Tag Archives: accountant

Confidence = “Business is booming!”

Sheralyn

I had a great conversation with someone recently. It was on the topic of “owning it.” We were each reflecting upon the fact that we operate a business that has more to do with creativity than any “perceived” solid, marketable skill. It’s easy for many of us to identify with what an accountant does or with the services a website designer can offer. For many of us, we also “know what we don’t know.” That is to say, I’m no good with numbers so I KNOW that I need an accountant to help me with that part of my business. But for those of us offering more creative type services, a typical response from many customers is; “I can probably take a stab at that myself,” or “I need to cut costs somewhere so I’ll (insert here – “get my friend to help” or “write my own blogs” or “take my own pictures.”) How is the budding entrepreneur in any of these creative type services supposed to market and sell to the “DIY” audience? By OWNING it! Own your skill set and service and most of all stop apologizing. Be loud and proud about the VALUE ADD that you bring to the table.

When you’re a writer for example, it can be hard to provide quantifiable evidence of your ability to add to a client’s bottom line. Is the increase in customer traffic due to great content or whizbang looking graphics or because the product or service is exceptional? If you’re a photographer, who wants to pay for your services when everyone has an iphone and thinks their shaky video is suitable for posting. The conversation with my fellow entrepreneur sparked an investigation into how creative people tend to sell their services and universally (from my admittedly unscientific research) it would appear that when we undergo the transformation from apologizing for our services to owning our strength and proudly speaking about our value to your business bottom line, that’s when people suddenly realize that YES they need you and YES, they should actually be paying you what your worth.

Owning your work is pretty simple. To “OWN it” means to be:

Out loud. To speak loudly and proudly about what you do and whom you do it for and that your fee is your fee. End of story. Project that you’re worth it and people will pay what you’re worth.

Original. Stand out from the crowd. Differentiate yourself from every one else.

Out in front of people. SPEAKING is important. Grab every chance you get to speak publicly about what you do. Seek out professional groups and opportunities to speak in front of others. Speaking lends credibility to what you do.

Own it also means:

Work hard. It’s true what your Momma told you. You get out what you put in and if you work hard and produce results for your clients word will get around.

Winning Attitude. Project confidence. Tell yourself every day “you’ve got this.” Confidence sells.

Write about what you do. Again, it’s about credibility. If people can see what you’ve had to say online you are positioning yourself as the expert and will be viewed as one.

Finally, own it means to:

Never underestimate your services and never undervalue what you do. You pay a contractor to complete a task in your home, why wouldn’t you expect to be paid for what you do? Content is valuable, artwork draws the eye to the page and a picture sometimes really is “worth a thousand words” so demand a fair rate and be open about what goes into the services you offer and why they cost what they do.

Network like your life depends on it. This doesn’t mean “selling” to folks, rather it simply means get out there and meet people, talk about what you do and treat everyone like a mutual referral source.

Without fail, the entrepreneurs I spoke with all said some variation of the same thing. The moment they stopped “justifying” their service and the price they charged and instead began proudly declaring: “Here is who I am, what I can do for you and the price you should expect to pay,” (in other words owning it) that’s when their business shifted. Change your mindset. Speak with confidence about what you do, project in your voice and actions that you are the “go to” expert and take on any opportunity to speak in front of groups.  Then sit back and watch your business grow!

“O.W.N. IT”

  • Out loud and out front
  • Original
  • Work hard
  • Winning Attitude
  • Write what you know
  • Never underestimate
  • Network!

 

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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6 things to consider before hiring an agency

CHuntly

When you are running a small business, it can feel overwhelming to try to “wear all the hats” to get things done. You have to be the new business development and sales manager, the accountant, product development, HR (even if you’re a solopreneur, you still have to take care of yourself!), marketing director, operations director, etc. You get the picture. It can be overwhelming to stay on top of everything while ensuring your business is growing at a rate you are happy with.

Perhaps you have thought about hiring someone, but you can’t necessarily cover a full monthly salary cost. You could consider an intern, but they may not have the experience necessary to get you to where you need to be. One option you may not have considered is hiring an agency to take care of your marketing efforts.

Maybe you aren’t ready to work with an agency to take your marketing off your to do list, but if you are, here are six things to look for in an agency.

  1. Chemistry: Sometimes you will have the option to “date before getting married” if you have a smaller project you want to work on before signing a longer-term commitment. This isn’t always the case, but either way you want to make sure that you have a good fit with the agency. They should uphold the same business values and ethical standards that you do as they are representing your brand.
  2. Budget transparency: It can be easy to take a “budget” at face value, but make sure you clarify all that is included in the budget. One of the biggest issues to cover is whether you are working on an hourly basis or with a set fee. If you are working hourly, you may be surprised when you get your bill at the end of the month as it might be higher than what was quoted. Negotiating a set fee will ensure you don’t pay for any overages in hours worked.
  3. Nothing is guaranteed: Be wary of any agency that will “guarantee” you specific results such as “We’ll get you TV coverage” or “We’ll guarantee you xx number of media hits” or even “We’ll guarantee you 50,000 followers within the first month.” I have worked with many clients who have been attracted by these guarantees only to find that they are empty. The key is finding an agency who is as invested in your success as they are their own. It should be more like a partnership than two separate entities.
  4. Know what success looks like: Work with your agency to determine how you will know when your campaign has been successful. Every industry has certain metrics they track, and they all mean different things for brands.
  5. Check their track record: A great agency will be able to put you in touch with current and former clients who will sing their praises. At the very least, they should be able to provide you with case studies of clients who have similar goals to your own. Just because an agency has a lot of clients listed on their site doesn’t mean they are the best at what they do.
  6. Know your account team: Don’t be afraid to ask who will be working on your account. It is common in a lot of agencies to sign a contract and then have the interns working on the bulk of the work to create higher profit margins for the agency. If you are concerned about this, just ask. Again, this is your brand, and you deserve to know who will be representing you to your audiences.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

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Best Practice record keeping

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  1. What documents and information should a business provide to its accountant in order to file its business taxes, specifically payroll, HST and income tax?

 

  1. If you do your bookkeeping yourself, provide a softcopy of your records (eg., Quickbooks or Simply Accounting file)
  2. A copy of all your Bank statements for the year. Note: if you do your own bookkeeping, then ensure you provide a copy of your year-end bank reconciliation
  3. A copy of all your business credit card statements for the year. Note: if you do your own bookkeeping, then ensure you provide a copy of your year-end credit card statement bank reconciliation
  4. Cancelled cheques, cheque stubs and bank deposit book for the year
  5. Copies of all invoices issued
  6. List of Accounts Receivables
  7. List of Bad debts
  8. List of year-end inventory (including the cost)
  9. Invoices for capital assets purchased during the year (eg computers, furniture etc)
  10. Details of assets disposed of during the year (even if you got no money when the asset was disposed of)
  11. Copies of all expense receipts
  12. List of Accounts Payable
  13. Details of all bank loans
  14. List of all payroll payments during the year showing gross amount, withholdings and net amount paid. You should also indicate how paid (cheque, cash or direct deposit)
  15. Your accountant should have access to your CRA account data , so it will n ot be necessary to provide CRA correspondence, unless it is of a non-routine nature, and one which your accountant would not have access to
  16. Mileage log detailing business kilometers driven
  17. Record of any expenses you paid for the business (out of your personal funds)
  1. Tips on recordkeeping
  • It is very important to have a record keeping system in place from the first day of business operations. It is best practice to consult with your accountant on what records to maintain. The accountant should have readily available, a checklist of record required. This makes the first year of filing much easier, and you are less likely to make mistakes which have to be fixed in later years due to lack of knowledge
  • After your tax filing deadline, consider filing your income and expense receipts in “tax” folders, as opposed to putting them in categories. If you are audited, then all the data used in the tax return is in one place. You simply pick up the folder, and hand it to the auditor. You can use tabs to separate the docs in the categories on the tax return
  • Manual record keeping – this can be as simple as an accordion folder where you drop all invoices, expenses, bank statements and other required documents, in the separate sections. Then give this folder to the accountant to summarise and use to prepare taxes.
  • To reduce accounting bill, you can summarize the receipts for your accountant. This is most applicable to a Sole Proprietor, where the basis of the tax return is your income and expenses, as a full financial statement is not required. However, for a corporation, expense summarization doesn’t help too much, as the basis of your corporate tax return is your Bank statement.
  • Electronic recordkeeping is strongly suggested for a corporation. Simply because of the details required to be reported, as well, CRA requires a full financial statement – Income Statement and Balance Sheet (which is not required for Sole Proprietors)
  • Stay on top of your recordkeeping

Green Meikle & Smith Chartered Professional Accountants

Authorized to practice public accounting by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario

1020 Matheson Blvd. E. Unit 10

Mississauga, ON L4W 4J9

905-919-3543 Ext 101

647-338-5306 (cell)

greenmeiklesmith.com

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Choosing an accountant

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No matter the size of your business, or its cash flow position, a business owner should never be without an accountant.

Accountants ought to provide services beyond the scope of tax preparation. Business owners in our community deserve, and should expect more from their accounting and tax service providers. Your accountant should be

  1. Accessible and open all year round
  2. Someone whom you can trust to offer you sound business advice and guidance (a trusted business advisor)
  3. Someone who can interpret your financial results, and hold a meaningful discussion with you about what the numbers are saying about your business
  4. Someone with whom you have an active relationship with right throughout the year, advising you on how to structure your affairs in a tax efficient way. Not just at tax time, because at that point the relationship is reactive, not pro-active
  5. Someone who can advise you on whether or not the systems and internal controls you have implemented in your business are effective. If not, they should be able to help in the re-design and implementation of suitable controls
  6. Someone who can scrutinize the financial performance of a company that you would like to buy
  7. Able to accurately present your company’s financial performance if you would like to obtain financing or are planning to sell
  8. Able to provide or recommend you to an estate planner (for succession planning)
  9. Transparent in the pricing of their services. That is, you should know exactly (or very close to exactly) what your bill will be for the service being provided. There should be no surprises when you open up the bill from your accountant.
  10. A highly trained professional, preferably one who is licensed to deal with the public. If they are licensed, then they belong to a professional body that regulates them, and ensures that their skills and training are current.
  11. Knowledgeable and up to date on your industry and current accounting/tax issues and trends (up to date on current tax and accounting issues)
  12. Adding value with sound tax planning strategies
  13. Properly represent you with the CRA
  14. Ethical, and a right balance between conservative and aggressive, in respect of tax deductions

Note: When looking for an accountant, you should meet with about 2 or 3 accountants to determine what they have to offer, and if they will be a right fit for your company. While fees are very important, your choice should not be made based on fees, but based on what your accountant will save you I time and money, as well as whether they are a right fit.

If you find the right accountant, he or she should be a priceless resource for your business as it progresses through its various stages (start up to maturity).

Green Meikle & Smith Chartered Professional Accountants

Authorized to practice public accounting by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario

 

1020 Matheson Blvd. E. Unit 10

Mississauga, ON L4W 4J9

905-919-3543 Ext 101

647-338-5306 (cell)

www.greenmeiklesmith.com

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