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What conferences are you attending this year to connect, learn, and grow?

No matter what industry you’re operating in, getting out of your daily routine to gain a fresh perspective by going to a professional conference can pay big dividends. Especially when it delivers opportunities to make face-to-face connections with colleagues and customers, learn best practices and take new technologies for a test drive.

When it comes to choosing where to invest your professional development time and budget, there are a lot of options.

So I put together a list of the top conferences I recommend entrepreneurs, bookkeepers, and accounting professionals attend because of their high ROI on connection, education, and inspiration. 

I based my top picks on the audience each conference brings together, immersive learning experiences offered and the leadership speakers and trainers on the program.

Here’s my list of the top conferences to attend this year: 

IPBC Ignite

IPBC’s IGNITE Conference is the premier live educational and networking event in Canada for business advisors offering bookkeeping and accounting products and services. The benefits include learning sessions on tax, software, technology, and best business practices that will elevate your knowledge.

Quickbooks Connect

Quickbooks Connect brings together thousands of entrepreneurs, small business owners, accountants, and developers for three days packed with business strategy and training you can implement to advance your success.

Sage Sessions 

Sage Sessions is a single-day event held in cities across North America including Vancouver, BC in October 2018. This event is designed to deliver learning, training and networking experience that will inspire you to drive your business forward. Focused on the Sage product portfolio and roadmaps, Sage Sessions provide Sage customers, partners, and accountants with actionable tools and insightful knowledge.


What conferences are you attending this year? Share your top picks and best experiences on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, #topconferences2018

I’ve been talking to people a lot lately about what works for them. The biggest challenge for most people is figuring out how to ensure the important but not urgent tasks are getting done.

It’s the little things you tend to let fall through the cracks over time that end up costing you more than you realize in time, money and energy. Invoicing, payables, and reviewing financial reports, are important but not always urgent tasks that may fall to the bottom of the priority list when the day-to-day demands start driving your action list.

The good news is some easy to use apps are available that can help you stay organized, prioritize activities and get reminders delivered to your handheld device so you can maintain your focus on what matters most.

A System To Achieve Your Financial Goals

While I haven’t found a one-size to fit all solution,  (Most apps focus on doing a particular task for you), these three apps function as a valuable system you can use to make achieving your financial goals easier:

Stay Organized

Sage One App (For iOS, iPad, and Android)

This easy-to-use and intuitive app is like having a personal assistant with you on your mobile device at all times to handle the money flowing in and out of your business every day. It allows you to record your expenses, connect your bank, credit, and investment accounts, create and send invoices, manage your products and services lists and manage your contacts. You can schedule reminders for recurring invoices or payables. It’ll even give you directions to your contacts location using your mobile navigation. This app also makes it easy to track your personal income and expenses.

We offer a free consult to help you get set up for a free trial and provide you with a discount code if you love the idea of simplifying your accounting. Contact us to book a free consult.

Manage Activities

Asana App (For iOS, iPad, and Android)

Asana is a system of action. It provides you with a simple structure and intuitive workflow to manage all your daily activities from your desktop or mobile device, so nothing falls through the cracks. Set your goals or objectives up as projects, list steps to completion, assign responsibilities and track progress on every project from start to finish. You can attach documents, graphics or presentations or links to files in Dropbox to your projects. You can also

track conversations and turn next steps into tasks with the click of a button. Asana makes it easy to remember what’s most important and prioritize what’s next so you can stay focused and keep your projects moving forward. You can get started for free here.

Get Reminders

CRA Business Tax Reminders App 

If you’ve ever missed a deadline or had to pay a penalty for submitting a late payment to Canada Revenue Agency, you know how much it costs. The CRA Business Tax Reminders App makes it easy to remember your business-related tax deadlines.

You can download the App to get calendar reminders for your CRA business tax due dates sent to you for the following:

  • Installment due dates for individual income tax, corporate income tax, and goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) accounts;
  • Return due dates for:
    • GST/HST return
    • T2 corporation income tax return
    • T4 information return
    • T5013 partnership information return
    • T1 income tax and benefits return;
  • Remittance due dates for payroll and GST/HST accounts.


All of these apps work great to help you stay on the right financial track so you can keep moving towards your goals with confidence and clarity.

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Are you using these apps? Share what works for you on your favorite social media, #stayontrack.


If you run a project-based business, you want to finish projects on time, on budget and meet your customer’s expectations.

You need to plan the work before you begin so you can work the plan from start to finish.

And, if you’ve struggled to manage all the moving parts of a project efficiently, you might think you’re not a good enough project manager. But the truth is, every business owner can use a well-developed plan to steer every project toward successful completion.

Here’s your five-step approach to creating a clear project plan with tips on useful tools you can use to simplify complexity:

1. Plan The Work 

Planning the work is the first step to establishing a timeline and allocating the right resources. Collect this information in a project plan document that you can use as a control and communications tool. It involves determining and documenting a list of project deliverables, specific goals, tasks, costs and deadlines.

Here’s a checklist of things to document in your project plan:

Objectives – desired impact for your customer

Goals – specific, measurable results

Phases – critical milestones before completion

Tasks –  action steps to achieve every goal

Resources – people, materials and equipment requirements

Budget – by phase or overall project

Schedule – deadlines for each stage and project completion

It’s also essential to set clear policies and establish processes to handle communication, collect payments, manage

change requests, sign off on completed work, issue refunds and deal with cost-overruns.

Once all the project requirements are clearly defined, ensure you and your customer’s signing authority sign-off on the plan indicating you both agree to the process, terms and deliverables.

Tip: Online proposal software such as QuoteRoller or BidSketch offer templates and can help you get your project proposal signed fasterYou can use an online project management tool such as Asana or Trello to set up project tasks, set deadlines, organize content files and manage communication between team members on progress. Sage 100 Contractor offers an integrated project management solution if you are in the construction industry.

2. Assign Tasks and Set Schedule

Meet with your project team to assign responsibility to each task and create a detailed schedule estimating the time required to complete each phase of the project. Review and discuss timelines to ensure everyone has the information they need to complete their part.  Revise the schedule to address any potential scheduling conflicts or resource constraints.

It may help to look at similar projects you’ve recently completed to get a handle on how long it takes to complete specific tasks. If you don’t have a process in place to track time, now is a great time to start to help accurately schedule tasks for projects moving forward.

Tip:  The project management tools named above allow you to assign tasks and set deadlines. Everhour is a time tracking app that integrates with Asana or you’ll find many other options to consider online.

3. Set Up A Budget

Estimate your expenses to complete each phase of the project. Calculate labour, materials, and any equipment requirements then add a contingency in case your costs are higher than anticipated. It is important to have the right categories for expenses set up in your accounting software so you can track your actual costs compared to budget.

Tip: Choose the right accounting software for your business that you can customize such as Sage 50. You want to be able to set up your project budget, track expenses by category and generate reporting so you can compare actual costs to budget. Consider adding Sage One, an online accounting solution that imports data into Sage 50 and makes it easy to set up project quotes, send invoices, and update transactions from anywhere you have an internet connection so you can work remotely or from the office.

4. Communicate 

Communicate clearly, frequently and concisely with internal and outsourced team members working on every project. Set clear expectations in your initial scheduling meeting about how to deal with issues, where to store project information (and who can access it), and what metrics will be used to achieve the best results. Check in with your team on progress regularly. You don’t have to schedule a meeting every time you check in, but regular email, phone or text communication on progress is essential to control variables and steer progress in the right direction.

Tip: Slack is an online team communication tool with an Asana integration you can use to manage and archive all your team communication in one place instead of tracking emails, phone calls or text messages.

5. Post-Project Debrief

Schedule time to debrief with your team post-project to objectively review what happened, what worked, what didn’t, what was missing and clarify what you’d like to do differently moving forward.

Tip: Debriefing after you’ve completed a project is an excellent way to stay on track to continuously improve and innovate.

Over to you, 

Managing projects is a complex process but starting with a well-developed plan provides a simple structure to

follow a more direct route toward successful completion.

Is one of the steps in this plan a weak point in your current process? Focus on it for your next project.

And, if you would like help with setting up a better structure to create project plans or customize your accounting system to get accurate project reporting, head over to my contact page to book a free consultI’d love to help.

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As a start-up entrepreneur, one of your top priorities is to organize your accounting system so you can manage your cash flow effectively and prevent financial problems.

Figuring out how to set up the right accounting system and processes for your start up can be overwhelming when you’re starting out, especially when your plate is full of other tasks and responsibilities. But it’s essential to getting your business on the right financial track.

To help, here’s my accounting checklist for start-up entrepreneurs you can use

1. Register Your Business Name

Visit The BC Business Registry One-Stop Services to register your trade name.

2. Set Up Your Company Structure

When setting up a new company, you must first decide whether you’ll be a sole proprietor, partnership or an incorporated company. Be sure to set this up correctly the first time as it can be costly to change things down the road. For example, if you need to incorporate your company, you’ll need to consider variables such as share structure and family trust for asset protection.

To help you determine the best structure for your company, visit the Canada Business Network  to learn the differences between each.

3. Set Up A Business Bank Account

Tracking your business income and expenses separately from your personal will make record keeping and tax filing at year end easier.

4. Register For Business Accounts

When starting a company, be sure to register for the accounts you require to run your business including your business number, GST, PST, payroll and WCB. Setting them up right from the start will prevent extra work in the future. Once your business accounts are set up make sure you submit payments on time, as the penalties for late or missing payments are high.

5. Set Up An Accounting System

An effective accounting system is essential to managing the money flowing in and out of your business.

With an effective accounting system in place, you’ll be able to stay organized, track your profitability and make adjustments proactively before year-end.

Two of my favorite accounting systems are Sage One and Sage 50. Sage One is a cloud-based accounting solution you can access anytime from anywhere you have an internet connection. Sage 50 is a desktop accounting system. With both of these systems, you can easily track your expenses, sales, and analyze your financial position.

6. Set Your Goals

Continuously working on your success mindset is just as important as accounting software and government forms.

Setting clear and measurable goals is critical so you know what you’re working towards and why. Writing your goals down, keeping them in front of you and having an accountability partner will help you stay on track to achieving them.

We’d love to help
If you need assistance with setting up your accounting system or to book a free consult to help you get your business on the right track, contact us by email or phone at 778.855.5855.