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The need for communication for cloud based bookkeeping.

Communication is a fundamental need when moving to a cloud-based bookkeeping system.  The advantages provided through such programs as Receipt Bank, Quickbooks Online, Telpay, and other such programs can be lost so easily simply by a failure to communicate.  The ability for two parties to sucessfully work remotely is dependent on it.  Email is likely the most common and in many ways the best to establish and maintain effective, traceable, and recordable messaging.  There are also numerous ways to secure email so that even sensitive messages can be safely exchanged.

For example, Telpay is used for direct electronic payments by business to their employees and suppliers.  It is fast, cheap, and reliable as long as the process for its use is followed.  Telpay uses email to send communications back and forth from users to Telpay and from Telpay to users to make sure that the integrity of the payment process is not compromised.  At one stage in the process, a formal request for the approval of the payment by the business owner or designate is sent.  That email demands a response to keep the process moving forward.  As payments are time-sensitive in terms of when the payment is intended to be received by employees or suppliers, and there are third parties – banks – involved in the movement of funds, delays in the approval mean that payments can be late.  That of course is a major upset to employees and can create friction between business and suppliers.  No one like to be paid late.

Similarly, programs like Receipt Bank or Hubdocs depend on a clear flow of communication between the bookkeeper who oversees the flow of data coming in for review and publishing to the bookkeeping program, and the people who are submitting the various documents.  Many items may arrive in the document reading program that are not clear, have insufficient information available, or have payment methods that are not recognised by the program.  This will generally stop the publishing of these items to their proper place in the bookkeeping records and require the bookkeeper to request clarification or more information.  Delays in responding to such request can frustrate the efforts by the bookkeeper to keep the accounts up to date, and that may have costly results.

There are lots of ways to improve business communications, and lots of source of information on how to go about it.  Most common email programs offer tools and techniques to manage and control your email by highlighting more important message, categorising them, and speeding up your responses.  Setting specific times in your work day to view and respond to emails saves you from the constant distractions of incoming mail, and sharing these timeframes with those with whom you most commonly communicate will help them to time their own messaging practices – and when to expect answers.

2019 Personal tax checklist

Here is a checklist for you to use to figure out what documents you need to send to complete your 2019 T1 tax return.  Note that if you have already authorised Insight Analysis to represent you, we will have access to many of the most common slips like T4, T5, RRSP contributions, and others that are filed with the CRA.  If you have recently made a contribution to a RRSP that receipt does not have to be filed by the issuer until April 15, so we may need you to provide a copy of that receipt if you want your tax return completed earlier.  We can also provide you with information on your RRSP and TFSA contribution room prior to February 29 (the deadline for RRSP contributions for 2019).

 

2019 Tax checklist

The tax assessment process

The process of assessing your income tax return by CRA needs a little explanation.  Insight is required to file returns electronically due to the number we prepare. When your return is filed electronically, only a summary is sent to CRA and none of the documents that you provide for the return preparation are sent with it.  Your T4, T5, T4A, RRSP and other slips are all filed with the CRA by your employer, bank, or other organisations like pension managers and such.  The CRA compare their files to the electronic return in the first instance to verify that the two are in agreement.  CRA basically believes in you for the other amounts, but sometimes they will send a letter to you asking you to send them copies of such things as donation receipts, medical expense receipts, union dues or proof of Northern Residence for that deduction.  Usually that will occur when there is a big change in one of those from year to year, or sometimes it is as a result of a decision by the CRA to have a look at certain things for a given year.  These letters will normally come later in the year following the tax filing year when this file processing is done.  If you do not provide the documents requested CRA will disallow the claim and send you a re-assessment – along with a bill!

If you have authorised Insight as your representative (by filling out and signing form 1013) we can send the requested documents to CRA on-line, saving you time and bother.  Insight stores all the documents you provide in the preparation stage to an electronic file, which allows us to get this job done for you quickly once we have received a copy of the request letter.  If you haven’t given us the documents, we will ask you to provide the ones that are necessary.  If you don’t tell us about the letter… see paragraph one!

In the past year, Canada Revenue has been working to allow more and more access to your tax return information and Notices of Assessment.  You can now choose an option on the T183 form – the one we send to you when your return is ready to be filed electronically –   to have your Notice of Assessment (NOA) made available to Insight almost immediately after your return is filed.  If you choose this option, you will not receive a paper copy of the NOA in the mail and can get it from Insight when you want it or need it.  Less paper is always good.  You can also set up your own email so CRA can tell you that your assessment is available.  In order to see it, you must have set up your own account with the CRA to allow you access to their records.  Go to the CRA site www.canada.ca, then click on the link to My Account for Individuals to find out more.

You can always call us for more information on any of the issues in this message.

Increasing your security

Recently a customer had their credit card hacked when trying to book a reservation at an Air-B&B.  Their credit card was subsequently used for a few transactions that they had no knowledge of, and thankfully their bank noted these odd transactions and suspended the card.  No harm done.

But this made us think a little more seriously about security issues, and in particular how Insight Analysis uses email to communicate with customers.  Sometimes, sensitive data that could be used by less scrupulous sorts of people to steal a person’s identity is sent out by email.  Some email systems are secure, while others are open to various forms of hacking and intrusion.

As a result, Insight Analysis has begun to use a secure encryption service called e-Courier to transmit any data that might be used for identity theft that can create so many problems for its victims.  The only cost to our customers is that they need to spend a little more time to retrieve the reports and documents that we send.  A free account is set up for each recipient of our communication that only requires that you make up (another!) password.  e-Courier is a Canadian company and all of their data servers and IT infrastructure is based in Canada.  No exposure to the whims of foreign governments.

Overall, this will make our services safer and better for our customers.  We also get peace of mind because our customers are protected.  If you have any concerns or questions about e-Courier, please have a look at their website or contact Insight Analysis.

Build the webbing!

It is an exciting time for people as they starting out in a new business venture.  Business plans, marketing strategy, developing your storefront or fitting out the new office area, presenting your products and services to attract the customers that will make your business a success.  Plan early for a system for keeping the books and records which you will need to produce the financial reports that support your business decision-making and show your shareholders and bankers that the path you have chosen is the right one.  Set out to form a strong support webbing for the company on which a sound and well-managed company will grow. (more…)

Business versus personal…

… is a topic that always requires discussion.  A corporation is really an individual entity that is to operate independently of its shareholders and officers, and a sole proprietorship is best treated the same way.

Often a business owner will incur expenses that are related to the business by using personal cash, a personal bank account, or a personal credit card.   (more…)

RRSP information

Registered Retirement Savings Plan’s (RRSP) are still a great way to invest if you are earning higher income now than you will after your retirement.  RRSPs are part of your long-term planning for your life after work, and are of limited value in the short term unless your are anticipating a large change in your income level sooner rather than later.  (more…)

Foreign property reporting

Canadian resident individuals who held certain property outside Canada with a total cost of more than $100,000 CAD at any time during the tax year are subject to certain disclosure requirements to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  Non-compliance with this reporting requirement results in severe penalties. To determine whether you are subject to the reporting rule, please read and consider each of the following points carefully. (more…)

Foreign property reporting

Canadian resident individuals who held certain property outside Canada with a total cost of more than $100,000 CAD at any time during the tax year are subject to certain disclosure requirements to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  Non-compliance with this reporting requirement results in severe penalties. To determine whether you are subject to the reporting rule, please read and consider each of the following points carefully. (more…)