This post is sponsored by CIBC. All views and opinions expressed represent my own.
Want to know how to save a ton of time dealing with your business finances? Scroll below to check out the perks that any CIBC business banking client can take advantage of for free with their new CIBC SmartBanking for Business platform!
One thing I never expected was that one day I would quit my corporate job to run my own business. Another thing I never expected was that I’d eventually give presentations and answer emails about how you should run your business too!
In case you don’t know my background, I never went to business school. Heck, I never even took a business class in university. I have a Fine Arts degree in film production. So, when I crossed that stage with my diploma in hand, I knew how to organize a film shoot but had zero experience with accounting, cash flow or sales.
The good news is that when it comes to running a successful business, everything is learnable. I started learning how to properly set up systems and be my own accountant that first year as a full-time business owner in 2017 just by reading articles on the web. Now that I’m 3 years into my business, I probably spend less than a few hours per month on my business finances, leaving me more time to actually grow my business.
5 Things You Should Do as a New Small Business Owner
So, where should you start? This is a common question I get asked by people who are new small business owners. Since I’ve been in the game for a few years and feel like I’ve got a pretty seamless system set up, here are a few of my tips to help you.
1. Know Your Taxes
As a sole proprietor, it’s on you to make sure you are setting money aside to pay your income taxes, CPP and EI (if you’ve enrolled in the EI program).
Don’t forget about registering for a GST/HST number and collecting/remitting it once you’ve reached $30,000 in business income. For more info on all of these things, check out one of my most popular blog posts on Self-Employed Taxes in Canada.
2. Invest in Accounting Software
Spreadsheets alone will not cut it. Believe me, I tried! I thought I was being smart by saving money and just using Excel to track my cash flow, invoices and business expenses. But in the end, going that route cost me countless hours and headaches.
Once I learned my lesson, I’ve been happily using accounting software the past 3 years with no regrets. Plus, the cost of the accounting software can be claimed as a business expense!
3. Keep Your Receipts Somewhere Safe
I’ve got a special shoebox that I put all my receipts into. But I don’t just let them pile up until the end of the year. At the start of each new month, I go through all of the previous month’s receipts, take photos of them, and import them into my accounting software.
It’s not that time consuming, as long as you keep on top of your receipts and schedule to do this regularly. The benefit to doing this is when it is time to compile all your documents to file your taxes, it’ll take you maybe an hour! That’s why I have no worries every tax season, because I prepare for it throughout the year.
4. Have a Separate Bank Account for Your Business
If you’re a sole proprietor operating under your own name, then you don’t need to open a business bank account. You can just open a new chequing account, or simply just have a specific savings account for your business finances within your personal banking set up. If you operate under a different name, then you will need a business bank account. That’s what I had to do. My business is under Jessica Moorhouse, but my legal and married name is actually Jessica Bowman. So, in order to cash cheques under Jessica Moorhouse, I needed to set up a business bank account.
No matter what category you fall into, it’s so important to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. Otherwise, it may be hard to keep track of revenue and payments, and you’ll be so much more organized for keeping things separate.
5. Get Your Business Apps to Talk to Each Other
The best way to save time with your business finances is to see if there’s a way to integrate your business apps to communicate with each other. This may sound like a big mountain to climb, but if you have your business bank account with CIBC, it’s now something free you can opt into!
CIBC SmartBanking for Business
If you’re like me and run your sole proprietorship under a different name than your personal name, then you will need to get a business bank account. All the big banks offer them, and in my view they are all pretty comparable in terms of fees (but of course, do your own research to see which one is right for you).
That being said, if you decide to go with CIBC, they just launched their CIBC SmartBanking for Business Platform which could be a big game-changer for you.
Essentially, CIBC SmartBanking for Business combines powerful banking tools with information securely imported from accounting software like QuickBooks® Online and Xero, as well as Ceridian Powerpay Plus payroll services.
In other words, if you bank with CIBC and use Quickbooks Online or Xero as your accounting software, and Ceridian Powerpay Plus for your payroll, you’ll be able to connect all of them through their SmartBanking for Business platform to get a full view of your business’s cash flow, payroll, payables and receivables and more in one place.
Other Benefits of CIBC SmartBanking for Business
Here are some other benefits you can take advantage of too:
- Make cross-currency transfers between your Canadian and U.S. dollar accounts.
- Get a discount on your annual subscriptions to Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium
- Promote your business at a special discount rate with AdPerks
- Receive special pricing on amazing employee benefits with WorkPerks
How do you organize your business finances? What’s your workflow or what accounting software do you use? Share in the comments!