Do you work with small businesses?
Yes. Although, ‘small business’ is a loosely used term. Depending on who you talk to, it could mean a business with revenue of $100K, $1M, $10M or more. We have clients with top-line revenue of all sizes. We prefer to outline the types of businesses we work with as start-ups/new businesses and established businesses.
Please note that we only work with businesses generating, or expecting to generate, at least $1M in annual top-line sales as we find these are the sizes of businesses that see the most value in our services and are the ones we can best help.
What types of businesses do your clients own?
There are many types of businesses and we work with a lot. We work closely with clients who are in construction and trades, real estate development and investing, outdoor sporting, medicine (e.g., doctors, dentists, veterinarians), consulting, media, design, restaurants, online and physical retail and entertainment. Although some businesses are similar, no two businesses are identical. We understand that and we work closely with our clients to develop an intimate understanding of their business and situation to provide thoughtful and custom solutions.
Do I need a local bookkeeper or accountant?
No. Business owners definitely no longer need to work with a local bookkeeper or accountant. And actually, having that belief limits your selection of what professionals you can work with to your physical geographical location. The internet and cloud technology makes it easy to securely and remotely work with a bookkeeper or accountant. Not only can the work be easily done remotely, but virtual meetings can also be held remotely. It may not sound like the most personal service if it is new to you, but it is surprisingly well received once tried. The primary reasons it works well is that it eliminates travel time for multiple people and still achieves the personal touch as we share a screen and still get to see each other (albeit on a computer screen). We know that in-person physical meetings can still be needed, so we are always willing, able and glad to visit you at your location or have you visit us at one of ours.
Do I need an accountant if I have a bookkeeper? And vice versa?
Yes. Accountants and bookkeepers are very different. And tax accountants are different than general accountants. Bookkeepers essentially look after the ongoing maintenance of the business books. Whereas an accountant uses the work completed by the bookkeeper to prepare financial statements and taxes. A tax accountant can use that information and more to handle more complex tax situations and perform other services such as tax planning, including succession and estate planning. Our team is proud to be able to provide you with all of these services under one roof.
What is the difference between data-entry versus full-cycle bookkeeping?
Back in the day, bookkeeping was essentially data-entry. A business had bank statement and credit card activity and all of that was transposed into an accounting system that would generate basic internal financial statements and was usually done on a cash-basis.
Basic data-entry bookkeepers understand that and basically only that. They lack in-depth knowledge and experience relating to anything above and beyond basic data-entry. Although they may come with attractive cheap fees, they often also come with poor service that results in costly mistakes.
Data-entry bookkeepers are gradually becoming extinct. Because of software and the level of automation that it has enabled, the need for data-entry is limited. If your current bookkeeper is still completing data-entry tasks manually and that is basically it, you’re missing out on many other value-added services.
Bookkeepers are still needed, but their roles have changed drastically. The tools exist now that enable bookkeepers to be full-cycle bookkeepers rather than just the old traditional data-entry bookkeepers.
It is critical to understand the difference between someone who simply performs data entry for you versus someone who does full-cycle bookkeeping. The benefits to a full-cycle bookkeeper are huge.
Our bookkeepers our full-cycle bookkeepers with accounting and tax expertise. They utilize technology and develop and maintain custom systems specific to each business owner.
Are you licensed bookkeepers?
In Canada, there currently does not exist a statutory governing body for bookkeepers. That means that there is no association that’s primary purpose is to protect the public interest and business owners by ensuring that bookkeepers meet professional standards and comply with a code of conduct.
Other major professions have governing bodies that provide assurance to the public that they’re dealing with a licensed professional. For example, in Ontario, an accountant is really only an accountant if they’re a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPAO), a dentist is really only a dentist if they’re a member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO), a doctor is really only a doctor if they’re a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) and a veterinarian is really only a veterinarian if they’re a member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO).
Because there is no statutory governing body for bookkeepers, business owners who are considering hiring a bookkeeper should be aware of this fact and particularly careful and exercise due-diligence before making a decision in choosing a bookkeeper.
What types of situations are your new business clients in?
We work with both start-ups/new businesses and established businesses.
Our start-up/new business clients do not have a long-standing relationship with an accountant and are looking to establish one. They are focused on growth and often need general accounting and tax planning and ongoing assistance. These newer businesses generally have a high appetite for outsourced bookkeeping services so that they can be freed to focus on their business and its growth.
Our established business clients have usually been in existence for at least five years and have a cash-flow positive business. They have an existing relationship with an accountant but are dissatisfied in some way. They often feel like their accountant has rested on their laurels and they feel neglected and under-serviced. We work with them during the transition process from their previous accountant to us to make it as seamless as possible and give them the high quality and attention they deserve. We often help with transitioning from the old way of doing bookkeeping and accounting to the new way and sometimes act as their outsourced professional.
Should I have my bookkeeping, accounting and taxes all done at the same place?
It depends. Not all bookkeepers can or should do your accounting and taxes and not all accountants and tax preparers should do your bookkeeping. However, we understanding that it can be inconvenient to have to work with multiple service providers for various reasons. That is part of the reason why we have made it our focus to be a one-stop-shop to get all of your bookkeeping, accounting and tax filings taken care of under one roof. We take great pride in making it convenient for you to have all of your accounting and tax needs handled, properly and professionally, by us from start to finish.
How much do you charge?
It depends. That is like asking “how much is a plane ticket?”. We charge a fee that is inline with the quality of service we deliver. We also rarely charge an hourly rate and therefore cannot provide one as our business model is not based on that method of charging for services. Hourly rates are also often meaningless as they do not encourage ongoing correspondence as you do not want to chew up our time and creates an incentive for us to take our time. We do, however, provide fee ranges for an agreed upon scope of work. This allows us to both know scope of work and develop mutual expectations at a known and agreed upon fee range. We are not the cheapest or the most expensive and we do not compete on price. But we do charge a reasonable price for the high quality of service that we provide.
We know that there are a lot of people out there who will say they can be your accountant and do a good job and all for a low fee. Accounting is sometimes perceived as an administrative task, so paying a low fee service provider seems like that is all that is needed.
We cannot emphasize enough that when it comes to bookkeeping, accounting and tax, when you have found someone who can do the work for you at a fee far less than others, that is usually another red-flag.
We admit that we are not the cheapest, and we’re also not the most expensive, but our promise to you is that we will do everything we can to deliver high quality and custom service to your business at a reasonable rate.
Can you provide references?
We believe that the best clients come by way of referral. We also believe that the best accountant you will find will be backed up by references.
Before choosing an accountant, you should consider asking them for a small handful of existing clients to call. Ideally these are business owners who have dealt with the accountant before and can explain to you the benefits and differences they experienced.
If you are considering working with an accountant who is not willing not able to provide you with any references for any reason, then consider that a serious red-flag.
We encourage all of our potential clients to contact a few of our existing clients to have an open and candid conversation.
Who will be doing my bookkeeping?
100% by our in-house team. All of your bookkeeping is done by one of our in-house bookkeepers. We do not outsource your outsourced bookkeeping. All bookkeeping systems are designed and maintained by our in-house experts.
Can you do my year-end corporate financial statements and corporate taxes?
Yes. A company is required to prepare a set of financial statements and file a corporate tax return. We prepare and file corporate financial statements and corporate taxes for clients that have us as their outsourced bookkeeper as well as for clients that have an in-house or other outsourced bookkeeper. We intimately work with you to create a custom set of financial statements that are unique to your situation and needs.
Do I need to cleanup my books before handing them over to you?
No. We welcome catch-up bookkeeping jobs and books that may not be in the best shape. We will work with you to catch-up your books or to clean them up. We encourage you to approach us and we can virtually guarantee you that your situation will not be one that we have not seen before. You do not need to feel embarrassed. Know that we will work with you to help you get things current and straightened out for going forward.
What accounting software do you use?
We work with all major accounting platform software providers, including Quickbooks, Sage and Xero. We also use other software to help us making your process run efficiently and effectively. Depending on your situation and needs, we develop and implement custom systems and processes for your business.
Do you help with invoicing?
Yes. We help setup invoicing systems and processes and even help with actually invoicing your customers. We even take it to the next level by tracking your current accounts receivable and ensure payments from your customers are received in a timely manner.
Do you help with payables?
Yes. We help setup payment systems and processes to ensure you are accurately tracking your expenditures and payables. We even take it to the next level by remitting payment to your suppliers for amounts you owe.
Do you help with payroll?
Yes. We help businesses develop and maintain employee payroll processing systems. Our custom solutions ensure that everything is accounted for properly and the way you want it as well as ensure that all government remitting and reporting requirements are met. We can even help run ongoing payroll for you throughout the year so that all of your employees are conveniently paid by direct deposit.
Do you help with sales tax?
Yes. A business virtually always is required to charge and collect and ends up paying and claiming sales tax. As a part of our outsourced bookkeeping services, we ensure that proper records are maintained and government remittances are made in a timely manner.
Do you do tax planning?
Yes. We do annual tax planning as part of a typical year-end engagement with each client. We also do tax planning as appropriate throughout the year based on client situations. We ensure that all corporate and personal tax planning is looked after and regularly addressed for all of our clients.
Can you do my personal taxes? I am a business owner.
Yes. We understand that personal tax returns are often just another thing that you need to do every year. We prepare and file personal tax returns for virtually all of our business owner clients and their family members. This allows us to get a full family picture and helps us with tax planning. It also makes your life easier having everything done under one roof.
Can you do my personal taxes? I am not a business owner.
It depends. Since we our focus is on working with businesses, we generally only prepare and file personal tax returns for non-business owners where there is complexity involved. We do not prepare and file personal taxes for individuals with straight-forward situations. However, we are glad to speak with you and help you if you are in a peculiar situation and there is something needing expert attention.