Why is it important to understand your Shareholder Loan account?

shareholder loan

Why is it important to understand your Shareholder Loan account?

In this blog you will learn:

  • What is a shareholder loan?
  • What type of transactions go through the shareholder loan account?
  • What is the tax impact of your shareholder loan?
  • Potential shareholder loan risk

What is a Shareholder Loan?

As the owner of your corporation, the shareholder loan account tracks how much you have contributed to corporation vs. how much funds you withdrew from your corporation. If you have contributed more than you withdrew, the account is called Due to Shareholder. If you withdraw more than you contribute it is called Due from Shareholder. On your corporation’s balance sheet, Due to Shareholder shows as a liability while Due from Shareholder is an asset.

What type of common transactions go through the shareholder loan account?

Owner Cash Contributions:

If you deposit money to your company to cover business expenses, it means the shareholder has loaned the company funds and needs to be paid back sometime.

Owner paying for company expenses with a personal credit card:

Another common owner cash contribution is covering a business expense with your own personal card. If possible, it is recommended not mix personal and business accounts.

Owner cash withdrawals:

If you draw cash from your company which is not a dividend or salary, it is considered shareholder loan and debt owning to the company.

Owner paying for personal expenses with the company’s credit card:

If the owner pays a family trip on the company credit card it is not tax deductible. When this happens, the company cannot deduct the expense and the amount will become a debt owing back to the company. We recommend that you pay your personal expenses with a personal credit card. By doing so, you will have accurate bookkeeping records and spend less time explaining questionable transactions to your accountant or bookkeeper.

The contributions and withdrawals are shown in one shareholder account on your balance sheet. If the contributions are higher than the withdrawals it is shown as a Liability (Due to Shareholder). On the flip side, if the withdrawals are higher than contributions it shows an Asset (Due from shareholder).

What is tax impact of your shareholder loan?

If the running balance of the shareholder loan at the fiscal year end has liability (Due to Shareholder) on the balance sheet, the company owes the shareholder money, hence this balance can be paid to you tax free. If the shareholder loan running balance shows as asset, this amount would be declared as salary, dividend, or a loan from the company. You do not have to designate your cash draws until your fiscal year end.

I recommend having your accountant do tax planning scenarios for you on the best mix of salary vs. dividends, to minimize your total personal and corporate tax income. 

As the owner of your corporation, you can also be an employee in your company, hence you can pay yourself a salary. The salary is a tax deduction for your company, and you would include it in your employment income. If you pay yourself a dividend, it would be included in your personal income, but at a lower rate than a salary, but a dividend is not taxable deductible from the corporation.

Potential Shareholder Loan Risk

If you don’t repay the loan from company within one year of the end of your corporation’s taxation year, the entire amount of the loan will simply be included in your personal income. This loan can not be part of a series of loans and repayments. This is a very serious penalty because the corporation receives no deduction for the loan.

Conclusion

Shareholder loans can be useful in tax planning and managing personal and business cashflow needs. If handled properly, it can be used to your advantage.

Senior or Disability Tax Credit Individual, Federal Home Accessibility Expense Tax Credit

Senior or Disability Tax Credit Individual, Federal Home Accessibility Expense Tax Credit

Are you eligible?

You can claim an amount for the eligible expenses for a qualifying renovation of an eligible dwelling, if either of the following applies to you:

  • You are a qualifying individual
  • You are an eligible individual making a claim for a qualifying individual

qualifying individual can be either of the following:

  • an individual who is eligible for the disability tax credit at any time in the year
  • an individual who is 65 years of age or older at the end of the year

An eligible individual is any of the following:

  1. a spouse or common-law partner of a qualifying individual
  2. a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, or niece of a qualifying individual, or of the qualifying individual’s (spouse or common-law partner) that has claimed the amount for an “eligible dependant,” “caregiver amount,” or amount for an “infirm dependent age 18 or older” for the qualifying individual, or could have claimed such an amount if:
    • the qualifying individual had no income
    • for a qualifying individual who is a child, if that child had been 18 years of age or older in the tax year
    • in the case of the “eligible dependant” amount, the individual was not married and not in a common-law partnership
    • in the case of the amount for an “infirm dependant aged 18 or older,” where the qualifying individual who is 65 years of age or older at the end of a year, and is not eligible to claim the disability tax credit, the qualifying individual was dependent on the individual because of mental or physical infirmity
  3. if (2) does not apply, an individual who is entitled to claim the disability amount for the qualifying individual, or would be entitled if no amount was claimed for the year by the qualifying individual or the qualifying individual’s spouse or common-law partner

Do you have an eligible dwelling?

An eligible dwelling is a housing unit (or a share of the capital stock of a co-operative housing corporation that was acquired for the sole purpose of acquiring the right to inhabit the housing unit owned by the corporation) located in Canada and meets at least one of the following conditions: 

  • It is owned (either jointly or otherwise) by the qualifying individual and it is ordinarily inhabited (or is expected to be ordinarily inhabited) in the year by the qualifying individual
  • It is owned (either jointly or otherwise) by the eligible individual and is ordinarily inhabited (or is expected to be ordinarily inhabited) in the year by the eligible individual and the qualifying individual, and the qualifying individual does not throughout the year own (either jointly or otherwise) and ordinarily inhabit another housing unit in Canada

A qualifying individual may have only one eligible dwelling at any time but may have more than one eligible dwelling in a year (for example, in a situation where an individual moves in the year). When a qualifying individual has more than one eligible dwelling in a year, the total eligible expenses for all such eligible dwellings of the qualifying individual cannot be more than $10,000.

What renovations or expenses are eligible and ineligible?

qualifying renovation is a renovation or alteration that is of an enduring nature and is integral to the eligible dwelling (including the land that forms part of the eligible dwelling). The renovation must meet one of the following conditions:

  • allow the qualifying individual to gain access to, or to be mobile or functional within, the dwelling
  • reduce the risk of harm to the qualifying individual within the dwelling or in gaining access to the dwelling

An item you buy that will not become a permanent part of your dwelling is generally not eligible.

Eligible expenses

These expenses are outlays or expenses made or incurred during the year that are directly attributable to a qualifying renovation of an eligible dwelling. The expenses must be for work performed and goods acquired in the tax year.

Work performed by yourself

If you do the work yourself, the eligible expenses include expenses for:

  • building materials
  • fixtures
  • equipment rentals
  • building plans
  • permits

However, the value of your labour or tools cannot be claimed as eligible expenses.

Work performed by a family member

Expenses are not eligible if the goods or services are provided by a person related to the qualifying individual or the eligible individual unless that person is registered for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) under the Excise Tax Act. If your family member is registered for GST/HST and if all other conditions are met, the expenses will be eligible for the home accessibility tax credit (HATC).

Work performed by professionals

Generally, paid work done by professionals such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and architects for eligible expenses qualifies as eligible expenses. 

Ineligible expenses

The following expenses are not eligible for the HATC:

  • amounts paid to acquire a property that can be used independently of the qualifying renovation
  • the cost of annual, recurring, or routine repair or maintenance
  • amount paid to buy household appliances
  • amount paid to buy electronic home-entertainment devices
  • the cost of housekeeping, security monitoring, gardening, outdoor maintenance, or similar services
  • financing costs for the qualifying renovation
  • the cost of renovation incurred mainly to increase or maintain the value of the dwelling

Medical expense tax credit (METC)

You may have an eligible expense that also qualifies as a medical expense. If so, you can claim the expense as a medical expense and a home accessibility expense. 

Condominium and co-operative housing corporations

For condominium or co-operative housing corporations, your share of the cost of eligible expenses for common areas qualifies for the HATC.

Other government grants or credits

The HATC is not reduced by assistance, including a grant, forgivable loan, or tax credit, from the federal or a provincial/territorial government.

Vendor rebates or incentives

Eligible expenses are generally not reduced by reasonable rebates or incentives that the vendor or manufacturer of goods or the provider of the service offers.

Business and/or rental use of part of an eligible dwelling

If you earn business or rental income from part of an eligible dwelling, you can only claim the amount for eligible expenses incurred for the personal-use areas of your dwelling.

For expenses incurred and/or goods acquired for common areas or that benefit the housing unit (such as a ramp or handrails), you must divide the expense between personal use and income-earning use.

Completing your tax return

To claim home accessibility expenses, complete line 31285 for home accessibility expenses on the Worksheet for the Return and report the amount from line 4 of your worksheet on line 31285 of your tax return.

A maximum of $10,000 per year in eligible expenses can be claimed for a qualifying individual. When there is more than one qualifying individual for an eligible dwelling, the total eligible expenses cannot be more than $10,000 for the dwelling. The claim can be split between the qualifying individual and the eligible individual(s) for the qualifying individual. If the claimants cannot agree on what amount each person can claim, the CRA will determine the amounts.

Supporting documents

Eligible expenses must be supported by acceptable documentation, such as agreements, invoices, and receipts. They must clearly identify the type and quantity of goods bought or services provided, including, but not limited to, the following information, as applicable:

  • information that clearly identifies the vendor/contractor, their business address, and, if applicable, their GST/HST registration number
  • a description of the goods and the date when they were bought
  • the date when the goods were delivered (keep your delivery slip as proof) or when the work or services were performed
  • a description of the work done, including the address where it was done
  • the amount of the invoice
  • proof of payment. Receipts or invoices must show that bills were paid in full or be accompanied by other proof of payment, such as a credit card slip or cancelled cheque
  • a statement from a co-operative housing corporation or condominium corporation (or, for civil law, a syndicate of co-owners) signed by an authorized individual identifying:
    • the amounts incurred for the renovation or the alteration work
    • as a condominium owner, your part of these expenses if the work is done for common areas
    • information that clearly identifies the vendor/contractor, their business address and, if applicable, their GST/HST registration number
    • a description of the work done, or services performed and the dates when the work was done, or the services were performed

Cash flow for eCommerce: Tips to stay always positive on your cash flow

cash flow for ecommerce

Cash flow for eCommerce: Tips to stay always positive on your cash flow

Ecommerce isn’t just about making sales and shipping products. Like any business, you need to manage the money behind the scenes — or else your online shop might have to close its virtual doors.

Cash flow management is key to your business success.

Because eCommerce can be unpredictable (sporadic sales, issues with supply or delivery), the financial health of your business fluctuates! And some of those fluctuations are predictable, based on the season.

Meanwhile you have overhead expenses to run your business: website, internet, and employee payroll.

So how do you align all the money coming in and going out, to make sure you always have enough cash to keep moving forward?

The cash flow for eCommerce management is one of the foundations of financial reporting. At the most basic level, cash flow is:

Money in less Money out = Cash on hand

Of course, your business has other money (or value) tied up in assets: inventory, equipment, and other tangible property. But cash flow is concerned with how much value is free to move, or liquid.

Positive cash flow means you have more money coming in; negative cash flow means you have more money going out.

How to manage cash flow for eCommerce: know where you always stand

1. Always have your bookkeeping updated on a weekly or monthly basis. This sets you up for the most accurate accounting so your cash flow calculations will be accurate.

2. Put safeguarding on your profit margins in your calculations. When calculating cash flow and reserves, you don’t want to trim all the fat. Prepare for a bad day, month, quarter.

3. Automate regular payments, coming in and going out. We’re talking invoices, bills, expenses, receipts — all the regular payments your business makes or receives can (and should) be automated.

Not only does this give you peace of mind to know money is moving in the right direction at the right time, automatic receipts and automated expenses help with online bookkeeping for you, your suppliers, and your customers.

4. Do what you can to make sure customers pay on time! Require customers to pay when the product is shipped.

5. Use balance reports or cash flow projectionsFinancial reporting is a must for your business, and visuals are a huge help. Use an accounting software that tracks your sales and expenses, then produces balance sheets and other reports about your finances. You can view historical patterns, identify weak seasons or products, and make smarter decisions about what’s next.

How to improve cash flow for eCommerce

1. Shorten the amount of time between a business expense and getting paid.

This is the goal of healthy cash flow for any business. But we’ll split the answer between physical and digital products.

For physical products, this means getting inventory off the shelves soon after they arrive. If you overstock an item and nobody’s buying it, then you’re losing money in two ways: lack of sales and payments to store those unsold items. Be smart about big orders!

A similar problem can crop up with digital products. If you make a big investment in advertising or in product development and it takes a while to make a sale off that investment, you could run into a problem.

2. Organize expenses at a time that works with your revenue patterns. Do you get more customer payments at the beginning, middle or end of the month? Line up your biggest expenses to be parallel with your highest inflow to make sure you don’t dip into the red.

Another tip: Some suppliers expect a payment within 60 or 90 days. There’s no shame in waiting to transfer that payment! If you have a pretty good relationship with certain suppliers, negotiate with them if you need extra time to pay.

3. With marketing and social media, stay quick on your feet! The best ways to reach your potential customers could change. Maybe your target audience isn’t on Facebook anymore; maybe they’ve moved to the next new platform. This is all about staying relevant and staying effective. What channels are best, what tactics are best, which products are most popular at this moment?

Scale back on tactics or leave channels that simply aren’t showing the Return on Investment. Don’t cut back simply to save money, though; marketing is a necessary investment! Only cut back on activities that are not worth the money you’re putting into them.

4. Run promotions to boost cash flow in the short term. This isn’t news to you and cut costs where you can. You could do a classic sale on physical products. For digital products, this could be discounts on brand-new signups: give half off the first three months or waive a registration fee. 

5. Increase your AOV (Average Order Value). For example, if your average customer spends $75, figure out ways to bump that up to $100. For physical products, a simple tactic could be offering free shipping for orders above a certain amount. For digital products, try to upgrade existing customers to more premium plans.

Interested in saving for your child’s future?

howdoesrespwork

Interested in saving for your child’s future?

How does a RESP work?

Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) can help you build an education fund for your child or grandchild (or a relative’s or friend’s child) by allowing you to earn investment income in a tax-deferred environment. You can set up an individual plan with organizations such as life insurance companies, mutual fund companies, and financial institutions, or you can enroll in a group plan offered by a non-profit scholarship or education trust foundation. If the child goes to college or university, the RESP provides funds to help cover the child’s expenses.

Contributions to a RESP are not tax-deductible to the contributor. However, the income in the plan grows tax-free, so RESPs enjoy the effect of tax-free compounding of investment income. When the child withdraws the funds, the income portion will be taxable to the child. As a student, the beneficiary will probably not have much other income and will be eligible for the tuition tax credit, so he or she will likely pay little or no tax.

How much can you contribute to a RESP?

The overall lifetime limit for RESPs contributions is $50,000 per beneficiary. Overcontributions are taxed at a rate of 1% for each month that they remain in the plan.

If you wish, you can withdraw your own contributions to RESP without any tax consequences since you did not get a tax deduction when you contributed the funds. However, you cannot withdraw the income earned by the RESP tax-free. You may also be required to repay some or all any Canada Education Savings Grants upon RESP withdrawal for non-education purposes.

Canada Education Savings Grant

Under the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) program, the federal government will provide a direct grant to a RESP of 20% of the first $2,500 of annual contributions made to the RESP. The grant will be worth up to $500 per year for each year the beneficiary is under 18, to a maximum of $7,200 per beneficiary. The grant amount will not be included in the annual and lifetime contribution limits for the beneficiary.

If the maximum contribution is not made in a year, entitlement to the grant can be carried forward to a later year (within restrictions). The total CESG per beneficiary per year is capped at $1,000 or 20% of the unused CESG room, whichever is less.

Example: Michael contributes $1,000 in 2019 to a RESP for his newborn son. This contribution earns a CESG of $200 (20% of $1,000), leaving $1,500 in CESG contribution room available for carry forward in future years.

In 2020, Michael contributes $4,500 to the plan. In this year, contribution for the CESG is limited to the $2,500 of new contribution room arising in the year, plus the $1,500 carried forward. Therefore, the CESG is only 20% of $4,000 or $800. The extra $500 of contribution can not be carried forward and claimed in later years.

CESG contribution room accumulates at the rate of $2,500 per year ($2,000 per year for 1998 to 2006), whether the child is currently a RESP beneficiary. So even if you do not start making CESG-eligible RESP contributions in your child’s first year, you can make catch-up payments eligible for the grant in later years (subject to the lifetime limit of $7,200 per beneficiary and the annual limit per beneficiary of $1,000 or 20% of the unused CESG room).

To qualify for the CESG, the RESP beneficiary must be a resident of Canada under age 18 and must have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) (see 4.8). You can apply for a SIN for your child by contacting Service Canada. Bear in mind that SIN processing may take several weeks.

If your child chooses not to pursue post-secondary education, you will have to repay the CESG funds received but you will only have to pay back the principal amount of the grant. You do not have to pay back the income earned on the grant funds; however, the income will be taxed when it is withdrawn from the RESP.

Payments from a RESP

Your RESP can begin making educational assistance payments to the plan’s beneficiary once he or she enrolls as a full-time student in a qualifying educational program at a qualifying post-secondary institution. Part-time students aged 16 and over are eligible to receive up to $2,500 of educational assistance payments for each 13-week semester. Students with disabilities can also receive educational assistance payments for part-time study.

Payments from the plan can be used to cover the student’s living expenses and educational expenses such as tuition fees and books, although certain plans may restrict which expenses payments can cover.

For an educational program to qualify, generally it must be at least three weeks long, require at least 10 hours per week of instruction (or 12 hours per month for part-time students) and be at a designated educational institution. Correspondence courses and other distance education courses may also qualify, as well as universities outside Canada if the student is enrolled in a course of at least 13 weeks leading to a degree.

How Does a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) Work?

How-does-a-Tax-Free-Savings-Account-TFSA-work

How Does a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) Work?

Tax-Free Savings Accounts—TFSAs

You can contribute up to $6,000 annually to your Tax-Free Savings Account. You can invest in stocks, exchange traded funds or mutual funds at Canadian financial institutions. Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) were introduced in 2009. TFSA contributions are not tax-deductible; however, you can withdraw the income earned in the TFSA and your contributions to it at any time tax-free.

What is TFSA contribution room?

You can contribute up to $6,000 per year to a TFSA if you are 18 or older and resident in Canada. If you have made no contributions to date and you are 29 or older in 2020, you can contribute a total of $69,500. You can carry forward unused contribution room indefinitely. You can hold more than one TFSA, subject to your contribution limit.

YearsTFSA contribution limit
2019-2012$5,000 per year
2013-2014$5,500 per year
2015$10,000 per year
2016 – 2018$5,500 per year
2019 – 2020$6,000 per year

What happens if you overcontribute to TFSA?

If you have an excess TFSA amount at any time in a calendar month, you are liable for a penalty tax of 1% of that month’s highest excess amount. Because the test applies at any time in a calendar month, withdrawing the excess amount will only stop the penalty from applying in the month after the withdrawal.

Is the interest on funds borrowed tax deductible?

Interest on funds borrowed and fees incurred to invest in a TFSA are not tax-deductible.

Income splitting benefit for families

TFSAs may offer an opportunity for income splitting for families in which one spouse has more income than the other. You can give funds to your spouse to contribute to his or her own TFSA, if your spouse has available contribution room.

Can you withdraw from a TFSA?

You can make a tax-free withdrawal from a TFSA at any time. The amount withdrawn is added to your contribution room, but not until the next year. You can re-contribute the amount you withdrew in the next year or later.

Example: Andrew contributed $63,500 to his TFSA before the end of 2019. In January 2020 he contributes $6,000 so that he has contributed the maximum amount of $69,500. He decides to withdraw $5,000 in June 2020 so that $64,500 of his contributions remains in his TFSA. In this case, he cannot re-contribute the $5,000 he withdrew until 2021. At that time, he can recontribute the $5,000 withdrawal along with his new contribution limit for 2021.

Investment income earned in Andrew’s TFSA is treated the same way. If Andrew’s $6,000 investment in 2020 earns $300 and he withdraws the $6,300 in December 2020, he can re-contribute the entire $6,300 in 2021 along with his new $6,000 contribution limit for that year, or $12,300 in total.

Similarly, if you invest some of the funds in your TFSA in the stock market and your share investment appreciates rapidly, say from $20,000 to $30,000, you could sell the shares and realize the $10,000 tax-free capital gain in the TFSA, withdraw the $30,000 cash proceeds and still be able to re-contribute the full $30,000 amount to the TFSA along with any other unused TFSA contribution room in the following year or later.

As a result, you could potentially contribute much more than the contribution limit annually, and therefore earn more tax-free investment income.

Consider contributing to investments that are expected to increase significantly in value over a short time in a TFSA. You can withdraw the income and capital gains earned tax-free at any time, and any withdrawals you make will create additional contribution room.

When choosing your investments, keep in mind that capital losses realized in a TFSA cannot be claimed against capital gains realized outside the TFSA.

What types of investments can I hold in my TFSA?

TFSAs can hold cash, guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), term deposits, mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETF), and publicly trade securities (stocks) at financial institutions.

Where should you invest your savings?

You should decide on your best tax strategy for dividing your investments among TFSA, RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) and RESPs (Registered Education Savings Plans). You’ll need to weigh these advantages against the benefits of other tax-assisted savings plans such as RRSPs and RESPs and other financial priorities such as paying down your mortgage.

Generally, if you have enough resources, you should invest in all the relevant plans. Though TFSA savings are initially limited, as contribution room increases, a TFSA may become a much more significant supplement to your RRSP.

Helpful savings scenarios:

RRSPs versus TFSAs

A TFSA is like a mirror image of an RRSP: RRSP contributions are tax-deductible, but the contributions and investment earnings are taxed when you withdraw them. TFSA contributions are not tax-deductible, but withdrawals of contributions and investment income are tax-free.

As such, your best tax strategy for dividing your investments between TFSAs and RRSPs may depend on any differences between your current tax bracket and the one you expect to be in when you start withdrawing funds from your RRSP.

If you expect your future income to fall into the same tax bracket as your current income, the tax benefits of a TFSA and an RRSP will be similar. That is, the value of the tax deduction for an RRSP contribution will generally equal the value of withdrawing funds tax-free from a TFSA.

If you expect your future income to fall into a lower tax bracket than your current income, an RRSP investment can provide a tax advantage because the tax deduction you get today will be more than the tax you will pay when you withdraw the money from your RRSP.

If your income falls into a lower tax bracket now but you expect it to be higher in the future, a TFSA offers a greater tax benefit because you would pay a higher tax rate on RRSP withdrawals than you will pay today on the income you contribute to the TFSA.

TFSAs for seniors

Unlike an RRSP, which must be wound up when you reach age 71, you can maintain your TFSA for your entire lifetime and so your TFSA should be integrated with your retirement income plan.

RESPs and TFSAs

If you’re saving for your child’s education, keep in mind that, unlike a TFSA, a RESP offers an annual guaranteed rate of return of $500 (20% on $2,500 annual contributions) via the federal government’s Canada Education Savings

Once your children turn 18, you may want to consider giving them funds to invest in their own TFSAs to help finance their post-secondary education or other expenses.

TFSA versus mortgage paydown

If you’re considering whether to invest in a TFSA or pay down your mortgage, once you’ve taken all the relevant factors into account, it probably makes sense in most cases to reduce your non-deductible mortgage interest as soon as possible.

Additional TFSA resources

Government of Canada – The Tax – Free Savings Account

TD TFSA Calculator

ROYAL Bank TFSA Calculator

What is a Balance Sheet?

what is a balance sheet

What is a Balance Sheet?

Balance sheets are one of the primary financial statements used to measure a company’s financial position. It summarizes the company’s assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity at a specific date, and it is used to calculate the net worth of the business. Creating and keeping your balance sheet up to date will allow you to have a better handle on your company’s finances. 

Understanding your company’s balance sheet is vital to ensuring it has a strong financial position.

Typically, when assets are greater than liabilities, this represents a strong financial position. But when liabilities are greater than assets, this can represent a weak financial position and a company with lower value.

Having an accurate balance sheet can help you assess the company’s strengths and weaknesses and develop appropriate strategies moving forward. Balance sheets can help you identify trends and are commonly used for bank loans and selling your small business.

There are two other financial statements that are connected to the balance sheet:

  • An income statement reports revenue, expenses, and net income for a specific period. The net income balance in the income statement increases an owner’s equity in the balance sheet.
  • A cash flow statement lists the cash inflows and outflows for a month or year, and the ending cash balance is the same dollar amount reported in the balance sheet. If you create a July cash flow statement, for example, the July 31st cash balance in the cash flow statement equals the cash balance in the July 31st balance sheet.

Assets

Assets include all items of cash and property held by your company. Usually, assets on the balance sheet are divided into two categories: current assets and non-current assets.

Examples of assets include:

  • Cash, such as money in petty cash, deposits in checking and savings accounts, and any short-term investments that can readily be converted into cash.
  • Marketable securities, including stocks, bonds, and other securities held for investment that are readily tradable.
  • Accounts receivable (A/R) owed to your company by a customer or client that is expected to be paid within a year.
  • Inventory, including raw materials, works in progress, and finished goods produced or acquired for sale to customers in the normal course of business. Businesses may have an obsolescence reserve that reduces the inventory asset on the balance sheet.
  • Pre-paid expenses, such as amounts for insurance coverage, property taxes or other expenses that you expect to use or apply within one year.

Non-current assets include:

  • Property, such as equipment and machinery, buildings and land, and furniture and fixtures. Accumulated Depreciation
  • Intangible property, including copyrights, patents, and trademarks, as well as goodwill.
  • Other Non-current assets

Liabilities

Liabilities are debts or other obligations of the company that could have a negative effect on its net worth. There are two basic categories of liabilities: current liabilities and long-term (fixed) liabilities.

Current liabilities, which are liabilities reasonably expected to come due within a year, include:

  • Accounts payable (AP) owed to suppliers and vendors for goods or services bought by the company.
  • Notes Payable
  • Accrued expenses incurred by your business without any invoice, such as wages, employee benefits (e.g., medical insurance, retirement plan contributions), and profession fees
  • Short-term borrowing, which includes company credit card bills and lines of credit.
  • Payroll Payable
  • Sales Tax Payable
  • Income Tax Payable
  • Short-term loans payable
  • Unearned revenue from a product or service that has yet to be delivered or performed.

Long-term (fixed) liabilities include:

  • Mortgages taken out to buy or build the company’s facilities (e.g., buildings, factories, etc.)
  • Bank loan for company vehicles
  • Bank loan for equipment purchases
  • Loans from the shareholders

Owners’ Equity

This portion of the balance sheet represents the value of your owner’s interest in the company.  Subtracting the liabilities from the assets gives you the value of your equity.

Owners’ equity breaks down into four basic categories:

  • Common shares
  • Profit or Loss for the current year
  • Dividends distributed to the owners
  • Retained revenue, or the earnings of the business that are kept in the company rather than being distributed to the individual owners

If you have positive equity, your assets exceed your liabilities. If your equity is negative, there are more liabilities than assets, and the company could be in trouble.

Balance Sheet Formula

Those three components are connected by the balance sheet formula:

Assets = Liabilities + Owners’ Equity
Or
Owners’ Equity = Assets – Liabilities

The formula is used to create the financial statements, including the balance sheet and will give you an accurate snapshot of your company’s financial health.

How to Create a Balance Sheet

To create a balance sheet manually, use two columns for entries of the items discussed earlier. The left column is for listing your assets, with a total of assets at the end of the column. The right column is for listing liabilities, which you total and add to the owners’ equity. When the sum of liabilities and owners’ equity is totaled, the amount should be equal to the total amount of assets in the left column.

For example, say you run a small business. Your current assets might include $2,000 cash in the bank plus $500 in accounts receivable for an unpaid invoice and $3,000 worth of inventory (raw materials, packaging material and finished product). Your fixed assets might include furniture and fixation worth $500, and $7,000 in equipment, and $1,000 for your computers and point-of-sale equipment. The numbers on the asset side of your balance sheet look like this:

($2,000 + 500 + 3,000) + ($500 + 7,000 + 1,000) = $14,000

The right side of your balance sheet shows your liabilities. Your current liabilities might include $1,000 in accounts payable for raw material, packaging material and finished goods, $500 for sales tax, and $1,500 owed in salary and wages to your employees. Your long-term liabilities might include $4,000 outstanding for a business loan you took to start the company. The numbers on the liabilities side of your balance sheet look like this:
($1,000 + 500 + 1,500) + 4,000 = $7,000

When you subtract your liabilities from your assets ($14,000 – 7,000), the remainder ($7,000) is your owners’ equity.

How to Create a Complete Cash Flow Projection

cash flow projections

How to Create a Complete Cash Flow Projection

It’s essential to have sufficient cash in your account, since you must pay your employees, handle business expenses, keep money in cash registers, and pay unexpected bills. Working capital is critical for small businesses, and cash flow projections can be an important tool for ensuring you always have enough cash on hand.

Time Period for Cash Flow Projections

It’s best to start by identifying the period you want to cover. You can make cash flow projections for a month, a quarter, a year, or longer. If you want to create projections for a long-time span, such as a year, consider creating projections for smaller chunks of time within that large period. This allows you to refine your projections as time passes, helping to make your overall projection more accurate.

Outgoing Expenses

Before making cash flow projections, thoroughly review the cash that’s flowing out of your business. You can start by making a note of regular expenses, such as rent, utilities, loan repayments, and similar costs. Then, estimate fluctuating expenses, such as payroll and the cost of goods sold.

You can adjust these projections later when you know the exact expenses you’ve incurred. Remember to note one-time expenses you anticipate making over the period, such as equity payments or buying an asset.

Cash Inflows

After outlining all the outgoing expenses, it’s time to list all the cash that flows into your business. Consider starting with guaranteed inflows, such as grants, royalties, GST rebates, and tax refunds. If you receive rent or subscription fees, you should also include those payments. Estimate how much sales revenue you expect to receive.

Setting Up the Cash Flow Projection

Ideally, you should create a cash flow statement that is like a cheque register. For example, if you’re making a cash flow statement for a month-long period, you should start with the projected opening account balance on the first of the month, note each outgoing or incoming expense on the day it is likely to occur, and track how this affects your balance over time.

Imagine you start with $2,000 cash on hand at the beginning of the month. You anticipate $3,000 in guaranteed income to arrive on the 3rd day of the month. This increases your projected cash balance to $5,000. On the 6th, you must pay $2,000 in bills, lowering your cash on hand to $3,000.

You can do this in Excel with four columns:

  • Incoming cash
  • Outgoing cash
  • Balance
  • Description of transaction

Alternatively, you may use a spreadsheet, or you can make the process easier with QuickBooks Online Cash Flow Planner. Click the following link for a demo.

Adjusting Projected Numbers

At the end of the period, it’s a good idea to look over your cash flow projection and adjust based on actual sales and expenses. Then, use the adjusted cash flow statement when making future cash flow statements. These accounting statements help you identify times when cash is likely to be short so you can make plans to avoid or remedy those situations.

Forecast Your Small Business’s Cash Flow

It’s important to forecast your expected sales. If your business is young, you may need to look at industry averages and competitors’ figures. The Canada Census Program can also help you get information about customers that fit your target market to help you make educated estimates.

Once you establish your business, you can generally rely on past figures to project future sales, but keep in mind industry trends and competitor activities that can impact sales year over year.

Payment Terms and Cash Flow Delays

While you can record a sale when you make it, it’s not always appropriate to count that as incoming cash in the same period. Consider any customers who use installment plans or have other payment terms that can cause delays. You should also account for other parts of the billing process that can slow things down.

Some are predictable, such as the time it takes your billing department to invoice the customer, but others are less so, such as customers who are late on their payments. Calculating your historic average days sales outstanding, or the average time it takes you to get paid, can help you make more realistic estimates about when to expect incoming cash from sales.

Fixed Expenses

Fixed expenses are easier to estimate, as they are relatively unchanging. These expenses can include rents and mortgages, fixed salaries, and internet and phone bills. Make sure you don’t overlook any variable components to these expenses. Your internet provider may charge a flat monthly rate, but data usage plans may cost you more.

Similarly, under Canadian laws, even salaried employees may qualify for overtime, and this counts as a variable expense. Don’t include any fixed expenses that do not involve any outlays of cash, such as depreciation or amortization.

Variable Expense

Variable expenses are a little trickier to predict, as they can change based on the volume of sales and the amount of labour and inventory you need to meet that volume. Labour costs, such as commissions and wages, and costs of goods sold, including parts, shipping, and utilities, can vary based on your sales. Remember to account for income taxes, too.

Make sure you stay on top of the Canadian Revenue Agency’s latest filing rules for businesses and include your estimated taxes in your variable costs.

Calculating Cash Flow

Once you account for all your various revenues and expenses, calculating the net projected cash flow is a simple matter of subtracting cash outflows from inflows. Getting a handle on all the various components that feed into this formula can be tricky.

There are many apps and templates you can use to streamline the process, including QuickBooks’s Online Cash Flow Planner – so you don’t have to be an accounting expert to get a fix on your incoming and outgoing cash. Just input or upload your entries for each account, and let the software do the heavy lifting.

Whatever resources you use, forecasting cash flow gives you the tools you need for better business planning, so you can make smart investments while still having cash on hand when you need it. Improve your cash flow with invoices, payments, and expense tracking.

10 Financial Tips You Need to Know to Run a Successful E-commerce Business

ecommerce

To run a Successful E-commerce Business you need:

1. Setup your e-commerce business on cloud accounting software system

Cloud accounting software enables your e-commerce business to always have your data and software accessible online and from any device. 

Here’s a short checklist of things to consider when getting started with cloud accounting software. 

  • Is the software easy to use? 
  • Does it handle sales tax?
  • Will it give you the necessary reports to assist you in managing your business?
  • Does it sync with your business bank account, credit cards, etc.? 
  • Does it integrate with third party apps? 
  • Is it fully secure and encrypted?
  • Does it handle inventory management?

2. Stay on top your cash flows

Your e-commerce business will live or die based on how you manage your cash flow.

You need to know that your business is making money. And the easiest way to see this is to watch your cash flow. You need to watch the money coming in and going out every week. You also need to forecast your cash flows for next month, 3 months and 6 months.

The Cash Flow Statement summarizes the amount of cash (and cash equivalents) coming into and going out of the business. It also measures how well cash is being generated to pay debts and cover operating expenses. There are three types of cash activities that are considered, which include: operating, investing, and financing activities. 

Operating Activities: This looks at where the money that is being generated from the company’s products and/or services is being spent and used. This can include income tax payments, rent payments, salaries, or any other operating expenses. 

Investment Activities: This looks at how much money has been made or spent based on investments. This includes purchasing physical assets and investing or selling securities. 

Financing Activities: This is the net amount of funding a company generates within a given time. Issuing and repaying equity and debt and paying dividends are all considered financing activities. 

3. Managing inventory

E-commerce business inventory is the product purchased to sell. Inventory is valued at cost.

Decide what minimum volume of inventory you want to have on hand, and make sure you are tracking inventory so you can reorder before you pass this point. The last thing you want is to run out of inventory and lose sales. That said, shrinkage can happen to anyone. Therefore, it’s important to physically count inventory regularly.

4. Understand your cost of goods sold

Your e-commerce business cost of goods sold is the expenses directly tied to the products you sold. These costs are directly tied to sales volume.

The retail price of an item minus the cost of that item is your gross margin.

5. Know your fixed expenses

Any expenses that don’t increase when you sell more or decrease when you sell less are called ‘fixed expenses’ or ‘overhead expenses’. For example, if you pay for insurance, property tax and rent, these fixed costs. These costs won’t change based your sales volume. These costs aren’t part of the cost of goods sold and aren’t factored into your gross margin. These fixed expenses do affect your profit and your cash flow.

6. Plan by knowing your break-even point for an e-commerce business

A business’s break-even point is the stage at which revenues equal costs. Once you determine that number, you should take a hard look at all your costs — from rent to labour to materials — as well as your pricing structure.

Then ask yourself these questions: Are your prices too low or your costs too high to reach your break-even point in a reasonable amount of time? Is your e-commerce business sustainable?

Calculating your break-even point

There are a few basic formulas for determining a business’s break-even point. One is based on the number of units of product sold and the other is based on points on sales in Canadian dollars.

  • To calculate a break-even point based on units: Divide fixed costs by the revenue per unit minus the variable cost per unit. The fixed costs are those that do not change no matter how many units are sold. The revenue is the price for which you’re selling the product minus the variable costs, like labour and materials.

Break-Even Point (Units) = Fixed Costs ÷ (Revenue per Unit – Variable Cost per Unit)

  • When determining a break-even point based on sales in Canadian dollars: Divide the fixed costs by the gross margin. The gross margin is determined by subtracting the variable costs from the price of a product. This amount is then used to cover the fixed costs.

Break-Even Point (sales CAD) = Fixed Costs ÷ Gross Margin

Gross Margin = Price of Product – Variable Costs

7. Review your e-commerce business profit and loss statement at least monthly

A profit and loss statement are extremely important for a business for making decisions. It gives a clear picture of whether the company’s operations are resulting in a profit or a loss after considering all the related expenditures. Therefore, the company can take corrective actions on a timely basis if there is a need.

The Profit and Loss Statement is a report that shows how much revenue was earned over a period and shows the expenses that were incurred while earning that revenue. Income statements break these numbers down on a granular level and show the final net profit. This can be used to demonstrate how profitable your business is, which is what a bank will want to see from you to help prove that your business is viable and profitable. 

8. Why it is important to set up the correct sales tax rates for your e-commerce business customers

Your customers are charged different sales tax depending on where the product is delivered.

9. Plan for your tax payments

By planning for your e-commerce business income tax, sales taxes, and payroll taxes you avoid late payment Canada Revenue Agency penalties and interest.

10. Understanding your balance sheet

The Balance Sheet provides a statement of the company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. They give you a snapshot of what your company owns (assets), what your company owes (liabilities), and what your company’s net worth is, which is what would be left over if your company sold all its assets and paid off all its liabilities. 

A balance sheet is calculated based on this equation:

Assets = Liabilities + Shareholder Equity 

For your balance sheet to balance, the combined value of your liabilities and equity must be equal to your assets. This will give you a full picture of your company’s financial health, otherwise known as the total value of the business. It’s important for these to balance because the total value of the business’s assets will have all been funded through the Liabilities and Equity. 

10 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs to Have Workflows (Business Processes) to Ensure You Have a Successful Business

small business workflow

Why Good Workflows in a Small Business Ensure its Success

What is workflow?

A workflow is an expression, which means what it says: the “mapping out flow of work”.

This term is used to name a set of tools or methods that serve to automate and make your small business processes highly efficient.

Thus, tasks, information, data, and the activities performed by employees will follow an appropriate flow so that a business achieves its expected results.

1- Involvement of employees (Increased collaboration and teamwork)

It is important to have the involvement of team members in designing a small business workflow. They perform the daily tasks, so they know where to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the business processes.

When training new team members, it is very important to have a small business workflow. They reduce human errors.

2- Structure of the processes

In a more traditional company, you tend to observe more hierarchical and vertical based structures.

They base the division of tasks on the different departments, positions, and functions of each one of the employees.

And workflow tools should thoroughly consider this factor.

A small business that adopts workflow tools aligns them with the business processes it carries out and to the activities and knowledge of the team members involved.

In this way, teams will have their responsibilities established in advance.

In fact, the parties involved will act more harmoniously, because everyone knows exactly what the business expects of them, as well as their colleagues.

The members will have their responsibilities aligned according to the completion of each process and with the resources available in the business.

With this, you also organize members’ skills by considering the goals the business wants to achieve.

When structuring a business by highlighting the work that you need to do, it is much easier to find a combination of the skills of the members and the workflow.

The result?

Activities can flow better, with greater efficiency and integration.

3- Establishment of responsibilities

It is important to clearly define responsibilities for all tasks.

Within a traditional small business, you usually define member’s responsibilities in each process along the hierarchical layers of existing positions.

This path continues to obey the vertical order of functions and positions.

It is possible to see that this option usually involves a certain lack of efficiency. It is also evident that there are unnecessary costs, generated by the excess of bureaucracy, immobility, and slowness.

Therefore, it is very important to “wipe out” some of these excessive steps, defining the functions of members more efficiently in each workflow process.

Thus, with small business workflow tools, process owners can define the guidelines for designating the different responsibilities among the team. It is one of the most important benefits of a workflow.

4- Breaking barriers

In less structured small businesses, cases in which one department does not share data and information to others are very frequent.

This failure can be very damaging and even disrupt the smooth running of the organization.

And this usually occurs due to managers failing to set limits. This can become one of the most common problems that hinder proper company performance.

Therefore, to be able to detect and meet customer needs, you must have access to as much information as possible. This information from inside the company will help you design the processes that add value.

Moreover, the processes will involve, besides different sectors of the business, external subjects such as customers and suppliers.

And why is small business workflow important in this context?

Because some of its tools operate precisely through well-defined limits.

Consequently, each person will know what they can (and should) share.

Your company processes will gain better results when it comes to meeting the needs of your market.

5- Share knowledge

As mentioned in the previous point, sharing necessary data can be truly decisive for any small business.

In less automated models, the concentration of information in the hands of those team members with higher positions or who wish to retain power is very common.

This is a common mistake that can undermine the construction and execution of effective strategies.

When considering structuring the workflow of your small business through tools, this is one of the factors that will undergo major changes.

Thus, the information will be properly documented and shared with those who need it.

There is much more transparency within the company and in its processes.

6- Measure performance

A very important step for every small business is to be able to monitor and measure performance in every process.

Thus, in this way you can recognize correctness and detect faults that you need to improve.

This leads to reducing waste and operating costs, hence increasing profitability of the business.

7- Implement improvements

And after monitoring and measuring performance, it is usually time to put into practice the detected improvement opportunities.

Poorly structured models segment this stage into several improvement projects aimed at solving isolated problems. They also use Quality concepts.

This promotes continuous process improvement.

8- Enhancing the customer experience

Small Business Workflows (Business Processes) ensure delivery of products, services and other outputs that meet the needs of internal and external customers. This leads to a growth in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

9- Reliable data and information

Access to reliable data and information in real time is important. This leads to more transparency in the use of information. This data and information support the small business workflow (business processes).

10- Creation of strategies

Why is small business workflow important for building strategies in a company?

Because through their business processes, team members can understand the reality of their business and their processes more broadly.

So, the workflow improvement tools are also able to help put strategies in place.

It creates a kind of circular relationship.

That is, while these workflows help build more effective strategies, they also influence the achievement of expected results and assist in decision making.