What's new.

Our articles

How to achieve your financial goals with these proven methods

January 2018 is soon coming to a close and by now you probably thought long and hard about your new year’s resolutions. Perhaps you pledged to call your mom more often, meditate once a day, lose 10 pounds, and become financially richer.  Have you acted upon your goals?

Spending money responsibly is one of the most important goals that you could achieve. The benefits of developing good financial habits are well worth the efforts. Having your finances under control could enable you and your family to abstain from straying into debt, enable you to keep a solid credit rating and help you to attain the financing you may need to buy a new home or a car or borrow money for business ventures.

One financial goal that could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year is minimizing the amount of expensive coffee you buy per week, as well as the amount of money you spend on dining out per week.

On average, coffee costs about $4.00 per cup and dining out for lunch costs about $15.00. If you were to buy coffee and dine out every weekday, you would be spending whopping $4,800 per year! – that’s the equivalent of about four vacation getaways or about six plasma screen TVs. You get the point.  Conversely, If you were to just bring coffee from home and brown bag your lunch, you could save $4,800 per year and apply that money towards other bills or a savings account.

Related: A stop buying expensive coffee calculator and save more money

The problem is that sticking to this new year’s resolution is easier said than done. Even having an immense desire or motivation to stop buying your latte and chow mein for lunch is not enough to ensure that you will stick to this financial goal. A strong body of research reveals that motivation is not enough to attain your goals, including your monetary ones.  Fortunately, there are proven methods that could help you stick to your financial goals. In the following post, I will discuss seven proven methods that could help you minimize your spending and maximize your savings. These proven methods are 1. Writing down your financial goals., 2. Attaching your new financial habit to an existing one,  and 3. Modifying your environment to minimize spending.

  1. Write down your financial goals

Over 100 different studies in a variety of experimental situations have arrived at the same conclusion: Individuals who explicitly say when and where their new behaviors will happen to have a greater probability of adhering to their goals. Heidi Grant Halvorson, a professor at Columbia University states, “deciding in advance when and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal can double or triple your chances for success.

So one strategy you could perform to become more financially wealthy this year is to implement a plan on how you could spend less money on coffee and food.

You could write down a statement such as:  “If situation Y is encountered, then I will initiate goal‐directed behavior X!”).

Here is an example that applies to purchasing less coffee when at work.

“Every time I go to work, I will drink coffee (or tea) from the coffee machine at work and not buy coffee (or tea) at Starbucks/Second Cup/Timmy’s etc.”

Another example is:

“Every time I go to work, I will brown bag my lunch and not purchase lunch from the cafeteria/restaurants/fast food places/convenience stores.

You could also add the conditions in which you will purchase coffee and dine out and how much you will spend.

“I will only buy coffee (or tea) once a month on the weekends for no more than $5” and “I will only dine out once a month on the weekends for no more than $20.”

Remember write down your financial goals in advance and specifically, state when and where you will take specific action to reach your monetary goal.

Related: Achieve Your Goals: Research Reveals a Simple Trick That Doubles Your Chances for Success

  1. Attach your new financial habit to an existing one

While old habits are hard to break, new habits are hard to shape. This is mainly because our behavioral patterns are hard-wired in our brains. The promising news is that through consistency and repetition, you could shape new neural pathways and create and maintain new habits.

If your goal is to stop dishing out money on dining out, then you could turn this goal into a habit by attaching this new habit that you wish to develop to an existing one.

Here is how you could make it happen:

Immediately after you clean up the kitchen table in the evening, pack yourself a portion of this evening’s dinner in your Tupperware for tomorrow’s lunch. In this example cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen after dinner are old habits that you are accustomed to performing, packing a portion of tonight’s meal in Tupperware for tomorrow’s lunch is the new habit you want to acquire According to a study published in the journal, Neuron, the best way to convert “wishful goals into solid, automatic habit…[is by] being consistent.”  Work toward your goal every day, even if you don’t feel like it. You can set aside a specific time each day, or a specific context. For instance, you can brown bag tonight’s leftover dinner right after you clean up the kitchen table (a specific context) or at exactly 7 p.m. every evening (a specific time).  James Clear, a prominent author on habit formation states, “The more regular the behavior, the more easily your brain can convert it into a habit.”

  1. Modify your environment to minimize your spending

Sometimes changing the environment will help kick your brain into gear and change your daily habits. According to the journal, Psychology Today, “Environmental cues are essential when it comes to habit formation, in part because the brain is excellent at connecting an environment with a specific situation”. For instance, someone who regularly buys a cup of java from Timmy’s on the way to work might find it difficult to resist one even when they are not craving caffeine. Simply seeing Timmy’s logo (environmental cues) will be enough to send them racing to the drive-thru window.  “If you find yourself constantly giving up on your goals, take a look at your surroundings.” If you always buy a coffee at Timmy’s on the way to work, perhaps you could change your driving route to one where you don’t encounter a Tim Hortons. Without the environmental cues, you are less likely to crave a coffee.

On the flip side, if you want to develop a certain habit like brown-bagging your lunch or only drinking coffee from the coffee machine at work, make the habits you want to perform more visible. Place your lunch box in sight on your kitchen counter right after work and place a nice mug on your office desk.  In other words, make the habits that you don’t want to perform less visible and the ones that you want to perform more visible.

In conclusion, the three proven methods that could help you reach your financial goals are 1. Writing down your financial goals., 2. Attaching your new financial habit to an existing one, and 3. Modifying your environment to minimize spending. Don’t be discouraged if you have not been able to stick with your monetary goals for this year. With the above-proven methods, you could make the changes and develop healthy money habits. The pay off will definitely outweigh any latte or burger that you consume.  


About S & P Accounting Services

S & P Accounting Services is a professional accounting firm situated in North York, Ontario. We are chartered accountants with extensive experience with audit, review, tax and bookkeeping. We strive to operate in accordance with our principles of quality, professionalism, and integrity and are dedicated to excellent service.  We aim to ensure that our clients receive the highest quality of financial, tax and accounting services and advice. We happily serve clients in Toronto, North York, Mississauga, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and in other cities in the GTA.

If you have any questions or inquiries about our accounting services, please contact S & P Accounting Services.

S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9
www.spaccountingservices.ca

Disclaimer: We strive to ensure all information on our site is accurate and up to date. However, the contents of the site are naturally subject to change from time to time. That means, we can’t always guarantee the accuracy of all information on the site. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHECKING THE ACCURACY OF RELEVANT FACTS AND OPINIONS GIVEN ON THE SITE BEFORE ENTERING INTO ANY COMMITMENT BASED UPON THEM.

This post was written by Biz Source, a content creation company and is for illustration purposes only. For professional advice, please contact S & P Accounting Services.

Professional accounting services in North York and Toronto

What kind of professional accounting services do we provide?

We provide a full range of professional accounting services which include, accounting, tax returns, bookkeeping, and payroll.  We serve individuals and business clients in the Greater Toronto Area, which includes Toronto, Vaughan, North York, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, and Thornhill.

Why choose our professional accounting services?

Our professional accounting services offer many benefits to our clients:

  • You will have the opportunity to work with chartered accountants who are experts in their field.
  • You will be able to leverage on our extensive experience with audit, review, tax and bookkeeping.
  • We will help you understand how to be more successful. For instance, we will help you understand how your finances work to your benefit and how to grow your wealth in the smartest way possible. Financial literacy is key to becoming a successful business owner.
  • We will simplify your accounting and business needs. For instance, one major advantage of our payroll services is our ability to create a variety of reports that simplify accounting procedures and help your company ensure they are in compliance with legal and tax filing requirements.
  • Our professional accounting services help ensure that your accounting is accurate, complete and filed on time – this way you could focus on what’s important, helping your business succeed.

How are we committed to proving excellent professional accounting services?

  • We will give you the most current information, so you can make informed decisions for your business
  • We will maintain your books up to date to ensure you have a real-time picture of how your business is doing.
  • We will ensure that you file your taxes on time in order to avoid any late penalty fees.
  • We will respond to any of your questions and/or requests within 24 hours.
  • We will always work to improve, enhance and make your core business more efficient by providing you with innovative, sustainable and creative business solutions that are tax efficient and catered to your specific needs.
  • Our unique approach enables us to find specific tax breaks and deductions for most of our clients.

If you require additional consultation or want to learn more about our professional accounting services, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Polina Presman, CPA, CA

T- 416-371-6017
F- 416-667-0404

Shani Marzin, CPA, CA

T- 416-731-9031
F- 416-667-0404

S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9
www.spaccountingservices.ca

Eight CRA fraud prevention tips from an accountant in Toronto

Advice from a Toronto accountant about how to protect yourself against CRA fraud

Over the past few months there has been a rise in Canadian residents falling victim of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scams.  A man in Peterborough was defrauded out of $2,400. Residents in south-central Ontario and Chilliwack, British Columbia have also fallen prey to this scam.

Although, in a previous post, I’ve provided advice about how to protect yourself against tax evasion scams, I think its worth mentioning the importance of protecting yourself against such frauds, especially given the rise of these unfortunate defrauding cases.

In this article, I share with you eight CRA fraud prevention tips that will hopefully help you avoid falling victim of a CRA scam.

Typically, victims of the scams receive a phone call from someone pretending to be a representative of Canada Revenue Agency. The fake CRA representative tells the victims that they owe x amount of dollars or their assets will be seized. Alternatively, theses scams could be communicated by email, text message or on the answering machine.

Here are eight crucial fraud prevention tips from an accountant in the Toronto area

If you receive a call from someone saying that they are from the CRA use these guidelines to help verify if the call is legitimate:

  1. The scammers can be extremely assertive and aggressive. Remember the the CRA will never use coercive language or  be aggressive or try to intimidate you.
  2. The scammers may threaten to arrest you or send you to the police. Remember the CRA will never threaten you to arrest you or take you to the police.
  3. If someone calls you saying that they are from the CRA and asking for personal information and/or asks you to give them money. Do not take immediate action. Hang up and verify the information by calling the CRA through the official phone number.
  4. The CRA will never ask you for credit card information or for prepayments by prepaid credit cards or your personal information by email or text message. So if you receive mail, an email or a text message requesting personal information, know that these are fraudulent and never respond to them. Hang up.
  5. Before you take any action or share any personal or financial information, hang up and call a trusted family member, friend, your bank or your chartered accountant to get a second opinion on the call.
  6. Ask yourself:
    1. Is it really safe to transfer money to someone I do not know?
    2. Is there a legitimate reason that the CRA may be calling? Do I have a tax balance outstanding?
    3. Is the requester asking for information I would not include with my tax return? Is the requester asking for information I know the CRA already has on file for me?
    4. Am I confident I know who is asking for the information?
  7. Ask the caller for their ID and verify the callers ID by calling the CRA directly.
  8. Check that status of your account by either logging in to MyAccount or calling CRA directly.

Is the message that you receive from CRA legitimate? when in doubt, ask your Chartered Accountant

If you are unsure if the phone call, email or text message is legitimate or a fraudulent message, ask your Chartered Accountant. Your Chartered Accountant should know how the CRA communicates with taxpayers and your Chartered Accountant should be able to distinguish between fraudulent communication and legitimate communication from the CRA.

If you feel that you’ve been a victim of fraud or have received deceptive telemarketing, you should call 1-888-495-8501 or visit CRA fraud website. Follow these steps if you’ve been defrauded.

If you require consultation or a have any accounting inquires, please do not hesitate to contact us.  S&P Accounting Services has experienced Chartered Accountants and we serve clients in in Toronto and other cities in the GTA which include, North York, Thornhill, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.

Polina Presman, CPA, CA

T- 416-371-6017
F- 416-667-0404

Shani Marzin, CPA, CA

T- 416-731-9031
F- 416-667-0404

S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9
www.spaccountingservices.ca

Are you looking for a tax accountant in Toronto to help you with your tax return?

You may be eligible for free tax services

If you are looking for a tax accountant in the Toronto or North York area, yet have a simple tax situation and modest income, you may be eligible for free tax services.

In fact, there are many community organizations throughout Canada that have volunteers completing tax returns for eligible individuals. These tax clinics are made feasible through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).

You might qualify for theses services if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.

1. What is a modest income?

Modest income means that your family income is less than the amount shown in the chart below. Verify with the community organization in your vicinity to see if you are eligible as some organizations have different eligibility requirements. 

Family size Total family income
One person $30,000
One person with one dependant $35,000 (add $2,500 for each additional dependant)
Couple $40,000 (add $2,500 for each dependant)

2. Do you have a simple tax situation?

In general, your tax situation is simple if you have no income or if your income comes from these sources:

  • employment
  • pension
  • benefits such as CPP, disability, CCB, EI, social assistance
  • RRSP
  • support payments
  • scholarships, fellowships, bursaries or grants
  • interest (under $1,000)

Your tax situation is not simple if you:

  • are self-employed or have employment expenses
  • have business or rental income and expenses
  • have capital gains or losses
  • file for bankruptcy
  • are completing a tax return for a deceased person

In such circumstances, you may wish to seek advice and assistance from a tax accountant.

3. When are these free tax services offered?

Volunteer tax preparation clinics are generally offered each year between February and April but many are operating all year at various locations across Canada.

4. Where are the tax preparation clinics located?

Here is a list of free tax preparation clinics in:

5. What to bring to the tax preparation clinic?

 In order for volunteers to complete your income tax and benefit return for you, make sure to bring your:

  • Tax information slips
  • Receipts
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Identification

Volunteers need the above items to prepare your income tax and benefit return.

7. How do you get your slips?

You can visit Service Canada‘s secure site to get access to your current year and prior year old age security (OAS), employment insurance (EI) and Canada pension plan (CPP) tax slips electronically. 

For more information, see Information slips – T4 and other slips.

8. What if I require assistance with my taxes and don’t qualify for assistance from one of the free tax clinics?

If you require assistance with your taxes and are not eligible for assistance from one of the free tax clinics, you may contact S & P Accounting Services. We are a full-service accounting firm handling taxation, bookkeeping, payroll and accounting. We happily serve clients in North York, Toronto, Vaughan, Mississauga, Richmond Hill and other cities situated in the GTA. If you require consultation or a have any accounting inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Polina Presman, CPA, CA

T- 416-371-6017
F- 416-667-0404

Shani Marzin, CPA, CA

T- 416-731-9031
F- 416-667-0404

S&P Accounting Services LLP
2727 Steeles Ave. W. Suite 300
North York, ON, M3J 3G9
www.spaccountingservices.ca

Disclaimer:

We strive to ensure all information on our site is accurate and up to date. However, the contents of the site are naturally subject to change from time to time. That means, we can’t always guarantee the accuracy of all information on the site. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHECKING THE ACCURACY OF RELEVANT FACTS AND OPINIONS GIVEN ON THE SITE BEFORE ENTERING INTO ANY COMMITMENT BASED UPON THEM.

This post was written by Biz Source, a content creation company and is for illustration purposes only. For professional advice, please contact S & P Accounting Services.