2022 Is the Year to Upgrade to QuickBooks

2022 Is the Year to Upgrade to QuickBooks

Are you ready to make some changes to your business in the New Year?

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, there’s an old joke that no one can remember their resolutions by February. The reason why is because most New Year’s resolutions are more like wishes than they are goals with strategies behind them. If you’re going to make some positive changes in the new year, you need a goal with a plan, not a resolution!

If you’re a small business owner, you might “resolve” to better manage your finances in the new year. But to do it properly, you need the right tools. Some people decide to hire a bookkeeper or accountant to manage their books, but if you want to do it yourself, a tool like QuickBooks Online is invaluable and can help set you up for success in 2022!

Why QuickBooks Online?

Though there are many different kinds of accounting software out there, we at The Number Works prefer QuickBooks Online. Our preference comes from working with many small businesses over the years and helping manage their finances.

Simply put, QBO offers the best mix of financial management tools at an affordable price. It’s not endlessly complicated, so anyone can learn to use it effectively. And most importantly, it offers increased functionality depending on your needs. In other words, QBO’s features can grow with your business.

QuickBooks Online Packages

For a small business just starting out, we would recommend the EasyStart package. It includes everything you need to run the basics of your business’ finances. With EasyStart, you can begin to keep track of everything you need to maintain the health of your books!

If you’re a more established small business, then the Essentials package might be a better fit for you. It includes everything in the EasyStart package but also allows for billing and payment management, multi-currency support, time tracking, and multiple users.

Finally, if your small business is rapidly growing and you need more complex features, the Plus package can help. It includes project profitability—a significant benefit if you’re working on a few new projects—and inventory tracking, which is super helpful if you run any kind of online or brick-and-mortar store.

How to Set Up QBO for Your Business

After a very busy December, the last thing you might want is to spend time getting a brand-new QuickBooks Online account set up. But believe it or not, it’s incredibly straightforward.

All you need to do is import your business’s financial information into QBO. That should include your bank accounts, credit cards, regular customers, etc. Once that information is in there, all of these accounts will automatically update, meaning that you’ll never need to manually input data again. That’s a major timesaver!

But What About Once You’ve Set It Up?

When we speak with our clients about using QBO, it isn’t the setup that worries them, it’s the multitude of features that they might not know how to use. Fortunately, we’re here to help!

Teaching small business owners how to use QBO and customize it for their business is part of what we do here at The Number Works. Of course, as a small business owner, you might only use a few of the many features that QBO offers. But there are big benefits for those who invest time into learning the ins and outs of the program.

With our small business experience, we know exactly where you can get the best bang for your buck out of QuickBooks Online, and can show you where you should put your attention. As accountants, we can’t tell you how much easier our job is when all of the financial information for a company is kept in one place. When stored in QuickBooks Online, it’s in the Cloud. That means there’s never any danger of losing information in the event of a hard drive failure or accident. So long as you have your login information, you can get access to your finances on any device, whether that be a desktop, phone, or tablet!

To learn more about how The Number Works can teach you how to set up QuickBooks Online this year, please feel free to contact us today! Together, we can prepare your business so your 2022 is much more organized than your 2021, setting you up for success in the new year!

Getting Started with Quickbooks Online for Your Small Business

Getting Started with Quickbooks Online for Your Small Business

Does the daily management of your small business’s finances ever give you a stress headache?

The reality of being a small business owner is that everything is on your shoulders. You don’t have a boss; you ARE the boss! While that can be incredibly gratifying, it can also be very stressful. There’s no one else to blame if things go wrong. If there are any mistakes when it comes to managing your finances, it’s entirely on you.

As a small business owner, the smart thing to do is put a comprehensive system into place to monitor and maintain your business’s financial health. For some small business owners, that can involve hiring a bookkeeper or accountant. However, many new small businesses don’t yet have the resources necessary to bring on such professionals. In this case, they need to have an easy way to make sure that their financial data is at their fingertips at all times. Enter QuickBooks Online!

Why Go for QBO?

While there are many online accounting programs out there, QuickBooks Online is our favourite here at The Number Works. Not only does QBO offer an impressive suite of financial management features at an affordable price, but it can also be learned by just about anyone!

As a service, QBO can grow with your business. When your business is just starting out, your financial management needs might be simple, but after a year or two of growth, you’ll need something a little more comprehensive. That’s one of the strengths of QBO—you can delve into its more complex features as needed, while also maintaining the brilliant simplicity of the overall system.

Your First Steps with QBO

The first step to using QBO is determining which package is best for your current business needs.

If you have a small business, you likely won’t need QBO’s most comprehensive services right off the bat. Your options include EasyStart, which provides for all of the basics; Essentials, which allows for multiple users, bill and payment management, multi-currency support, and time tracking; and Plus, which adds project profitability and inventory tracking.

Once you’ve picked your ideal package, you can start setting up QBO for your business. Importing your business’s bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial information into the system should be your next step. Once added, they’ll automatically update, importing up-to-date information regularly. This will save you a ton of time manually inputting financial data.

After this, it’s time to start setting up how you want QBO to organize your information. You can create accounts within the program for different line items in your financial statements. For example, QBO automatically gives you “Expenses” and “Revenue” accounts. That’s fantastic if your expenses and revenue are only coming from single sources, but if you have multiple sources of income, you might want to create some personalized accounts to make it easier to keep track.

Delving Into More Complex Features

QuickBooks Online setup can be a relatively easy, though somewhat time-consuming task. The real trick is learning the more complex parts of the program.

There have been many small business owners who, once they start with QBO, only use a small portion of its features. This is often the case even for business owners who could tremendously benefit from deeper integrations of the software into their business. It’s understandable, but unfortunately, it means that there are many additional benefits of QBO that they’re missing out on!

The best solution to this problem is to hire someone who can teach you all of the details of QuickBooks Online and show you how it can specifically benefit your business. At The Number Works, we can teach you all of the ins and outs of QBO. Our experience with this program and small business owners means that we know exactly the places where you can get the best bang for your buck!

Learning how to use QuickBooks Online is an investment into yourself and your small business. Once you understand how the software works, you can do your own bookkeeping to stay on top of your business’s financial health at all times!

Being a small business owner can be stressful, but the financial management side is always much more manageable when all your financial data and records are in one place that you can readily access. QuickBooks Online will keep things organized and give you an excellent view of how your business is operating. Even better, if you decide to hire a financial professional to take care of your taxes, everything will be ready to send to them, making tax season so much easier!

If you want to learn all about QuickBooks Online, The Number Works is prepared to help! Contact us today, and we can get you and your small business set up for success!

Why We Recommend QuickBooks

What program do you use to manage your small business’ finances?

There are dozens of effective options out there, but at The Number Works, we have a favourite: QuickBooks Online.

You’ve likely heard of QuickBooks, as it’s one of the most popular and well-known pieces of accounting software available today. Since its launch in 1983, QuickBooks has become the default financial tool for many small businesses, and for an excellent reason. They’ve been remarkably proactive at making sure that their app and products not only keep up with developments in the financial reporting sector but actually lead the way with new features too!

Flexible Pricing

Not every small business is the same. If you have different needs than larger organizations do, you shouldn’t be paying the same price for tax software features that you don’t need.

With QuickBooks, you can choose from three online accounting packages and find one that best suits your needs. If you simply need to track your income, expenses, taxes, invoices, and more, then the EasyStart package might be perfect for you. If your business is rapidly growing, you might benefit from some of the more advanced features, like inventory tracking and project profitability, offered in the Plus plan.

If you’re having trouble deciding which plan is right for you, The Number Works would be happy to help you figure it out!

Tax Season Approaches

While Canadians got a reprieve from handing their taxes in at the end of April 2020, there is—thus far—no indication that the same will be true in 2021. That means you should already be starting to pull together your tax information for the previous year.

Mind you, your taxes may be a bit more complicated this year when you consider the existence of CERB for individuals and pandemic-related tax benefits for businesses. In other words, if you found your taxes to be a headache in years past, be ready for a migraine in a few months!

Tax prep is one of the reasons why we highly recommend you use Quickbooks to manage your finances. Quickbooks Online will keep all of your finances in one place, including your income, expenses, receipts, invoices, and more. It also offers features to help you maximize your tax deductions, along with automatically handling HST. In other words, it’s going to be a big timesaver come tax season!

You Can Access QuickBooks Online From the Cloud

Remote work has become the norm over the last year, meaning that almost all work has become decentralized. As such, effective use of the cloud is more critical than ever for sharing documents between employees who could be working remotely.

With this in mind, Quickbooks being entirely online is an invaluable benefit for small businesses. You can access it from anywhere with an internet connection and on just about any device. Even better, QuickBooks Online offers 128-bit SSL encryption, along with multi-factor authentication. These security measures ensure that your financial data will remain in the cloud, where it belongs.

Another benefit is that you can connect your QuickBooks account with other online services, including PayPal, Shopify, and more, to help keep all of your finances tracked and in one place! It will also connect to most banks, automatically downloading your bank and credit card data daily.

Even though QuickBooks is designed to be user-friendly, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Many small business owners lose all hope when they first open it, overwhelmed by the sheer number of options and features offered to them.

At The Number Works, we’re dedicated to helping small business owners learn to manage their finances. As such, we would be delighted to help show you—or an employee—how to use QuickBooks effectively. If you lack a background in finances and feel in over your head, we can give you the foundation you need to take your business’ finances into your own hands!

We’d even be happy to set up your QuickBooks Online account in its entirety!

To learn more about our QuickBooks Online setup, along with our other financial services, please contact The Number Works today. Let’s get your business set up with QuickBooks so the upcoming tax season will be a breeze!

What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Business

Is it safe to say that the last year has been a bit… challenging?

We’re not even referring to the pandemic itself. We mean all of the changes that our society has gone through BECAUSE of the pandemic.

Before the pandemic hit, the stock market was doing fine, employment was up, everything was going great. And then March came, and within just a few weeks, everyone was knocked off their feet, unsure how to move forward. Fortunately, everyone moved quickly to figure out how to adjust. Many businesses rapidly put technological innovations and new remote work procedures into place that allowed them to stay open, even during the lockdown. Remarkably enough, some of these changes were actually very positive steps forward!

While COVID-19 is still a problem, staying in business is now much easier than it was at the beginning of the year. Here are just a few of the things that the pandemic taught us about running a business in 2020.

Be Flexible

While we certainly don’t expect anything of the magnitude of COVID-19 to happen in 2021—at least, we hope not—the disruptions caused by the pandemic taught us a valuable lesson about flexibility.

If you came up with a business plan back in January 2020, chances are that you needed to throw it out the window by the end of April. “Business as usual” just wasn’t possible anymore. Almost instantly, we saw a divide between businesses trying to rigidly stick to their original plans versus those that rapidly adapted to the “new normal”, changing their plans to best position themselves for success.

Those that tried to stick with a brick-and-mortar-only business model suffered, while those that shifted their business almost entirely online thrived. These businesses translated their product offerings to the digital space, allowing them to stay open throughout the lockdown.

Data Access is Essential

Dependency on the Cloud also grew throughout the pandemic. Locally-stored files were no longer an option, as people simply weren’t in the office. Accessing one’s data from anywhere became a necessity, leading many businesses to start exploring Cloud-storage options.

If you haven’t moved to the Cloud yet, it might be time to make the leap! This will give your business an additional level of flexibility to allow your employees to work from home. Speaking of which…

Communication Tools Are Key

Did you even know what Zoom was ten months ago?

Thanks to the pandemic, keeping in contact with your employees and clients became a nightmare of logistics. Sure, regular phone calls helped, but many people depend on non-verbal communication to truly connect. Enter Zoom.

Zoom rapidly took the lead in video conferencing, almost instantly beating out many of its more established competitors like Skype and Facebook. Why? Ease of entry; anyone could get on a Zoom call. They didn’t need to create an account or worry about hosting. Zoom facilitated easy communication between people—though the technology wasn’t always perfect. There were some significant security and privacy concerns, especially early on in 2020. But those problems have since been patched, and now Zoom is back on top.

Our advice for 2021 would be to keep an eye on the video conferencing space to see how companies innovate. Zoom won’t be on top forever, so by staying aware of new developments you’ll be able to keep your business on the cutting edge of communication—because even once we’re back in the office, video conferencing won’t be going anywhere!

Every Dollar Counts

While programs like CERB helped individuals financially survive during the worst of the pandemic, many small businesses were scrambling. Suddenly, their bottom line was flat, and their expenses were ballooning. Something needed to be done.

One strategy was to ask a financial professional to look at their books to find places where they could trim some fat. Businesses needed to become leaner to make sure that every dollar counted. Throughout 2020, we have gone through the books of many of our clients, helping them find a few places they could tighten their belts. Even freeing up a few extra dollars every month can make a huge difference during a time of crisis!

Even though vaccines are on their way, it’s going to be a long time before things can get back to the way they were. It’s not too late for your business to pivot and make some changes that will not only help you thrive during the pandemic, but long after. One of these ways is to shift your finances over to professionals.

At The Number Works, we’ve been working throughout the pandemic to keep small businesses in a strong financial shape. From handling taxes to finding a few extra dollars in your budget, we strive to make a real difference in your bottom line. Contact us today, and we can help your business survive and thrive in 2021 using all of the lessons we learned in 2020!

What Will the 2021 Economy Hold in Store? No Matter What, Prepare Your Small Business!

Are you nervous about 2021?

You’re not alone. The last year has been a rollercoaster ride for small businesses across Canada, and many aren’t sure where to go from here. There could be a vaccine on the way that will help get everything back on track, or we could be facing new lockdowns. Who knows? Your small business needs to be prepared, no matter what 2021 has in store!

Here are some of the areas we’ve been focusing on with our clients to help prepare them for the upcoming year:

Revamp Your At-Home Workspace

Did you start working at home after the pandemic hit? If so, you’ve probably settled into a comfortable groove by now.

Working from home brings entirely new challenges to the fore. Sure, you have all of the technology you need to get your work done, but there are also new distractions. Kids, spouses, housework, and inadequate office space can get in the way of doing your daily tasks. The best way to combat this is to revamp your workspace!

This revamp doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change the physical area of your at-home office, though in some cases that might be required. Instead, you can do a little digital restructuring. For example, create a separate user account on your computer you solely use for work. You can even put some restrictions on this account to prevent easy-access to distractions like YouTube. Simply having a second work-based account can help to get you into the right headspace for productive at-home work.

Use Virtual Employees

The pandemic has rapidly advanced the rise of remote work tools. These tools, such as Zoom, have become mainstream and are poised to continue changing the work landscape over the next year.

To keep current, why not consider hiring some additional virtual help? At a fraction of the cost of in-person employees, virtual workers can complete many of the same tasks from provinces away.

Connecting virtually with our clients is something that we’ve been doing for years at The Number Works. By connecting with our clients remotely, we can do all of their books from our own workspace while still effectively communicating through Zoom and other productivity tools. As a virtual bookkeeping, accounting, and financial coaching firm, we know how important it is for our clients to have instant access to us. If you’ve been working virtually with us for years, why not explore similar relationships with virtual employees?

Keep Customers Front of Mind

Customers are the lifeblood of any small business.

Unfortunately, 2020 has not been kind to customer confidence. Many people are saving every cent, worried about what might come in 2021. The only way small businesses can combat this is by making sure they’re at the front and centre in their customers’ minds.

We highly recommend contacting your current customers or clients to see how the year has been treating them. Be sure to offer your help in any way that you can. If their needs have changed, can you alter your services to meet those needs? It might require you to offer them a temporary deal on your services, but that could be worth it to keep them on as customers!

Try New Methods of Marketing

Even if you’ve held onto your customer base, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on the lookout for brand-new clients. To do this, you might need to stretch your marketing muscles.

Spending your marketing dollars online is a great way to get the best bang for your buck. Facebook ads, Twitter posts, Instagram Stories, and other social media tools are fantastic for connecting you with new customers or clients while also giving you a great return-on-investment. You could also consider creating a blog that will allow you to reach out to new customers with valuable content. There are so many potential customers online nowadays—don’t let your competitors get to them first!

Carefully Monitor Your Cash Flow

Truth be told, monitoring your cash flow is something you should be doing all the time, but it’s going to be especially vital in 2021.

We’ve been working closely with our clients in 2020 to lower their expenses and increase their profits. This can require you to dig deep into your books to find inefficiencies that could result in hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars of savings a year. Alternatively, you could let us do this for you since we know precisely what we’re looking for!

Don’t Forget About Your Taxes!

While tax deadlines were extended in 2020, don’t expect the same thing to happen in 2021.

That means you need your taxes to be finished ASAP. Don’t let the feeling of having just done your taxes a couple of months ago affect you. Instead, either crack open the books yourself or hire us to do it for you. We can help you find the deductions that will keep your business humming along during one of the most challenging times of the last thirty years.

If you’re looking for a professional accountant to help keep you on track in 2020, contact us today. At The Number Works, we’ll do whatever we can to keep your finances healthy and your books balanced going into the new year and beyond!

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!

Economic Slump? Tips to Recession-Proof Your Business

Economic Slump? Tips to Recession-Proof Your Business

Does the recent recession have you worrying about your small business?

COVID-19 has had an unparalleled impact on economies around the world. The damage to the stock market and the shelter-in-place orders that kept small businesses closed for months has resulted in fears that the Canadian economy was slipping into a recession (or even a depression). The Federal government has put programs into place to support both businesses and individuals, but for many, that isn’t enough. A recession can last months to years, so your business needs to be ready for the long haul.

If you’re worried about decreasing sales and consumer confidence, there are some steps you can take to make your business recession-proof. Here are some suggestions!

Watch Your Cash Flow

During a recession, protecting your cash flow becomes the most critical part of keeping in business.

In an ideal situation, you’re bringing in more money than your expenses and turning a profit. If your sales and clients are down because of a recession, making a profit can seem like an almost impossible task. To find some extra money, you’re going to need to hit the books.

Every small business, no matter how well-run, always has some inefficiencies. These can cost your business anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars every year. The trick is to figure out where these inefficiencies are.

A professional bookkeeper can help you sniff out these inefficiencies and suggest some places where you can save money. For example, you could be spending far more than you need to for internet or phone services. Switching to cheaper plans could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Reduce Inventory Costs

During a recession, your sales could be down, which means you might have surplus inventory just sitting in a warehouse, taking up space and costing you money.

Your inventory costs are a place where you can potentially find big savings. For example, you could consider switching from a warehouse to a drop-shipping alternative for your products. You could also shop around, as many businesses have dropped the price of their services due to the impact of COVID-19. You might be able to negotiate a better deal with your current warehouse provider. You never know until you ask!

Support Your Current Customers

A recession goes hand-in-hand with a reduction in customer confidence. Even if their personal cash flow hasn’t taken a hit, people are less likely to spend money during a time when the economy is in trouble. To keep in business, you’re going to need to shore up your relationships with your current customers.

It’s a great time to contact your loyal customers to see how they are doing and if there’s anything you can do to help. Their needs may have changed because of the recession, so you should do your best to meet those needs if you’re able. If this means giving your customers a temporary deal on your services, it could be worth it. After all, keeping loyal customers now will mean that they’ll stay on when times improve.

Win New Customers

Expanding your customer base during the good times is important, but expanding it during the bad times is absolutely vital! It might be time to offer some sales or discounts on your products or services. Do some research on the kinds of marketing your competitors are currently doing to avoid being undercut. And speaking of marketing…

Keep Marketing Yourself

When you look at your current cash flow, you might think an easy place to trim some fat would be in your marketing budget. However, this decision could significantly damage your ability to connect with new customers.

A better plan is to get smarter with your marketing dollars. For example, if you’re running print ads with little return-on-investment, it might be time to switch to digital marketing avenues like social media. This shift in strategy is especially important when more and more people are spending time online.

No business can become entirely recession-proof as there are too many variables at play. But what you can do is put some measures into place to help you survive a recession and come out the other side in much better shape than others in your industry!

To help you monitor and manage your finances, we invite you to contact The Number Works today. With our years of accounting experience, we can help your small business navigate this recession and whatever is yet to come!

COVID-19: Understanding Emergency Options for Small Business & Entrepreneurs

COVID-19: Understanding Emergency Options for Small Business & Entrepreneurs

UPDATED April 8* &  April 15**, 2020

Has COVID-19 impacted your small business? Probably!

If not, you’re in the minority. There are very few industries that haven’t felt the strain caused by the coronavirus. Even “essential” businesses that remain open like grocery stores have needed to make some significant changes, like adjusting for supply chain demands, increasing health and safety precautions, and working long and exhausting hours as people panic shop for food and supplies.

If you own a “non-essential” business, however, you have likely been forced to shut down operations until further notice. The Ontario Government issued a State of Emergency, releasing a list of all non-essential businesses on March 24th. That list is being updated as circumstances change. (To find out if your business is considered non-essential, check this list).

No one knows just how long we’re going to be physically distancing and that’s putting incredible strain on small businesses. Thankfully, the government is offering some ways you can augment your income and help support your small business throughout the crisis.

Federal Support – Canada Emergency Response Benefit

On March 25th, the federal government announced they were streamlining their emergency benefits programs into a single benefit, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB. This $24-billion fund will deliver money straight to Canadians who have either lost employment or had their income significantly curtailed because of COVID-19.

The Benefit is available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,
  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.
  • When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim.

The program will be until October 3rd, 2020.

As of April 6th, you can start to apply for the benefit, but because they’re expecting so much demand, they’ve created a system based on your birth month, so as not to overload their system:

  • People born January, February, March – apply on Mondays starting April 6th
  • People born April, May, June – apply Tuesdays starting April 7th
  • People born July, August, September – apply Wednesdays starting April 8th
  • People born October, November, December – apply Thursdays starting April 9th

On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays anyone can apply.

You can apply for CERB through either Canada Revenue Agency or Service Canada.

Other Support

Unlike EI, which has strict requirements, the criteria for applying for the CERB are much broader. If you applied for EI after March 15th, your application will be automatically transferred to the CERB program.

There are other federal measures currently in the works for businesses, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which would cover 75% of salaries for qualifying businesses (ones that have lost at least 30% 15%* of their revenue compared to last year) for up to three months. There is also another program currently in place, Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers, that covers 10% of remuneration, paid from March 18th to before June 20th.

Another way the federal government is helping businesses manage the tax burden is by allowing businesses to defer the payment of any income tax (until August 31st) owing on or after March 18th and before September 2020. There will be no interest or penalties on those amounts between those periods.

There are many other programs the federal government is putting into place to help businesses, industries, and individuals manage throughout the COVID-19 crisis. You can find more about them here.

Provincial Support

The Ontario government is also helping small businesses during this time. They’ve announced several measures to help mitigate the impact of the crisis, and there are more on the way.

Currently, there’s a provincial tax deferral on the Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax, Fuel Tax, Beer Tax, Mining Tax, and other provincially-administered taxes until August 31st. These deferrals will be without interest or penalty. WSIB premiums will be deferred until August 31st as well. The Employer Health Tax exemption threshold will be increased to $1-million for the next year, and property tax reassessments being conducted for the 2021 tax year have been postponed.

Another support measure that will help individuals, small businesses, and families is a drop in electricity prices, which have been placed at “low peak” for all hours.

Further Measures

An additional COVID-19 measure being planned for the near future is an interest-free loan program offered through Canadian banks for small businesses. Currently, the federal government and banks are still hammering out the details of the program, which will provide small businesses interest-free loans of up to $40,000 until the end of 2022. These loans will be guaranteed and funded by the federal government, up to $25-billion. To be eligible, small businesses must prove they had an annual payroll of $50,000 to $1-million in 2019.

Up to 25% of the loan (up to $10,000) will be forgiven so long as the borrower repays the balance before December 31st, 2022. If a small business is unable to pay back their loan by the end of 2022, the loan will then be converted to a three-year loan at a 5%-interest rate.

Emerging Updates

While these measures are going to be very helpful to individuals and small businesses all over Canada and Ontario, they will not solve the economic crisis. With record levels of unemployment due to COVID-19 layoffs and an unstable stock market, it’s going to be months at best before we get a firm grip on the full financial implications of the pandemic. However, until that point, we do have these measures to help us navigate the situation and keep our businesses afloat.

If you find yourself confused about how these emergency financial measures will impact your personal and small business bottom line, contact The Number Works today. We can help you understand your numbers so you can weather the storm and come out the other side.

Managing a Small Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Managing a Small Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Are you worried about the impact of COVID-19 on your small business?

Probably! This is a tough time for all of us!

In just one week, it seems like everything in the world turned upside down. COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on our society in modern times, with social distancing being practiced on a mass scale to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. This situation has forced small businesses all across the country to either temporarily close or dramatically change their daily operations.

Like all Canadians, we’re watching all of the new developments of COVID-19 with rapt attention—and especially those that impact Canadian businesses. From the stock market crashing to bars and restaurants being closed indefinitely, it’s currently a scary state of affairs.

What’s important to remember, however, is that this *is* temporary. Things will likely swing back to normal (or close to normal) in a few weeks or months. When that happens, you want your small business to be in a position where it can rapidly bounce back from the damage caused throughout the crisis.

Here at The Number Works, we don’t have all of the answers, but we can certainly provide some financial advice that might help you navigate through these challenging times.

You Still Need to Think About Your Taxes

The good news is, we’ve all gained more time this tax season. The CRA has deferred filing due dates as a result of the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals (other than trusts) now have a due date of June 1st, 2020.

If you’re expecting to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC) or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you not to delay filing as those credits will surely come in handy during these times.

Trusts with a taxation year ending on December 31st, 2020 now have a filing due date of May 1st, 2020.

The CRA will allow all taxpayers to defer until after August 31st, 2020 the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

Even if you aren’t expecting tax credits, now while there’s some downtime is a great opportunity to get organized and move on your taxes. Please get in touch with us if you need any help.

Communicate With Your Customers

Whether your business usually operates out of a brick-and-mortar location or not, now is the time to communicate with your customers online. Use social media and, if you have a collection of email addresses, a newsletter system to reach out and keep your clients informed.

If you haven’t already done so, it’s also a good idea to send out an email addressing COVID-19 and any changes that your business is making. That might be to business hours, operations, sanitizing, or any kind of safety adjustments.

If you’re stuck at home, you could spend some additional time every day working your business’ social media accounts. By commenting and interacting with your customers online, you’ll be engaging with them just as much (if not more) than you did in person. This strategy can be essential to keep your customer relationships secure throughout the crisis.

Put Your Focus Online

Shifting your focus online at this time might be the only way to “keep in business.” While we’ve already mentioned email and social media, there are other ways to engage with your customers digitally. For example, your website.

If you haven’t updated your website in months (or even years), this is the perfect opportunity. There are going to be more people online than ever over the next few weeks, so you want to be putting your best foot forward. Polishing up the webcopy on your site, posting updated photography and graphics, updating your news or blog, or giving your website a full facelift can be excellent ways to improve your business while you’re stuck at home.

Even better, these improvements will pay off even after we’re all safely back at work!

Work On Your Future Plans

At times like these, it can be difficult to remember that things will get better. But as a small business owner, you need to keep an eye on your future plans now.

If you haven’t already got one, now is the time to implement an emergency savings system for your business. Think about how you can put away savings for your business so that in case of any future emergency, you have some money put away for a rainy day.

There’s really a lot of planning you can do right now, while things are slow. By taking some steps today to refine your product line, generate new marketing campaigns, and reexamine your finances, you can put yourself in an even better position when everything has reopened for business. And if you need any help with the financial side of that, we’d be happy to help!

Bringing It Home

Just like every small business across Canada, The Number Works is having to adapt quickly to everything that’s happening. We may be working from home, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’re lounging around in our PJs! We’re crunching the numbers and helping out our clients wherever we can to weather this storm.

If you’re looking for some help with your tax returns, or simply want someone to take a look at your finances, The Number Works would be happy to help. Contact us today, and we can get started helping you manage your small business’ finances throughout this pandemic.

First Time Filing Your Taxes as a Small Business Owner? This is What You Need to Know!

First Time Filing Your Taxes as a Small Business Owner? This is What You Need to Know!

Have you already completed your taxes for your small business?

Chances are that you just let out a big sigh, followed by “…no.” Well, don’t worry! You still have some time before you need to get your business and personal tax returns to the CRA. Of course, you might also be incredibly busy between now and then—after all, running a small business is one of the most stressful jobs you can have!

If you’re concerned about filing your small business taxes, here are some of the things you need to know, from the professionals here at The Number Works!

What Actually Is a Small Business?

A small business can be just about anything that brings you income. If you’re self-employed, then you have a small business, even if it isn’t incorporated.

That said, the structure of your small business will play a significant role in how you file your taxes.

If you’re self-employed, then everything can be filled in the T2125, Statement of Business Activities form. This form informs the CRA of your income and deductions.

If, on the other hand, you’ve incorporated your business, you’ll need to file a separate return. This is a Corporate Tax Return, or a T2, for the business. All of your business’ income and deductions end up in this return.

You must know the forms that you need to fill out. The last thing you want is the CRA knocking at your door because you didn’t fill out the right ones. If you’ve filled out your small business’ taxes in the previous few years, you can likely use them as a template. If this is your first time filing your taxes as a small business, then you might need a little bit of help (which we would be thrilled to provide).

The Importance of Keeping Records

The main reason why so many people have a difficult time during tax season (when it comes to both their business and personal returns) is because of poor record-keeping.

When you are running a small business, you can’t just keep shoving all of your receipts and invoices into a shoebox sitting under your desk (you shouldn’t be doing this with your personal taxes either, FYI). Instead, it would be best if you made sure that your books are being kept up-to-date continuously, with detailed financial information.

Maintaining the books is one of the reasons why many small business owners hire a bookkeeper year-round. They can ensure that everything will be exactly where it should be. A professional bookkeeper makes tax time a snap, as you don’t need to dig through dozens (or even hundreds) of documents to find the ones that you need.

The Structure of a Self-Employed Tax Return

There are three parts to a self-employed tax return: Identification, Business Income, and Business Expenses.

Identification is simply the details about your business, including its name, address, industry code, information on partners or co-owners, and the fiscal period you’re covering (usually the fiscal year). You likely have all of this information readily on hand, so this section is typically a piece of cake to fill out.

The business income is precisely that—this section is where you are putting the income you’ve gotten from your small business. It’s important to remember that this is your gross income before you calculate your experiences. You will be putting your expenses in the next section.

The business expenses section is the place you list all of the expenses that you built up while running your business. Here, you can include things like office supplies, marketing, vehicle expenses, and meals (50%). If you have no experience filling out your small business’ taxes, this section can be tricky because you might not know which deductions you qualify for—that’s where we come in.

Common Mistakes or Assumptions

New small business owners often make mistakes or assumptions about their taxes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

First, it doesn’t matter how much money your business makes, you still need to file a tax return. Some people think that if their business doesn’t bring in any income, then they don’t have to do their taxes. This is most definitely not the case! After all, many businesses fail to show a profit for the first few years in operation. If that is your situation, then you can often deduct the loss to your other forms of income. So, don’t make this mistake!

Another belief is that if you make less than $5,000 a year, you don’t have to file your income taxes. Again, this is a misconception. You need to consider Canada Pension Plan contributions and other factors. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, you still need to file.

Finally, it doesn’t matter if you are a student or not—you need to file a tax return if you are self-employed or own a small business. This can be tricky as students are often overworked and have little time. Many rely on their parents to file their returns, but this can be a big mistake. It’s best to get involved with your taxes at a younger age, so you don’t feel overwhelmed when it falls to you to complete them in the future.

The reality is that nobody likes to do their taxes, either small business or personal. It’s stressful, takes up a ton of time, and one mistake can result in months of headaches. At The Number Works, we do whatever we can to help small business owners take care of their taxes so they can instead focus on the job of building their business. Contact us today to get some help doing your taxes. But do it soon, as filing deadlines are coming up fast!