In the business world it’s not unusual for entrepreneurs and owners to manage their own business bookkeeping and accounting. The reasons for doing so are relatively simple. Many business owners believe the DIY approach saves them money, or that it keeps them closer to the business and therefore more informed.
This isn’t necessarily true. And, as we move into a second year of business overshadowed by COVID-19, handling your business bookkeeping in-house may actually cost you money and further separate you from your work. Even medium and large-sized companies with dedicated administrative and accounting personnel may want to consider bringing in a little extra help.
Here’s why you should consider hiring a cloud-based bookkeeper in 2021.
You might miss out on government subsidies and credits
To anyone who’s tried to decipher the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website this year, we salute you. The reality is that navigating the ins and outs of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), along with the various loans and tax credits available, has been a challenge for many businesses—to say the least!
The job of professional bookkeepers and accountants is to stay current so that they can apply their knowledge to elevate your business. As we head into 2021, a year of uncertainty but also of recovery, there will undoubtedly be further policy adjustments made to bolster the economy. A qualified bookkeeper with a leave-no-stone-unturned mentality can evaluate your operations and identify which subsidies and tax credits are relevant to your business. They can also flag new opportunities as they arise, enabling you to act quickly and proactively.
A BOOKKEEPER CAN:
- Keep you up to date on the latest policy developments
- Identify which subsidies and tax credits apply to your business
- Give you early access to new information and financial opportunities
You might claim something your business doesn’t qualify for
Even if you’re financially savvy (or have a member of staff who is) chances are you aren’t dedicating 100% of your time to tracking shifts in government assistance and tax policy. At best, this means you could be missing out on subsidies, tax credits, or other forms of assistance that could help your business. At worst, you may be receiving assistance that you will have to pay back down the road.
Bookkeepers who are CPA certified, or who work closely with CPA-certified accountants, can help that you’re colouring within the lines and have the necessary documentation to prove it. And regardless of how many times a policy shifts, a bookkeeper truly worth their salt will help
you to track, organize, and maintain the documentation required to ensure that your business is and remains CRA compliant.
A BOOKKEEPER CAN:
- Ensure you are collecting the correct supporting documentation
- Catch irregularities and make sure your books are audit-proof
- Help you apply for subsidies/credits and properly document your eligibility
Your bookkeeping may need to pivot as much as your business has
Plenty of businesses have pivoted their operations this year. Consider an example. Let’s say you’re a brick and mortal retail operation. You’re popular, but being too small to compete with the likes of Amazon you’ve shied away from e-commerce in the past. The pandemic pushed you to launch a 100% contactless online purchase and delivery option in order to stay in business—and it’s working. So much that you plan to maintain an e-commerce platform indefinitely. We couldn’t be happier for you! But if you’ve been brick and mortar for a long time, chances are your old bookkeeping system just isn’t going to cut it in 2021.
You need integrated and automated systems that track, cost, and synchronize sales across your in-store and online inventory, not to mention an online payment system that syncs seamlessly with a top-notch bookkeeping/accounting software. And the latter ideally needs to automate sales orders, invoices, receipts, etc. Have you even taken a look at your new expenses evaluated the old ones, and examined your claims potential? It’s a lot, we know, but a bookkeeper well-versed in cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting can help you establish the right infrastructure to support your newly evolved business.
YOUR BOOKEEPER CAN:
- Help you choose the right cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting tools
- Streamline your operations and consolidate records across platforms
- Identify and track any new claimable business expenses
You need a better budget and financial forecast
None of us were prepared for the impacts of COVID-19, but the experience of the pandemic has presented an opportunity for business owners (aided by their bookkeeper and accountant!) to create a better plan for tomorrow. Your bookkeeper can help you to establish an operating budget that accounts for the payback of loans, the eventual cut-off of government subsidies, the replenishment of reserve savings, and much, much more.
Moreover that tidy, up-to-date, detailed, and accurate ledger your bookkeeper maintains will make it far easier for an accountant to offer you the high-level financial advice and performance data you need to make informed business decisions. Your bookkeeper can also help you to develop tools and tracking systems that tabulate everything from day-to-day transactions to the relative value and profitability of your products and services (useful when evaluating which COVID pivots to keep over the long term).
IN 2021 YOUR BOOKEEPER CAN:
- Highlight anticipated future changes in revenues and expenses
- Establish budgets that account for costs, debts, and other contingencies
- Empower you to make well-informed business decisions
You don’t need the stress—your time is better spent elsewhere
Administration, bookkeeping, and accounting inevitably take up far more time than most business owners anticipate (as much as one day a week or more). We have no doubt that you’re capable of wearing many hats (and masterfully, we might add), but the hat you wear best is not a green eyeshade. Whether you’re managing the ledger alone or assisting an in-house bookkeeper or accountant, you must come to accept this truth:
In 2021, your time will be better spent growing your business and exploring the new opportunities and potential that COVID pivots and a post-COVID era provide. The creative inspirations, networking connections, and strides in business development you can make will far outweight the cost of paying a bookkeeper to handle the nitty gritty.
For you, reconciling accounts and issuing payroll is an added stressor, and if you fall behind, well, let’s just say your staff don’t need the stress either. A qualified bookkeeper can support you and your staff by ensuring that the ship runs smoothly. They can help existing administrative staff who may be out of their depth when it comes to keeping up with COVID-related policy changes. They can also help streamline and even automate processes like payroll to ensure that all employee benefits and subsidies are properly accounted for and that your obligations are met.
IN 2021 YOUR BOOKKEEPER CAN:
- Free you from the monotony of bookkeeping and accounting
- Establish regular schedules and processes for payroll, expenses, etc.
- Empower you to spend more time focused on the development of your business
The new world is digital, and your bookkeeping can be too
COVID-19 work-from-home edicts were easy to adapt to for those of us who’d already been working in cloud-based accounting (or any cloud-based, digitally nomadic industry). But for those businesses whose operations, record-keeping, and administrative interactions were largely conducted in person or on paper, it was a substantial obstacle to overcome.
If you got your digital feet proverbially wet in 2020 – It’s time for the canon ball! Cloud-based accounting apps and software make it possible for you to outsource your business bookkeeping to skilled bookkeeping and accounting professionals. Moreover, a well-designed and fully integrated digital financial bookkeeping and accounting infrastructure gives you 24/7 access to the most up-to-date and accurate financial data on your business. And that data is accessible anytime, anywhere.
Never before have business owners had so much information at their fingertips. It’s time to take advantage. The services of many outsourced, cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting firms, like Elevate by Welch LLP, allow you to customize the level of service and input you require, enabling you to seamlessly integrate cloud bookkeeping and cloud accounting solutions into your business.
If you would like to learn more about how cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting services can help elevate your business in 2021, contact Sean at [email protected]