Cloud Accounting Expert

Behind in your bookkeeping? A CPA's guide to getting caught up.

When you started your business you likely had some really big plans. Provide great customer service make lots of money and have more time to spend with friends and family.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Perhaps you ‘fell’ into your business as a result of a great opportunity or maybe you had a plan. In any case you didn’t intend for your accounting to get behind. After all, you aren’t an accountant. Maybe you even had someone helping you but they are long gone.

At first it wasn’t too bad, maybe one GST return was missed. Clients were paying and your suppliers were getting paid, so nothing that caused you worry.

Now fast forward to today and suddenly the books are way behind. You might be getting letters and phone calls from CRA. Maybe you aren’t getting letters and phone calls yet, but you know they will be coming soon.

Where to start?

  1. Set up your CRA online business account to see what has been filed and what is missing.
  2. Collect your business documents and receipts. Click HERE for a list of what you need
  3. Connect with a professional. Make sure who ever you work with is qualified. In Canada this would be a CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) or a CPB (Certified Professional Bookkeeper).

How long does it take?

The next question on your mind might be how long will it take? Once CRA starts calling there is pressure to have things caught up quickly. A lot of that depends on you and how organized you are and how far behind things are. Getting all of your receipts together and organised BEFORE you connect with an accountant or bookkeeper will speed up the process. At my firm one year of bookkeeping and taxes can be completed in as little as 4 -6 weeks as long as we have all the information.

How much does it cost?

There are a lot of variables that affect the cost of your bookkeeping and taxes.

  • How many years you are behind
  • The state of completeness or organization of your documents
  • The volume of transactions
  • The number of bank and credit cards
  • Are items purchased with cash vs credit/debit cards or PayPal
  • Do you use industry software (BuilderTrend, MindBody etc)
  • Whether the information is provided electronically or via paper
  • Did someone else already do some of the accounting or is it a fresh start?

Can I go to jail?

This question does come up a lot. On occasion taxpayers do end up in jail. It just isn’t going to be the first conversation CRA has with you so be wary of any ‘CRA’ calls that suggest you are going to jail. Please check this link at the Canada Revenue Agency Website . CRA – Slam the scam.

 If you still aren’t sure, call your CPA if you get any suspicious calls from people claiming to be from CRA.