Stacey Leonard No Comments

What is Bitcoin and the Blockchain?

Blockchain is the future of finance, and the future is right around the corner! With technology constantly advancing, it’s critical for your small business to keep up to date. Otherwise, you risk falling behind and getting lost in the past. To stay informed and learn more about Bitcoin and the blockchain, including its benefits, keep on reading!

What is Bitcoin and the Blockchain?

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” – Don & Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution

So what is Bitcoin and the Blockchain that everyone’s talking about? A blockchain is a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions that have ever been carried out. The completed blocks are constantly added to the growing blockchain in a chronological order. More specifically, the blockchain contains the full history of the transactions, where you can think of the blocks as being individual bank statements. Thus, the blockchain creates a permanent and unalterable database of all Bitcoin transactions.  Also, since the blockchain is decentralized, you can carry out Bitcoin transactions directly, without any third-party intermediary. In sum, the blockchain’s mission is to create more a open, fair, and accessible financial future.

Benefits of Using Bitcoin

“As revolutionary as it sounds, Blockchain truly is a mechanism to bring everyone to the highest degree of accountability. No more missed transactions, human or machine errors, or even an exchange that was not done with the consent of the parties involved. Above anything else, the most critical area where Blockchain helps is to guarantee the validity of a transaction by recording it not only on a main register but a connected distributed system of registers, all of which are connected through a secure validation mechanism.” – Ian Khan, TEDx Speaker

No Intermediaries

Wait, so we don’t have to wait for days for a transaction to clear the banks? That’s right! Bitcoin allows two users to make an exchange without the intermediation of a third party. As a result, Bitcoin transactions only take minutes to complete and are processed constantly. Hence, people around the world can now validate and transact immediately using Bitcoin. Moreover, by eliminating third party intermediaries, costly transaction fees will be minimized.

Decentralization

The blockchain consists of decentralized networks that are spread over millions of computers. Therefore, this eliminates the risk of a central point of failure or weakness. In effect, the blockchain is more resistant to malicious attacks since no centralized information exists for a hacker to exploit. The data is accessible to users all around the globe and is secured by encryption technology. Encryption technology is more secure because it uses randomly generated strings of numbers that can only be decrypted using a private key. This is much more effective in comparison to the common “Username” and “Password” security method.

Transparency

Any changes made to public blockchains can be viewed by all parties, which creates transparency. The data is public because it is embedded within the blockchain network as a whole. Furthermore, all Bitcoin transactions are immutable. This means that they cannot be altered or deleted, which minimizes fraudulent activity. Consequently, the transactions are internally audited through blockchain technology. In other words, small business owner’s won’t have to worry about keeping track of these transactions (say goodbye to hording receipts!). On top of that, the stress and pressures of an audit are reduced, since all of the transaction information is permanently stored.

High Quality Data

Lastly, Bitcoin transactions provide high quality data that is complete, accurate, timely, and universally available. Since blockchain technology records every Bitcoin transaction ever executed, it can also provide historical insight. 

Hopefully, after reading this you have gained some insight about Bitcoin and its benefits. In brief, the blockchain and Bitcoin provide endless opportunities to those around the world, such as secure cost- and time-saving benefits. At UpSide Accounting, we are now accepting the digital currency, Bitcoin! If you’re a small business that currently operates using digital currency, phone us today at (226) 214-3233 and we would love to see if UpSide is a good fit for you. 

Stacey Leonard No Comments

Small Business 201: Find Me the Money!

Congratulations, you got your small business off the ground and running! Where are you going? You know the basics now, like strong bookkeeping, the importance of an accountant, and the pros and cons between sole proprietorship and incorporation. As you continue to streamline, your services get a little fancier with your business practices. We’ve got some great tips to help you find the money to do so.

Begin with Budgeting

Balancing your books is only part of the battle to business success. Realistic and emergency budgeting is at least as vital to making it past 5 years. Your budget should include the things you expect like overhead, wages (including yours!), benefits (also including yours!), taxes, and marketing. It should also include things you don’t expect, like downtime and emergencies. Ideally you should reinvest up to 50% of your capital back into the business. After taxes, of course. If your business is growing at the speed of light, it’s not crazy to go ahead and reinvest 100% after taxes.

You might like to set aside a few hundred dollars to support local community events or join the local chamber of commerce. This will help get your name out there and build your professional network. We also advise that you tuck something away to pay for professional development opportunities, either for yourself or employees. And a little something more for awards – if you’re fortunate enough to be nominated for a business award, there’s a very good chance you’ll need to pay for your own dinner at the event ceremony itself.

Then Look at Financing

Those first few years of a new business are astronomically stressful because oftentimes you’re starting from scratch. No office, no equipment, no employees, no street cred, no customers, not even any Facebook followers. Before you bleed your savings dry, look into the many forms of financing available to get you started.

Bank loans are a main staple. Plus you’ve got the Canada Small Business Financing Program, angel investors, and crowdfunding. Both bank loans and the Canada Small Business Financing Program are handled by financial institutions. Angel investors are trickier to attract. However, with some solid online sleuthing, networking, and a solid business model and product, you may find what you’re looking for.

If you’re business is in Waterloo Region, you’re in luck! Check out the Golden Triangle Angel Network. We also recommend watching Dragon’s Den for pointers if you’re brand new to business. Finally, crowdfunding could be exactly what you’re after. Platforms to launch crowdfunding include rewards, donations, equity, and debt-coverage.

Tax Incentives and Grants are Reliable

Although retroactive, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t scope out available tax credits and plan ahead to capitalize on them. In particular, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax credit (a.k.a SR&ED pronounced “shred”) is designed to help businesses recoup a percentage of materials and time lost during product development. It’s open to all kinds of manufacturing, as well as some digital industries. Talk to your accountant for advice on how to track your time and materials in preparation.

Applying for grants requires serious budgeting and forward-thinking but the rewards are worthwhile. Government grants change regularly. Although, they’re generally available for expansion, hiring, professional development, capital investment, and research and development. There are consultants for hire to help you apply for grants. The government agencies themselves also tend to provide excellent support so you can apply on your own. However, beware that grants cannot be retroactively applied and often take upwards of 6 months to win approval.

Upside Accounting supports your business beyond the books. Our consulting services cover a wide range of industries and business needs from budgeting, best practices, and customized growth strategy planning. Contact us to find out how we can help your business by calling (226) 214-3233.

MikeWiddis No Comments

Should I Outѕоurсe My Small Business Aссоunting аnd Tаx Filingѕ?

Tоdау lеt’ѕ tаlk a littlе mоrе аbоut bеѕt business рrасtiсеѕ – specifically, twо thingѕ that саn bе a rеаl сhоrе: small business accounting аnd taxes.  Likе it оr nоt, accounting and tаxеѕ аrе a vitаl part оf your small business. Thus, it’ѕ сritiсаl thаt thеу bе hаndlеd соrrесtlу.  Whеn уоur buѕinеѕѕ rеасhеѕ a сеrtаin ѕizе, you may decide tо hаndlе thеѕе funсtiоnѕ in hоuѕе, but fоr mоѕt ѕtаrtuрѕ, it makes mоrе ѕеnѕе to оutѕоurсе your small business accounting and tаx filingѕ.

Time is Money

Unless you hаvе аn accounting оr tax bасkgrоund, you’ll likеlу ѕреnd far tоо much timе in “do-it-yourself” mоdе.  That’s time уоu could have ѕреnt marketing your buѕinеѕѕ аnd ѕеrving your customers inѕtеаd.  Thus, in most саѕеѕ, it’ѕ probably cheaper for уоu tо hire аn еxреrt thаn it is tо ѕtrugglе thrоugh it уоurѕеlf.

For example, lеt’ѕ ѕау уоu’rе a grарhiс designer who charges $75 реr hour.  Yоu соuld еаѕilу wаѕtе fоur or five hours оf уоur own timе оn ассоunting tasks that wоuld tаkе a рrоfеѕѕiоnаl аn hоur tо dо.  Yоu соuld hаvе earned $300 in thаt time frame.  Inѕtеаd of dоing it уоurѕеlf, уоu соuld hаvе раid a pro half оf that or lеѕѕ to gеt thе ассоunting dоnе fоr you.

In sum, nо one likеѕ to ѕреnd money on whаt seems likе ѕuсh a waste of gооd profits.   Small business accounting аnd tax рrераrаtiоn аrе twо аrеаѕ thаt dоn’t еxасtlу ѕсrеаm “luxury!” However, thе ѕаvvу еntrерrеnеur knоwѕ this iѕ indееd аn аrеа where mоnеу is wеll ѕреnt.

Cоmрlеxitу Invitеѕ Cоѕtlу Miѕtаkеѕ

Tаx lаwѕ аrе complex.  You соuld gеt into trouble if you inсоrrесtlу prepare аnd filе уоur tаxеѕ оn уоur оwn, withоut thе help оf a рrоfеѕѕiоnаl. A tax professional not only knоwѕ the inѕ аnd оutѕ оf fеdеrаl tаx law but hе оr she is аlѕо uр to speed оn the uniԛuе lаwѕ that аррlу to thе province аnd lосаlitу where уоu dо business.

Hiring a рrоfеѕѕiоnаl will give уоu the реасе оf mind that your ассоunting and tаx filingѕ hаvе bееn dоnе соrrесtlу.  In fасt, the confident ассоunting firmѕ will guаrаntее thеir wоrk.  That iѕ, if you’re еvеr аuditеd, they’ll bе there to wаlk with you through еvеrу ѕtер оf thе аuditing рrосеѕѕ.  In most саѕеѕ, уоur ассоunting firms саn еvеn ѕреаk with thе аuditоr оn уоur bеhаlf.

Keep Mоrе Mоnеу In Your Pocket

Hiring a рrоfеѕѕiоnаl for ассоunting аnd tax filing can actually ѕаvе you money.  Whеn уоu hirе an accountant оr bookkeeper, thеу’rе wоrking for уоu.  They’re running a buѕinеѕѕ juѕt likе уоu are, аnd thеу wаnt tо mаkе уоu a happy сuѕtоmеr.  More specifically, some tаx and ассоunting рrоfеѕѕiоnаlѕ even go out of thеir wау to find you every dеduсtiоn possible, аnd offer tiрѕ аnd ѕресiаl wауѕ tо ѕаvе your buѕinеѕѕ money.  If your’s isn’t….get a new one.  Thеу tаkе continuing education сlаѕѕеѕ tо kеер abreast of the lаtеѕt сhаngеѕ in thе tаx соdе. Bе honest – would you tаkе thе timе to dо thiѕ each уеаr? The fees you pay fоr tax preparation саn end uр saving your buѕinеѕѕ thоuѕаndѕ оf dоllаrѕ every year.

Chооѕе With Care

Whеn уоu оutѕоurсе bookkeeping аnd tаxеѕ, уоu’ll be rеvеаling private finаnсiаl infоrmаtiоn аbоut уоur buѕinеѕѕ tо аnоthеr party.  Therefore it wоuld bе wiѕе tо dо some research firѕt.  Gеt rесоmmеndаtiоnѕ, аnd don’t gеt just оnе.  Aѕk аrоund.  Depending оn уоur linе of buѕinеѕѕ, thеrе mау bе a tax professional thаt specializes in уоur аrеа, ѕо don’t be ѕhу about аѕking.

Dо your rеѕеаrсh wеll, аnd mаkе ѕurе thаt уоu’rе wоrking with ѕоmеоnе of good сhаrасtеr. Intеrviеw a few ассоuntаntѕ оr bookkeepers until you find thе best fit for уоu аnd уоur buѕinеѕѕ.  Yоu wаnt someone you саn rеаllу truѕt.  Always аѕk fоr rеfеrеnсеѕ – аnd сhесk thеm.  Yоu want tо сhооѕе a firm (оr an individuаl) with роѕitivе customer satisfaction rаtingѕ.  Furthermore, if уоu gо with a lаrgе ассоunting firm, уоu’ll wаnt tо еnѕurе that уоu wоn’t bе treated аѕ “juѕt a numbеr.”  Actually, ѕit dоwn and mееt with thе реrѕоn whо will bе аѕѕignеd tо уоur buѕinеѕѕ ассоuntѕ.

A final word of саutiоn: ѕоmе CPAѕ and ассоunting firms mау not hаvе еxреrtiѕе in аll thе areas уоu nееd.  Sоmе ѕеrviсеѕ mау come with аn еxtrа сhаrgе.  Hence, be sure to aѕk ahead of time fоr a full, writtеn explanation of еxасtlу what services аrе included and thоѕе thаt аrе nоt inсludеd.  It wоuld bе wiѕе to hаvе еvеrуthing ѕреllеd out in a service contract so that there are no unexpected surprises whеn the bill arrives.

Interested to see if UpSide Accounting is the right fit for your small business accounting? Contact us today at (226) 214-3233 and we will happily see how we can help you!

MikeWiddis No Comments

Being audited? Don’t panic!

If you receive notice of an audit from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the first thing you need to do is stay calm. The reason your account was flagged could be something as simple as you significantly increased your charitable donations last year. It could also be merely the fact that you are a new business owner. Instead of conjuring doom and gloom, consider an audit to be and ordinary part of business. You’ve already got all the documentation readily available – it’s what your accountant used to complete your tax file, to begin with, after all.

Benefits of an Audit

Your audit is a learning experience. The CRA representative will point out what you’ve done wrong before it gets out of hand, potentially saving you from severe fines and future audits. And you may not have done anything wrong! It’s as likely you’re being audited because yours is a new business. Tax files are delivered electronically now, without receipts or supporting documents. As a result, sometimes the CRA just wants to go on more than the honour system. You may even learn about additional benefits you’re eligible for that you aren’t taking advantage of.

What to Expect

Expect to receive the notice in writing, allowing you to mop the sweat from your brow in relative privacy. Once the initial shock wears off, the first thing you should do is call your accountant. Your accountant can join your audit team and may liaise with the CRA on your behalf, as well as be present during the in-person portion of your audit. This may cost an additional fee, but it’s a worthwhile service because not only do they speak the lingo, they’ve done this before. An audit should be taken seriously, but no need to lose sleep over it.

The key to getting your audit off to a good start is to respond to the CRA’s request promptly. This is the kind of unexpected situation that you make time for now. Your notice will outline the reason for your audit, what documents you need to prepare, and who to contact to book your appointment. Your appointment will likely take place in your office. This allows the convenience of easy access to all of your documentation in case you forget something or the auditor requests additional documentation. The length of the appointment is unique to the size of the business and the documents required for review. You may be required to produce documents ahead of time, or the auditor may take some with them for additional review after the appointment. Don’t stress, this is all normal!

Final Outcome

Once your audit is complete you will receive a letter outlining the final outcome, whether you owe additional taxes or are owed a refund, and how to proceed. At this point, you still have the opportunity to appeal the decision or to provide additional documentation. You may also talk to your auditor for more information to be sure your bookkeeping and claims are on point going forward.

Audits are a hassle, but they don’t have to be a nightmare. Do it right the first time! Upside Accounting provides bookkeeping and business consulting in addition to tax preparation and audit assistance. To book an appointment call (226) 214-3233.

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Cloud Accounting While Traveling

Recently, I traveled to Costa Rica for two weeks on vacation. While it was not an opportune time to travel, the time was needed to recharge and experience the sun, nature, and beaches of the Nicoya and Central Valley.  The plan was to do some work to test the cloud accounting experience of working while away in an exotic locale.

However, I mentioned to my business partner, Mike Widdis that I was skeptical on how this would work.

My Doubts Included;

  • How good are the wireless connections?
  • Can I really get motivated at the beach, beside the pool, in the hotel?
  • Will all my programs and connections perform adequately to be productive?
  • Does working abroad, in the cloud, really work?

Did it Work?

After a few days of exploring, parties, and R&R, I found myself in the village of El Castillo, in the shadow of Volcan Arenal. After a few ill-fated attempts at the wireless, I was connected and ….. getting some things done. Before long I was working on a QBO customer, publishing Hubdoc receipts and reconciling bank accounts. My biggest challenge was dodging the direct sunlight so I could see the screen! 🙂 There were moments when I looked over my shoulder and smiled at the accomplishment and benefits of cloud accounting as Arenal loomed not too far in the distance.

I can now profess that working abroad, in the cloud, can produce results. Choose your location carefully, make sure your connection is strong, and hunker down for a day of work. When you are done, take a dip in the ocean/pool, have a cold drink, and enjoy your playground.

Get your head in the cloud, what app are you waiting for!

Pura Vida

Traveling

MikeWiddis No Comments

Debt-Crushing Habits for Small Business

Debt is such a normal state of finances that the idea of it isn’t as scary as it was a generation ago because everyone’s dealing with the same things; lease for office and manufacturing space, vehicle payments, and the business loan that helped get you off the ground.

The truth is that debt is scary, and a serious player in the success or failure of your business. Without a plan to pay your debt not just down but off you can’t get ahead. Work these debt-crushing habits into your business plan now and make a business plan to thrive rather than merely to survive.

Set a budget, stick to it, and practice tidy bookkeeping.

Budgets require so much care they’re practically living beings. You have to make adjustments based on your expenses, your income, rising prices for equipment and wages, and interest on your loans. It’s smart to set up a budget at the start of every fiscal year, and it’s wise to review it at least every quarter. Know where your money goes by tracking every single expense. Look hard at where you’re failing to stick to your budget and find out why. Don’t fix the failure by assigning a higher expenditure to the failing part of the budget unless you can cut back somewhere else or dramatically increase your income.

Pay down debt.

You’ve already got debt, that’s business. Pay it off! Pay it off at a higher rate than the minimum or else you’ll never get anywhere. You have additional bills to pay, you want to grow your business, and you want to earn a living. Hold off on incurring more debt before paying off what you already owe. You’ve got the saying, “You have to spend money to make money,” ringing in your ears, but that’s a general idea, not words to live by. Take calculated risks rather than hoping for the best. Look at your tidy books and forecast your projected income to see whether it’s worthwhile to invest in another machine or hire another employee this year or if next year is the smarter option.

Make more money.

If your income isn’t enough to cover your debt and then some, find ways to increase your business or upscale your services. Create more appealing packages, consider partnerships, find out what the needs of your clients are and fill them. Increase your rates. If you can’t make more money, scale back your expenses. Find smaller office space, use only 1 vehicle, and sell seldom-used equipment that you can rent when needed.

Save Money!

In addition to your accrued debt, you’re going to owe taxes and your accountant. You may want to give your employees a year-end bonus. You should be prepared for an emergency. Save at least 10% of your income to cover expected and unexpected expenses. How do you do that? Pay your savings account first. It’s a popular suggestion of financial consultants everywhere because it works. Make saving money a priority in your bookkeeping rather than an “if” and see if you don’t sleep better at night.

Feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about your debt? Want to know what reasonable debt is and how to tell your accounts are out of control? Book a consultation with Upside Accounting for sound advice from one small business to another. Call (226) 214-3233 from anywhere in Canada to set up an in-person, phone, or virtual appointment.

Debt Free Party!
MikeWiddis No Comments

Bookkeeping, what is it good for?

To those who miss the rich nuances in the art of bookkeeping, this chore is simply keeping track of invoices and bills in order to pay the staff and your taxes. And that’s good enough, which is perplexing to us accounting geeks because in our experience “good enough” isn’t good enough for entrepreneurs. You started your business from an idea and worked hard to build what you have now. Keep that momentum going by harnessing the powers of quality bookkeeping and turn “good enough” into dollars and sense.

Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping entails intimately tracking your income and expenses in a book called a ledger – by now we sincerely hope you’ve discovered the sanity-saving software versions. You bought an online advertising package? That goes in the ledger. You paid your employee? That goes in the ledger. Even unpaid invoices are included.

It’s the details of bookkeeping that trip most people up. The idea of noting your latest gas receipts and weekly mileage regularly sounds easy, but it’s even easier to say, “I’ll do that next week.” Say that a few times, and suddenly your fiscal year end is upon you, and you’ve got mountains of debits and credits to enter. Now your bookkeeping is a nightmare! *cue horror movie soundtrack* It doesn’t have to be like that. Take 5 to 10 minutes and balance your latest bank statement or hire a bookkeeper to come in once a month and do it for you. If it’s not obvious that investing time and maybe a bookkeeper’s wage is going to make you money, look closely at the data.

Up-to-date bookkeeping is a map of your business that provides clear navigation to success. When you can easily review the details of where you’ve been, you can plan where you’re going with accuracy to relieve stress and get excited about the future. Updated bookkeeping allows for:

Tax Planning

Know how much you’ll owe in taxes, and plan for it – we know, that one’s easy. Good bookkeeping also means you can look ahead at current and upcoming tax credits that you or your business qualify for and make plans for eligibility, like hiring and apprenticeship credits. And make sure you’re updated on the current fiscal year’s expense allowances administered by the CRA before you blow the budget wooing a new client.

Forecasting

Forecasting is an incredibly satisfying perk of bookkeeping. Use your historic financial and business information to project your upcoming year. Know when your busy season is and be prepared to hire additional staff. Know when your quiet season is and be prepared to lay staff off. Examine your upcoming projects and find out whether any of them qualify for government funding. Look at your growth to devise an expansion strategy.

Realistic Budgeting

Budgeting and Forecasting are best friends. Use your financial forecast to set a budget – a realistic budget based your own historical data. Know when it’s critical to save extra funds in order to support slow times. Use your budget to measure your real-time financial situation as the year goes on and make adjustments based on what has already happened and what your business’ history suggests will happen so that you aren’t left scrambling to pay bills or fulfill orders.

Upside Accounting can help you develop excellent bookkeeping skills and plan for the future. Never done this before? That’s okay! We’re here to help. Book a consultation today by calling (226) 214-3233.

Bookkeeping

MikeWiddis No Comments

To Buy or Not To Buy?

As your fiscal year-end nears – and for a lot of our clients that momentous date is December 31st – you should be thinking about your bookkeeping and taxes. This can be especially tricky when your fiscal year-end aligns with the calendar year-end. It’s tricky because you also have to balance the holidays, vacation schedules, and your increased orders if your customers rely on you at gift-giving time. Pre-planning for your fiscal year-end could provide you with huge savings immediately at tax time. Thus, persevere to take a look at your books. In particular, consider what depreciable property you could purchase now that will allow you to benefit from capital cost allowance (CCA) ASAP?

Assets, Defined

Allow us to explain. When you hear the word “depreciable property” or “assets” it’s not unusual to immediately think about big machinery. Whereas, us accountants and business counselors want you to think of assets as any kind of machinery, equipment, furniture, fixtures, or other need-or-nice-to-have items that cost upwards of $500 with a life expectancy greater than 1 year. Think machinery, but not just of the assembly line variety; include equipment you use for packaging, mailing and administration. Think about laptops, desktops, tablets, cell phones, scales, mixers, labeling machines, cars, desks, exterior signs, trade show displays, buildings, and commercial property. Your coffee machine might even qualify if you’re fancy like that.  

When to Buy

The burning question that keeps a depreciable asset on your year-end shopping list is whether to buy now or next year. There are pros and cons to both. Although, we tend to advise you towards now because you’ll receive a tax deduction sooner rather than later. While you get to spread the deduction out over multiple years (yay!), that first year is always considered a half-year (rats!). This is because the CRA figures you didn’t benefit from your new toy for that whole year. No matter what part of your fiscal year you purchase an asset in, you only get half of the deductible in Year 1. This is why it’s hugely beneficial to make that purchase at the close of your fiscal year rather than the start.

An Example

Let’s pretend you’re buying a laptop:

Let’s say the laptop is purchased for $749.99 before tax. You receive a 55% deductible for computer hardware.

Year 1 deductible comes to $206.25, which makes the book value of the laptop in Year 2 $543.74.

Year 2 deductible comes to $299.06 which makes the book value of the laptop in Year 3 $244.68.

In the first 2 years, you have that laptop, you’ll get $505.26 back in tax deductions. Every asset is categorized with different rates, but the general deductible range is 4%-55%. Lower percentages are applied to the highest-priced assets, like buildings, so your deductible is still beneficial.

Bonus tip: You don’t have to claim your CCA every year. If you don’t owe taxes this year, you may not want to claim the CCA and carry it forward for next year. It pays to plan ahead!

There are other ways you can use asset purchases to your benefit, and these may influence your decision to buy now or buy later. Contact Upside Accounting at (226)-214-3233 and find out what else you should be thinking of as your fiscal year winds down.

MikeWiddis No Comments

Why Should I Care About Sole Proprietorship vs. Incorporation?

When you start your own business in Canada it’s easy to get overwhelmed with paperwork and protocol, especially when you’re a staff of 2 and you’re mopping your own bathroom floor. One of the decisions you’ll have to make ASAP is whether to strike out as a sole proprietor or incorporation. Unfortunately, you don’t even know what that means. We can help you with that!

The terms Sole Proprietorship and Incorporation refer to ownership. The government gives you 4 options to choose from when declaring to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) who is responsible for your business. However, as a small business owner you really only have to worry about the first two (the others are Partnership and Co-operative).

Sole Proprietorship

If you are the sole proprietor of your business, then you own it all. If this were Middle-earth you’d be wearing that one ring. You file 1 tax return because your business taxes ARE your personal taxes. You don’t have to sign legal documents to declare yourself (aside from your tax file). There are few formalities and all the power.

Entrepreneurs who choose to go the sole proprietorship route experience unique benefits. These include, zero incorporation fees, an instant start date, and total control. The only people you report to are your clients and the CRA (and the law, of course).

The downside of a sole proprietorship links directly with the benefits. You are entirely responsible for the business. That includes incurred debt and lawsuits that may come your way via creditors or clients. You also may end up paying more in taxes if your revenue puts your income into a higher bracket.

Choosing to run as a sole proprietorship depends on what your business is. If yours is a low-risk, not-pouring-all-my-life-savings-into-launching kind of service, then you might feel comfortable operating solo. Artists, designers, writers, and similar freelancers typically begin as sole proprietors and stay that way until they get burned. Or rather, they earn enough revenue to use incorporation as a taxable advantage.

Incorporation

By incorporating your business you are registering as a company with the Canadian government which opens doors for you both financially and legally. As soon as the ink is dry on the paperwork, your life savings are protected from lawsuits and debt incurred by your company (with a few exceptions). You can also apply for corporate loans and grants. Although your taxes become more complicated, your personal taxes won’t be as…well, taxed.

Incorporation costs between $800 and $2800, which includes paying government fees, as well as the optional fees for the accountants and lawyers to help assist with the filing (like Upside Accounting!). It does not include additional fees you may pay to file your taxes every year, the bookkeeper you may want to hire, etc. Incorporating after you’ve run as a sole proprietor will likely cost you a little more, but can be done.

The decision to choose between sole proprietorship and incorporation lies with you. We have now outlined the basic differences between the two. This is information is meant to inform you on the concepts to help you know you have options and what they consist of. On top of that, now if a buddy at the next BBQ you go to starts talking about it you’ve got a clue!

For more detailed information on sole proprietorship and incorporation and how they apply specifically to you, get in touch by calling Upside Accounting at 226-214-3233 or contact us here.