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Financial Foresight: Get the Accounting Right.... Right Now

Business, more than any other occupation, is a continual dealing with the future; it is a continual calculation, an instinctive exercise in foresight. - Henry R. Luce

By Jeffrey Stanger, ITB Solutions and James Lochrie, waveapps.com

Raising Capital? Going Public? Keep your costs and delays to a minimum by keeping your financials up to date. Many private companies are so focused only on building their business and having the capital to continue their development, sales and growth that they do not consider updated financial statements as a top priority.

Being an entrepreneur is always a daunting task requiring business founders to keep track of and manage many moving parts of their organization as well as evaluating where to allocate their limited capital. Financial Statements are therefore usually not a top priority - since it appears to be a "backward looking" exercise, it's easy to put off, and becomes something they will deal with when it's absolutely needed. Talking with Auditors and Accountants, one of their frustrations is providing a work quote to a company; they do not know if the company has previous audited financial statements, financial review engagement statements, management prepared statements or just a box of receipts, bank statements, and other sundry documents.

Once an entrepreneur decides to raise capital whether privately or through the capital markets, finding the right investors, negotiating the valuation of their company as well as running their business saddles them with a lot more responsibility - without more time. In the end most delays in obtaining a financing or going public are directly related to developing the required financial statements.

How can an entrepreneur handle all of this and still be ready in the future by having financials or financial statements ready to go? There are options: They can keep their financials up to date themselves, hire a bookkeeper to keep their accounts up to date, or engage an accountant (who will most likely sub-contract a bookkeeper for this). There are other effective options as well, such as software packages they can purchase or online systems.

ITB Solutions advises potential and current clients to start getting their financials in order immediately to avoid delays and higher costs in completing financial statements. The system we highly recommend is called Wave, an online accounting platform we have been using for the last 3 years.

Wave, which started in Toronto in 2010, has over 2.5 million customers managing over $85 billion in income and expense transactions as well as over $7 billion in invoicing annually. Their online accounting software is free and can connect and automatically download accounts from over 10,000 financial institutions including banks, credit unions, credit card companies, and investment companies; alternately users can upload csv or similar files, or enter records manually. Once transactions are in the system, they can be easily categorized, one at a time or in bulk with a couple of clicks.

You can have all of your company credit cards connect to the system to allow you to have an up to date record on credit card expenses. You can even get immediate reports on the sales taxes that you owe, balance sheet, income statement, trial balance report, income by customer, expense by vendor, aged receivables and payables as well as your gain or loss on foreign currency exchange. Wave can also manage your receipts by uploading them through your computer, mobile phone or forwarding email invoices right to your account.

Included in the system is an invoicing program which is also free, that will easily create invoices which can be saved in different formats or sent out to customers right from Wave and will even let you know once your customer has opened it. The invoices will integrate with your accounts and it just takes a click of a mouse to reconcile that invoice with the client's payment. Users have the option to take credit card payments on invoices, too (there is a fee for this module; see waveapps.com/payments), with all the details around the invoice updating automatically when it gets paid.

Wave also provides an online payroll service for a fee, waveapps.com/payroll, which provides either direct deposit or cheque printing for your employees. It also has automatic CRA remittance payments, it will generate T4s, records of employment, vacation tracking, and more.

One of the great features is the guest collaborator account where you can invite your auditor, accountant or bookkeeper to access your account with either view and edit permissions or view only permission. The savings in professional costs that this feature alone will deliver can be outsized.

You can keep your financials up to date for free and save much valued time that will only take minutes per week or you can access Wave's Pro Network which is a community of accountants, bookkeepers and consultants in your area.

Taking some time to set up an ongoing system to keep your financial accounts up to date will avoid unnecessary delays as well as lower your accounting costs, and put extra hours in your schedule to grow your business and achieve your goals.

James Lochrie is the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Wave (waveapps.com). The Toronto-based company launched its core accounting software in 2010, and has subsequently raised more than $20 million in investments and attracted more than 2.5 million users. Mr. Lochrie has been involved in the development and delivery of small business accounting services and solutions for nearly 20 years. For further information, visit waveapps.com/contact-us.

Since 2005, ITB Solutions has provided listings development services to the Canadian Securities Exchange. CSE is the first new stock exchange approved in Canada by securities commissions in over 70 years and has also been designated by the Federal Department of Finance as an eligible stock exchange for RRSPs and TFSAs. We assist companies with the listing application and managing the process to become publicly tradable on CSE, as well as offering advice on how to make the most of your public listing. We also assist the exchange in marketing to potential public companies worldwide. You can reach Jeffrey Stanger at 647-500-0492 or by email at jeffrey@itbsolutions.ca

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