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4 Pro-bookkeeping tips for Vancouver’s remote workers

4 Pro-bookkeeping tips for Vancouver’s remote workers


Today, remote work has become the reality of businesses throughout Canada. These effects of the pandemic have been felt in major cities like Vancouver, with many people now having to work from home, and join the ever-growing number of remote workers in the city.

As most have felt, remote work in Vancouver brings with it some great benefits like more flexible schedules, being able to work in your sweatpants, being able to get just a few extra minutes of sleep…

However, for many businesses and individuals throughout Vancouver, remote work has also brought some difficulties.

Lack of interaction not on a computer screen, not-so-seamless support for day-to-day tasks, new rules and regulations, and much more.

One additional problem that is becoming additionally prevalent during this ever-growing trend of remote work is how new businesses and business owners carry out many essential accounting and bookkeeping tasks for their businesses.

That is, remote work has made it more difficult for simple bookkeeping and accounting to take place the same that it used to.

At first, this may seem backwards… After all, most bookkeeping software today is all cloud-based. So why would it be any different working remotely?

Well, unfortunately the reality of accounting and bookkeeping (especially in a fast-moving market like Vancouver) is that there is a lot that is much easier done in person, rather than remotely.

Not only this, but it’s often just much easier to not have to manage bookkeeping remotely.

After all, you don’t always want your money floating around. There’s a lot more peace of mind knowing that there’s no issues with your money with everyone working remotely.

So that’s why in this blog we wanted to talk about some of the best tips that we have to make bookkeeping much easier for remote workers.

We’ve come up with 4 of the top tips to make your remote bookkeeping more effective, simpler, and much more stress free.

We’ve made sure these tips are specifically targeted for business owners, bookkeepers, and businesses in Vancouver, and they are:

  1. Make sure your accounting is connected online
  2. Keep your bookkeepers and connected
  3. Have the right equipment to make remote work less remote
  4. Be Flexible
    
  5. 

Make sure your core accounting processes are online

With Vancouver-based businesses today relying more and more on technology, one of the first steps to make bookkeeping less complicated is actually to make sure that payments, banking, payroll, and other core accounting processes are online.

But, what do we mean by “core accounting processes”?

Simply put, we mean those things that you have to do on a daily, weekly, and regular basis; or those important accounting things that you don’t want to miss.

So, making payments to vendors or partners (paying bills), collecting payments from customers (collecting money), managing AP and AR accounts, account reconciliations, payroll, and tax payments.

These are the core accounting and bookkeeping processes that you don’t want to miss – because if you missed them, your business would be in trouble.

So, the best first step is to make sure that you’ve moved things like payments, reconciliations, invoicing, and collecting payments from customers online.

Chances are, if you use an accounting software you already have most of your reconciliations and other accounts online.

That said, it’s important to make sure the rest of your processes are also online. The most pertinent of those to make sure that your bank account and CRA information is all kept online.

So, let’s dive into each of those.

Connect your bank account with your cloud bookkeeping software

Like we said, it’s important for your Vancouver business that you get your bank account and bookkeeping software online.

Most banks in Canada and Vancouver offer online banking solutions for small businesses, so that’s easy to set up.

Just make sure that you link any inbound or outbound payments to this online bank account. That way, it’s easier to track your money, whether for payments or purchases. Having these online bank statements also makes them accessible to the right people in the organization.

In addition to having your banking info online, you should also link your bank account to your cloud-based accounting software.

Most software that we talk about in our blogs all allow for businesses to link their bank accounts so that purchases made on company credit cards, payments made via bank accounts, or revenues earned from customers are automatically recorded in the accounting software.

Taking this first step to connect your digital banking and accounting software can make virtual bookkeeping in Vancouver much easier and streamlined.

Sign up for online services with the CRA

The second thing you can do in putting your core processes online is to sign up for CRAs online services.

This is something that we’ve talked about in other blogs on our site, but setting up an online CRA account gives you access to a whole range of forms and services to make things like payroll, taxes, payments, and other services much simpler.

If you’re unsure about how to sign up for an online CRA account, then your best bet is to talk with a local Vancouver bookkeeper, who can help get you started.

Nevertheless, these are the first few steps you can take to make bookkeeping for remote workers that much easier.

Keep bookkeepers and staff connected

The second bookkeeping tip for remote workers is to make sure that bookkeepers, staff, business owners, and other people in your company are connected.

Keeping connected is a undervalued tool when everyone is working remotely; because it’s been shown time and time again that when people feel connected in business, businesses can do much better working remotely.

The same is the case for bookkeepers.

For the people that are constantly plugged into the money-side of the business, it’s important for them to know what’s going on at all times. Not only within your accounting and finance department, but in the company as a whole.

For this, we’ve come up with a few strategies.

Daily meetings and communication

One easy way that you can keep people connected that can take as little as 10-15 minutes per day is to have daily meetings, daily communications, or just daily check-ins.

If daily is too much, then trying longer weekly check-ins could also be effective. These check-ins ensure people have simple, accessible, and open communication to bookkeepers, and that bookkeeping can be kept on track.

The purpose of this is to make sure that remote bookkeepers are aware of what’s going on in the business.

Does there need to be a change in the sales budget? Are there more employee expenses than usual? Are people worried about the finances of the company when working remotely?

These are just some of the many, many questions that bookkeepers can be asked, and ask other people in these check-in meetings.

Easily accessible documentation

The second way to improve communication for remote workers is to ensure that bookkeeping and accounting documents are easily accessible.

The benefit to this is two-fold.

It ensures that remote bookkeepers always have access to essential documents that they need to do their job effectively.

Moreover, it also ensures that other forms like expense forms, templates, and other company-wide forms are also accessible to people in the company to maintain that constant communication at all levels.

All of these things together will help remote bookkeepers not only have an easier time with their jobs; but it will also ensure they feel more connected to the company, despite working remote.

Have the right equipment

The third tip that we have for you is to make sure you have the right equipment in place to ensure remote bookkeeping is as seamless as possible.

We’re sorry, but only using Excel, and having paper invoices isn’t going to cut it in the virtual world of business anymore.

Remote workers and businesses need to have the right bookkeeping tools in place to operate effectively. We’ve compiled a list of the most important tools for you to have in place.

Internet

Let’s face it… We’ve all been there on a zoom call.

“Can you hear me?”

“No, can you see me?”

Then, not long after, the call drops entirely.

To keep it simple… To ensure that bookkeeping is kept seamless, effortless, and effectively for remote workers, you need to have good internet in place.

Whether that’s in an office (in a reduced capacity), or at home… Good internet is essential.

Software

This is a bit more of a generic tip because there are so many different types of software that you can use.

We’re talking about having virtual and cloud-based accounting, HR, communication, and other types of software in place that keep your team connected and your bookkeeping on track.

If you’re curious about what types of software that would be most beneficial for your remote Vancouver business, we suggest you head over to our accounting software blog Land understand what types of software will help you out.

Nevertheless, having software in place that is accessible remotely will make sure that remote workers are always connected to the business; and, most importantly, connected to your bookkeeping.

Time tracking

Just as you need to have software to communication, track your accounting, manage your HR, and manage your workflows… You will also need some sort of cloud-based time tracking software.

There are lots of different types of software out there that help you and your staff track time, without making remote workers feel like they’re being monitored, or kept on a short leash.

Because the last thing you want both as a remote worker, and working with remote workers is for them to feel controlled, or like they don’t have freedom.

But, in a world where resources are changing, time is becoming an increasingly resource in Vancouver business.

So, keeping track of time of remote workers helps keep your bookkeeping on track.

Above all… Be Flexible

This is self-explanatory.

But, above all else, be flexible.

Understand that at the end of the day, remote work can be hard for everyone, and it’s harder for some roles, and for some individuals.

So, something important to keep in mind with your bookkeeping when working with remote workers in a market like Vancouver is that you need to be flexible.

Obviously, you can’t always be flexible with some accounting dates and processes; but allowing for more flexibility among employees will go a long way. That bit of flexibility often is received as mutual trust by employees.

You trust them to get their work done without breathing down their neck; and, in return, they will often go the extra mile to get their work done for you.

Not having to chase remote workers down for deadlines and work is a bookkeeper’s dream. And, allowing for some flexibility helps you achieve that.

Need help from an expert?

We know that the world of remote work can be complex. Let one of our experts at Valley Business Centre help. For over 30 years, Valley Business Centre has been providing comprehensive bookkeeping, tax, and payroll services to our clients in Whistler, Squamish, the Sea to Sky Corridor and metro Vancouver B.C. areas. Valley Business Centre provides reliable and effective services to all clients.

Disclaimer

This article is written for informational purposes only. It is current at the date of posting and changes to laws and regulation may result in the information becoming outdated. It is not intended to provide legal, tax, or financial advice. It is recommended that readers get advice from a tax professional before making any final decisions.



Tips for better managing your construction business

Tips for better managing your construction business

 Owning a construction company can be a lot of work. It can also be a very rewarding business to own. With the right project management, technology, and financial management, your construction business can not only be successful, but it can run more efficiently than you thought possible.



Here are some tips on how to set your business up for success.

Technology

As a business owner, you always should start by investing in technology. As we mentioned in our blog ‘Going Paperless’, there are numerous software programs on the market to help you with all areas of your construction company.

These programs can include estimating, scheduling and project management, right through to your bookkeeping and finances. These programs can not only simplify the work that your business is doing, but it can also increase the accuracy of the work you are doing.

In other words, technology is one of the first things that will put you on the road to better managing your construction business.

For example, using a program designed to estimate your projects can provide you with material take-offs.

Not only this, but it will also provide you with more accurate pricing so that you can present your bids not only with accuracy, but speed.

Project management programs can allow you to provide access to all of your team members, providing updates and increasing communication. All of these will help your projects run smoothly.

When looking at software programs for your bookkeeping, we would recommend that you meet with your bookkeeper or accountant so that you can discuss your options and determine which is the best software for your construction bookkeeping.

They will have the experience with different types of paperless accounting programs and can point you in the right direction.

Not only this, but they should also have some idea as to which will benefit your business the most.

Construction bookkeeping is unique, and you want to choose a paperless option that works best for your business. With job costing, as well as materials and labor needing to be taken into consideration for all of your projects, you will want to choose the program that best covers all of this for your business.

You may even decide to have your bookkeeper take care of most or all of the financial aspects of your business so that you can spend your time building your business. This is where you, as a business owner, need to decide where best to spend your money, as well as your time.

By using a software program that is specific to your industry, you can allow access to those that need to see various parts of the project. This can include subtrades and customers, allowing them access so that everyone is on the same page and avoiding problems down the road.

Remember, by using cloud-based programs, you are not only streamlining your processes, but you are keeping them accessible to everyone on the project.

Your team

As a business owner, you may think that you have to oversee absolutely everything in your business. To an extent you do, but perhaps only at a high level. By hiring the right people to work for you and to be part of your team, you should be able to delegate daily activities and responsibilities to them while you focus on growing your business.

As a business owner, you need to manage your team wisely. Sometimes overlooked but always important, is communication. Communication will not only help you manage your team, but it will help you while you are working with your customers.

When you create your project schedule, you will be able to provide ample notice to your team members so that they are aware of your expectations ahead of time. As well, using task lists and other software programs, everyone will know what they are doing. As a business owner, this is important.

While you are overseeing and growing your business, your bookkeeper can provide you with updates on your business finances through cloud-based programs. Depending on which software you have chosen, this may or may not be directly connected to the scheduling and estimating software. Either way, you are still able to easily access this vital member of your team.

Even if you have done all of the above and are running efficiently, it is still construction. This means that you need to be ready to adapt to changes at a moment’s notice.

If you are already in the construction industry, you know that changes can, and do happen. Even though you need to stay firm with your schedule and budget, you need to remember that changes will present themselves, and you will need to be flexible enough to work them into the project while avoiding delays and expenses. We won’t even mention the stretches of rain, or unexpected snow that can shut down Vancouver, like in 2020.

Again, even though you have planned ahead, you will still have a lot that you want to oversee. It is always important to prioritize and delegate work so that you can effectively manage your time.

Planning

When managing a construction business, it is important to plan ahead (with as much detail) as often as possible.

Right from the launch of your new project, you will be needing to review the plans and specs so that you fully understand the scope of the project.

Even if you have the latest software program for estimating your project, you will still need to study the plans and specs. This review process will provide you with the opportunity to find any potential problems, and possibly even correct them before they actually become problems.

Once you’ve fully evaluated your project, you can now start your project planning and scheduling. As a construction business owner, you know this doesn’t simply include ordering materials. This also includes lining up all of your resources, whether that be your team members, sub-trades, or equipment.

The further out that you can plan your project, the smoother the project will run.

An added bonus will be that your trades will be ready, especially since you have taken their schedules into consideration as well.

Budget accordingly

Like any successful project, you need to not only focus on timeline and resources, but also your budget.

The same can be said for managing your construction business.

Once you’ve created the budget for your construction project, you need to make sure that you are constantly reviewing it. This includes taking all of the expenses and invoices that are coming in and having them entered into your software program.

On any given project, there are numerous expenses that you will need to consider in order to ensure that the project is within your budget. This not only includes direct costs, but indirect costs such as overhead, that we mentioned in our blog ‘Bookkeeping tips for Construction companies’.

It is also important to stay on top of your cashflow, as this can be affected by a project. Have the conversation before you even start a job to find out what the customer is thinking as far as payments. If they are borrowing from a lender, the draws may be fewer with longer stretches of time in between.

Knowing this ahead of time will allow you to have conversations with your suppliers, subtrades, and your bookkeeper. Your bookkeeper can provide you with insight as to your cashflow, help you forecast, and can let you know to if you need to renegotiate terms so that you can still pay your bills on time.

Finally, having a software program that allows you to make change orders as well as getting them signed off on-site will also save you money. Sometimes change orders are missed or forgotten about if you can’t deal with them until you get back to the office. This is how you may end up with disagreements, possible scope creep due and potential delays in time.

Maintain good relationships

The construction industry may seem big, but it really is a small community, and the importance of relationships in managing your construction business cannot be understated.

It is not only important to maintain a good relationship with the team that you have created, but also with your suppliers, trades, municipalities and of course, your customer.

As referenced in our blog, ‘How to get your construction business ready for growth’, as a construction business owner you want to acquire and maintain great relationships in the community, so that you can continue to grow your business through your reputation.

As you allow technology to help you keep track of, and run your business, you also need to embrace it for marketing your business. Whether that be managing your website, social media accounts or helping you get noticed through search engine optimization (SEO), this is something to you need to keep in mind.

Staying up to date

Last but not least, stay up to date on your industry knowledge.

You’ll be surprised at how important it can be when managing a construction business to know what’s going on in certain (relevant) parts of the market.

This isn’t only staying on top of newer methods of construction or various materials, although that is important. After all, if you read the news and know that lumber prices in British Columbia or Vancouver are going to skyrocket, you’ll want to know ahead of time to make alternative plans.

You also want to stay on top of trends in your local industry.

Sticking with our example from Vancouver, let’s say that you see that private investment for commercial construction projects is on the rise. This could give you a hint that leaning more towards commercial developments in the future could help your business grow.

This is especially true where technology is involved. Every industry is evolving, and the construction industry is no different.

You can stay up to date on new technologies or software that can help you get an edge over competitors and better manage your construction business. It really wasn’t that many years ago that people had never heard of AI and Machine Learning and look how far that has propelled us.

Need help from an expert?

It’s always good to ask for help when organizing and running your own business. Let one of our experts at Valley Business Centre help. For over 30 years, Valley Business Centre has been providing comprehensive bookkeeping, payroll and tax services to our clients in Whistler, Squamish, the Sea to Sky Corridor and metro Vancouver B.C. areas. Valley Business Centre provides reliable and effective services to all clients.

Disclaimer

This article is written for informational purposes only. It is current at the date of posting and changes to laws and regulation may result in the information becoming outdated. It is not intended to provide legal, tax, or financial advice. It is recommended that readers get advice from a tax professional before making any final decisions.