Minute Books – Why you need them.


Minute Books

When incorporating your company, a crucial step you need to take is setting up a minute book. During the process of incorporating, the registry will not make you set one up. However, as a business owner you are responsible for creating and upkeeping one. Which may seem intimidating, but with the proper information it is not that daunting of a task.

A minute book is comprised of important company documents and information. These include:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Minutes of shareholder/director meetings
  • Annual filings/ Financial Statements
  • By-laws

Remember, you must update the minute books annually and any time you make changes to your company, for example, changes in shareholder information.

As a new business owner, you may not want to take the time to set up a minute book because it costs money or you simply are not aware of how important it is to the company. Some situations where a minute book will be necessary are:

  • If you are trying to sell your company, you will need to produce the minute book to a potential buyer.
  • If you ever need to transfer ownership to another person, the minute book will be necessary to help prove ownership.
  • Banks will require a minute book when you are applying for loans for your company
  • If you are trying to purchase property you will have to produce a minute book to complete the transaction
  • Potential investors may request to see your minute book when deciding if they should invest in your company.
  • If you have a partner, a minute book will keep record of how much is owned by each party and any major decisions made in the companies name. This can protect you if there is ever a dispute between partners or one partner wants to dissolve the partnership.
  • A professional will require an accurate minute book when preparing your tax returns. Without this, they may produce inaccurate returns.
  • Government agencies will request a minute book for information. If you do not have a minute book, they can inflict penalties on your company.

If you do not have a minute book and one of the above situations arises you will need to quickly prepare one. This is not only time consuming to you, but can be quite expensive. In addition, you may miss a document or put inaccurate information into the minute book. This could end up costing your company more than the initial price of setting one up and maintaining it.

If you have any questions or need help with your minute book, feel free to contact On-Core today!

Health Spending Accounts – HSA – What they are and how they save you money.

Health Spending Accounts – HSA – What they are and how they save you money.


We all have medical costs, but for a small business what options do you have to make them business expenses instead of personal expenses and what is the tax benefit?  There are 2 options available to companies to move expenses from personal to business.  Traditional insurance and Health spending accounts.

As a small or large business you can get a health spending account or HSA and cover your own and/ or your employees medical expenses.  The benefits of HSAs are:

  • More services are covered depending on your plan than can be claimed for the personal medical tax deduction.
  • Expense to the company is controlled, it is actual plus a usually small fee.
    • You choose who gets covered and can limit how much each can spend.
    • Everyone pays for everything and is reimbursed which is all handled by the HSA company.
  • Owners can cover 100% of their costs and make them into a business instead of personal expense.
  • Business tax rate is lower than the personal tax rate and the expense is pre-tax
  • Easy for every business to get and gives you the ability as even the smallest company to have benefits
  • Has no shareholder loan implications, though if partners are involved discussions should happen about how much each partner can spend and limits set.
  • Especially beneficial if the owner needs expensive but pre-planned expenses like braces, glasses… and the company has the money to pay for the expenses.

There are also benefits of insurance you should consider:

  • Can cover items like life, short and long term disability.
  • Transfers the risk of large unexpected costs.
  • Insurance costs can be split between employer and employee.
  • Employees understand insurance better and prefer to have items like prescriptions covered upfront and not reimbursed later.

Tax implications (in a very simplified example):

  • If you, as a business owner, need to spend $1000 on medication
  • With a Health spending account –  HSA
    • $1000 becomes a company expense + HSA fees (in this example we will say $80) = $1080 expense to the company.
    • $0 expense to the owner.
    • In Alberta the corporate tax rate is 13% so this expense lowered the business taxes by $140.40
    • HSAs are a non-taxable benefit and therefore have no personal tax effect.
  • With Health insurance
    • The company/ owner (through payroll) pay premiums before the expense
    • Insurance premiums can be between $100 and $250+ a month depending on plan
    • The owner covers the deductible and employees portion as applicable.
    • The owner gets a medical expense tax credit if available and the company gets a business expense that lowers the corporate taxes.
  • Without an HSA or insurance
    • $1000 medication cost is 100% owner.
    •  Total eligible medical expenses must first be reduced by 3% of your net income or $2,237, whichever is less. The tax credit is 15% of the amount remaining.
    • Therefore if this is the first $1000 of medical expenses you get no tax benefit and if you can claim these expenses then you get a $150 personal tax credit.


As a bookkeeper we have access to some of the best plans for our clients – ask us today!!

13 ways to save money on bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is a necessary function for all businesses.

If you are not well organized and do your daily operations correctly, it can be an expensive venture for a business.

To make sure you are getting the most out of your bookkeeping money, here are some time saving tips for you!

  • Always use business bank/credit card accounts for business and personal bank/credit card accounts for personal. Do not mix the purchases or the accounts.
  • If you are cash based, match the receipts to your bank/credit card statements in the order they appear on the statement
  • Sort your receipts by how they were paid (credit card, bank card, cash, etc)
  • Use cash / personal debit cards as little as possible. Make sure you separate out your cash paid receipts in a separate envelope.
  • If you use email transfers, make sure you document where they went to as bank statements do not clearly define that for the bookkeeper.
  • If your bank does not include the cancelled cheques with the bank statement, make sure you are keeping your cheque stubs neat and clear so that it is easy for your bookkeeper to see where the money is going
  • Bring in your paperwork at the minimum every quarter to your bookkeeper. It is less paper for them to sort through, and any questions are earlier in your memory.
  • Clearly identify when you have transactions to clients that you do NOT charge GST on (ie. Government offices, exempt services, etc)
  • Any transfers to/from the shareholder should be documented or clear. We suggest using a “cent” system.  Every time you do a personal transfer, always do it in an uneven cent. For example, if your “cent” number is 77, then you would always do a transfer ending in .77.  If you transferred $1000, then you would transfer $1000.77.  This makes it easier for you to remember is personal monies and makes it easy for your bookkeeper to identify it as well.
  • In many cases, the bookkeeper will assess any deposits to your bank account as a “sale” and assess GST on that money. If you have money going into your account that is NOT a normal sale, make sure you identify it.
  • If you use your personal bank accounts to pay bills, make sure you submit them and clearly identify the business expenses.
  • Let your bookkeeper do your payroll for you. Payroll has many rules around it.  Make sure you are paying employees correctly.  Additionally, most software makes the T4 process quick and easy if the payroll is done by your bookkeeper all year.
  • Do not scrimp on your bookkeeping bills. Driving your bookkeeper to “be cheaper” will only result in errors and missed expense reporting!  You will have a cheaper bookkeeping bill, but you will pay more taxes.  If your bookkeeper misses a $200 expense because they were trying to hurry, this is $28 in taxes more you will have to pay.  Imagine the cost to you in taxes if this was $5000 is missed expenses over the course of a year? This is $700 in additional taxes.     

Minimize taxes by PLANNING your income

Although many in my industry would say tax season is March & April, I would strongly disagree.

Tax season, at least with your bookkeeper, should be November & December.

Tax season is about doing your income tax return and paying the taxes that you owe.  But without planning the income you are taking, that may not always be the best approach. Good bookkeeping will put you in an ultimately position tax situation.

Read more

Writing Your Business Plan: Your Roadmap to Success

business planHave you ever found yourself writing a business plan and thinking, “All I want is the money so I can start this business! Why do I have to go through all of this? Why won’t people just trust that this is a great idea, loan me the money I need to start, and let me get going?”

Writing a business plan can be gruelling: it requires a ton of planning and research and it can seem like a pointless exercise, but writing a business plan will help you determine if you’re ready to start your business and if your business will actually work. It’s basically your roadmap to success. Once your business plan is complete, it covers every aspect of the business from who your customers are and how you plan to attract them, to how you will run your business’ daily operations.

Basically, it’s not just something you throw together to attract financing, it’s your business’ bible.

Once your business plan is complete, it covers every aspect of the business from who your customers are and how you plan to attract them, to how you will run your business’ daily operations. Basically, it’s not just something you throw together to attract financing, it’s your business’ bible.

A typical business plan includes these key components:

  • Executive summary: A brief summary that provides an overview of the entire plan and highlights key aspects. Your summary is where you set the tone and grab your reader’s attention.
  • Company overview: A list of your company details to date (including key actions that have taken place so far).
  • Industry Analysis: An analysis of your market’s current state and growth potential for your business type (for you and your competitors). Customer Analysis: A breakdown of who your target audience is and what they want.
  • Competitive Analysis: An investigation into your direct competitors including potential threats from non-direct competitors or products.
  • Competitive Advantages: An overview of your niche: why customers will choose you over your competition, what you’re doing differently that makes your product or company more attractive than your competitors.
  • Sales and Marketing Plan: A discussion of your marketing strategy that details how you will attract, service, and maintain your customers.
  • Operations Plan: A detailed outline of how you plan to run your business, including the hours you’ll need to work, policies and procedures, and key partners or employees.
  • Financial Plan: A detailed rundown on finances from start-up funds and where they’re coming from to projected revenue and expenses (up to five years).
  • Exit Strategy: An outline of your venture’s end goal: Do you want to build the company up so you can sell it? If so, who do you want to sell it to? When would you sell it? For how much? If you do not plan on selling the business in the end, do you simply want to create a job for yourself, and then when the time comes just sell off the assets you have and wind down the business? What is your succession plan?

Writing a business plan forces you to look closely at what you’re getting yourself into.

While some people use it as an opportunity to sugar coat the idea to secure funding, creating an honest business plan will tell you if your idea is feasible. You’re better off spending the time and money on a business plan and learning it’s not worth it, than investing in a business and watching it go belly up.

Take the time to honestly evaluate your business idea, do the research to properly support your assumptions, seek good advice from experts, and gain a thorough understanding of every aspect of the business to set yourself up for success.

Once you know what it’s going to require, take a step back and make sure the commitment you are about to make fits into your life plan:

  • Will running this business fit in with your family goals?
  • Your health goals?
  • How about your recreational goals?
  • Your volunteer goals?
  • Your spiritual goals?

Getting into business can be a rewarding experience if it’s well thought out, but it can also be a complete disaster with serious repercussions if it’s entered into haphazardly.

To set yourself up for success, ensure that your goals (in business and in life) are in alignment. Staying grounded and positive will give you the energy to run a business while also allowing you to live the life you really want to live.


Dave Sinclair is the President of Business Transitions Plus and focuses on transition planning, and business/ strategic planning. Using an approach that takes care of not only the business but the personal aspects of running a business we move our clients towards a continual strategic planning mindset creating deeper value in their organizations, and helping our clients lead their ideal life.

Are you an Oilfield or Construction Consultant?

In our business, we have many construction and oilfield consultants that we do bookkeeping for. I can honestly say that they tend to be a different type of client with special needs.The equation for each consultant seems to be a familiar one.

  • They work for large companies.
  • They make a decent wage
  • They have few expenses
  • They are busy, work expectations are high
  • The often travel lots
  • They know very little about how to meet their business requirements

In a lot of cases, we see employees moved to a contract position. Their new contract often requires them to incorporate their company, obtain their own WCB, and be responsible for all their own deductions and reporting to CRA.  So, the  former employee will go to a lawyer or to registries, and incorporate a company, fulfilling that portion of the contract.



If this is you, and you haven’t gotten a bookkeeper, then make sure you don’t enter a common path of financial trouble.  You may be starting into a cycle that you aren’t even aware of yet, and won’t be aware of for a full year.  But when it does hit you, it will be swift and the financial implications can be steep. We call it “The 18 Month Corporate Crunch”, and for very good reasons.  Many of your financial obligations will hit you 18-24 months after you incorporate.  And when they begin to come due, the amounts that you will owe to the CRA can be staggering.

So, what are your obligations that you must fullfill from the day you incorporate?

You need to declare your payroll earnings to CRA on a monthly basis.  There are 3 basic (but very different) ways to pay yourself from your company.  If one of the chosen methods includes taking a payroll or salary needs monthly attention from the day you take your money out of the bank account.

Understand how you pay yourself affects your WCB coverage.  How much WCB coverage did you get?  $21,500?  $50,000?  Did you know that unless you pay yourself properly, you don’t actually have the WCB coverage that you thought you did?

GST is due to be paid every 3 months, regardless of if you told CRA you would register “yearly”.

Receipts are important!  We often see clients give us their bank statements at the end of the year, and they didnt’ realize that they also need to provide the receipts.  Often out comes the shoebox of receipts which need to be sorted and entered.  Often a very expensive way to do bookkeeping!

Mixing personal and business is never a good idea. When you open up your new bank account, always remember to never cross the line between using it to pay for you personal expenses. Transfer the money to your personal account.

Income plan at the beginning of the year to save money on taxes at the end of the year.  Very few people outside of our accounting industry understand how complicated it can be to plan how much income you will make.  Income planning is saying “this is how much money I want to make this year” vs the traditional “this is how much money I made”. By planning your income you can save taxes by making the “right” amount of income throughout the year.

The CRA does not accept “lack of time” as an excuse.  If you are being looked at by the CRA, they will not accept “I didnt’ have time” as an excuse, and you will incur all the interest and penalties for not meeting your CRA obligations on time.

Personal Service Business (PSB) companies will pay higher tax rates.  This topic is all the rage right now for consultants.  In a nutshell, this legislation stops people who work in an employee environment (meaning they do not meet all the requirements of being an independant company) from paying the lower corporate tax rates…just because they incorporated.  I do not profess to be a professional on the PSB rules, but I do know that to minimize your risk of paying a much higher tax rate, you need to do all the right things all year long before it comes time to do your tax return.


The first thing it to realize that you MUST meet all your corporate requirements and not knowing them does not escape you from any liability that any other corporate has to fulfill.

Find a good bookkeeper that will look after you and take care of your needs.

Become informed on your obligations.

Put 20% of all your money away. Every dime that you are paid should have 20% allocated to a seperate account that you can access down the road to pay your CRA obligations.

Income plan.  Take the right amount of income in the right tax brackets to minimize your taxes.


We gently walk our clients through the processes, and help them to understand what they need.

We don’t assume that you will know what you need to do.

We will tell you (in real time) what you need to pay and when to pay it.

We give you a 12 month future outlook so that you know what CRA obligations you will have coming up.

We pay your CRA obligations for you so that you are never late, and never pay penalties.

We have many clients, just like you, on our client list.  We are familiar with your needs.

We are your office. We become your office.  We work for you.

Sounds like we are tooting our own horn. And, technically, we are.

5 Secrets to Corporate Gift Giving

Companies typically give gifts to three groups of people: their clients, their employees and prospective large clients. Gifting is a must, so it should not be seen just as an expense but rather as an investment. You invest in building a relationship with clients and you invest in the happiness of your employees.  Gifting can help establish strong client and employee relationships which can lead to client and employee retention and ultimately loyalty.

What are the top 5 elements that make a corporate gift perfect?

  1. Customization – The more you know about your client, the more tailored a gift can be. By sending the client a personalized gift, they will appreciate the thought you have put into it and how much you value their business.
  1. Element of Surprise – Although sending gifts on holidays is a nice gesture, your client is most likely receiving gifts from all other companies they work with. What they don’t expect is a gift from you celebrating your one-year working relationship together, or a Valentine’s Day gift saying how much you appreciate them.  If you would like to stick with normal holidays, maybe surprise your client with not just a gift for them but a gift for them and their family to enjoy together.
  1. Use Your Budget Wisely – Rather than spending money on a lot of items to make your gift look enormous but only contain mediocre items – focus on the quality and get a top of the line small item instead.
  1. Limit Swag – Try to keep the focus of the gift on pleasing the customer. Limit the amount of swag in the gift or the gift will seem more like a walking advertisement for you and not as sincere.
  1. Support Local – Try to support other local companies when sourcing gifts. It makes your gift more unique, memorable and personal.  It also shows your efforts to make a gift wonderful.

Learn more about corporate gift giving and get some ideas from www.speciallymade.org.  You can also call Mei Yeung at 587 988 0866 to learn more.

How To Gain Control Of Your Cash Flow During The Holiday Season


With the holiday season coming up, thousands of small businesses are prepping to sell more than they’ve sold all year. It’s the time when orders are piling up, your staff is working hard to get those shipments moving and everyone’s building up their holiday spirit. This is also a time when small businesses want to celebrate their accomplishments with customers and employees – bonuses, parties and gifts being shared with your top supporters.

The problem: where does the money come from to support all of this? You’ve got a great balance in accounts receivable but that won’t hit your account until next year (GULP!). The line of credit or credit cards are fully extended as working capital was required to ramp up your production to meet orders. So what do you do?

You prepare! A little bit of preparation allows you to make sure everything runs smoothly so here are 4 ways you can ensure that cash flow does turn you into the Grinch during this merry time.

  1. Take advantage of short term lending

You’ve always wanted to land the deal with the big-box retailer, but now you have to deal with their super long payment terms. Instead of letting this waiting period strain your cash flow as you try to fund inventory purchases and pay your employees, find a short term funding solution that will allow you to access your cash immediately. This can be through your savings, credit cards, line of credit, or through solutions such as those offered by fintech firms like FundThrough, that enable small businesses to use their hard-earned cash today and not 30, 60 or 90 days from now. Using an option like this will give you the confidence and peace of mind you need to handle the cash flow hurdle that is coming up and allow you to ensure that your team, inventory and customers are all well taken care of.

  1. Pay/Party Later

Where possible, delay payment. This could mean putting your relationship with your supplier and your negotiation skills to work to get extended payment terms. The later you pay them, the more cash you have on hand today to handle the demand during this fruitful season. Another opportunity to delay an expense is with holiday party itself. As long as you are celebrating your accomplishments with employees/clients and thanking them for all of their support, would it really make that much of a difference to schedule it in the new year?

  1. Put your data to work!

After many-a-holiday-season, you know a lot about your business. That could mean knowing how much you’ll sell of a particular product next month or even when to run your next BOGO sale. So why not use this data to your favor by leveraging existing Business Intelligence technology to make better decisions fast? Tools such as Tableau clearly display pertinent information about your business that will help drive increased profitability and agile responsiveness and reduce risk.

  1. Prepare your team

You and everyone around you knows that you’re willing to work countless hours to make sure your business runs smoothly on all fronts. But unfortunately, no one is capable of doing everything all on their own. For that reason, you need to ensure that everyone on your team is well-equipped and ready to take on this holiday season head-first. Perhaps you can hire a few part-time staff to help you offer great service to your customers and nurture any new potential business opportunities that arise. This will not only allow you to focus on what you do best, but will also make less room for errors and stress.

You should also be taking into consideration the crucial but often overlooked back-end work that needs to get done to make sure that the business operations are running well. Tasks such as expense tracking and cash flow management are core to your business’s operations, so it may be time to hire a professional bookkeeper or accountant to help you keep on top of these. Ensuring that your cash flow is being managed attentively and responsively will rid you of many headaches that can ruin your holiday spirit.

Please share any other tips and tricks for the holiday season below! To learn more about FundThrough and how it can help you with your cash flow, feel free to reach out to Martina, their Customer Success Manager, at mmontero@fundthrough.com. She would be more than happy to chat!

This is a guest post by Martina Montero.

Credit 101

Credit. Essentially, it’s your financial score card that the business world uses to determine whether or not they should lend you money, give you a credit card, rent to you, insure you, or even employ you. Your credit score tells whoever’s inquiring how good you are with your money. This score can range from 300-850 points, and the higher the score, the better.

Sounds like another thing to worry about, right? Not to fear; here are a few simple things that you can do to help your credit.


1. Pay your bills on time. 35% of the score is based on your ability to make payments on your car loans phone bills, lines of credit, etc. in a timely manner. If you make payments later than 90 days after the date due or have a payment go through to collections, your score can be affected.

2. It’s good to have credit available for a long time. The longer you have accounts the better this looks to a potential lender.

3. Don’t owe more than 90% of your available credit. Creditors want to know that you aren’t maxed out all the time.

4. Having different kinds of credit is good. A mix of mortgage, car loan, student loan, and credit card is better than credit cards alone.

5. Try not to have your credit checked if you can help it. Each time your credit is checked, it can take up to 20 points off your score.

I know it can be challenging to be financially wise all the time, so here are some quick tips to ensure your credit is working for you.


1. Only pay the minimum payment. The minimum payment usually covers the interest (depending on your rate) and balance protection insurance you get charged each month. Paying off more than the minimum, whether a little more or a lot, will eventually make a meaningful dent in your debt.

2. Carry a balance. This creates a perpetually overdue account. Not good.

3. Ignore bills completely or live with maxed out credit cards. You guessed it, this is even worse than just making the minimum payment.

4. Apply for loans all over the place trying to get someone to approve you. Chances are, if one lender turns you down, most will. Work at restoring your credit for 6 months, then try again.

5. Apply for bankruptcy or default on your mortgage. Avoid these scenarios at all costs. The word “devastation” comes to mind when I think about what these options will do to your credit. Specifically, it can take anywhere from 3-7 years to have these accounts removed from your credit bureau, which is a long period of purgatory.



If you have any questions about your credit, how to check it, or how it affects your mortgage, leave a comment or send me a message.

Lisa Last – Pro Mortgage Solutions – lisa@promortgagesolutions.ca

Why Your Business Needs a Marketing Communications Plan

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
Sir Winston Churchill

Too often we run into small business owners who are disenchanted with the time and money they are
investing in marketing communications as they don’t believe they are getting the return on investment
they are looking for.

We hear it all of the time: “I put all of this time and effort into a website and get very few qualified leads
from it” or “We put together this fancy brochure and I don’t think anybody even reads it” or “We put
some videos on YouTube and got a Facebook page going but I don’t see our revenues going up.”

And just about like anything in life, if you head out without a plan and just see what happens, you get
exactly that … whatever happens. Adventurous spirits are wonderful for say, backpacking around
Europe, but when it comes to marketing communications, adventurous spirits usually get drawn into
creative fads that seem “snazzy” and “fun”, but often do not result in the revenue expected.

Reaching your customers

In today’s frenzied media world where millions of messages are being sent daily on countless media
channels … websites, social media channels, print publications like brochures, emails, texts, phone calls,
in-person meetings, etc., … getting through with YOUR messages to the RIGHT target audiences
(customers who are likely to buy what you are selling) is tougher than it has ever been.

Formulating a plan

To reach your customers efficiently, maximizing use of your resources takes a calculated assessment of
what your business is, where you want to go with your business, who the audiences are that are likely to
buy, what messages will move those audiences to buy, and on what channels those audiences are likely
to digest your messages … and then act on a possible buy. Sounds like a plan! YES. It is a plan.

Marketing that returns results

By engaging with a marketing communications professional on the above steps, a marketing
communications plan is created that can be measured, and altered if necessary, to maximize return-on-investment.

And … you may be surprised how traditional marketing channels that require little financial investment
may indeed be the best use of your resources.

It’s about identifying who they are, what they want to hear and see, and getting those messages to
them in the way they will receive them.

Instead of wasting thousands of dollars putting the cart before the horse, get some help with a
marketing communications plan first, and strategically and methodically invest the resources you can
afford, to get results.

Email Wade at wade@marcommworks.ca

(By the way, I read somewhere that only 2% of golfers take lessons … yet the vast majority of decently
serious golfers complain ongoing that they never seem to improve. Hmmmm…)