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We are proud to announce that we have recently associated with Whitecourt-based accounting firm Horne & Co.

George and Marilyn Horne of Horne & Co., along with Michael Epp and Terry St. Laurent of Hawkings Epp Dumont, are delighted with this new association, bringing together approximately 65 people with offices in Edmonton, Lloydminster and now Whitecourt. Horne & Co. has been in business since 1988 and brings a strong group of talented people.

Karen Mercier and Alice Tay of Mercier Tay LLP Professional Accountants and Michael Epp and Terry St. Laurent of Hawkings Epp Dumont LLP Chartered Accountants are pleased to announce the affiliation between our firms. This affiliation allows us to collaborate as we serve our clients moving forward.

At Mercier Tay LLP, our first priority has always been to provide the best possible service to our private enterprise and personal tax clients.

Are you backed-up? We aren't referring to your workflow or your sewer. We're talking about your digital files.

If you had a system failure today, would be able to recover them in a reasonable time period? How many of you have essential information stored on a single hard drive? When was the last time you backed-up your accounting records?

With the projected life of a hard drive of only three to five years, your business may be running on borrowed time with its critical digital records.

Every business owner has dreamt of selling his or her business.  The question is:  Will the dream keep you hitting the snooze button or will it be a nightmare that you can't wake up from fast enough?

Assuming you have been grooming your business for sale for a few years, the first question to address is: "Do I hire a business broker or go it alone?"

The saying goes, "An army travels on its stomach." In other words, without food you don't have much of an army. 

The same could be said about a business; instead of food – it's cash. And, we all know that, "money doesn't grow on trees."  But, a lot of cash could be stuck in your accounts receivables.

A TD Bank 2015 survey of 508 small business owners showed that bookkeeping was their least favourite task.  It's no surprise, considering 58% of them worked 60 or more hours a week. 

Every business or organization has cycles like farming -- sow, grow, harvest, rest, repeat. Of course everyone who knows anything about farming knows the rest is better described as prepare for the next season and make important decisions about things like repairing or replacing equipment.

It would be fair to say that small business wasn't a big consideration for the new Federal Liberal government when it prepared the budget.  That could be good or bad news depending on what you were expecting or hoping for.

Besides the size of the deficit projected, the government did not make good on its promise to reduce small business tax from 10.5% to 9%.  While disappointing for those who where expecting the reduction, it's important to note that Canada's corporate tax is one of the lowest in the G7. 

"Leadership and management are often used as synonyms. In other words they will use one word, then the other in the same sentence – thinking they are the same thing, whatever that is," says Dr John Kotter, Chief Innovation Officer at Kotter International, professor at Harvard Business School.  Kotter argues that mixing the two words is both wrong and dangerous.

In business, cash is king. It doesn't matter how long a business has been around; if it runs out of cash and it can't get financing, it's done.  Many agree that good cash flow analysis is the most important part of any business plan.

However, you can't simply look at your bank balance to know how things are going.

Assuming your business follows the local economy, where a successful year is followed by a slower period, it is likely that the business will have an inordinate amount of cash on hand.

But don't let that fool you into thinking everything is OK.

The Canadian economy started the New Year with bleak economic news – dropping stock prices, low oil prices and a tanking Canadian dollar. The polite term for this circumstance is to say we are experiencing a dynamic market. Businesses operating in such a market need to assess their strategy and related financial planning with the reality of the market in mind.

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