wouldn’t that a great gift for the holidays?

So, take some time now to strategically think about how you can expand your company’s offerings. Use tip #3 and consult your customers to find out what additional products they would like your business to offer throughout the holiday season and into the new year.

5. Budget for Discounts and Promotions

The holidays aren’t only synonymous with gift-giving; they’re also closely associated with discounts, promotions, and sales! By offering special holiday promotions, you’re sure to increase sales and attract more customers. However, if you don’t start preparing now, putting on these sales could end up putting you in the red. Yikes!

If you followed tip #1 and took the time to meet with an accountant, you should have a good idea of the types of discounts you can afford to offer. Whether it be 40% off the regular price, a “Buy One, Get One Free” special, or merely adding a small bonus like a free sticker with purchase of $20 or more, make sure that your business will be taking advantage of this holiday period to increase sales. Really, just let your customers know that you care by giving them a little extra!

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget about your hardworking staff!

Ask your accountant to review your financials so you can budget for a little holiday bonus or a sweet holiday office party! Remember, your business is only as good as the team who helps run it. So don’t forget to show your team how much you appreciate them during this time of love and sharing.

Now that you’ve begun to prepare your business well in advance of the holiday season, you shouldn’t feel stressed or overwhelmed. But if you still need a little help, that’s more than ok! I’d be happy to be your one-stop-shop for all your accounting needs. Let’s connect and get started making this upcoming holiday season your best one yet!

So You’re Looking for the Best Accountant in Hamilton?

Are you looking to grow your Hamilton-based small business?

Well, here’s a little secret… One of the best ways to build your Hamilton, Ontario business and super-charge its growth is to partner with a professional accountant that you can really count on.

No matter what size your business, it’s imperative that you have the ability to accurately track and report all money flowing in and out of your accounts that concern sales, expenses, and salaries. Properly managing your books is not only Ontario and federal law, but it’s also the only way to fully understand how your business operates. This is the information that you need to make informed financial decisions and help your small business succeed. In fact, a lack of proper accounting is one of the most common reasons why a business fails.

And guess what? It’s completely avoidable!

So, how do you choose the right accountant for your Hamilton-based small business?

What’s the Difference Between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant

First, it’s important to understand the difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper. Simply put, a bookkeeper is responsible for keeping all financial transactions organized and systematic, while the job of an accountant is to analyze this financial data and interpret it so that it can be compiled it into a detailed report.

Generally, a bookkeeper works year-round to ensure that all of your financial data is accurate and organized. Then, once tax time rolls around, an accountant uses the bookkeeping information to prepare and file your business’ taxes.

No matter what the size of your Hamilton-based business, chances are that you could benefit from hiring both a bookkeeper and accountant. But why hire two separate people when you can find everything you’re looking for in one firm? Here at The Number Works, I can help you with both.

Finding the Best Accountant in Hamilton, Ontario

To pick the perfect Hamilton accountant and bookkeeper, you’ll need to ask yourself, “What really makes for a great accountant?” Is it their years of experience that matters most? Or is it more than that?

By knowing how to recognize proper credentials, you’ll be able to make better decisions about the kind of accountant you want to partner with. This will allow you to better set specific expectations for the working relationship.

1. They’re On Top of Current Trends in Technology

Today, the accounting world has primarily moved into the digital realm. Cloud-based accounting software is increasingly becoming more and more important for managing your books. No matter which bookkeeping software your business chooses, it’s vital that your bookkeeper knows how to properly use all software functions including bank reconciliations, accounts receivable, and accounts payable.

Here at The Number Works, I’m tech savvy and I’m even a Quickbooks Gold Proadvisor. I know how to set up a perfect workflow that will make your accounting processes as smooth, painless, and informative as possible.

2. They’re Detail Oriented with an Analytical mind

As someone who works with data all day, it’s vital for your bookkeeper to be thorough and pay attention to detail. For instance, when you make a sale, your accountant should accurately track who the customer is and the exact terms of the sale.

An excellent accountant should also be able to analyze your financial transactions and accurately record them in financial statements and reports using generally accepted accounting principles. They should be able to use these numbers to analyze your business in a way that will help you make important decisions and, ultimately, grow your business.

At The Number Works, I pride myself on my eagle eyes! Where it might just look like a maze of numbers to you, I find it so satisfying to dive into the puzzle of your numbers and to leave no stone unturned to balance your books.

3. They Have a Good Knowledge of Ontario Tax Laws

The great thing about working with an accountant who also takes care of your bookkeeping is that they aren’t just familiar with the daily transactions of your business, they’re also expects in Ontario taxes. They know the importance of keeping your books in order throughout the year because they’ll also be the one to sort out the nitty gritty when it comes to your year-end tax filing.

At The Number Works, not only am I a bookkeeper and accountant, but I’m also a profit advisor, and a CPA, CMA. I know Ontario tax laws inside and out and I’ll ensure that your business never misses a potential tax credit.

4. They’re Client-Focused

Beyond a good head for numbers, a great accountant should care about you as their client. They should also understand the industry, sector, and their clients in detail. Your accountant should have an excellent understanding of your business’ goals and requirements so that they know which accounting rules or economic measures will best meet your business’ needs.

My goal is to put you first, taking care of your business numbers to eliminate the the pain from bookkeeping and provide unlimited support to you so you can focus on your passions. This is so important to me and I promise to treat your business with attention, care, and integrity.

5. They Have Impeccable Communication Skills

It’s important that your accountant knows how to clearly translate complicated accounting concepts into crucial insights. After all, if your Hamilton accountant can’t accurately explain their insights to you, then why would you want to hire them? Always look for an accountant who can communicate their ideas in simple, easy to understand language so you can work together to improve your business.

At The Number Works, I promise to take the jargon out of your accounting! I’ll make your accounting smooth and easy to understand and communicate with you every step of the way so there are no surprises or unknowns.

Why The Number Works is Your Best Choice for Both Bookkeeping and Accounting in Hamilton, Ontario

The Number Works Professional Corporation is a virtual bookkeeping, accounting, and financial coaching firm that helps creative entrepreneurs, like yourself, tell their financial story. Services offered range from cloud-based bookkeeping, full cycle accounting, financial statement analysis, strategic planning, and taxes.

I can be your one-stop shop for the best accounting in Hamilton and the surrounding Southern Ontario area. In fact, I can help you no matter where you are in Ontario, working with your business seamlessly with virtual technology.

By outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting needs to The Number Works, you get all the benefits of competent financial reporting without the hassle of needing to onboard, train, and pay a full-time employee. I have a passion for process, efficiency, simplicity, and helping small businesses succeed.

If you’re looking for an accountant in Hamilton, let’s connect! I’d be happy to have a conversation with you to get to know your business and to see if we’re the right fit to partner with one another to help your business succeed.