An Exciting Year Ahead

Vicki was asked to sit down with the product development team and discuss the challenges that she foresees in this area and what we would all need in order for this to be a success.

It has been a week since 5 of our team members attended QB Connect at the Metro Convention Centre. The conference is held by Intuit each year in 3 locations throughout the world. The conference brings in representatives of many of third-party apps, such as Receipt Bank, and also has many breakout sessions to discuss the future of business and with that how the accounting industry will be impacted.

Intuit also highlights its road map for the next year and beyond. Two of the items on this year’s road map are the fetching of the bank statements with the last transaction of the statement period and the ability to file GST/HST right out of your QBO file.

Bank fetching is fairly straight-forward and many of you are currently using Hubdoc as a way to automatically do this for you. This is also a feature that will be released any day now in Receipt Bank. For those not using a document management program for storing receipts and expenses, this will be a great feature to have right in your QBO file.

In terms of the ability to file sales tax right out of the QBO file, this is one that will require additional changes to what we are currently seeing in QBO today. Vicki was asked to sit down with the product development team and discuss the challenges that she foresees in this area and what we would all need in order for this to be a success. This will be an area that we are keeping an eye on and are anticipating on seeing the first version sometime this spring.

Other items that we can expect to see coming in 2019 are: progress invoicing (currently in beta), advanced payroll on-boarding, and enhancements to QB assistant.

A couple of you have had a sneak peak at progress invoicing.For the advanced payroll something that is currently lacking and will be coming out is the ability to breakout payroll to projects… think true job costing. For the construction and trade industries this is huge. This has been a limiting factor for those of you who were interested in moving out of desktop to the cloud, but it is coming!

If you have not yet tried QB assistant, it is a neat little feature that is available in QB labs. What it allows you to do is ask QBO questions (through text or voice recognition) about your company data. Instead of needing to know how to manipulate your reports, you can talk in real language. 

Listen to the following video as Jeff Cates (President of Intuit Canada) asks QB Assistant “Who owes me money”

After another great conference experience, we are looking forward to what 2019 has in store of all of you!

Six Ways Cloud Software Benefits Your Business

What is cloud accounting? How does it any different from traditional accounting software?

These are questions we answer quite often with clients. There is a lot of confusion over what exactly the benefits of moving to a cloud-based accounting system and how it can assist in growing your business.

Cloud accounting is an accounting system that is available over the internet and allows you to access your data from anywhere. With an increase to the number of individuals working remote and travelling for work, cloud accounting systems allow you to have access to your information regardless of your location.

1. Security

Security is a popular concern of users of cloud accounting, as it should be. Your accounting records are a crucial piece to your business decisions. It needs to be secure from unauthorized transactions. Cloud accounting software uses the same security as the banks.

Your data is backed up automatically. Canadian cloud-based accounting solutions store the backup data on Canadian soil. There is end-to-end encryption. Online accounting includes additional security features, such as two-factor authentication, firewalls, and redundant backup for your security.

2. Access to Information from Anywhere

An advantage of cloud accounting is that your data is available to you wherever you have internet access. You can access your financial information by way of a desktop computer, notebook, tablet or phone. Software updates are installed automatically, without interrupting your access.

3. Hardware and Space Requirement

With a cloud accounting system, your accounting data and applications are hosted on virtual servers. This results in not incurring expenses for installation and maintenance of physical equipment that would be required for a traditional accounting system. In addition, the costs of maintaining the accounting software and equipment in removed.

4. Multi-User Access

A unique feature of cloud accounting systems as opposed to traditional accounting systems, is that multiple users such as employees, management, your bookkeeper and your accountant can access and work on the same data file at the same time, from anywhere they have internet access. Collaboration can occur in real-time, providing the ability for your accounting system and related business functions to run simultaneously.

5.Automatic Backups

Backups through a cloud based system are taken automatically. Backups are in real-time, eliminating issues with corrupt files and lost data. In the event of a computer failure or other disaster your data is safe and you can continue on from where you left off

6. Audit Proofed

The last benefit we will touch on here is our clients favourite. For many of them, this is a source of anxiety relief. With cloud accounting systems you can audit proof your records. The systems we recommend for our clients allow for the ability to attach the receipts, invoices and contracts associated with expenses right to the journal entry. Instead of having to search, or worse request duplicate invoices from third parties for CRA audits, the source document is in your records.

These are just some of the highlights of having a cloud-based accounting system. Contact us for further information on how we can help you with your transition to the cloud.

Where Do I Start?

You woke up today ready to jump to the cloud with your accounting and bookkeeping…now what?

You woke up today ready to jump to the cloud with your accounting and bookkeeping…now what? What does that look like for you? How do you go about actually moving your bookkeeping to a cloud system? Which system do you use? Which version? How much does it cost?

The first decision is which accounting software to use. We support both QuickBooks Online and Xero, however since QuickBooks Online is the current market leader in Canada today we will focus specifically on its online offerings.

Before selecting a version it is important to note that you cannot currently downgrade your QuickBooks Online plan. While this is something that has been announced as coming to Canada within the next couple of years, it is not available today and a date of release in unknown.

With that in mind, we will start our discussion at the highest plan and work our way down.

QuickBooks Plus

QuickBooks Plus is the full service plan. It has all of the offerings of the other plans in addition to the following:

If you have the need to track your products on hand, costs of goods sold and receive notifications when inventory is low this is the plan for you.

It is also made for those businesses that have a need to track multi-currency.

Finally for those who are interested in creating and managing budgets within their software QuickBooks Plus is needed. The budget feature will allow users to create a budget from scratch or use a previous year’s data. In additional you can track the budget progress by the dollar amount or by percentage and run budgeting reports.

QuickBooks Essentials

If you are not in need of the additional features offered with QuickBooks Plus, then you can move down a plan. Next let’s look at whether you need QuickBooks Essential.

QuickBooks Essentials is the plan that most businesses find themselves needing. The draw to this plan is when your business is looking to manage bills, track time and has multiple users.

The manage bills features allows for your business to track bill status, record payments and create recurring payments. You can pay multiple vendors and bills at the same time and if still using cheques you can create these and print.

For those businesses that are looking to provide access to multiple users, you do not need to include your bookkeeper and accountant into this number. QuickBooks Online allows business on all plans 2 accountant/bookkeeper users. For your other users, you are able to control the user-access levels and share reports. Each user is provided their own login.

Tracking time is also a feature of QuickBooks Essentials. This feature allows you to record employee times and billable hours. Billable hours can be tracked by client or employee and can be automatically added to the client invoices. A feature that our clients love is that they can create a user for their employees that allows their employee special access to enter hours. You are also able to enter the hours for your employees yourself. For businesses using applications such as T-Sheets, the applications can be integrated to pull directly into QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks EasyStart

If you have found that QuickBooks Essentials is also more powerful than your current needs then QuickBooks EasyStart may be right for you at this time.

Features available for QuickBooks EasyStart are the ability to track income and expenses, invoice and accept payments, run reports, send estimates, track sales and calculate sales tax.

While QuickBooks EasyStart is a limited option, it still provides the ability to have a balance sheet and income statement for your business.

QuickBooks Self-Employed

A newer option that is available for self-employed individuals who have the need to prepare invoices, track expenses and mileage is QuickBooks Self-Employed. QuickBooks Self-Employed is available for individuals whom are on their own and have an unincorporated business. For these individuals they have a need to track their income and expenses for tax purposes only and do not require a balance sheet.

The following can be used to assist you with your path to the cloud.


Audit-Proofing: How and Why?

How many times have you lost receipts or have found them later disintegrated or faded?

One of our clients’ favourite features of online bookkeeping is the ability to audit proof their records. You have heard us mention this before, but likely are wondering what this means.

There are a couple of ways in which you can set-up your online bookkeeping system to audit proof.

When we talk about audit proofing what we are referring to is the ability to attach you invoices and receipts directly to the recorded expense in your accounting application. Now that CRA is accepting its desk audits/reviews through its online portal, this is a great feature to have. When you are asked to provide support for an account or for HST purposes for example, you can go directly into the entry and the pdf you need will be right there.

How do you get the pdf into your file? There are a few different ways. You can manually upload the pdf to the entry from your computer, you can use the QuickBooks app on your phone to take a picture of the receipt at the time of entry or you can use an application such as Hubdoc to take a picture or the receipt and make the entry later.

We personally recommend using Hubdoc and here’s why.

When you take a photo of your receipt through QuickBooks, you are also responsible to code and create the entry in QuickBooks. This puts the entire onus on you. With Hubdoc, you have the flexibility to take the picture of your receipt, email or upload to your Hubdoc account and leave the entry for someone else. This then allows for the flexibility for your staff to also take pictures of their receipts and email them to Hubdoc. How many times do you or your staff lose receipts and never find them, find them later disintegrated or faded, or after your tax return has been filed?

Another feature that we like about Hubdoc is the ability to auto fetch your documents. For your bank statements, credit card statements, PayPal, hydro, telephone bills, etc. you can set-up your Hubdoc account to retrieve these for you. How often do you receive an email or phone call from your bookkeeper or accountant looking for a missing statement? Wouldn’t it be nice if it was just there and one less thing you needed to think about?

Are you running out of space for storing your paper copies of your information? In that case, you should know that Hubdoc also acts as your filing system. As your invoices, statements and receipts are pulled into your Hubdoc account and pushed to your QuickBooks Online account, Hubdoc will file them into folders so that you can easily find a receipt/statement at a later point in time.

Do you have receipts that are for a specific project or job? You can add tags to these so that they are all grouped together. Then when it comes time to invoice, you can search by the tag and ensure that you have charged the customer for the billable/reimbursable expenses.

There are many other features that we love about Hubdoc. To learn more about how this may be a fit for you, reach out to us today.

Six Limitations of Traditional Accounting Software

It is important to us, that you as the business owner understand what your numbers mean…

We’ve had a lot of conversations with our clients over the past few years, with road blocks and frustrations they have had with their traditional accounting software. It is important to us, that you as the business owner understand what your numbers mean and where they are coming from, while at the same time not find yourself limited by the technology in place.

The following are six limitations of using traditional accounting software:

i) Your data is not current, neither is your software

If you are always using old data, or worse can’t access you data on a timely basis, how can you be expected to make your business decisions?

ii) Accounting software is limited to the computers it is installed on.

There are a couple of issues with this. One you can only access your information from select computers. When the computers are not on the same server, data often flows back and for through backup files and/or USBs. This increases the risk that data is not reliable. I have heard more than once from a client who continued working on an out-dated backup file. In addition, when the file is being passed back and forth there is an increased risk that the data is not secure. Either passwords are not on the files, or the backup ends up in the wrong individuals hands.

iii) Limitations to how many individuals can access the data.

While there are systems that allow for multi-user access, you are locked out of updating certain modules while another individual is in the file. If you have ever tried to update your inventory module while another user is in the file, you have likely run into this issue. When these situations occur key users cannot access the financial and customer details while the other user is updating.

iv) The process of maintaining backups is often overlooked and completed incorrectly

Backups! Enough said.

Backups are an area that can be complicated and not the most straight-forward. Many clients forget to take regular backups at all. This is a huge risk. If there is a computer glitch, or worse your computer stops working and you have not taken a recent backup – poof, everything is gone!

v) Upgrading software is expensive and time consuming

New versions of software are released a few times a year. These updates result in time being required for the installation of the new version, and depending on the accounting software in place this can also become expensive.

Software is not automatically upgraded each time a new version is released. Many clients choose not to upgrade their accounting systems at all. This leads to its own set of issues, when payroll tables for example become outdated or are no longer supported by the version of accounting software being used.

vi) Customer support

The complications that are derived out of each of the above issues result in customer support calls and down-time of your system. Customer support can be slow to resolve your issues, taking additional time way from your business. If your accounting system is down during this time, your option is to continue in a manual form. This doesn’t sound like the best use of your time.

These are common pain points our clients have come to us with. They have discussed the feeling of burnout and that they just don’t what to do next. Many have been cautioned away from cloud accounting by previous bookkeepers and accountants. When these programs first came out, yes we would agree that they were not the best solution, but that is not the case today.

Having a discussion of the possibilities that are available to you when you make a change to using a fully-integrated accounting system is worth the conversation.