Time to Move from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online (QBO)?

QuickBooks Pro Online Advisor NewmarketI don’t know whether it’s customers getting into the fall routine, and their business mindset from disappointing summer weather, or the marketing Intuit is doing, but I’ve received a lot of inquiries from new and current customers about QuickBooks in the cloud. The question being; is it time to move from QuickBooks desktop to QuickBooks Online (QBO)?

QBO really started to have a presence in Canada about a year ago. It’s been a viable alternative to the desktop version for a number of years in the United States. When it first came out in Canada, I had some real issues with the processing of information and locating or editing it when posted. Payroll wasn’t available at that time either. All of those issues now seem to now be resolved.

If you’re looking to convert from a QuickBooks desktop version you can now upload versions 2012 and newer without losing any payroll information, GST/HST filing history is accurate and the financials from desktop to online are exactly the same. Here are a few more positives that remain the same;

  • You can still print cheques and track expenses
  • Track sales, sales taxes and custom payments
  • Automatically download bank & credit transactions in QBO
  • Manage payroll & payroll taxes
  • Keyboard shortcuts are available

Here are some additional positives when going QBO:

  • Free technical support which is Canadian based
  • Up to 5 people, depending on the version can access the QBO file from anywhere there is an internet connection, at anytime
  • Free access for up to 2 accountants or bookkeepers to work on the books at the same time
  • Automatic updates and upgrades, no action required
  • Apps can sync tasks with your iPhone, iPad and Android
  • Can access online from a PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone allowing you to be very mobile

There are still some negatives both in the start-up and conversion to QBO;

  • Currently you cannot download your information. This means once you’re in the cloud you’re staying there, unless you start a new desktop version from scratch
  • Multi-currency can still be a problem
  • The number of reports available is greatly reduced
  • When uploading to QBO, it’s all or nothing. You can’t set a before or after date for the data.

QuickBooks, whether desktop or online, is marketed to the small – medium sized businesses. For ease of use for accounting and non-accounting individuals, I still think this is the best accounting software available. Its ease of use and the fact that it’s very forgiving if errors are made, make it great software when doing software training. If you’re considering moving to QuickBooks for your business, then I think QBO could be the right tool for your financial needs.

At Intuit, the sales staff are knowledgeable and will help you determine which version best suits your business. QBO monthly billings are less when compared to the desktop annual fees. The QBO online screens are quite different than the desktop version, along with generating reports. If you decide to go with QBO, I suggest looking for a Certified QBO ProAdvisor to make the transition and training as smooth as possible.

We’re here to help and we welcome your feedback. You can reach us by phone or email, leave a comment right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Maureen

Reducing Canadian Payroll Taxes with a Tax Waiver

reducing taxesIt makes a world of difference to all business owners in surrounding themselves with intelligent and professional associates. Carolyn Bogseth is one of my associates that I certainly respect for her intelligence and genuine desire to help those she meets. Whether they are her clients or someone that would like a general investment question answered she will take the time to assist those who contact her. Below is an excerpt from her recent newsletter outlining how reducing payroll taxes can help you. Continue reading

2 Great Accounting Software Deals for Businesses

cost savingsI’ve been in the accounting, tax preparation and training business for a number of years. And over those years, I’ve developed some great relationships with customers and vendors. So it has to be big for me to get excited about sharing these 2 great accounting software deals for businesses.

Whether our businesses are operated by a single person or 20 employees, we all have challenges. For the purpose of this blog I’m referring to great software at a good price and handing over the responsibility of payroll to a 3rd party provider.

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QuickBooks 2014 Payroll Update

quickbooks-basic-payrollI’ve received a number of emails lately regarding problems updating QuickBooks 2014 Payroll. Even though customers are registered for QuickBooks payroll, the automatic updates are not recognizing payroll which expires June 30, 2014. At our office some of the computers updated payroll automatically with an expiry of December 31, 2014 while others didn’t. We are all on the same Windows operating system.

When I contacted QuickBooks their only suggestion was to go to their website and manually download the update. No other explanation was supplied. Make sure your QuickBooks file is closed first! Here is the link for the manual update for various versions.

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3 Rs of Child Care – Rules, Receipts and Regulations

Day Care York RegionHere at The Montana Group, we do the bookkeeping for 2 large Child Care facilities located in York Region. Whenever I get an opportunity to discuss challenges of the industry with the Executive Directors, I’m surprised and impressed by the regulations in place to help protect the children. During tax season I regularly inform clients of the rules pertaining to claiming child care expenses and the receipts that are required. The following is a summary of my discussions regarding the 3 Rs of Child Care:

1) Rules

a) If you are the only person supporting the child, you can claim child care expenses you incurred while the eligible child was living with you
b) If you are in a relationship (marriage or common-law), the person with the lower net income is to claim the child care expenses
c) Employment Insurance is not considered earned income
d) The person with the higher net income can only claim the child care expenses if:

  • The other person attended school and was enrolled in a part-time educational program
  • The other person was confined to a prison or similar institution for a period of at least two weeks

For more exceptions and detailed information, please click here.

2) Receipts that Qualify

a) For caregivers providing child care services – your receipt will need to have the full name of the caregiver, address and social insurance number plus dates of care-giving services and name of child
b) Day nursery schools and daycare centres
c) Educational institutions, for the part of the fees that relate to child care services
d) Day camps and day sports schools where the primary goal of the camp is to care for children
e) Boarding schools, overnight sports schools, or camps where lodging is involved

3) Regulations

Accredited child care is governed in Ontario by the Ministry of Education. This link can help you determine which facility might be the best fit for your child. It not only tells you when the facility was first licensed but also indicates the total capacity, age groups of children it accepts, when it was last inspected and level of compliance, plus much more.

Child care receipts are some of the most commonly requested documents the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants to see after personal tax returns are processed. You’ll need to respond within 30 days from the date of the letter requesting the receipts. In most cases they can be faxed to the auditor. And, they have a significant impact on determining your taxable income. Like all documentation pertaining to your personal tax returns, make sure everything is kept in a secure, dry location for 7 years.

As always, I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me via telephone or email, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Maureen

 

The Montana Group – Offering Bookkeeping Services for Realtors

Newmarket bookkeeping services for realtorsAre you a Real Estate Agent in York Region? In this busy real estate season, do you struggle with filing your own paperwork on time to avoid government penalties? Do you have a solid handle on your financial position? Did you know The Montana Group offers excellent bookkeeping services for Realtors?

In a May 9, 2014 Financial Post article I was surprised to learn that in the first quarter of 2014 the number of people selling real estate reached 108,706 according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. That’s one realtor for every 245 Canadians over the age of 19! The article also mentioned that there were almost as many people selling houses as making them. So what else do I know about Realtors and Numbers?

From my customers that are real estate agents I know that;

  • They are frequently pressed for time,
  • Their own paperwork isn’t as big a concern as their buyers’ and sellers’ paperwork is to them, and
  • To those that haven’t been in the business very long, they hate the surprise of large amounts owing for personal tax and HST.

For some I do their bookkeeping quarterly, then calculate and netfile the HST for the same period. They receive Profit and Loss statements quarterly to review. This helps them keep an eye on their expenses and sometimes alerts them to some expenses that they didn’t submit receipts for, or are missing. It’s easier to request or print an online receipt within two or three months of purchasing, than twelve or fourteen months later. With the quarterly customers there are no surprises at year end. The tax returns are filed on time and the shock factor regarding the amount of HST due is kept to a minimum. For these Realtors, there is peace of mind.

For other real estate agents it’s a once a year project. With this currently being a sellers’ market the good agents are staying extremely busy and their paperwork is the least of their concerns. So if you’re a real estate agent what can you do to make the process smoother for yourself and the person that helps you with your HST calculation and personal tax return?

1) Get in the habit of putting all your receipts in the same location – whether it’s an accordion file folder, or one desktop folder for online purchases or scanned receipts.
2) Separate your receipts by month. When separating you expenses and receipts by month you’ll be able to see if the monthly broker’s report is missing along with any other monthly charges.
3) When you get your bank or charge card statements highlight which ones are for your business and put them in the monthly folder.
4) Set aside time in your schedule to make sure you have the receipts for the expenses you’ve highlighted on the statements
5) Consider a quick training session in software like QuickBooks online or the free version of Wave. This is cloud based software.
6) You can enter receipts for anywhere, anytime. Pull them out of your wallet, glove compartment or purse and enter them while waiting to meet a client. And get a little stamp that you can mark when the receipt is entered. That way there is no confusion when you run across the paperwork again, or get interrupted, and don’t know whether you’ve entered it or not.
7) If you use software it can be shared with whoever does your personal tax return and HST remittance calculation. The availability of sharing makes it easier for everyone.

You want your numbers entered accurately and in a timely manner. There’s nothing worse than working the long hours for those commission cheques then paying penalty and interest because you didn’t file with Canada Revenue Agency on time, or you couldn’t locate the receipts and your taxable income was more than it should have been.

If you’re a real estate agent that has a system that works well for you I would love to hear from you. Or, if you are in need of help or find the process tedious and time consuming, we are here to help! You can reach us by phone or email, leave a comment right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Maureen

Canadian EI (Employment Insurance) and Family Members

Canadian EI rules for familyWith the T4s being processed by CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) and PIER (pensionable and insurable earnings review) reports now being mailed, this is the time of year when CRA questions if there is a conflict with EI and Family Members.

Last week a client of mine received a PIER report requesting that he pay the employee’s EI that wasn’t deducted on the earnings shown on the T4, and the employer portion of the EI. When preparing payroll in the summer of 2013 he didn’t deduct EI from his daughter’s earnings, but the T4 showed insurable earnings and no contribution.  His question to me once he received it was “Why do I have to pay EI on my daughter. She’s only 14 and I don’t have to pay it on my wife?”

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QuickBooks Tips and Shortcuts

QuickBooks-Pro-2014

Whether you’re trying to catch up on your 2013 bookkeeping in preparation for 2013 tax returns, or have decided this is the year to do the bookkeeping correctly, I thought sharing these QuickBooks tips & shortcuts might make your life easier.

 

General Key
Cancel ESC
Display information about QuickBooks F2
Close QuickBooks ALT + F4

 

Activity Key
Account list, display CTRL + A
Delete cheque, invoice, transaction, or item from list CTRL + D
Invoice, create CTRL + I
Use item list, CTRL + U
History of A/R or A/P CTRL + H
Memorized transaction list, display CTRL + T
New invoice, bill, cheque or list item CTRL + N
Memorize transaction or report CTRL + M
QuickReport on transaction or item list CTRL + Q
Go to register or transfer account CTRL + G

 

Moving around a window Key
Previous filed SHIFT + TAB
First item on list or previous month in register CTRL + PAGE UP
Last item on list or next month in register CTRL + PAGE DOWN
Close active window ESC or CTRL + F4
Beginning of current field HOME
Ending of current field END

On the weekend I was cleaning out some files and came across some QuickBooks correspondence. It seems I’ve been a QuickBooks ProAdvisor since August 2000.  I’ve seen some great improvements over the years, and some that I wish they had never touched.  So whether it’s an older version you’re working with or QuickBooks 2014, I’m hoping the tips and shortcuts make your recording of transactions a little easier.

As always, I’d love your feedback. Have questions or need help? I’d love to connect with you. You can reach me by phone or email, leave a comment right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Maureen

Living Gluten Free and Your Canadian Tax Dollars

gluten freeAs we prepare for the avalanche of paperwork and questions regarding 2013 Personal Tax Returns, educating the customer is one of our primary goals.  As the trend to living gluten free continues, it is a lifestyle choice for some and a necessity of life for others.  So how do living gluten free and your Canadian tax dollars possibly affect you or someone you know?

According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), 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.

So what does incremental cost mean? It is the difference between the costs of a GF product compared to a similar non-GF product.  An example would be the purchase of a loaf of bread.  If the price of a GF loaf of bread is $6.79 and a non-GF loaf is $3.59 the incremental cost would be $3.20. ($6.79 – $3.59).

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QuickBooks Check-up Service – Are You Audit Proof?

financial auditAre you doing your own bookkeeping or currently paying someone to do it on your behalf? Have your ever questioned whether everything is done correctly and whether you could survive a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit?  And if it is being done correctly, have you ever wondered if there are possible additional deductions or expenses being missed that could help you reduce your tax liability, whether corporate, personal or HST taxes? Then maybe this is the time to book your QuickBooks Check-up Service.

With more than 25 years combined experience using various QuickBooks versions and editions, plus more than 25 years of preparing personal tax returns, we feel confident that our QuickBooks Check-up Service will help you.  Just like your car maintenance and dental appointments it’s better to do preventative maintenance than emergency service. You can then spend time doing what you do best in your business, and move forward with confidence and peace of mind.

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