Bookkeeping New Year's Resolutions

Bookkeeping New Year’s Resolutions

Do you always keep your New Year’s Resolutions?

Unfortunately, studies have shown that most new year’s resolutions simply don’t work. We enter into the new year with the best of intentions, planning on making significant changes to our lives, but before we know it… it’s February, and we haven’t taken any steps towards our resolutions.

One of the reasons for this is because most resolutions resemble wishes rather than actual goals. They are too general, e.g. “I want to lose weight,” or overly ambitious, e.g. “I want to be able to run a marathon by February.” If you want to make a new year’s resolution that you’ll keep, it needs to be both realistic and actionable.

This year, why not make your new year’s resolution about your small business’ bookkeeping? There are a ton of concrete steps you can take to make your bookkeeping habits and practices even better for the upcoming year. Take on any of the following resolutions, and you’ll not only be able to keep them, but you’ll also see some major positive changes to the way you handle your personal and small business accounting!

Resolve to: Digitize Everything

The days of keeping your receipts and invoices in a series of shoeboxes are long gone. Nowadays, thanks to digital technology, you can make sure that everything is optimally organized so that you can find any document in a matter of minutes (if not seconds).

While you do need to keep paper copies of all your receipts, you should be creating digital copies that are correctly named and organized on your computer. It isn’t as difficult as you might think, as there are dozens of high-quality apps that allow you to simply take a photo of a paper receipt with your phone. These apps will then automatically name and file that record into the proper place in your bookkeeping system.

Creating a system like this can have countless benefits. First, searching for a necessary receipt is going to be easy as pie. Just type the name into the search, and the corresponding document will pop up. If you’re using accounting software, it will help you keep track of all your receipts, organizing them for you by date and type.

It’s also going to be easier to work with a bookkeeper or accountant when your financial documents and records are already “filed” and organized on your network!

Resolve to: Hire a Bookkeeper

One of the biggest time sucks for small business owners is doing their own bookkeeping.

Bookkeeping is something that needs to be constantly updated and maintained. If you’re a super busy small business owner, that can result in updating your financial records being put on the backburner. Over time, this ends up becoming a huge backlog of work that you MUST do to keep your business happily humming along.

When you hire a professional bookkeeper, you’ll have the time to focus on the job of growing your business rather than having to monitor and update the books every day. The cost of hiring a bookkeeper is often more than covered by your increased productivity, and that’s not even mentioning the levels of stress that you’ll be avoiding!

If you don’t currently have a bookkeeper, you’re probably dreading going over all of your year-end financial records. By hiring a bookkeeper, you can instead rest easy and enjoy the start of the new year!

Resolve to: Modernize Your Bookkeeping Software

Do you keep all of your financial records in an Excel spreadsheet? Now, there is nothing wrong with that—Excel is a fantastic program! But wouldn’t it be better if you could use a program designed specifically for bookkeeping and accounting, rather than continually having to customize spreadsheets to your desired specifications?

By using online cloud-based accounting services like Xero or Quickbooks Online, you’ll be streamlining the way you input your financial information and records. You’ll also be ensuring that everything will be safely backed up to the cloud. If the unthinkable were ever to happen, all of your financial information would be secure.

At the start of this blog, we told you that most people don’t keep their new year’s resolutions. Why not be an exception to that rule this upcoming year by making your resolutions into actionable plans and strategies that will simplify your life? At The Number Works, it’s our goal to help you keep all of your finances in order with exceptional bookkeeping services. If you want to get the new year started right, please feel free to contact us today! We can’t wait to make 2020 the year that you get all of your bookkeeping under control!

Year-End Bookkeeping Checklist

Year-End Bookkeeping Checklist

Are you ready for the winter rush?

The temperature is dropping, there’s snow on the ground, and there are countless items on your to-do list. Once again, the most wonderful time of year has arrived and, boy, can it be stressful!

This time of year, you have to deal with everything from shopping to dropping the kids off for their school holiday concert practice. There’s so much on your plate that it can be difficult to know where to get started. This is one of the reasons why we want to make it as easy as possible for you to take care of your year-end bookkeeping with this simple checklist. By getting these things out of the way in the next few weeks, you’ll be ensuring that you’re positioned for a fantastic year ahead!

Update Your Bookkeeping Records

Throughout the course of a year, your bookkeeping can get a bit disorganized. If you aren’t working with a professional bookkeeper who will keep everything tidy and up-to-date, then it’s important for you to check your records at the end of the year to confirm everything is in order.

First, make sure that you’ve reconciled every bank and credit card statement with what is in your bookkeeping records. This will tell you if you’ve missed (or even double charged) a transaction.

Next, review your last few months of financial statements to confirm that the numbers are correct and that transactions weren’t improperly labeled. Make sure that your physical inventory, assets, and supplies match up with the numbers you have on paper.

Finally, don’t forget to double-check your accounts payable and accounts receivable (if you use the cash accounting method, you may want to wait to send invoices until January to keep your taxable income lower)!

We admit, updating your bookkeeping records is not the most enjoyable task, but it’s going to be invaluable when you need to do your taxes next year. If you simply can’t find the time to do it, we’d be happy to get everything ready for you!

Budgeting

We understand why you might dread going through your books at the end of the year. So many numbers, so little time! But one way that you can help keep everything on track for the following year is to set up a detailed budget.

By using the knowledge you gained from updating your bookkeeping records, you can project a reasonably accurate yearly budget for your business. By knowing your likely future income and expenses, goals can then be set that will help you grow your business next year.

Your yearly budget should be broken down into periods, monthly or quarterly (or both). This will also help you focus on goal setting for smaller sections of the year.

It can also be helpful to get some additional eyes on your projected budget to make sure that everything is in line with expectations. This is another area where we can help!

Set Goals for the Year Ahead

To be clear, we aren’t talking about a New Year’s Resolution here.

New Year’s Resolutions rarely work because they aren’t goals; they’re more like wishes. You need SMART goals that you can genuinely achieve in the upcoming year. SMART stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

It can be helpful to break up your desired goals for the year, allowing you to regularly check-in and see how things are developing. We recommend setting up monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals. If you really want to get into the thick of it, you can also set up daily and weekly goals to improve smaller aspects of your business like daily reporting or customer management.

Reflect On Your Last Year

For small business owners, it’s almost always about “what’s next?” You’re focused on growth and on making your company a success. But it can pay to take some time at the end of the year to reflect on everything that happened to you over the last 12 months.

So much can happen that whizzes by in the moment. By taking a close look at your yearly successes, failures, and struggles, you can know where to focus your energy next year. On top of that, remembering successes can give you a feeling of accomplishment to give you a nice boost! And remember all of those headaches and problems you were dealing with earlier in the year? You’re now past them! Rejoice!

Tax Planning

By doing all of this bookkeeping work at the end of the year, you’re going to be setting yourself up for a much easier tax time in a few months.

Effective tax planning is key to a business’ success. If you aren’t sure of where to find relevant tax credits and rebates that will help you keep more of your money in your pocket, The Number Works would be happy to help!

By starting early, we can put together a plan that will you save big money on your taxes. At The Number Works, we’ll position your finances to maximize your year-end expenses and lower your taxable income. We can also assist with setting up a personal budget! If you’d like some help getting your year-end bookkeeping out of the way so that you can enjoy the holidays, please feel free to contact us today!

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.

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