As a small business owner, there may be nothing more important to To get a handle on your company’s future cash at hand, several tools are available to help you analyze projected income and expenses. They range from rudimentary spreadsheets to slick visualization apps. Here are five tools that can help you forecast your figures.

For some, there’s nothing like rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty with an Excel spreadsheet. If this is you, here are some templates you can use to get you started. Futurpreneur Canada provides a cash flow template that will cover everything from outlining startup costs through to projecting cash flow month by month for two years.
SCORE, a network of business mentors created by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has its own cash flow and financial projection templatesto help project cash flow over a 12- month or three-year period.
Each of these sites offers its own handy guide to get you started with your cash flow forecast template, so that even business owners without ninja accounting skills can get a handle on things. The best part? It’s all free.

QuickBooks cash flow projector

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 Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have stated that the government’s private-corporation tax proposals will not affect businesses earning less than $150,000 a year. But one of the coalitions opposing the changes says that two-thirds of Canadian small businesses earn less than $73,000 a year, and that the proposals will hurt the majority of these middle-class business owners. How to make sense of these different analyses?

The government’s package has three parts, one of which — and the most contentious — involves passive investments, such as mutual funds, held by Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs). At present, a CCPC pays immediate tax of 50 per cent on its investment income. Under “tax integration,” a large portion of this tax is refunded when the CCPC pays dividends to its owner. As a result, there is generally no further net personal-corporate tax when dividends are paid

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Many small businesses do their own bookkeeping. And why not? Initially, when your business is small, the bookkeeping is quite simple.

But what are the things you should look out for when you’re managing your own books?

Ensure Your Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Are Reconciled

This may seem foundational, but in my experience, this critical step is often ignored. It’s one of those important, but not urgent tasks that always seems to fall to the bottom of the to-do list. The purpose of a bank reconciliation is to ensure that all of the transactions on the bank statements are captured. This is a critical step to ensure accuracy of these bank accounts and credit cards.

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 The philosophy behind the proposals is to “level the playing field” and the example given in the summary overview is an individual living in Ontario and earning a salary of $220,000 versus his neighbour who earns the same amount through a private corporation and is able to reduce taxes through income sprinkling.

What is omitted is the couple, each spouse earning $110,000, which pays less in tax than their neighbours where one spouse earns $220,000 and the other spouse has no income. The issue is, of course, progressive tax rates which mean that the more you earn, the higher the rate of tax paid, not just the amount paid. In the U.S., couples file joint returns so there is no need for income splitting, unlike Canada.

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So you finally agreed to meet the tax accountant that everyone has been talking about. “He reduced my tax bill by thousands of dollars,” your neighbour says. “And it’s all perfectly legal.”

You live in the province of Quebec, and are married with two children, ages 19 and 22, both attending university. You are self-employed and earn $150,000 a year. Your husband works for a larger company, and has an annual salary of $50,000. Last year, you and your husband paid combined federal-provincial taxes of about $66,400, including Quebec Pension Plan and health-care levies.
You sit down with the tax adviser. “The amount of tax that you’re paying is ridiculous,” he says. Then he shows you … “The Plan.”

First, you set up a private corporation (Taxco). From now on, Taxco — not you — will carry on your business. Taxco will have four classes of shares: A, B, C and D. You will get one class A share, and your husband one class B. Each child gets one share as well, one gets a class C and the other gets a class D. Now here’s the trick. The directors can declare dividends on any single class of shares, to the exclusion of the other three classes. In other words, each share is entitled to discretionary dividends in whatever amounts you choose.

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