Frequently Asked Questions
- What services does your firm offer?
- What makes your firm different from all the rest?
- What is the difference between a CGA and a CA?
- What makes your tax services exceptional?
- Where can I get a good set of helpful Internet resource links?
Business Services FAQs
- What kind of financial statements do I need?
- How could I use your service for setting up my business accounting on the computer?
- Why would my business consider outsourced accounting?
- Why would I need a business coach when I know my business?
- Our business has been thinking about standardizing procedures, but isn’t adopting systems and standards costly, bureaucratic, and time consuming?
- How do accountants charge for their service?
- Can you give me a quote for the job?
Personal Services FAQs
- How much do you charge for personal tax preparation?
- When do I need financial planning?
- How are you paid for your financial planning services?
- I have questions about providing for my family and business after my death. Can you help?
What services does your firm offer?
We have two main types of services:
- Traditional accounting, tax preparation, financial statement preparation, and tax planning
- Outsourced Accounting, which includes business assessment, complete remote bookkeeping, financial controllership program, business coaching and consulting and Controllership Focus Online functions.
What makes your firm different from all the rest?
In 2000 we became ISO certified. That means you can count on the quality of the service we provide to you, regardless of which type of services you need.
J.A.Smith & Associates Inc. is a forward-looking company whose people look for the latest in technologies to assist you in your management decisions.
Our service providers have a wide range of qualifications and experience in business. We have a Certified Financial Planner, Certified General Accountants and other team members with varied backgrounds as part of the team that works with you, your business and your family.
What is the difference between a CGA and a CA?
Certified General Accountants and Chartered Accountants both have the same legal rights to perform audits and accounting services in most Canadian provinces and territories.
Public accounting firms, whether owned by CGA or CA partners, do similar work. In fact, many accountants with CGA designations work in CA firms and vice versa. One difference is how their designations are obtained.
In order to get a CA designation, a degree is needed before beginning the program. The accounting student then requires thirty-six months of work experience in a public practice firm, where the focus is on performing audits.
The CGA program, on the other hand, is a bit more flexible. A degree is not required to begin the program, but one is needed to finish. This allows the advantage of gaining work experience while obtaining a degree through partnerships set up by CGA-Canada with select Canadian universities.
Last, but not least, work experience is obtained anywhere in the accounting field, as long as it is senior level work experience. CGA students can be found working in industry, commerce, government and public practice (not just in audit work). The variety of experiences held by our service providers is one example of this flexibility.
What makes your tax services exceptional?
We are in business year-round. Only senior accountants, who partake in ongoing tax training, are permitted to prepare tax returns. We do not simply input your tax information – we ask you questions, listen to your concerns and use a comprehensive checklist to prepare your return. Then we look for ways we can save you money, not just in the current tax year but on an ongoing basis. You get the benefit of a financial planner and a tax advisor when you use our tax service. A senior accountant will review your return to ensure you receive all possible tax savings.
Where can I get a good set of helpful Internet resource links?
Personal Services FAQs
How much do you charge for personal tax preparation?
A simple tax return with three or less T slips (ie, T3, T4, T5) can cost around $250 for a single return or $475 for a couple. If the return is more complex, the fees will depend upon the time needed to prepare and review your return.
We find that the average tax client will spend $300 per tax return, while an average Home Office/Small Business will spend $750 to $1000 per year.
We can provide an estimate before you engage us, if you have a more complicated return. Our service providers need you to provide your information, will review your information, ask you a few questions and provide an estimated price which will include e-filing your return. You will be under no obligation to use our services. A senior accountant will review your return to ensure you receive all possible tax savings.
When do I need financial planning?
You may be dreaming of retiring early, traveling around the world, sending your children to private schools, owning a cottage or boat, or any number of other important dreams you may have. But how do you change dreams into reality? We can help you with the journey.
We start with your dreams and help you implement them. During your lifetime, there may be checkpoints when financial planning becomes more critical for you, such as starting your career, a marriage, raising a family, a sudden change in your career path, planning for retirement or when sickness or a death occurs. Our financial planning services can help you make important decisions at times when you need sound professional advice.
How are you paid for your financial planning services?
Our financial planning services are independent from any offering of financial products or services. We are not paid by a financial institution. Since we sell no financial products we can, therefore, offer you independent advice. Our fees can be an hourly rate or a flat rate depending upon the services required.
I have questions about providing for my family and business after my death. Can you help?
Yes, we can. We have Certified Financial Planners on our team to assist you in these important and sensitive areas.
Many people have questions such as:
How do I go about getting a will?
What is a power of attorney?
How do I pick an executor?
What is probate?
Should I buy a will kit or go to a lawyer?
We want our clients to have enough information to make educated decisions. Your financial professional will answer your questions in a comprehensive and understandable manner.
Business Services FAQ’s
What kind of financial statements do I need?
If you represent a non-profit organization or business (corporation, proprietorship or partnership) that has to report to unrelated shareholders, bankers, creditors or government you may require an Audit Engagement. The determining factor is the amount of risk associated with the use of those statements.
A Review Engagement will ascertain whether your financial statements are worthy of belief, and will provide limited assurance that your financial information conforms to generally accepted accounting principles.
A Notice to Reader Engagement will ensure that your financial information is compiled into financial statement format. Generally this type of financial statement is prepared when records are reliable, the business is small and the financial statements are primarily used to file with Canada Revenue Agency.
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How could I use your service for setting up my business accounting on the computer?
We support most of the popular accounting programs and can help with your selection of the best accounting program for your business. We are also happy to assist you in tailoring it to your specific business needs. Our training is delivered by Certified QuickBooks or Simply Accounting trainers, who are also experienced bookkeepers and accountants, and are very skilled in the use of the accounting programs they support.
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Why would my business consider outsourced accounting?
When you consider the TRUE cost of maintaining an in-house accounting department, including things such as salaries, benefits, vacation pay, down-time, computer costs, use of office space, stationery, hiring costs, firing costs, keeping a person full-time when they are only needed half time, you may want to consider the alternative. We offer a service that you can use as much as you need to. There is no hiring, no use of your business premises, no human resource or computer hassles to deal with. We can give you efficient and consistent quality service provided by qualified professionals. See our Controllership Focus Online website for more benefits and details.
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Why would I need a business coach when I know my business?
80% of North America’s small and medium sized businesses fail in the first 3-9 years. Businesses start out with the entrepreneur’s idea that they can do the job better than someone else. As their business matures, often the very characteristics that helped them start the business are the ones that cause the business to falter.
Our business coach helps you, as business owner, to stay focused on the main goals of the company, one of which is to be a business success and achieve the personal goals of the business owner(s). A business coach, who is independent from your company, can be helpful in separating the forest from the trees that make up the everyday activities of business. A business coach can help you, the business owner, gain more personal satisfaction from your business life and consequently from your personal life. Return to top
Our business has been thinking about standardizing procedures, but isn’t the adoption of systems and standards bureaucratic and time consuming?
Implementing any system can be costly, in terms of both time and other resources. Our systems, though, have been tested and proven by many companies in countries around the world. Our company adopted ISO standards (International Quality Standards recognized throughout the world) to ensure excellence in our business practices. The results are quality and consistency of products and services.
Over a period of several years our firm has developed an extensive set of standard business documents, including templates, work instructions, and forms. We have built these documents, along with several other business features into an intranet system based on the Microsoft SharePoint platform. The resulting system, Business Connect, can be adapted to nearly any business. This product allows your business the advantage of a turnkey business system that allows your entire team to stay connected and maintain all the business intelligence of the company. For more information about our Business Connect Intranet, contact our associated IT partner company, Business Performance Solutions, and we can help implement a quality control system for your company.
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How do accountants charge for their service?
All accountants charge by time spent on a task or project. The longer it takes the higher the cost will be. Accountants invoice based on their level of knowledge and the time they spend on a job. The more organized your financial records are when you give them to us, the quicker we can prepare the work you have asked us to do and the more cost effective it will be for you.
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Can you give me a quote for the job?
At J.A. Smith & Associates Inc. this is an integral part of the engagement. At our first meeting, we will discuss the scope of the work to be performed, timelines and reporting requirements. Just as it is impossible to quote a construction job without first looking at the plans, it is also not possible to know how long any particular accounting/tax work might take without seeing the financial records.
Once we have had an opportunity to review your records and discuss the requirements, we have our service providers calculate a detailed time budget and provide you with a quote. If something in the scope changes which would require a change to the fee we will advise you of this change ahead of time.
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