Your December To Do List!

Written by Gwyneth James MBA CPA, CGA  Senior Partner

Okay, I know…accounting is the farthest thing from your mind right now, but hear me out. There are just a few items that you need to take care of while you sip your glass of egg nog.

  • If you have a business, don’t forget to take an odometer reading on December 31st.
  • If your business is incorporated, this month is the time to pay yourself a little extra – either as a bonus or as a dividend – to ensure it is added to your T4 or T5 for 2018.
  • As an individual, December is donation time if you want to shore up that tax credit for 2018.
  • Another item that is based on the calendar year is your TFSA contribution, but that rolls over if it’s unused so don’t worry. And you have until March 1st to contribute to your RRSP.
  • If you have non-registered investments that you’d like to realize a gain or loss on, make sure you sell that stock or mutual fund before December 27th.

That’s it! See, not that hard.

Happy Holidays!

Giving Employees Holiday Bonuses

Written by:  Gwyneth James MBA, CPA, CGA

Ho Ho Holiday Bonuses! Don’t give out bonuses to your employees before reading this!

At this time of year, you may be wondering about the rules for giving your employees bonuses and gifts for Christmas or year-end.  The CRA has specific rules about giving employees gifts and bonuses that determine if they are taxable benefits to the employees.  A taxable benefit means that the employer must include the amount in the employee’s income and may have to deduct income tax, CPP or EI on the employee’s paystub.  The type of gift you are giving will determine if it is a taxable benefit to your employee or not and which deductions you will need to withhold.

This is the breakdown of the different types of gifts you can give your employees:

  • Cash Bonuses – If you are giving your employees a cash bonus on their pay cheque this is a taxable benefit to the employee.  You will need to deduct income tax, CPP and EI premiums on their paystub.
  • Gift Cards & Gift Certificates – If you want to give your employee a gift card or a gift certificate instead of cash the CRA still considers this a taxable benefit to the employee. You will need to deduct income tax and CPP on their paystub, but not EI premiums.
  • Non-Cash Gifts – Non-cash gifts can be given to an employee for a special occasion with a total fair market value (not the employer’s cost) of up to $500 annually, including HST, and it is not a taxable benefit to the employee. If the value of the gift or gifts is over $500, any amounts over $500 are a taxable benefit to the employee. An example of a non-cash gift would be tickets to an event for a specific date and time. Items of a trivial value like t-shirts, mugs, coffee or plaques do not have to be included in this calculation.

All of these gifts are deductible as expenses in your business’ bookkeeping.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year!

3 Things You Need To Do When Starting Up A Corporation

Written by:  Suzanne Cody CPA, CGA

As busy as you are when you are just getting things going, it is important to be mindful of Tax issues. There is a great deal of juggling going on with so many puzzle pieces to put together when setting up a newly formed corporation. If you want to avoid starting out on the wrong foot, handling basic tax matters should be in your crosshairs.

You may have started your business to earn a little extra income in addition to your day job like many others have done and now you have a full-time venture on your hands. You have made the decision to incorporate and now need to transfer your existing business to it. You should consider filing an election with the CRA to roll the assets and liabilities into the corporation to avoid unwanted personal tax liabilities. This will require you knowing the value of your current operations.

Get a new business number from the CRA. Upon incorporation you will need to request a business number for the corporation. You will also need to register for a GST account assuming your sales are over $30,000. Depending on whether you plan to have employees and how you plan to compensate yourself, you may also need to register for a payroll account.

You must choose your year-end date within the first twelve months of incorporating. This date does not need to coincide with the anniversary of your incorporation date not with the end of the calendar year. The ideal year-end should be based on your business cycles. For instance, if you are a retail store, you would want to choose a date occurring just after the end of your busy season. This would mean that there would be less inventory to be counted, not as many transactions in progress, and more time for administration work required to close your books.

If you would like further information, please call the office at 705-876-6011 or I can be contacted directly at

Should You Or Shouldn’t You? Equipment Financing Options

Written by:  Suzanne Cody CPA, CGA  Senior Partner

When you need equipment you don’t necessarily have to buy it, you have options. You could lease it instead. Leasing is often a good alternative to applying for a loan. Equipment financing is designed specifically for the purchase of business equipment. There are three main options for financing your acquisition:

  • Purchase Financing
  • Operating Lease
  • Capital Lease

Once you have made the decision to lease, there are leasing options to consider. A question often asked by people is how will financing options affect them. Depending on which option you choose, there can be a great impact to your bottom line. It will affect both your financial statements and your tax return. There are a number of considerations that should affect this decision such as:

  • What financing options are available
  • Which option best suits your cash flow situation
  • Which option best suits your tax situation
  • Which option will be of the lowest overall cost after tax and discount rates are considered
  • What your lending institution’s perception of the effects to your financial statements will be

You might even be able to turn your old equipment into cash by entering into a lease back arrangement.  Remember you should consider the overall needs of your business. Making short-term purchases without long-term planning can be costly and not provide you with the desired or best results.

If you would like further information, please call the office at 705-876-6011 or I can be contacted directly at

Advocacy & Bill 148

Written by:  Gwyneth James MBA CPA, CGA  Senior Partner

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, membership-driven association that advocates on behalf of the Peterborough business community. Members of Chambers across Ontario, including yours truly, loudly and firmly stated their displeasure with one aspect of their government’s Bill 148 which introduced several updates to the Employment Standards Act.

That aspect was the public holiday pay formula – the method used by employers to compensate employees for time off (or worked) on statutory holidays. The new method looked only at the employee’s prior pay period and paid an average of the amount of that paycheque divided by the numbers of days worked in that period. That presented a huge issue for employers of part-time and casual employees because that individual now could receive as much as a full day’s pay for the holiday if they only worked one day in that prior pay period. Payroll costs for some businesses were skyrocketing and that had not been the government’s intention.

Several meetings, conference calls, letters and emails later, the Minister of Labour determined that this part of Bill 148 needed further review. It was announced that the method used to calculate statutory (or public) holiday pay would be rolled back to the old method for the period July 1 to December 31, 2018.

This means that the Victoria Day holiday was calculated using the new method, but Canada Day and subsequent statutory holidays will use the pre-2018 method of an average of pay over the previous four work weeks divided by 20.

Advocacy does work and it is ongoing by business organizations like the Chamber. Whether you add your voice through membership or not, submissions to the Ministry of Labour are encouraged to ensure that when the review period is completed, the method used to pay employees for statutory holidays is fair to all employees and employers.

For more information, please refer to this bulletin posted by the Ministry of Labour:  Click here 

Do You Know Just How Important Financial Ratios Are?

Financial MarginsWritten by; Suzanne Cody CPA, CGA, Senior Partner

Just exactly what are financial ratios? In business, they are a measure of a company’s financial and operating performance. They are used to demonstrate the value of the business. They can be used to compare a business to other businesses in both similar and different industries as well as to analyse a company’s financial standings. They assist in identifying strengths and weaknesses.

There are four main categories of financial ratios:

  • Liquidity
  • Solvency
  • Profitability
  • Efficiency

Liquidity
The most common liquidity ratio is the current ratio, which is the ratio of current assets to current liabilities. This ratio indicates a company’s ability to pay its short-term bills. A ratio of greater than one is usually a minimum because anything less than one means the company has more liabilities than assets. A high ratio indicates more of a safety cushion, which increases flexibility although some of the inventory items and receivable balances may not be easily convertible to cash. Companies can improve the current ratio by paying down debt, converting short-term debt into long-term debt, collecting its receivables faster and buying inventory only when necessary.

Solvency
Solvency ratios indicate financial stability because they measure a company’s debt relative to its assets and equity. A company with too much debt may not have the flexibility to manage its cash flow if interest rates rise or if business conditions deteriorate. The common solvency ratios are debt-to-asset and debt-to-equity. The debt-to-asset ratio is the ratio of total debt to total assets. The debt-to-equity ratio is the ratio of total debt to shareholders’ equity, which is the difference between total assets and total liabilities.

Profitability
Profitability ratios indicate management’s ability to convert sales dollars into profits and cash flow. The common ratios are gross margin, operating margin and net income margin. The gross margin is the ratio of gross profits to sales. The gross profit is equal to sales minus cost of goods sold. The operating margin is the ratio of operating profits to sales and net income margin is the ratio of net income to sales. The operating profit is equal to the gross profit minus operating expenses, while the net income is equal to the operating profit minus interest and taxes. The return-on-asset ratio, which is the ratio of net income to total assets, measures a company’s effectiveness in deploying its assets to generate profits. The return-on-investment ratio, which is the ratio of net income to shareholders’ equity, indicates a company’s ability to generate a return for its owners.

Efficiency
Two common efficiency ratios are inventory turnover and receivables turnover. Inventory turnover is the ratio of cost of goods sold to inventory. A high inventory turnover ratio means that the company is successful in converting its inventory into sales. The receivables turnover ratio is the ratio of credit sales to accounts receivable, which tracks outstanding credit sales. A high accounts receivable turnover means that the company is successful in collecting its outstanding credit balances.

If you would like further information, please call the office at 705-876-6011 or I can be contacted directly at shcody@codyandjames.ca.

Business Owners Register Now!

In partnership with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada’s (CPA Canada) financial literacy program, we are very pleased to be presenting a special clinic to help improve the financial literacy of the Peterborough business community.  We will be hosting a 60-minute session titled Understanding Financial Statements.   

This is a basic session explaining the terms and concepts of financial statements. By taking this session, participants will be able to assess how their business is doing, why a balance sheet is needed, and learn more about their cash flow.

This program is free and open to the public.

Space is limited and registration is required. Please register by Friday January 12, 2018 by email, or by phone 705-876-6011.

Session Details: Understanding Financial Statements

Presented By:  Sheila Thompson, CPA

Where: Canterbury Gardens, 1414 Sherbrooke Street, Peterborough (click here for map)

When: Tuesday January 16, 2018 from 4pm to 5:30pm

For more information: Please contact our office 
info@codyandjames.ca
705-876-6011

We look forward to seeing you there!

1-888-511-2791
info@codyandjames.ca