How to Improve Your Inventory Process

A business that involves inventory is exciting to set up, but it also comes with its share of challenges. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by inventory management. Adopting some helpful tools and strategies will make the inventory management process much easier.

Read on for some tips on how to improve your inventory processes.

Use barcodes

It’s typical for a small business to start out with simple price tags because they’re inexpensive and relatively simple. Something quickly stamped out of a pricing gun or even handwritten is common. However, there will come a time when this practice starts to hurt you.

The margin for human error is large, both when making the labels and when ringing customers out. It’s wise to adopt a barcode system for items so that they can be accurately scanned. It also makes counting inventory easier when you can scan each item instead of reading every tag.

Keep things in order

This applies to your physical inventory and your records. A messy storeroom or warehouse is a surefire way to lose track of items. Take the time daily, weekly, and monthly to complete housekeeping tasks that make counting and locating items easy.

However you keep your records, make sure everything is in order there, too. Go over your paper trail regularly to make sure your numbers match what you physically have on hand. Waiting too long can mean your numbers get too far out of whack–and can mean you have more difficulty determining what’s gone wrong.

Additionally, get in the habit of adopting a policy of “first in, first out.” This ensures that what you’re selling is current or fresh. It also allows you to identify what items are flying off the shelves and which are gathering dust.

Fine-tune your software

Choosing inventory management software is a crucial step in getting your business in order. It will also make your life easier.

Today’s inventory management systems are straightforward, easy to set up, and easy to use. Adopting one will quickly pay for itself in the time you save and headaches you avoid.

Once you’ve settled on a system, set it up so that it works well for your business. Most have tools built right in that can be set up to meet your unique needs. Use what you need, forget what you don’t, and get on with more important tasks.

Make access easy

Your stock levels should be easily viewable from your POS system, even if you have multiple warehouses or storefronts. This allows your employees to better serve customers. It also makes it easier for your inventory manager to see what’s needed without having to physically go check.

Invest in your staff

Even if you have the perfect software set up and your stock room is immaculate, you will experience shortfalls if your staff doesn’t know how everything works together. Take the time to ensure everyone understands inventory movements – and how to identify and reconcile discrepancies.

This training makes your job easier and saves your bottom line. It will also save your staff from the frustration of not knowing where or how to find an item. It also means you have what you need on hand, which makes your customers happy and earns money.

Final thoughts

Especially when you’re starting out, it can seem like overkill to adopt robust software and equipment to manage your inventory. However, when you develop these tools early on, you will find your business is easily scalable and that you save a lot of time and money. Get in touch with us or call (888) 857-5750 to learn more about how to improve your inventory processes.


Underused Housing Tax in Canada: What You Need to Know for 2023

Are you a non-resident of Canada who owns vacant or underused housing in the country? If so, you may be subject to a new annual tax called the Underused Housing Tax (UHT). But even if you're a Canadian citizen, resident, or corporation, you may still need to file a UHT return for each of your residential properties. Here's what you need to know about the UHT for 2023.

What is the Underused Housing Tax?

The UHT is a new tax that was introduced in Canada on January 1, 2022. Its aim is to encourage non-residents to make their vacant or underused housing available for rent or sale, which could help alleviate Canada's housing affordability crisis. However, there are situations where Canadian citizens, residents, and corporations will also need to file UHT returns.

Who Needs to File UHT Returns?

If your name or your business's name is on the land title of a residential property in Canada, you may need to file a UHT return. This applies to non-residents as well as Canadians. The UHT return is a 6-page document that asks for information such as the property's location, type, and ownership structure, as well as its occupancy and use during the year.

When Are UHT Returns Due?

UHT returns for the 2022 calendar year were due by April 30, 2023. However, the Canadian government has recently announced that it will waive penalties and interest for late-filed returns and late-paid UHT payable for the 2022 calendar year, provided that the return is filed or the UHT is paid by October 31, 2023.

What Happens If You Don't File a UHT Return?

Failing to file a UHT return on time can result in penalties. For individuals, the penalty for late filing is $5,000, while for corporations, it's $10,000. If you receive a late-filing penalty, you'll also be charged interest on any outstanding UHT payable.

To learn more about how Accountants 2.0 can help streamline your accounting processes and save you time and money, contact us online today or call (888) 857-5750.

The Underused Housing Tax is a new annual tax on the ownership of vacant or underused housing in Canada. While it's primarily aimed at non-residents, Canadians may also be required to file UHT returns for their residential properties. If you're subject to the UHT, it's important to file your return on time to avoid penalties and interest charges.

You can find more information on the Underused Housing Tax in Canada at https://www.taxtips.ca/real-estate/canada-underused-housing-tax.htm and on the official Government of Canada website at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/taxes/excise-taxes-duties-and-levies/underused-housing-tax.html

Remember, if you're subject to the UHT, it's important to file your return on time to avoid penalties and interest charges. And the deadline for filing UHT returns for the 2022 calendar year has been extended to October 31, 2023.


Minimise merchant fees

Tips for Minimizing Your Merchant Fees

These days, nearly every business accepts credit cards. Paying with plastic is the preferred method of many customers worldwide. However, by offering credit card payment methods for your business, you’ll also be required to pay fees for payment processing services. Such fees can quickly add up, especially for small to mid-sized businesses.

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Two laptops and an iPhone on a desk with a person's arms on the desk with hands clasped

Tips For Managing Your Business Finances

When you run your small business, you have a lot on your plate. That makes it tempting to let some tasks slide, especially tasks that are related to finances, which can be challenging and is often outside your preferred skill set or experience.

There are some tips you can follow that keep your finances healthy and enable you to thrive. Here are some financial best practices for managing your business, so you can have the best chances of success.

Pay yourself

As a small business owner you may be tempted to keep putting every cent you earn back into your small business, but it’s important to compensate yourself as well. You need to pay your own bills and be financially sound personally. You’ll also need to have money set aside for your retirement.

Make sure you draw a regular income from your business that you use to take care of your personal expenses.

Have a separate business bank account

Keeping your business and personal finances together makes it more difficult to track how your business is doing, and how you’re doing. When you have separate bank accounts for your business and personal finances you can more easily monitor where and how you’re spending money. Finally, it makes things easier to track for tax purposes.

Have separate accounts for your business and for your personal finances and deposit your salary (see the above tip) into your personal account.

Have a good billing strategy

When you own a business you’ll deal with clients who are slow to pay their bills. Money your clients owe you isn’t accessible to you until it’s in your bank account. Monitor your invoicing system to see which clients pay you on time and who takes their time paying your invoices. If you have too much money tied up in unpaid invoices, you may need to adjust your payment policies.

Consider charging interest on late payments or giving more strict terms. Or you could offer a slight discount if they pay within 10 days of invoicing. See if you can charge a deposit for your goods or services so you still have some cash flow while waiting for clients to pay the remainder.

Remember to invoice immediately and follow up before the payment deadline, so you aren’t stuck waiting for payment. If your clients are large companies with their own payment terms, find out what those are and be mindful of them when billing.

Keep your receipts

Now that there are digital platforms for managing the financial aspects of your business, you don’t have to have physical receipts taking up space in your office. Instead, you can go paperless, and keep all your receipts digitally.

Make sure you know the laws in your area for how long you have to hold onto receipts, pay stubs and other financial documents and keep them for at least that long. If you do still use paper receipts, make sure you have a way of storing them so they’re easy to manage and find when you need them.

Have a budget

Your budget is your plan for success. It shows how much money you expect to bring in and how much you might spend in a given period. You can anticipate times when your profits may be higher and times when you may have a surge in your expenses. Additionally, bankers, investors, and other stakeholders may ask for a budget when they consider financing your business.

Final thoughts

There are other strategies that can help you run your business and set yourself up for financial success. Those include automating your bill payments, having a cash flow statement, and choosing the right business structure for you. But as a place to start, creating a budget, keeping your receipts, adjusting your billing strategy and drawing a salary that you keep in a separate bank account are important first steps.

Want to learn more about how Accountants 2.0 can help you stay on top of your finances? Contact us to learn more.


cyber-attacks

How To Protect Your Passwords From Cyber Attacks

Cyber Attacks Can Be Avoided By Not Reusing Passwords

Last week, the CRA announced they had a series of cyber attacks that comprised usernames and passwords of thousands of accounts. This was a result of “credential stuffing” where the affected accounts login and password were retrieved from another website. So how can we prevent this from happening to ourselves? It’s simple, stop reusing passwords

Now I know what you are thinking, everything these days requires a login and having to remember dozens of passwords is not practical. But there is a simple solution to help with this – use a password management service.

Between SRT Accounting and our partner platforms (Accountants 2.0 and Covid Tax Triage), our accountants and bookeepers, along with the entire staff have to rely on dozens of passwords, that is why we use a password management service that stores website credentials in an encrypted vault. Here you can store all your username and passwords safely and you only have to remember ONE password. You can easily access your passwords using your browser or through their mobile app. There are many other options available for password management services, some that also include a free tier such as Bitwarden, LastPass or Keeper. Mcafee is even going further to develop security for businesses that are moving more towards cloud based applications. Whether you’re using it for personal use or business purposes, you can compare each to see which would work best for your needs.

Once your password manager is set up, I recommend you change the passwords to all your accounts as you add them – there is a chance your existing login credentials have already been compromised so an attack could be on the horizon. Each account should have a unique password with AT LEAST 8 characters and it should have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. Since you are not memorizing these passwords, you don’t have to make them easy to remember. Many password management services include a random password generator that can be used to help create unique and secure passwords for all your accounts.

Taking these simple steps can save you from costly headaches later. Next time you go to create a new account online, make sure it’s for a password management service.