Back to School & Back to Business 2020

Under normal circumstances at this time of year, kids start feeling that “back-to-school” anxiety. This year has a whole different kind of stress attached to it. And even if you’re not a parent, these feelings also apply to your business.

We may be in Stage 3 of reopening, but many small business owners are still unsure how to move forward. We find that the best way to work through anxiety is to assess and plan based on real information. Here are a few ideas on how you can get a handle on things, and prepare for everything Fall of 2020 has in store.

It Starts with Your Books

Facing your books is the beginning of planning and moving forward in this pandemic world. Don’t have a panic attack. The best thing you can do is understand your numbers, assess the health of your business, and make informed decisions.

If your business was closed throughout the first stages of the pandemic, the state of your books will reflect that—it’s not fun, but this is data you need to face.

To figure out how to pull yourself out of the hole that the pandemic has may have put you in, you need to know everything about your current financial situation. We can help you analyze the information. With our experience with small businesses, we can often find places where they can cut costs and correct deficiencies to save you money. And every cent matters in this market.

Oh, and if you’re worried about your personal finances, we can help with that too.

Invest in Online

It’s crazy to think that only six months ago, few people had ever heard of Zoom. Now, it seems to be the video conferencing app of choice for countless businesses around the world.

Even though things like schools and businesses are reopening, there will still be an increased emphasis on the digital side for the foreseeable future—or maybe even forever! With this in mind, it’s important to invest in your digital assets.

For example, if you haven’t updated your website in years, you should get on that immediately. Your website is your digital storefront, and given that many people will still be remaining inside, it’s the only storefront they will see! Also, take a look at reinvigorating your social media accounts to engage directly with your clients and customers. What about sprucing up or starting a new email marketing campaign? Since face-to-face contact is out, finding new ways to keep in touch with your customers can help. And with digital advertising, you can gain visibility with new customers at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.

If you sell products, a great online shop could completely transform your business. These days there are so many options to choose from; Shopify, Woocommerce on WordPress, and Squarespace are just a few options. A great online shop combined with some savvy social media marketing could push your business ahead this fall, just in time for the holiday season.

If you run a restaurant or a service-based business, make sure your menus and offerings are clear and appealing. A good copywriter can help you entice potential customers while also optimizing your keywords for Google. And now might be the right opportunity to consider an app for your business.

Now is also a good time to invest in some upgraded technology for both you and your children. For example, most laptops’ webcams are terrible, resulting in a horrible image for digital conferences and remote learning. Similarly, the built-in microphones usually aren’t great either. By investing in a decent quality webcam and microphone/headset, you can vastly improve your digital networking capabilities. In this environment, it’s an investment worth making.

Create a Revamped Business Plan

If you wrote a business plan before March 2020, you’ve likely thrown it out the window by now!

Even though the world has changed, it’s still essential to have a business and financial plan in place to chart your path for future growth, with your goals, hopes, dreams, challenges, and solutions assessed and prepared. We’ve been helping many small businesses with the financial side of their new business plan, giving them some direction moving forward into the fall.

We Can Help

If you’re experiencing some anxiety about your business right now, that’s entirely natural. After all, things are still changing and we don’t know where this pandemic will end. But by starting to make some plans for your business, you can take back some control and get a better grasp on things. This will certainly help reduce that anxiety!

If you need help understanding your numbers and your business’s financial health, contact The Number Works today. We can help you take control of your finances and create a financial plan for the months to come!

Money Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Money Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Have you been tightening your belt lately at your small business?

It seems like everyone is looking for places to save some money right now. And that makes sense, as most small businesses have been closed for the last few months. Even though we’re well into reopening across the province, it’s still going to take some time for everything to get back to normal. For businesses to rebound quickly, they’re going to need every spare penny they can find!

If you’ve been going through your small business’ budget looking for places to trim some fat, here are some ideas on how you might save some money throughout the rest of the year:

Change Up Your Advertising

When it comes to advertising, new small businesses sometimes think they need to break the bank to get people to notice them. That could be a big mistake, especially if they’re already working from a limited budget.

Rather than spending as much money on marketing as possible, it would be a better strategy to make the biggest impact for as little money as possible. ROI is crucial when it comes to marketing, so don’t splurge for that full-page newspaper ad right off the bat!

Do you have a professional-looking website? You should! If you’re just starting out, avoid going with a custom design and stick with a service like SquareSpace or WordPress. These are “do-it-yourself” website building and hosting companies that can deliver incredible-looking and easy-to-manage sites.

Once you have your website up, start building your social media presence online. It’s free to create profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your business. From there, you can start to create social media ads. They cost a fraction of what traditional advertising methods cost, but can deliver big returns!

Optimize Your Time

Some people think “time is money” is just an old cliche. Small business owners know better.

The more time you spend on small but time-consuming tasks, the less you’re going to have to spend on the big important stuff that actually makes you money. If you have a staff, you want to be paying them for hard work, not busy work and wasted time. To do this, you need to optimize how you’re spending your hours at work.

To do this, we recommend using a project management system such as Asana or Teamwork. Disorganization is usually the reason why time gets wasted, so fix this by using a tool that keeps your projects and tasks in one place! You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you and your staff become when everyone is clear on what they need to do.

Use Alternative or Open-Source Software

One of the biggest drags on the income of small businesses is the computer software they use. For example, if you work on PCs, then you likely have Microsoft Office installed. If you go with the standalone version of the software that you can only install on a single computer, you’re going to be paying $250. If you go with the subscription model, you’re going to be paying $100 a year. Either way, that’s a lot of money!

There are much cheaper alternatives out there for such software that offer almost identical functionality. For example, Google Suite is not only free, but it includes a great word processor, calendar, spreadsheets, and just about everything else you could get from Microsoft Office. Or, if you want a more Office-like experience, why not try LibreOffice? It’s a free, open-source productivity suite that is very similar to Office in terms of functionality and interface.

Another expensive piece of software that almost every small business uses is Adobe. Adobe programs like Acrobat and Photoshop can be essentials for any workplace, but they can also be incredibly expensive. Subscribing to a single app can run you up to $30 a month. If you want to use all of them, that’s going to be closer to $80 a month. But there are alternatives!

If you want to spend less money on editing PDFs, you could try Nitro Pro. It offers similar functionality to Adobe Acrobat, but for a one-time purchase of $160. If you want a free graphics editor, your best bet would be GIMP (short for GNU Image Manipulation Program). Its interface might take a little getting used to, but its feature set is fantastic!

Have an Accountant Take Care of Your Books

Early on in their business, some small business owners think a great way to save money is to do their taxes themselves. Unfortunately, they often learn the hard way that this is not only a bad idea, but it could cost them money in the long run.

First, doing your own business’ taxes is super time-consuming. If you’ve never done them before, you’re likely unaware of credits and deductions that could significantly reduce your tax bill. Add to that the several hours that it takes to complete and send your taxes off to the CRA, and it often becomes a time investment you can’t afford.

When you work with a professional accountant/bookkeeper, all of that is taken care of for you. We have worked with dozens upon dozens of small businesses over the years, helping them reduce their tax burden and saving them money and headaches. Not only that, but we also help them find places in their budgets where they could cut back and save even more. We realize we’re slightly biased, but hiring a great accountant is a terrific investment in your business’ future!

If you want to learn more about how we can help you manage your business’ finances, we invite you to contact The Number Works today. With our years of bookkeeping and accounting experience, we’ll work to save you money and help your business thrive throughout the rest of 2020!

Your Accountant is Here to Help: Just Ask!

Your Accountant is Here to Help: Just Ask!

How often do you speak to your accountant?

For some people, their accountant is this borderline-mysterious figure that appears once a year to help with their taxes. You rarely have face-to-face or even telephone contact with them. You simply send off your financial documents and, poof, taxes are done. They’re like a reclusive math wizard that you met on the internet!

As flattering as it is being considered a “wizard,” at The Number Works, we have a slightly different idea about what an accountant and bookkeeper should be to your business. We are a resource that can do much more for you than just your taxes—

although that’s super important.

With our help, you can launch a new business, reduce costs and expenses, set up your accounting software, and get a ton of busywork off your plate. All you need to do is ask!

Startup a Startup!

If you’re an entrepreneur who is looking to build a brand new business from the ground up, getting your financials in order can be one of the most daunting things on your to-do list.

You need much more than just a good idea to start a business. You need to identify your startup costs, plan your operating costs, figure out your business’ legal structure (sole proprietorship, LLC. etc.), and work out the fine details of your business plan.

One of the best things about bringing your accountant into the earliest stages of your business planning is that they’ll be there from the very beginning. As your business grows, your accountant will already know everything about the company. In times of financial difficulty, they’ll be able to help guide you with expert advice. Plus, in the event of an audit or other financial challenges, you can rest assured that your accountant will already have detailed records on hand from the very start.

Set Up Accounting Software

As accountants, we have a love-hate relationship with spreadsheets. It’s just part of the job! But if you’re keeping all of your finances in Microsoft Excel, then you need to get with the times.

Setting you up with online accounting software is another service that accountants can offer in the earliest days of entrepreneurship. It’s also a valuable service at any stage in the life of a business. With cloud-based accounting software, you and your accountant can access your finances from anywhere at any time. With professional features ranging from customized reporting and analysis to rock-solid security, setting your business up with a cloud-based system like QuickBooks Online, Xero, or Wave can be more than a worthwhile investment.

The trick is finding an accountant who can recommend the best platform for your business or one who is already familiar with the program you want to use. That way, they can rapidly import all of your current financial information into the system. All that work could take days if you’re doing it yourself. But if you hire a professional accountant to do it, everything will be ready in no time at all!

Reduce Costs and Expenses

Running a growing business is complicated. There are so many moving pieces that even the business’ owner might not be fully aware of how everything works.

An accountant can help you get a grip on the financial workings of your business, including your incoming cash flow, expenses, and costs. As a professional accountant, they can also identify places where you aren’t spending money optimally, offering you advice as to where you can trim the fat, so to speak.

Get Stuff Off Your Plate

One of the busiest livelihoods out there is that of a small business owner.

While demands can vary depending on the size and type of the company, a small business owner is typically overwhelmed by the amount of work on their plate. Everything, from marketing decisions to customer service to product development, needs to be run through them. It isn’t unusual to have upwards of two dozen non-negotiable items on your to-do list every single day.

That’s why asking your accountant to help with the daily financial headaches of your business can be a massive relief. Rather than having to pour over the numbers, you can instead focus your energies on the things that only you can do as the owner of the business. By outsourcing your financial planning and management to a professional accountant and bookkeeper (like us here at The Number Works), you can strike off dozens of those to-do list entries in one fell swoop.

Get the Help You Need

Accountants might be “math wizards,” but we aren’t mindreaders! There are so many other ways that we can help your business grow in addition to your yearly taxes. All you need to do is ask! At The Number Works, we want to do whatever we can to help your business grow. If you have any questions about your business’ finances or how an accountant can help, please feel free to contact us today! Sometimes, all it takes is one question to change everything about your business’ future!

Make Better Financial Decisions By Better Understanding Your Income Statement

Make Better Financial Decisions By Better Understanding Your Income Statement

How often do you check your business’ income statement?

When you run a small business, information is your best friend. The more information that you have at your fingertips, the better the decisions you can make for your future. Being able to review your numbers and pull out key data at a moment’s notice is essential when you’re a small business owner.

One of the best ways to measure the health of your company is to check your income statements periodically. This is one of your company’s primary financial reports, sometimes referred to as the Profit & Loss Statement. This document is generated monthly, quarterly, or annually to provide an “in progress” snapshot of the current performance of your business.

What Is Its Main Use?

The primary use of the income statement is right there in the name. It’s a document that you can use to measure whether or not you’re bringing in money. “Bringing in money” doesn’t necessarily mean that you are saving money in the bank, however; to do that, you need to check your Cash Flow Statement.

The information contained in your income statement describes your net profit. In other words, your revenue minus your expenses will equal your net income.

Let’s Look at Revenue

When you generate income through your business operations, that’s your revenue. You might have a number of different revenue sources, depending on your business, which should appear at the end of each section of your income statement. This division can help you analyze which of your departments is performing best and where you might want to put your resources in the future.

This kind of information can be very useful for streamlining operations as it can help you focus in on the most profitable aspects of your business.

Let’s Look at the Cost of Sold Goods

If you’re an inventory-based business (as opposed to service-oriented), then the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is the key to understanding your income statement. Your COGS is the cost of your inventory sold within a given time frame. For example, if you buy approximately $10,000 worth of inventory and only sell 20% of it, then your COGS will be equal to $2,000. The rest ($8,000) can only be expensed once sold. Otherwise, it will be considered an inventory asset of your business.

Before purchasing inventory, it’s important to know what you already have in stock. That’s where your balance sheet can come in handy.

Let’s Look at Gross Profit

Gross profit can be boiled down to a simple equation:

Revenue – COGS = Gross Profit

This is a subtotal within your income statement and represents the revenue that you can disperse on your other expenses after you purchase your inventory. When this is expressed as a percentage, it’s called a gross margin. It can come in handy when you want to make decisions regarding your business taking on more expenses. It’s expressed through this equation:

(Revenue – COGS) / Revenue = Gross Margin

The Gross Margin will, of course, be different for various industries. You should do some research (or ask an accountant) to determine if your Gross Margin is comparable to your competitors’ as a metric of the health of your business. If it’s too low, it means that you are spending too much on inventory, or your sales prices are too low. This could indicate that you should be looking for more competitive prices for inventory or that you should increase your sales price.

Let’s Look at Fixed Costs

Fixed costs are the expenses that are easy to predict. They occur monthly, regardless of your overall sales or other costs. They can include your monthly rent, hydro, water, business and inventory insurance, marketing, and employee salaries.

This is another place where you might want to look at industry benchmarks to determine if you are overspending. For example, if your rent accounts for more than 50% of your fixed costs every month, you are likely paying too much. It could save you money in the long run to start looking for another location for your business and/or try to re-negotiate with your landlord. You could also consider cutting down on the space used for your business and sublease the rest. Always be sure to calculate the percentage of each fixed costs against your overall revenue.

Let’s Look at Variable Costs

These are the costs that vary month to month, depending on your sales and other occasional expenses. For example, if you start to sell more of your products, then the cost of packaging is likely to go up.

Your variable costs will likely fluctuate, depending on whether you are experiencing an increase or decrease in your sales numbers. If you are experiencing a temporary downturn of 20% in sales, but your variable costs remain constant, then you might need to explore some ways to cut down on that overspending.

Variable costs can vary wildly depending on if you are in a slow or rush season. You should constantly be tracking these costs through these seasons to make sure that you are slowing your spending during the slow season to save yourself money.

Basically, your income statement all comes down to this: to figure out your bottom line, you need to subtract your expenses from your gross profit. If you discover that you’re in the black, that’s great news—it means your revenue exceeds your expenses! Yay, profit! If you’re in the red, that unfortunately means you’re going to have to figure out how to shuffle things around financially to get yourself in the black. This can happen periodically, depending on variable costs during slow and rush seasons, so you always need to be on top of your income statement.

If you’re having trouble figuring out the areas where you are overspending and underperforming, we can help. At The Number Works, we can give you a more complete understanding of your income statements and show you places where you might be able to streamline your business. So, feel free to contact us today! We can’t wait to help you better understand all of your financial statements!

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 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.