Sage 50 Accounting recently announced some changes in light of their October 2013 release that will likely have implications for all users of the software. Note that in order to take advantage of the new release, you will need to have installed the Product Update 2013.3 released in June.
First, users will be offered more frequent product releases. There will be three: October, December and June. These releases may include new products, product enhancements or issue resolution. The December and June releases will have payroll updates as before. And make sure that your Business Care subscription is current, otherwise these releases won’t be made available to you.
If you are upgrading from Sage 50 2013 Release 3, you subscribe to Sage Business Care and are online, product updates will automatically download while you work. You no longer need to enter a key code or serial number to update, and the file sizes are also smaller to make for a faster process.
The company has also updated their Sage 50 Accounting database to MYSQL 5.6.10, with the promise of providing increased stability and peace of mind as you grow your business.
The October release introduces a new technology, Sage Advisor, which is meant to help users better utilize the software. You will receive brief messages and guidance relevant to your actions within Sage 50, and you can control their frequency via the customer interface.
Finally, new monthly subscription pricing options are available, rather than the standard annual purchase of the software.
Visit www.sage50accounting.ca for more information.
The Prince Edward Island Marathon is only a few short weeks away and as a race category sponsor we are gearing up for another weekend of fitness-focused fun. Seeing as its also the Marathon's 10th anniversary we thought we'd celebrate by sharing some stories around our involvement over the years and fill you in on this year's MRSB team. We hope you're as excited as we are to don your runners and support this great event!
The story of our first Corporate Relay team
MRSB Group has been participating in the PEI Marathon since 2007 and has been a race category sponsor since 2009. It is a point of pride that we always manage to pull together a great group to run, walk, volunteer or just give some support along the routes.
In 2007 we launched our very first corporate relay team. Actually, it ended up being two teams since the first was hand-picked by a Partner (who shall remain unnamed!) and the other was made up of staff who actually volunteered to participate once a signup sheet was hastily made available. The stacked team took on the name The MRSB Running Totals (otherwise known as 'the competitive team') and our second team, The MRSB Write-Offs, did everything in their power to train up and beat them come race day.
Well, Sunday came and by the time the final runners set out on their routes they were neck and neck. Both teams gave it all they had, but the Running Totals had the final glory, coming in at 3:33:28. What was the Write-Offs' time? A nail-bitingly close 3:33:36 - what a race!
Since that memorable first year, we've had at least one corporate relay team each year, along with runners and walkers in the full marathon, half marathon and pretty much every other event. Every year is just as exciting as the first, as each new team prepares to support one of PEI's most popular annual events.
This year's MRSB Corporate Relay Team
This year we will have eight staff lacing up and working together to complete the course, which gives participants a close-up view of some of the Island's most picturesque locales.
Here's our team...
Colin Younker, Senior Tax Advisor with MRSB Group, discusses the potential benefits of this new government savings plan.
If you are the parent or guardian of a disabled child or adult, you may worry about the long-term financial security of your loved one. The Government of Canada has addressed this issue and introduced a savings plan meant to help those caring for a person with a disability.
Just as the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is designed to help you save for your post-employment future, the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is meant to provide a nest egg toward your family member’s long-term costs. Considering that many disabled persons find it difficult to maintain full time employment because of medical or other barriers, it can be a real assurance to know that you have funds put away for when your family member might need it most.
Appearing to be a fairly non-restrictive plan, an individual may be designated as the beneficiary of an RDSP if they meet the following criteria:
- They are a resident of Canada
- They have a valid social insurance number (SIN)
- They are eligible for the disability amount under the rules of the Income Tax Act of Canada
- They are under the age of 60 (this does not apply when the beneficiary’s RDSP is transferred from their former RDSP)
Many financial institutions now offer RDSPs and your first step can be to contact your financial advisor. The contribution limit is an overall lifetime contribution of $200,000 and there is no annual limit to what you choose to contribute. You may contribute to your RDSP until the end of the calendar year during which the beneficiary turns 59. Your RDSP earnings will accumulate tax-free until funds are withdrawn from the plan.
There are some other major benefits to contributing to an RDSP, especially for those who start the process early:
- The government of Canada will pay matching grants of up to $3,500 per year; this is capped at $70,000 in lifetime grants
- Bonds of up to $1,000 per year are available for low income and modest income beneficiaries. No matching contribution is required and the maximum lifetime contribution is $20,000 (note that the bond is not based on other family income, only the beneficiary’s)
- As there are no annual contribution rules, significant contributions can be made early on to benefit from tax-free growth
- Contributions can be made for a disabled child under the age of majority and also for an adult by any person, provided the beneficiary has approved the contributions in writing
- When funds are paid out of RDSPs they do not affect other benefits such as OAS or specific provincial programs
If you think your family member might be eligible for the RDSP, you can find more information on the Government of Canada’s website or by speaking with a financial advisor.
MRSB Partner Lloyd Compton on why buying a business might take you one step closer
Ok, so a million dollars is not what it used to be. However, when we think of what it means to be a millionaire, we think of financial independence and the ability to be the master of our own destiny. If you examine how most financially independent people acquired their wealth, it was through owning, operating and often selling their own business. As comedian Steve Martin once said, "You too can be a millionaire. First, get a million dollars."
So, if you are looking to achieve financial autonomy but you don't have a rich uncle with a two-pack-a-day habit, you should become a business owner.
The next question you may ask is, "Should I buy a business or start my own?" There are pros and cons to each option and they are not mutually exclusive. Starting a business typically means you must try to take market share away from someone else. While this is done all the time, it is also fraught with risk and expense. We have all heard the pessimistic and discouraging statistics that say 50 to 95 percent of new businesses fail within their first five years.
An alternative to starting up your own venture is to buy an existing business that has survived its initial growth period. CIBC estimates that approximately 30% of all business owners will exit their business in the next five years due to the average age of this demographic. This number is expected to jump to 50% in the next ten years. Here are just some of the benefits of acquiring a business rather than starting from scratch:
- There is less risk if proper due diligence is done
- There will be an established market for the business' service or product
- You will acquire the previous owner's property or location
- Years of advertising are already in place and public awareness has been created
- Credit and relationships with suppliers has been established
- Immediate cash flow is almost a given
- Financing will be easier due to a more predictable revenue stream
- You have the option to work with a pre-existing, knowledgeable staff
- You can draw on the experience of the former owner
- You may be able to to get assets at their depreciated value rather than buying all new
Of course there are potential downsides; the business may be struggling or may have cultivated a negative reputation among customers or staff. You may have to pay for goodwill or the future cash generating ability of the business, something you would not have to do if you started your own. However, if the earnings are proven to be reasonably stable and predictable, paying for goodwill should be worth it.
So whether you start your own business or buy one, each will require risk, money and hard work. But either course of action can have significant rewards in the annual revenue stream and/or a valuable asset to sell when you decide to put your feet up and retire or move on to the next promising venture.
By the way, Steve Martin's second suggestion when the tax man comes collecting was to simply tell him, "I forgot to pay the taxes." Personally, I don't recommend this.
 CIBC In Focus, Inadequate Business Succession Planning—A Growing Macroeconomic Risk