What is a Business Plan and How Do I Write One?

For many first-time founders and small business owners, the concept of writing a business plan is new and they have no idea where to start. It can be a daunting experience, but when you do it right, the payoff can be enormous.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is the roadmap for your small business’ growth and development. It communicates who you are, what you plan to do, and how you plan to do it.

Why do I need one?

The first thing any investor or venture capitalist will ask for is a business plan. It doesn’t matter how great your pitch is—if your business plan doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, they’re not going to invest a dime. Good business plans give investors an idea of what to expect from your company, and tells them about you as an entrepreneur. It’s the handshake of the small biz sector.

Even if you don’t plan on courting Venture Capitalists, there are other compelling reasons to develop a business plan. Writing out your goals and the action plan to achieve them allows you and your team to view your strategy objectively. It helps you see the holes and blind spots you may not have accounted for, or uncertainties that could cause trouble down the road. If you can discover these weaknesses yourself, you’ll be in a better position to fix them before you start pitching investors.

What makes a good business plan?

Business plans come in many different formats and styles, but the best ones cover the same critical topics:

Purpose. Explain why your small business exists and why it’s important. What problem or need is your business trying to solve? How does it solve your customer’s pain points?

Product/Service. Describe the product or service that you’re offering, and what makes it unique from its competitors.

Customer. Identify your company’s ideal customer. Get into their head, have a clear understanding of their challenges, and explain why your product is perfect for them.

Marketing. How do you plan to promote your brand? Show what you’ve already done, what you plan to do given your existing resources, and what results you expect from your efforts.

Monetization. The key to a sustainable company is a profitable business model. Explain how your business will make money and what kind of ROI (Return on Investment) investors can expect.

Team. A business idea is only as good as the team that executes it. Identify your team members and why they are the perfect team to bring this idea to life. Also look ahead and mention the people you still need to expand your company.

It’s not enough to just dump all this information into a single document and send it off. Venture capitalists read dozens of these documents a month, and have little patience for badly written or poorly created documents. You want your business plan to be as attractive and readable as possible.

Here are some tips to make your business plan more presentable:

  • Don’t write a novel. Make your business plan as short as possible while still communicating all the essentials. The fewer pages you use, the better.
  • Make it easy to read. Divide your document into distinct and logical sections, so that investors can quickly flip between key pieces of information.
  • Proofread. Double and triple check the writing for typos and grammatical mistakes. Awkwardly written documents are hard to read through and easy to dismiss as amateur.
  • Invest in design and printing. A proper layout and decent printing or bookbinding gives your business plan a professional feel.

Also remember that content is more important than design. Strategize and research your business plan thoroughly and know your numbers inside out—from costs to sales projections. Once you’re confident in your plan’s viability, then you can worry about formatting and layout. If you can show investors you can perform to a professional standard even during the pitch phase, they’ll be more willing to join you in building a thriving business!

Once your business is off the ground, you will need to start bookkeeping.  Please contact our firm to discuss the alternatives.

Seniuk and Company is hiring – Staff Accountant

Seniuk and Company professionals are dedicated to helping business owners from privately-held businesses grow and build thriving enterprises. We serve as trusted business advisers and external auditors in both the corporate and not for profit sector. Our firm is an authorized CPA training office
and will take the time to train the right applicant.

What you will do:

  • Conduct external financial statement audits in the not for profit and private sectors as part of the audit team.
  • Preparation of review and notice to reader working paper files, including financial statements.
  • Preparation of personal and corporate income tax returns.
  • Basic bookkeeping to complete the files.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with client management.

What you bring to the role:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work both independently, with little supervision and within a team environment.
  • Proven track record in strong organizational skills.
  • Effectively monitors multiple or complex projects regularly to check how they are progressing against deadlines.
  • Excellent client service skills.
  • Accounting/business diploma/certificate.
  • Experience in IT would be an asset as our office works in a virtually paperless environment.  Please note any IT experience in your resume.

Position start date: September 16, 2019. Please apply by July 24, 2019.

Please submit your resume, cover letter, and transcripts attention: Laura Marcato, CA,CPA. via email: laura@seniuk.com


GST treatment of fuel charges

Generally, under the Excise Tax Act every recipient of a taxable supply (other than a zero-rated supply) made in Canada is required to pay GST on the value of the consideration for the supply. Consideration is defined in the Act to include any amount payable by operation of law. The Act also provides that all taxes, duties or fees (other than the GST) imposed under an Act of Parliament in respect of a supply of property or a service and payable by the recipient of the supply, or payable/collectible by the supplier in respect of the supply or in respect of the production, importation, consumption or use of the property or service, are included in the consideration for the supply, for GST purposes.

Given the preceding, supplies (for example, sales) made in Canada of fossil fuels would generally be subject to GST, which would be calculated on the price paid for the supply of the fuel. This would include any fuel charge paid or payable in respect of the supply as well as any fuel charge embedded in the price as a result of having been paid earlier on in the distribution chain.

GST registrants are generally entitled to claim an input tax credit to recover the GST paid or payable in respect of the supply of property or a service acquired for consumption, use or supply in the course of commercial activities.

What happens to CPP after the death of a spouse?

This is not as simple as it seems. In 2017 the life expectancy for the total Canadian population is projected to be 79 years for men and 83 years for women, so there may be many years you’re living alone on that income. Some of the situations are as follows:

  • Depending on the age of the surviving spouse:
Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefits
If the survivor is: Then the survivor’s pension is:
age 65 or more 60% of the contributor’s retirement pension if the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not receiving other CPP benefits
under age 65 a flat rate portion – this year that rate is $193.66 a month.

plus

37.5% of the contributor’s retirement pension, if the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not receiving other CPP benefits
  • If the partner dies before applying for CPP, the CPP benefit is calculated based on what they have contributed so far in their working life, whether they’re 25 or 65. The survivor’s benefit is calculated based on that number — 60 percent if the survivor is 65 or over, 37.5 percent if they are under age 65.
  • If the family has children 18 or under, there is a monthly portion per child, currently $250.27 a month per child. Children aged 18 to 25 can also get this support if they are enrolled in post-secondary school, though they’ll have to prove their enrolment to the government each year.
  • if a couple is separated, it depends on whether the deceased spouse is living common-law with another person. If they are still legally married, the surviving spouse could get a share of the benefits, but if the deceased spouse was living with someone else, his or her common-law partner would get the benefits.

What ever your situation is, you will need to contact Service Canada to determine your survivor benefits.

The surviving spouse is responsible for applying for your monthly pension. If you are incapable of applying, you may have a representative (such as a trustee) apply for you.

You should apply as soon as possible after the contributor’s death. If you delay, you may lose benefits. The Canada Pension Plan can only make back payments for up to 12 months.

To apply, you must complete the Canada Pension Plan survivor’s pension and children’s benefits application form (ISP1300).

Work from anywhere with the Quickbooks Online Phone App to link to your Quickbooks Online Account

Run Your Business on the Go with QuickBooks Online.

Get Paid Faster & Invoice on the Go

Invoice your customers and collect payments from wherever you do business.

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Capture Expenses on the Go

Trash the receipts – snap a photo then easily attach it to any transaction using the QuickBooks Online Mobile app.

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Don’t have QuickBooks Online? Download the App and Try it Free for 30 days.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What kinds of things can I do with QuickBooks mobile?

You can do some of your most important QuickBooks activities: create, view, and email estimates, invoices, and sales receipts; access customer information; convert estimates to invoices, receive payments, track expenses, download and reconcile bank transactions, and use your custom QuickBooks Online forms.

Which operating systems are supported?

QuickBooks mobile currently supports iOS 8.0 and later, and Android OS 4.0 and later.

How much does it cost?

It’s FREE with your QuickBooks Online subscription

Can I try it before I subscribe to QuickBooks Online?

Yes! Please contact our office to sign up for your subsciption. See how QuickBooks Online works and how easy it is to use – on the web and on the go.

How do QuickBooks web and mobile work together?

QuickBooks mobile is syncs with QuickBooks Online on the web. Any task you do or information you add in the app shows in both places at the same time. 

Can I do more in QuickBooks Online on the web than on mobile?

Yes, and we recommend that you do! It’s all part of your QuickBooks Online subscription, so please take advantage of all the features.

For instance, on the web you can customize your invoices and other forms, get access to over 20 reports, and give your accountant access so you’re ready for tax time.

Can I get insights about my business?

Yes, you can instantly see your:

·Profit & Loss report to see how your business is doing over time.

·Balance Sheet report for the list of your current asset, liability, and equity account balances.

How do I know my data is safe and my privacy is protected?

The same security that protects your QuickBooks Online data on the web applies when you use QuickBooks mobile. For more about how we protect your data, see our Online Security Center

The app uses TRUSTe certification program and keep your data and privacy safe.

GST Reporting Periods

GST registrants are required to calculate their net GST remittance or refund on a periodic basis – monthly, quarterly or annually, depending on sales volumes. Following each reporting period, a registrant must file a GST return and remit the net tax owing, orclaim a refund.

The reporting period is determined by the registrant’s “threshold amount” for a fiscal year or fiscal quarter. Detailed instructions on how to calculate these threshold amounts are included in paragraphs 35 through 40 of this memorandum.

  • Monthly – For registrants whose threshold amount for a fiscal year or fiscal quarter is greater than $6 million.
  • Quarterly – For registrants whose threshold amount for a fiscal year is $6 million or less.
  • Annually – Registrants whose threshold amount for a fiscal year does not exceed $500,000 may elect to file annually and pay quarterly installments.

At the time of registration, the Department will assign a reporting period based on the estimated annual taxable sales. The GST registrant can request an alternative reporting period by filing an election.

Tax information you need to know if you bought or sold a home

Principal residence exemption

When you sell your principal residence, did you know that any profit (capital gain) may be exempt from taxes? In fact, if your home was your primary residence for every year that you owned it, you do not have to pay tax on the capital gain.

Your principal residence can be any of the following:

  • a house, cottage or condominium
  • an apartment in an apartment building or a duplex
  • a trailer, mobile home, or houseboat

In order for a property to qualify as your principal residence:

  • You must own, or jointly own the property.
  • You, your current or former spouse or common-law partner, or any of your children must have lived in the property at some time during the year.

To benefit from the principal residence exemption you must report the sale appropriately on your income tax and benefit return. How you do so can vary depending on whether the property you sold was your principal residence for the entire time you owned it. Only one property can be designated as a principal residence per tax year per family unit. A family unit includes you, your current or former spouse (or common-law partner) and any children under the age of 18.

Home buyers’ amount

You can claim the home buyers’ amount of up to $5,000 on your income tax and benefit return for a particular year if both of the following apply:

  • you or your spouse or common-law partner acquired a qualifying home; and
  • you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years (first-time home buyer).

You do not have to be a first-time home buyer if you are eligible for the disability tax credit or you acquired the home for the benefit of a related person who is eligible for the disability tax credit.

Eligible home buyers can complete line 369 of Schedule 1 of their income tax and benefit return.

Home Buyers’ Plan

You may be eligible to participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan which allows you to withdraw funds from your registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself. Budget 2019 proposes to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit to $35,000, to provide first-time home buyers with greater access to their RRSP savings when purchasing a home. This amount is available for withdrawls made after March 19, 2019. Buyers have up to 15 years to repay the amounts they withdraw.

To qualify for the Home Buyers’ Plan, you have to meet these two conditions:

  • you are a first-time home buyer
  • you have a written agreement to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself

You are considered a first-time home buyer if, in the preceding four-year period, you did not live in a home that you or your spouse or common-law partner owned. You must intend to live in the qualifying home as your principal residence within one year of buying or building it.

Home Buyers’ Plan for persons with disabilities

You do not have to be a first-time home buyer to participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan if you are eligible for disability tax credit or if you are helping a related person who is eligible for the credit buy or build a home. The purchase or construction must be done to allow a person with a disability to live in a home that is more accessible or better suited to their needs.

GST/HST rebate on new homes in Canada

If you bought a newly constructed home from a builder, you may be able to claim a new housing rebate for some of the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) you paid.

If you constructed or substantially renovated a house for use as your primary place of residence, you may also be eligible for this rebate.

For more information on the GST/HST new housing rebate, refer to guide RC4028, GST/HST New Housing Rebate.

Home accessibility expenses

If you are a qualifying individual (65 years of age or older at the end of 2017 or eligible for the disability tax credit) or an eligible individual claiming certain tax credits for a qualifying individual, you may be able to claim eligible expenses paid for renovations that make your dwelling more accessible.

What’s new 2019 T1 tax-filing season

This tax-filing season, many important changes and improvements were made to services, benefits, and credits for Canadians. Here’s what you need to know:

New and improved credits

  • The Medical expense tax credit has been expanded to allow expenses related to service animals who are specially trained to perform specific tasks for a patient with a severe mental impairment that helps the patient cope with the impairment. Eligible expenses paid in 2018 include the cost of the animal, the care and maintenance of the animal (food and veterinary care), reasonable travel expenses paid for the patient to attend a school, institution, or other facility that trains in the handling of these animals, and reasonable board and lodging expenses paid for the patient’s full-time attendance at a school, institution, or other facility that trains in the handling of such animals.
  • The Climate Action Incentive (CAI) payment can be claimed by eligible individuals who are residents of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario or New Brunswick. A new Schedule 14 will be included with the T1 package for these jurisdictions; simply complete the new schedule to claim the amounts you may be entitled to based on your family composition, and indicate the amount on line 449 of your income tax and benefit return. The CAI payment will first reduce any balance owing, and may create or increase your refund. A 10% CAI supplement is available to residents of small and rural communities who live outside a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), as defined by Statistics Canada.

New services

  • View transactions and pay balances with MyCRA – This app lets you view and pay your account balance with your Visa® Debit, Debit MasterCard®, or Interac® Online debit card, and by pre-authorized debit, and at any Canada Post outlet for a fee by generating a quick response (QR) code.
  • Email notifications – In February 2019, CRA is merging Online mail and Account Alerts notifications and launching an improved email notification service. Once signed up for the service, you will now receive an email notification when eligible correspondence is available to view in My Account and MyCRA mobile web app or when there are important changes made to your account, such as an address or direct deposit update.

Enhanced Services

  • CRA modernized telephone service – The CRA telephone enquiries program has moved to a new telephone platform. Now when you call, you will receive an estimated wait time to speak with an agent. You can then, decide either to wait in the queue, call back later, or use our self-serve options. The new platform also includes call recording to improve accuracy, skills based routing to allow the caller to get to the right agent more quickly, as well as a range of other improvements.
  • ReFILE – Available in all tax software, the ReFILE service lets you change your tax return after you receive your notice of assessment.
  • The new all-in-one 2018 Income tax package – The CRA has made it easier for people who choose to file their taxes on paper to get everything they need to file their tax returns. The new 2018 Income tax package includes the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide, the Provincial or Territorial Information Guide, and two copies of the return and schedules (i.e., a working copy for your files and a copy to submit to the CRA).
  • Mailing a paper 2018 Income tax package to your home – The CRA will mail the new all-in-one 2018 Income tax package to Canadians who paper filed in the previous tax season. Those who want to file on paper and haven’t received a tax package from the CRA by February 11, 2019 can find what they need online or order a paper copy from the CRA. An order limit of nine packages per individual will ensure all Canadians have access to what they need this filing season. A limited number of tax packages will also be available for pick up at Canada Post, Service Canada, and some Caisse populaire Desjardins locations by February 18, 2019.
  • Protect your account with email notifications – For added security, you can subscribe to have the CRA send you an email notifying you of recent activity on your account when a representative is added, deleted, or changed on your account.
  • Tax filing services for northern residents – As part of the Northern Service Improvement Strategy, three new CRA Northern Service Centres were announced in August 2018, which will provide a year-round physical presence to support individuals and businesses in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut starting mid-February 2019.
  • My Account redesign – A redesign of My Account was launched in October 2018 that allows users to quickly view their tax and benefit information and easily update their personal information with the CRA.

Existing services

  • Pay taxes in person at Canada Post – You can pay your individual tax, benefits and credits repayments, and most business payments to the CRA in person with cash or a debit card at any Canada Post outlet for a fee. To pay in person, bring your remittance voucher containing a QR code or create a personalized QR code online.
  • Express NOA – If you file electronically, you will be able to view your notice of assessment (NOA) right after your return has been received and processed by the CRA. This means that you will know right away what your refund will be or if you need to pay. To use the service, you must be registered for online mail.
  • File my Return – Eligible individuals with low or fixed income will be invited to file their income tax and benefit returns through an automated phone service.
  • Auto-fill my return – Using your tax software, you will be able to automatically fill in parts of your return. To use the service, you must be registered for My Account.

Canadian non-resident tax obligations

Who is a non-resident?

A non-resident is someone who:

  • normally, customarily, or routinely lives in another country and is not considered a resident of Canada; or
  • does not have significant residential ties in Canada; and
    • lives outside of Canada throughout the tax year; or
    • stays in Canada for less than 183 days in the fiscal year.

The most common types of income subject to non-resident tax are:

  • Pension plan and Old Age Security (OAS) payments
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) payments
  • Rental and royalty payments
  • Annuity payments
  • Trust payments
  • Dividend payments

What are your obligations?

You are responsible for deducting and remitting non-resident tax if you are:

  • a Canadian resident who pays or credits certain types of income to a non-resident of Canada
  • an agent or someone who receives certain types of income on behalf of a non-resident of Canada, from which tax was not withheld
  • a non-resident of Canada who receives certain types of income from a Canadian source, from which tax was not withheld

 Failing to deduct and remit non-resident tax on these payments may result in penalties and interest.

Open a non-resident tax account to take care of your obligations

It’s now easy and convenient to open a non-resident tax account.

You can access the new registration tool and open a non-resident tax account through any of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) online portals, including:

Do you or your employees use their vehicle for work? Here’s what you need to know

Do you or your employees use their personal vehicles for work-related travel? If so, you may provide them with an automobile or motor vehicle allowance to help cover expenses.

What is an automobile or motor vehicle allowance?

An automobile or motor vehicle allowance is any payment that you give your employees for using their own vehicle in connection with their employment. This payment forms part of their salary or wages. An allowance is a taxable benefit to your employees unless it is based on a reasonable per-kilometre rate.What are your responsibilities.

Determine if the allowance is reasonable

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers an allowance to be reasonable if the allowance is based only on the number of business kilometres driven in a year and if the per-kilometre rate is reasonable. Generally, a reasonable per-kilometre rate is one that is designed to cover an employee’s out-of-pocket costs.

What is a reasonable amount:

For 2019, a reasonable rate is 58 cents per kilometre for the first 5,000 kilometres driven and 52 cents/km after that. In the territories, the rate is 4 cents/km higher.

For 2018, a reasonable rate is 55 cents per kilometre for the first 5,000 kilometres driven and 49 cents/km after that. In the territories, the rate is 4 cents/km higher.

If the allowance is reasonable:

If you pay your employees an allowance that the CRA considers reasonable, do not include this amount as income on their T4. You also do not deduct CPP contributions, EI premiums, or income tax from the allowance.

If the allowance is unreasonable:

If you pay your employees an allowance that the CRA considers unreasonable, because it is either too low or too high, it is a taxable benefit. You will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Include the amount of the allowance in your employee’s income.
  2. Calculate payroll deductions (CPP deductions, EI premiums and income tax).
  3. Prepare and file T4 slips for your employees.

Provide your employee with a Form T2200if required

Where allowances are included in income, the employee may be entitled to deduct motor vehicle employment expenses. In order to deduct these expenses, the allowance must be included in income, and the employee must obtain a completed Form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment, from you. The deduction of motor vehicle employment expenses is usually limited to situations where, the employee was required to carry out the duties of employment away from the employer’s regular place of business or in multiple locations. 

Where can you find more information?

To assist you in determining the taxability of a benefit, the payroll deductions you have to withhold, and how to report the amount on an information slip, the CRA publishes the following guides: