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Lisa Patrick
Lisa Patrick
Lisa Patrick's Blog

5 Steps for Setting Yourself Up for Success - Marketing Your Freelance Bookkeeping Business Lisa Patrick

Many people decide to become freelancer bookkeepers, as a full-time job, or as a way to supplement a current job. If you have decided to start a freelance bookkeeping business, you will be in charge of getting and keeping clients, marketing yourself and promoting your business.

You need to do some work ahead of time to determine who you are, what you’re offering, why you’re unique, and how potential clients can benefit from your services.

1. Study the market and your competition

Do your homework and find out what the next-best thing is doing. Put in the time and money to research your competition; you could find opportunities to define your competitive advantage.

2. Determine your target market

Identify who your ideal client is. What services do they require? Your business must solve your ideal client’s problems. Also, if you have existing clients, listen to them about what they like and what they don't like. Determining your target market will allow you to modify your business accordingly. For instance, you may prefer to work with clients from a specific industry or who bring in a certain level of revenues each year. You need to know who you’re marketing to.

3. Develop your product

Successful business owners focus on what they enjoy doing and are good at. What bookkeeping services do you want to provide? There may be an opportunity to distinguish yourself by how you deliver your services. For example, consulting over the Internet, face-to-face, on the phone, through webinars, etc. As well, you might serve a unique software application that could distinguish you and give you a competitive advantage. Think about what deserves your marketing spotlight.

4. Set a price

Find out what the median hourly wage is and position yourself accordingly. Be prepared to negotiate a fee and you can always increase your rates once you are established.

5. Start promoting and solicit clients

There are endless marketing opportunities so figure out your target market and where you’ll find them. You could approach small local businesses, post ads in your local paper, advertise on the Internet. You should represent yourself on the web with a website—a good website—that makes you look professional and brands yourself well. Social media can be overwhelming so be aware of what social avenues exist but don't feel obliged to participate on every platform. By focusing your attention where it matters, you can make the most of social media without getting lost in the many possibilities.


What to do with your inactive company - no revenue but want to keep it active! Lisa Patrick

The company you own has not been active or generating any revenue, but you want to keep the company live with the province and compliant with the federal government - there are some things you need to know.

Ensure that you:

File any GST/HST and Corporate tax returns with zeros
Renew the corporate name registration at the province (annual return)
 
If you maintain your minute book with a lawyer, obtain a copy of some of the forms in the minute book to keep on hand or leave with your tax accountant.
The copies will ensure you always have an alternate location to obtain the documents.

the form list is below:
certificate of incorporation
articles of incorporation
confirmation by the province of who the directors and the shareholders are.
resolution of the directors to issue shares
resolution of the shareholders
 
Links to information that may assist you.
federal tax return
T2SHORT - The T2 Short Return - For Eligible Corporations <http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t2short/README.html>
Annual Returns - Corporations Canada <http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cd-dgc.nsf/eng/cs02544.html>
 
GST/HST
GST/HST - GST/HST returns <http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/gst-tps/bspsbch/rtrns/menu-eng.html>
 
Alberta website with forms
Service Alberta: Forms - Extra-provincial Registrations <http://www.servicealberta.ca/842.cfm>
including annual registration http://www.servicealberta.ca/pdf/Forms/REG3062.pdf
British Columbia
Corporate Registry – BC Registry Services <http://www.bcregistryservices.gov.bc.ca/bcreg/corppg/tilma/tilmafaq.page>
Manitoba
Province of Manitoba | Companies Office <http://www.companiesoffice.gov.mb.ca/formandfeechanges.html>
New Brunswick
SNB - Corporate Registry - What's New? <
http://www.snb.ca/e/6000/6606e.asp>
Newfoundland
Registry Forms | Service NL <http://www.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/forms/files/index.html>
Northwest Territories
NWT - Corporate Registry <http://www.justice.gov.nt.ca/CorporateRegistry/CR_BCA.shtml>
Nunavut
Nunavummi Nangminiqaqtunik Ikajuuti · Business Registration <http://nni.gov.nu.ca/regmain>
Ontario
Corporations Information Act Annual Returns - Government of Ontario (Canada) - Ontario.ca <http://www.ontario.ca/en/business/STEL02_163191.html>
Prince Edward Island
Register my Company to do Business on P.E.I. <
http://www.gov.pe.ca/jps/index.php3?number=14981&lang=E>
Quebec
Revenu Québec - File Them Together: The Annual or Current Updating Declaration and the Income Tax Return - Income Tax - Businesses <http://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/entreprise/impot/societes/declaration/jumelage.aspx>
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Publications Centre <http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/>
Yukon
Corporate Affairs - Government of Yukon <http://www.community.gov.yk.ca/corp/corpforms.html>
 

Darlene Lafond R.P.A.


Every Dollar Matters - Increase Revenues After Tax Season Lisa Patrick

During the current recession, many businesses and individuals are turning to professional accountants in order to ensure the correct preparation of their tax returns to avoid costly penalties. This means that there are many opportunities for accountancy offices and franchises to grow - an opportunity for a new revenue stream to offset the lack of revenue after tax season.

But tax season for personal income tax returns is a 3 month a year revenue stream.  We all see kiosk’s in the mall from Liberty Tax and H&R Block but what about the other 9 months of the year? Your business client comes in once a year to file their T2 return but you don't see them for the other 11 months of the year?

Every dollar matters in your business and revenue streams in off peak season are vital to the success of your business.  Bookkeeping offers the opportunity for your business to offer another service for your clientele and generate another revenue stream for your business. But your not a bookkeeper, you're an accountant or a business owner!

A brand new software Bookkeeper’s Quote™ now provides you the opportunity to profile new clients or existing clients and match their businesses with bookkeeping tasks required.  The bookkeeping software provides you the communication tool necessary to discuss the tasks associated with bookkeeping and at the same time provides you the checklist of bookkeeping tasks you will need to complete to provide a bookkeeping service.

Bookkeeper’s Quote™ also will create accurate bookkeeping quotes that properly reflect a bookkeepers' time and work on clients' accounts, based on your rates and task/time settings or default proven standard times.

Bookkeeper’s Quote™ is designed to assist the user in Communicating 2 the client about the costs and any adjustments in billings after the quote.

Bookkeeper’s Quote™ includes everything you will need to ensure you provide accurate reliable service to a client.  Whether they are new to your office,  client information is recorded, compliance methods assured, contacts with the government accounted for, posting and invoicing recorded, payroll included and tax regulatory issues are highlighted and more.

So if you are looking to add a revenue stream to your existing business or a new business that compliments what you are currently doing think about bookkeeping and make every dollar count.

 


HIRING CREDIT FOR SMALL BUSINESS (HCSB) Lisa Patrick
For 2011 and 2012 Canada Revenue Agency is granting up to $1000 credit on employment insurance premium of your employee costs.  HIRING CREDIT FOR SMALL BUSINESS. (HCSB)

The HCSB gives small businesses relief from the employer's share of employment insurance (EI) premiums paid in a year. It does this by crediting up to $1,000 on the payroll account, based on the increase in an employer's EI premiums paid in one year over those paid in the year before. 

Canada Revenue Agency is doing the paperwork to determine your qualifications: HIRING CREDIT FOR SMALL BUSINESS. (HCSB)

There is no application form to complete.

If you are eligible, the CRA will automatically calculate the amount of your HCSB using the
EI information from the T4 slips you filed with your 2010 and 2011 T4 information returns.
The amount to be credited to your payroll account will be greater than $2, but no more than
$1,000.

For more information, please search the following link at Canada Revenue Agency.
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/pyrll/hwpyrllwrks/stps/hrng/hcsb-eng.html
HCSB for 2011 <http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/pyrll/hwpyrllwrks/stps/hrng/hcsb-2011-eng.html#business_income>
HCSB for 2012 <http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/pyrll/hwpyrllwrks/stps/hrng/hcsb-2012-eng.html>

DO REMEMBER TO INCLUDE THE CREDIT TO YOUR EMPLOYER REMITTANCES OR YOU WILL NOT BALANCE WHEN YOU DO YOUR T4 SUMMARY.
HCSB is business income

Remember, If you receive the HCSB, you have to claim that amount as income or reduce your EI expense when you file your business return, even if we transferred some or all of this credit to pay off a debt.

Contact us for more information

 

Darlene Lafond R.P.A.


New Software: Bookkeepers Quote™ Lisa Patrick

10 medical deductions that can save you money Lisa Patrick

Tom McFeat  recently wrote an article in CBC News  about your medical expenses. In the article as a tax payer you were advised that ‘you do need to do some homework, in terms of keeping your medical expense receipts.’ It's something that is not easy to do over the course of a year unless you make a conscious effort to put the receipts aside.’

At C2online our tools will help you to ensure you maximize on these claims, save money and save time by simplifying the tasks for you:

Deduct your Gluten Free Groceries: You must calculate the incremental cost to ensure you receive the medical expense claim.  Incremental cost is the increased cost of purchasing a GF product as compared to the cost of a similar non-GF product. It is calculated by subtracting the cost of a non-GF product from the cost of a GF product. C2online provides the calculation in your worksheet for you.

Deduct the travel: If you are traveling more than 40 km one way for medical reasons, you can claim the trips on your personal tax return for a medical deduction.  Keep a diary of trips taken for medical reasons to use for a medical deduction on your personal tax return a medical critical to know the total number of kilometers your automobile was driven during the year for any medical purposes when you have traveled over 40 km one way. 

The article suggests you contact your drugstore for a complete list to save time – We have a form to request for medical receipts from your pharmacist.

Eligible expenses that you claim can get missed and this list states the ones most commonly missed.

Disability tax credit will provide those taxpayers that are the in-home caregivers to a parent or grandparent age 65 or older.  You need help to ensure that you are claiming this eligible credit correctly and receiving the appropriate amount of credit this tool will assist you.


Neglectful Employee's at The Canada Revenue Agency Lisa Patrick
We need our federal or provincial government to appoint a personal taxpayers advocate that understands the tax system Or publicize the resolution process more.

Since April 2011 we have been having to push Canada Revenue Agency to complete tasks on a file that at conclusion is worth about $15,000 dollars in refunds to the taxpayer.

The employees of the Canada Revenue Agency that has handled the file have neglected their job duties on several occasions.  A blatant neglect by several employees by professionals that are supposed to know more about taxes than the taxpayer.
 
If it had not been for our long term relationship (20+ years) with the parents of the taxpayer we would have lost the trust of the taxpayer.

The taxpayer was even told on one occasions that we, the tax preparer had made mistakes and misdirected them as to the eligibility of the refund that was anticipated.

Canada Revenue Agency actually issued a notice of tax owing but not the tax refund.  Canada Revenue Agency actually made it appear that the taxpayer now owed the government $1600.00 and not that the Canada Revenue Agency owed them $15,000.00

Darlene Lafond R.P.A.


The next time there is a federal election I would like to go public with this file.

Is there any provincial candidate that wants to help….


Disability Tax Credit - Transfer - How to? Lisa Patrick

Disability Tax Credit

If a family member is dependent on another family member for food or shelter or clothing – any essential life support on a routine basis: You should discuss with them if they qualify for the disability tax credit T2201.

They may not require the disability tax credit on their taxes but if the support person needs it, they may be able to transfer any unused disability tax credit to them just because they are providing essential life support, even if the person does not live with the person providing support.
 
Federal                                 provincial
Disability tax credit transfer                 line 318                        5848

If a disabled person lives with you….claim…
 
Amount for infirm dep over 18            line 306                        5820
Caregiver credit                                   line 315                        5840

*NOTE:  Do not forget to explore medical claim as well.

Pivotal Payments - Solved Lisa Patrick

First, our office had loads of documented dates and contacts on the shortfalls in the servicing to their contract with C2online's sister company - Morinville Business Centre.

The documented evidence that our internal communications thru internet, electronic filing with Canada Revenue Agency was secure and uninterrupted and we represented that their equipment was faulty and at risk of robbing from clients bank accounts.
 
Our first course of action was that we took them to small debt action in Alberta.  Why Alberta, because it Alberta was the province where the contract and business dealings were occurring.  Pivotal Payments tried to have it thrown out due to the clause in their contract regarding Quebec location but that attempt was unsuccessful.  
 
Alberta has a pre-trial collaboration process where the people in the case discuss the case with a judge before trial…
(yeh, weird but interesting helpful as it is meant to help the non-legal participant get better ready if facing a lawyer)
The one thing that we did wrong;  we did not take all three of their companies to small debt action.  We only took Pivotal Payments and the judge did communicate that when we seeked legal advice before appearing in front of the trial judge to determine whether we should be adding the other two companies to our case.
 
We had two phone conferences with them but never went to court.  Pivotal Payments was diligent in their efforts to threaten that we would lose in Quebec.  However we were diligent and continued to represent that we would love to write off a business trip to Quebec to charge them in Quebec as they were not fulfilling their contract services.
 
In the end, they provided us a temporary run of some new equipment for 45 days.  We were very satisfied and have continued to see reliability in the equipment and the service.  I do know that I would not be dealing with them if it had not been a mistake in the first place.  But the contract we were finally provided is at a cost far less than what we were paying using the alternate services when their equipment stopped working.
 
We suggest that if you have any opportunity to get someone to take them through a bit of a legal battle, we believe they will see you are not backing down.  Try something like small debt court, keep talking like you are not afraid of going in front of a judge and showing how they have not fulfilled their contracts.

Whatever your decision may be ensure that you take all three companies to court.

Darlene Lafond R.P.A. 


Celiac's Save Money on Your Income Tax Return Lisa Patrick

Celiac disease is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. This results in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health.

Although statistics are not readily available, it is estimated that 1 in 133 persons in Canada are affected by celiac disease.

A wide range of symptoms may be present. Symptoms may appear together or singularly in children or adults. In general, the symptoms of untreated celiac disease indicate the presence of malabsorption due to the damaged small intestine.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale, barley. In the case of wheat, gliadin has been isolated as the toxic fraction. It is the gluten in the flour that helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling. This feature has made gluten widely used in the production of many processed and packaged foods.

At present there is no cure, but celiac disease is readily treated by following the gluten-free diet. *(www.celiac.ca)

Persons who suffer from celiac disease (gluten intolerance) are entitled to claim the incremental costs associated with the purchase of gluten-free (GF) products as a medical expense.

You must calculate the incremental cost to ensure you receive the medical expense claim.  Incremental cost is the increased cost of purchasing a GF product as compared to the cost of a similar non-GF product. It is calculated by subtracting the cost of a non-GF product from the cost of a GF product. C2online provides the calculation in your worksheet for you.

We have provided you a free worksheet to simplify the ease of compiling of the information to ensure that you maximize on your income tax deduction and receive your medical expense claim.

We encourage you to provide us your compiled worksheet so that we can create a database of products and we will continue to update the worksheet for free for other to use so they also ensure they receive their medical expense claim.

Celiac Medical Expense Claim Form .xlsx 


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