Technology – Using Technology for Gain (Continued)

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TECHNOLOGY Using Technology for Gain (Continued) Digital Integration If you are still on a largely paper filing system, consider moving to digital. Hire a records-management consultant to examine your filing needs. Design a digital filing system for the business. Ensure everyone files data the same way so files can be retrieved quickly and never go missing. Go paperless by insisting that paper documents be scanned and stored; shred the original unless needed. Where possible, digital documents should be stored in the same digital format in which they were created. Establish protocols to ensure email is filed correctly for all customers, tax and regulatory authorities and employees. Avoid faxed documents where possible. If fax cannot be avoided, set up a virtual fax-to-email number that will allow those that will accept fax communication and transform it to an email PDF. Streamline Business Transactions If your business does not have sufficient employees to justify the cost of new software, develop standardized spreadsheets that staff complete for time and expense reports and create an online process for employees to submit data in a timely fashion to the bookkeeping department. All businesses need an accounting system that incorporates sales, purchases, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable […]

Technology – Using Technology for Gain

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TECHNOLOGY Using Technology for Gain   Abandoning paper-based processes can improve productivity and profits. The more a task can be automated, the greater the increase in productivity and the greater the reduction in employee overtime and management frustration. Even though technology can speed up operations and reduces costs, far too often owner-managers continue to embrace legacy behaviours that keep their businesses from being as productive and profitable as they could be. Implementing some or all of the following suggestions could be the first step to increasing productivity and making the workplace more efficient and more enjoyable. Track Your Behaviour Before you adopt a new technology, make sure you understand how the job to be automated is currently being done and how technology could make it cheaper and/or more productive. Analyze and review existing work patterns. Determine how the available technology will improve the process. Use time-tracking software to understand what you do, where you do it, and the time spent on task. Keep track of your activities and the activities of employees through a typical accounting cycle (i.e., invoicing, purchasing, payroll, government remittances, payment and receipts, reconciliations, business reports, job-site reviews and quotes) to determine where and how much time […]

Taxation – Small Business and the CRA (Continued)

TAXATION Small Business and the CRA (Continued) Failure to file is a big mistake. Failing to File When cash resources are not available, whether to remit payroll deductions, income tax or HST, owner-managers may decide not to file the required return. BIG MISTAKE.  Better to file on time, even if the business does not have the cash flow to make the required payment. Late filing incurs penalties and interest. Filing on time without payment will probably not incur penalties but will incur interest. Additionally, the CRA is open to establishing a payment schedule as long as you contact them with a proposal before the payment deadline. Understand Payroll Payroll is a business’s biggest expense and involves more than just writing a cheque or depositing money in the employee’s bank account. Payroll requires calculation of source deductions, the employer’s share, vacation pay, WSIB calculations, a monthly remittance for withholding taxes for each employee, data for year-end T4s as well as records of employment in the event of layoffs or dismissals. Understanding payroll will assist in determining cash flow needs as well as job costing and ultimately the bottom line. Failure to remit payroll withholding taxes will definitely invite an audit along […]

Taxation – Small Business and the CRA

TAXATION Small Business and the CRA Ensure your books are always in order for the CRA. Owner-managers work hard in their businesses but are often overwhelmed by the reporting requirements for the Canada Revenue Agency. Few owner-managers enjoy the time spent and cost required to meet the CRA requirements, let alone the actual taxes that have to be paid; nevertheless, owner-managers must establish good business habits to ensure they stay on the right side of the tax authorities. Establish the Correct Legal Structure First of all, it is important to understand the tax and legal consequences of your form of business: sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. Each category brings with it different legal, tax and reporting issues. Ensure Proper Bookkeeping Recording transactions on a regular basis not only keeps your records up to date so you know where you stand at all times with respect to your receivables, payables and bank balances as well as any profit or loss, it also has your books in constant readiness for the tax authorities. Failure to routinely record all business transactions may mean missing out on taxable deductions or payment requirements.  Maintaining up-to-date records also ensures that all documents required for the CRA […]

Investment – Investing for Retirement (continued)

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Investment Investing for Retirement (continued) It is very hard to make money consistently through speculation. Speculative Investors Speculative investors buy securities which, in the investor’s judgment, have the potential of doubling or tripling or more in a very short time. These investors think the risk of huge gain outweighs the risk of substantial loss. The difference between investment and speculation is that in speculation the risk of quick gain or loss is much greater than in an investment. Speculators often use leverage (i.e., investing borrowed money) in the hope that a short-term gain in the value of the investment will enable them to repay the debt after making a quick and substantial capital gain. Companies whose stocks are considered speculative often have no earnings or dividend history and depend for their financing on the company issuing new shares since there are no earnings to reinvest. This is common with junior companies in the natural resources and technology industries. Raising capital with new share issues before the company strikes it rich, however, constantly dilutes the speculator’s original holding and makes hoped-for capital gains dependent on a spectacular discovery. This way of investing is highly risky and not particularly useful for the accumulation […]

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays From the entire Huron Partners team we are wishing you and your family, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and an abundance of great health, happiness, and prosperity in 2018. We look forward on assisting you in your business and accounting needs in 2018. NEED HELP? CALL HURON PARTNERS AT 905-848-8830 OR EMAIL AT INFO@HURONPARTNERSLLP.COM

Investment – Investing for Retirement

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Investment Investing for Retirement Saving for retirement can be approached in several ways. Media ads constantly bombard us with images of happy, attractive couples enjoying their retirement years on a sunny beach in Jamaica or on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean. But to reach that dream, it is necessary to invest today’s earnings so that they will grow into tomorrow’s retirement fund. Certainly, the earlier one starts a systematic investment program, the greater the probability that today’s fantasy will become tomorrow’s reality. Investing is more than just putting money in Guaranteed Investment Certificates or the stock market. From the start until you actually retire, you must keep reassessing your financial and other life circumstances to determine whether the strategy chosen yesterday is still valid today. Several approaches to investing are available but each is dependent upon your personality, your age and your life situation. Traders Financial institutions have made self-directed investment websites user friendly for easy buying and selling online. This type of investing requires substantial knowledge of the listed companies, their values and constantly changing prices. This is the approach favoured by traders whose thinking is geared to making short-term profits. However, most people are too busy with […]

Technology – The Heat Is On (continued)

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TECHNOLOGY The Heat Is On (continued) Upgrade to multi-glazed windows with low-emissivity coatings. Windows Workplace windows should have at least two layers of glass with an inert gas (e.g., argon) sandwiched between the layers. Normal double-glazed windows have an R-value (i.e., the ability of material to resist the transfer of heat) of 2.0; triple-glazed windows provide an R-value of 6.0. These windows should have insulated edge spacers to reduce condensation, insulated frames, and low emissivity coatings that reduce heat loss from within and allow solar energy to enter. Multi-glazed windows not only prevent heat from escaping, they also prevent the entry of unwanted heat from the summer sun. Because of their thickness, multi-glazed windows reduce the effect of road noise and are harder to break than single-pane windows. Maximize the return on your window investment by understanding the benchmark ratings established by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). For instance, air tightness is measured from A1 to A3, water tightness rated from B1-B7, and wind load resistance from C1 to C5. The higher the number within each measurement category, the better the window. Light-Blocking Curtains To supplement new high-R and CSA-rated windows, you may be well advised to invest in curtains […]

Technology – The Heat Is On

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TECHNOLOGY The Heat Is On   A review of your HVAC system may show you how to improve your bottom line by saving on the cost of energy. Because lighting, heating and cooling represent 19%-25% of the cost of operating a commercial business, control of energy costs is essential to improving profit margins. A reduction of even 10% in these costs can produce a significant improvement. But, because Canada is located in a part of the world where temperatures can range from 40C below zero to 35C above, it is inevitably expensive to keep internal temperatures at levels needed to maintain comfortable working conditions through the changing seasons. Heating and Air Conditioning The best means of controlling the temperature in the working environment is to install commercial programmable thermostats set to the workplace schedule. Thermostats can maintain comfortable temperatures during working hours, then be turned down or even off during nights, weekends, or holidays, when the workplace is not being used. Managing temperatures in this way can contribute significantly to the bottom line. Smart thermostats have auto sensors that recognize when people enter or leave the work area. Once everyone has left for the day, the system automatically reverts to […]

Management – Pricing Your Product or Service (continued)

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MANAGEMENT Pricing Your Product or Service (continued) Price Changes Changing prices should be handled with care. Regular customers are familiar with your prices and if costs suddenly surge there may be a reduction in sales. If you have to change prices, remove the old price tags and relabel. Customers look at price but see value. Provide Comparison Shoppers may be looking at prices, but they are seeing value. Offer products/services across a spectrum of values (i.e., extras cost more). The automotive industry provides a classic model of this merchandising approach: a base model with the price rising as features are added. This approach connects the purchaser to your value proposition. Power windows, heated seats and a high-end sound system are available on some models but does the consumer perceive them as having value for them? Boutique Niche Once in a while, you may have a unique or trendy product/service or perhaps you supply products/services associated with special holidays such as Christmas, Chanukah, Valentine’s Day, special events such as weddings, etc. These times may allow you to price on a value-added basis rather than cost-plus-markup because the clientele’s perception of what is needed gives them permission to spend more than they would […]

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