Blog: What can a CPA do for you?

March 24th, 2018

This article summarizes some common reasons you can rely on your CPA for more than just tax returns. The original article was published in “What’s Up Yukon”.

Most successful small and medium size businesses have professional outside advisors – a lawyer, an accountant, perhaps an insurance agent. While the lawyer may only be required on an as-needed basis, the CPA should be part of your business operations

CPAs in the Yukon are regulated through the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of the Yukon and have taken numerous courses and passed exams to earn their designation. CPAs work in both industry/government and in public practice.

Your CPA likely already prepares your annual financial statements and corporate tax return. In some cases, he/she will prepare your GST returns. Your CPA will likely also help you if there are issues with Canada Revenue Agency (hopefully, not too often!)

Many times, a business owner will only meet with their CPA once a year when the tax return is due. However, if you have been using the same CPA for many years, the knowledge they have about your business can be invaluable and be should be accessed throughout the year. Besides knowing you personally, your CPA will also have files of historical information (which used to be paper but are now digital) that you might not have easily available to you.

You and your CPA can work together:

  • To prepare business plans to support financing applications for expansion or new equipment purchases. Your CPA will often know what a bank is looking for and a business plan done professionally can make a difference as to whether the financing comes through.
  • To determine tax strategies to defer and minimize your tax burden both business and personal. Your CPA will know how your business has changed over time and can suggest steps that will lower your taxes. As the events of 2017 showed, the Canadian tax system can change fairly rapidly. Structures may need to be adjusted to avoid being on the losing end of these changes.
  • To improve accounting and reporting systems. As a business gets bigger, the risks of losing control increase. Your CPA can work with you to improve various day to day processes such as cash handling, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and payroll. Often, just talking about these processes will be a good “reality check”. If you have bookkeeping staff, your CPA can help with training.
  • To help determine an “exit” strategy. Eventually, all of us want to retire. There are lots of considerations when selling or closing down a business and your CPA can help.

In a smaller community like Whitehorse (and the Yukon as a whole), your CPA will be especially aware of the need to keep your business matters private. However, without breaking confidences, your CPA may know about potential business opportunities or contacts. He or she may also know about government economic development programs that your business may be able to access.

Your CPA may be a one-person office or a larger firm. Regardless of who they are, the knowledge they have about business in general and more importantly, about your business, is there for the taking.

Prepared by Crowe MacKay LLP

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