Monthly Archives: March 2013

New Year, New Goals – Setting Goals for your Business

The beginning of the calendar year or fiscal year is a good time to review your business’s financial performance—past and future. While lessons learned from the past year are still fresh, build them into a game plan for the new year.

Financial planning starts with a good strategy and achievable goals with measurable objectives. These are not New Year’s resolutions that are forgotten within a few weeks; they are instead plans to guide the business toward success throughout the year.

Many managers use the SMART reminder to help set goals. Let’s translate this into guidelines for your business.

Specific financial goals require being aware of your customers, capabilities, market, and competitors. This includes operational and financial targets to guide tactical planning and actions throughout the year.

Measurable goes hand in hand with specific. Goal checks aren’t something you do only at year-end.  At any given time, your activities tracking and financial statements should quantify how well you’re meeting specific targets. If progress differs from your pro forma plan, it’s time to investigate and do what’s necessary to get back on track. Some small businesses benefit from a cost-effective and reliable solution for day-to-day accounting, like Five Star Accounting, to stay on top of these metrics.

Achievable means goals should be challenging, but not so difficult that your team will give up when the going gets too tough. Engage your team members in helping set realistic targets and they will build commitment.

Relevant considers what is important to your business for near-term and longer development needs. This may include investment in human resource management, new technology, expansion, competitive research, and much more.

Time-bound helps to tie your goals to financial commitments and capabilities. Product development funding and cash flow projections must be planned in concert.

These goals become the driving objectives for your business. In preparing to implement them, consider your personal core competencies and skills. Be sure you are developing capabilities in others and delegating appropriately so that you don’t carry the whole burden on your shoulders. And be sure to celebrate as you’re making progress and hitting milestones.

It’s been a month since the Penny transition…

It has now been over a month since the Canadian Penny was phased out.  We are seeing fewer and fewer pennies in circulation. Sometimes, we have to double take on the change that we get back. Did the store just short change me 2 cents? No, it is only because of the rounding.

For cash based operations, this change would have had the largest impact.  Do you program in the rounding into your cash registers? But what would happen to all your electronic and cheque transactions that are not affected by rounding? Should you change the price of your products? What would result in less work?

Here at Five Star Accounting, we work with small business owners in Winnipeg day in and day out. We understand the struggles they have and how a change like the Penny phase out can impact their business. Prior to the transition, we had been preparing our clients for the change for weeks.  If you are a Winnipeg business owner wondering how this Penny transition can affect your bookkeeping and balance sheets, or if you think you can benefit from bookkeeping advice on changes that can impact your business, give us a call. We would love to talk to you.

Tax Deadlines for Individuals & Canadian Businesses

Are you someone who dreads tax season? Not because you begrudge paying your fair share to support Canada, but because it’s more, stressful, complicated, and time-consuming than it should be. That’s why Five Star Accounting files taxes for both personal and business needs—to give you the peace of mind that your taxes will be done on time and correctly.

While many small business owners have experience and capabilities in filing personal taxes, things become much more complicated when they take on business ownership and have to deal with specialized CRA rules for business and business owners. It’s not that business owners can’t learn the rationale and calculations; it’s just that doing taxes is not their core competency and shouldn’t be a primary focus when their talents are needed elsewhere.

Considering the value of a business owner’s time, spending many hours to learn and apply CRA business rules simply isn’t a good investment. Outsourcing taxes to a firm that knows subtleties of business tax accounting and stays on top of changes to tax regulations makes good sense. That leaves the business owner with the important responsibility of planning to work with the advisor in time to meet deadlines. Critical timing is listed here:

February 2013
Printed copies of 2012 General income tax and benefit package and General guide and forms book for your province or territory available. Electronic filing begins February 11.

March 1, 2013
Deadline for contributing to Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for 2012 tax filing year.

April 30, 2013
2013 Deadline for personal income tax filing for 2012 tax year.

April 30, 2013
Payment to CRA of balance owing for 2012 personal income tax for all personal income tax filers including self-employed.

April 30, July 31, and November 30, 2013
Due Date for filing and remitting Goods and Service Tax/Harmonized Services Tax (GST/HST) for prior quarterly reporting periods. (Applicable to businesses, not personal tax.)

June 15, 2013
CRA deadline for self-employed persons to file personal income tax return.

September 30, 2013
Last day for electronic filing of 2012 personal income tax and benefit return using NETFILE.

December 31, 2013
December 31 of the year you turn 71 years of age is the last day you can contribute to your own RRSP.

For more information, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.