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Financial trends 2024 for small businesses

Big Financial Trends 2024: What Canadian Small and Medium-Size Businesses Need to Know

Supplier costs continue to rise. Inflation continues to impact buyer behaviour. Global unrest is making people uneasy. All of these financial trends are affecting small and medium-sized businesses as we head into 2024. 12% worry they will be unable to continue past 2024. Here’s the good news: 88% of Canadian SMBs surveyed say they are confident about growing their company over the next three years — an improvement from 2022’s 83%.

Regardless of what you see coming in the years ahead, understanding your financial situation is crucial to effectively building a successful and sustainable business. Cash flow will be more important in the coming year, and managing the economic, consumer, technology, and labour challenges should be top of mind.

Financial Trends and Challenges Facing Small and Medium-Sized Canadian Businesses

Here are some of the key financial trends and challenges that SMBs must confront in 2024.

Economic Concerns

Are we heading into a recession? That’s the big question that we’re all grappling with. The Conference Board of Canada now believes we’ll avoid a recession with a recovery in 2024. Others disagree. Either way, SMBs need to keep tight control over finances and prepare for whatever comes next.

The Bank of Canada is expected to hold tight on interest rates for the first half of 2024, with rate reductions not coming until mid-year. High interest rates slow down many areas of the economy, including consumer spending. SMBs seeking financing will find it more expensive, and loan grants may be more restrictive.

With labour challenges causing wages to rise and costs of goods increasing, SMBs will have to make difficult decisions about raising prices and managing cash flow.

Consumer Behaviour

A long-running financial trends that will continue in 2024 is more consumers are shopping online. With internet usage across Canada at nearly 93%, the retail eCommerce market is forecast to hit $71.7 billion in Canada in 2024. Yet, many small businesses nationwide are lagging in building out eCommerce solutions. Businesses must assess their eCommerce strategy to stay competitive, especially with younger consumers.

If there is a recession, expect consumer behaviour to shift. As businesses downsize, many Canadians will suddenly be out of work or have their work hours reduced. Demand for goods and services will decrease, especially for items that aren’t considered essential.

Consumers are also focusing on sustainability and eco-friendly practices in decision-making. More people expect transparency into how businesses operate as part of purchase decisions. Starting in 2024, banks and insurance companies face mandatory disclosures for climate-related risk and exposure. While most SMBs do not have such reporting requirements, expect more interest in how you are operating.


Technology is playing an increasingly important role in business. Artificial intelligence and automation are both disrupting entire sectors and providing significant efficiencies.

At the same time, SMBs need to worry more about cybersecurity than ever before. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small and medium-sized businesses. Cybercrime in Canada is up more than 600% since the start of the pandemic, and nearly half of all attacks target SMBs.

Labour Laws

new regulation goes into effect on February 1, 2024, as part of the Labour Code, increasing the obligations employers have when terminating employees in federally regulated businesses. More notice will need to be given to those with three years or more of employment. Up to eight weeks’ notice is required for employees working at a company for eight years or longer. There are also new requirements about the statement of benefits, wages, and severance pay that must be provided.

Businesses that use employment contracts will want to review them to ensure they comply with the new measures. Businesses must update employee handbooks and policy manuals to meet the new guidelines.

What SMBs Can Do to Prepare for 2024

Seek Financial Advice

Consulting with accounting and finance experts like Avisar Chartered Professional Accountants should be a priority heading into 2024 and pondering how to prepare for emerging financial trends. A CPA firm can provide expert guidance on budgeting, cash flow management, financing options, and more to help SMBs adapt to evolving economic conditions.

Adapting to Changing Consumer Preferences

SMBs need to evaluate their products and services, looking at ROI in light of evolving consumer behaviour. Enhancing eCommerce and digital offerings, managing supply chains, and tight cost control are all part of the SMB landscape moving forward.

Leverage Technology

SMBs should stay current on technology and look for ways to streamline operations. The right technology can boost competitiveness by automating functions. Seeking input from your accounting firm can help you find new ways to optimize finances and reduce your accounting workload.

SMBs also need to evaluate their current cybersecurity to lower risk.

Remain Compliant

Regulatory compliance is essential. Rules and reporting requirements are changing, and SMBs need to avoid costly problems by adhering to evolving laws. A CPA firm can help ensure businesses adhere to the latest accounting, tax, and other financial standards.

Get Professional Financial Management

With these complex challenges facing SMBs in 2024, you need a trusted advisor to help guide you, keep you compliant, and better manage your finances.

Avisar Chartered Professional Accountants is a trusted BC-based Canadian accounting firm focused on serving small businesses, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profit organizations. Our team of highly experienced accountants understands the unique needs of small and medium-sized businesses and is dedicated to helping you manage your finances and grow your business.

Contact Avisar Charted Professional Accountants today to book a consultation.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.

Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for Small Business

Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for Small Business

As the year draws to a close, small business owners in Canada have a golden opportunity to minimize their tax liability and maximize their financial stability. By implementing smart year-end tax planning strategies for small business, you can ensure you keep more of your hard-earned money while complying with Canadian tax laws. In this article, we will explore important considerations and strategies for Canadian small businesses, highlighting some time-sensitive items and key business deductions to consider.

Review Your Business Structure

One of the first decisions small business owners should revisit at year-end is their business structure. Whether you are a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or another entity, your structure can significantly impact your tax liability. For instance, if you’re operating as a corporation, you may be able to take advantage of the small business deduction, which can reduce the federal corporate tax rate on active business income. Similarly, if your business has grown significantly, it might be time to consider incorporating, which can offer tax advantages and limited liability protection.

Evaluate Your Income and Expenses

It’s essential to review your business’s financial performance and make informed decisions about your income and expenses. Delaying or accelerating income or expenses can have a substantial impact on your current-year tax liability. If you expect your income to be lower next year, you may want to defer invoicing clients until the new year. Conversely, if you anticipate higher income next year, you might consider accelerating income into the current year to take advantage of lower tax rates.

There is a near-term opportunity to elect to fully deduct capital asset purchases (with some limitations) in 2023 versus the usual requirement to claim the deduction over several years. For these purchases, the asset must be in use before December 31, 2023, and an election made on filing the tax return. This deadline is extended to December 31, 2024, for sole proprietorships and partnerships of all individuals.

Maximize Small Business Deductions

Canadian small businesses are eligible for various deductions, which can significantly reduce their tax liability. Some key deductions to consider include:

  1. Small Business Deduction (SBD): This deduction allows eligible small businesses to reduce their federal corporate tax rate on active business income. It’s important to ensure that your business meets the criteria to qualify for the SBD.
  2. Home Office Expenses: Given the rise in remote work, many small business owners work from home. You can claim a portion of your home-related expenses, such as rent, utilities, and internet, as business expenses if you use your home as your principal place of business.
  3. Employee Benefits: Offering benefits to employees can be a valuable deduction. This can include health and dental plans, life insurance, and retirement savings plans.
  4. Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive: If your business is engaged in research and development activities, you may be eligible for the SR&ED program, which offers tax credits for eligible expenditures.

Take Advantage of Time-Sensitive Items

Certain tax planning strategies must be implemented before year-end, so it’s crucial to act promptly. Some time-sensitive considerations include:

  1. RRSP Contributions: Consider contributing to Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) before the end of the year to reduce your personal taxable income.
  2. Dividend Planning: If your business is incorporated, assess the most tax-efficient way to distribute dividends to yourself and other shareholders.
  3. Debt Repayment: If your business has outstanding debts, it may be beneficial to pay them off before year-end, potentially reducing interest expenses and improving your financial position.
  4. Payroll and Bonuses: Ensure you’ve processed payroll and employee bonuses before year-end to claim them as expenses in the current tax year.

The Avisar Difference

Taxes are some of your business’s most significant expenses, which can cause a massive headache when it comes time to file. Remembering all deductions, credits, and strategies is difficult, even for the most well-organized businesses.

Due to the increasing complexity of the tax landscape, working with a professional is always recommended, especially one well-versed in local laws. It can optimize your tax payable throughout the year – freeing you up to focus on what you do best (running your business!)

Avisar CPA specializes in all manners of the tax act and how it applies specifically to BC residents and businesses. We sit down with you to learn more about your situation, business structure, and current goals and position.

After we have analyzed your unique scenario, we will devise a course of action and provide you with actionable steps on how we can improve your overall tax return, year after year. Book a free consultation today to learn more about how we’re helping BC businesses prosper.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.

financial literacy

Unlocking Business Success: The Power of Financial Literacy for Entrepreneurs

As entrepreneurs and small business owners, you wear many hats, from marketing mavens to product developers. It’s impossible to be an expert in every aspect of your business. Still, there is one area that will pay huge dividends on the investment of time you make: financial literacy.

Financial literacy isn’t just about crunching numbers. It’s about understanding those numbers well enough to steer your business in the right direction. And in the unpredictable world of business, that understanding is priceless.

In this post, we’ll delve into the importance of financial literacy for small business owners, highlighting how mastering the basics can lead to smarter, more informed business decisions. So, whether you’re a seasoned business owner or just starting out, let’s embark on this financial journey together.

The Direct Impact of Financial Literacy on Business Success

Financial literacy is more than just a buzzword; it’s a foundational skill that can make or break a small business. Let’s dive into how understanding the financial ropes directly influences your business’s success.

Improved Cash Flow Management

Cash is the lifeblood of any business. A U.S. Bank study found that a whopping 82% of small businesses fail due to poor cash flow management1. By understanding the nuances of your cash inflow (sales, investments) and outflow (expenses, purchases), you can predict potential shortfalls and take proactive measures. It’s not just about making money; it’s about ensuring that money is available when you need it.

Informed Decision Making

Have you ever been of two minds about investing in new equipment or hiring more staff?

Financial literacy equips you with the tools to make these decisions confidently. By understanding your financial statements, you can gauge the health of your business, assess profitability, and determine the feasibility of big-ticket expenses. It’s like having a financial compass guiding you toward decisions that align with your business goals.

Risk Management

Every business faces financial risks like fluctuating market conditions or unexpected expenses. Being financially literate equips you to identify those risks early on.

For instance, if you’re aware of market trends, you might foresee a potential dip in sales and adjust your spending accordingly. Or, by regularly reviewing your financial statements, you might spot irregularities that could indicate fraud. Financial literacy acts as your business’s early warning system, helping you navigate potential pitfalls.

The Indirect Benefits of Financial Literacy

While the direct impacts of financial literacy, like cash flow management and risk assessment, are often in the spotlight, the indirect benefits can be just as transformative for small business owners. Let’s delve into these often-overlooked advantages.

Enhanced Confidence in Decision Making

When you understand your finances, you’re not just making decisions; you’re making informed decisions. Imagine being at a crossroads, unsure of which path to take. Financial literacy is like having a map, giving you the confidence to choose the right direction.

Better Relationships with Financial Institutions

Banks and creditors love working with informed clients. When you demonstrate a clear understanding of your financial position, it not only makes their job easier but also builds trust. This can lead to better loan terms, faster approvals, and even potential partnerships. Think of it this way: would you rather lend money to someone who knows exactly how they’ll pay you back or someone who’s just hoping for the best?

Long-term Business Sustainability

Financial literacy isn’t just about the here and now; it’s about the future. By understanding financial trends and the broader economic landscape, you can make strategic plans for growth and expansion. It’s like planting seeds today for a harvest tomorrow. Businesses prioritizing financial education tend to have a more sustainable growth trajectory, ensuring they’re not just a flash in the pan but a lasting presence in the market.

How to Improve Your Financial Literacy

Improving your financial know-how is more accessible than you might think. Here are some ways to chart your course to become more financially savvy.

Educational Resources

The digital age has blessed us with many resources at our fingertips. From online courses on platforms like Coursera and Udemy to insightful books like “Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs” by Karen Berman and Joe Knight, there’s no shortage of material to dive into.

Hiring a Professional

Sometimes, the best way to learn is from someone who’s been there and done that. Consider hiring an accountant or financial advisor, even just for a few consultation sessions. They can provide personalized insights, answer specific questions, and guide you through the intricacies of your business’s finances.

Plus, having an expert on speed dial can be a game-changer during those “I’m not sure what to do” moments.

Continuous Learning

The financial landscape is constantly evolving. Regulations change, new tools emerge, and market dynamics shift. Dedicate some time each month to stay updated. Subscribe to financial news outlets, join business forums, or attend workshops. By committing to continuous learning, you ensure that your financial knowledge doesn’t just grow but stays relevant.

In essence, improving financial literacy is a journey, not a destination. Whether you’re diving into online courses, seeking expert advice, or simply staying updated, every step you take strengthens your business’s foundation.

If you focus on developing and maintaining your financial literacy, the positive impact on your business will be profound.

If you’d like to have a conversation to help you get started, book a free consultation. We’d be happy to offer some advice.

small business budget

Building a Strong Financial Foundation: 9 Tips for a Better Small Business Budget

Creating an effective small business budget can make the difference between thriving and just surviving in the exciting and sometimes unpredictable world of running a small business. Despite its crucial importance, many small business owners feel daunted by creating and managing a budget, viewing it as a complex and time-consuming process.

Introduction: Tips for Small Business Budgeting

Budgeting is not just about tracking income and expenses or preventing your business from overspending. It serves as a compass that guides your business toward its goals, a yardstick that measures your business’s performance, and a contingency plan that prepares your business for uncertainties. It allows you to anticipate challenges, seize opportunities, and steer your business on the path to growth and stability.

In this blog post, we aim to demystify the budgeting process and provide practical, actionable tips that small business owners can apply to their businesses. Whether you’re a startup just about to venture into your industry or a seasoned business looking to improve your financial management, these tips can help you navigate the financial aspects of your business with greater confidence and foresight.

Stay with us as we delve into the essentials of business budgeting, explore strategies for creating a realistic and effective small business budget, discuss the importance of regular budget monitoring and adjustments, and offer advice on planning for uncertainties. Along the way, we’ll also highlight the value of budgeting in making strategic decisions. Ready to master the art of budgeting? Let’s get started!

What is a Small Business Budget, and Why is it Crucial?

Business budgeting might seem like a fancy term, but at its core, it’s about planning your finances so that your income is greater than your expenses. This allows your business not only to cover operational costs but also to invest in its growth. But let’s go a bit deeper into this concept.

A small business budget is a financial plan that estimates income and expenses over a specific period. It serves as a roadmap, outlining how resources will be allocated to achieve business objectives. Budgets can be designed for a quarter, a year, or any period that suits your business needs.

The importance of business budgeting cannot be understated. It helps you understand your business’s financial health, make informed decisions, and plan for the future. Budgeting offers visibility into your cash flow, making it easier to identify potential cash shortfalls in advance and take preventive measures. It also enables you to allocate resources wisely, assess the feasibility of your financial goals, and measure your progress against those goals.

small business profitability

Different Types of Budgets: Operational, Cash Flow, and Capital Budgets

There are different types of budgets, each serving a unique purpose.

Operational Budgets focus on the day-to-day running of the business. They include income and expenses related to operations, such as sales, cost of goods sold (COGS), salaries, rent, and utilities.

Cash Flow Budgets estimate the inflow and outflow of cash in your business. They are crucial for ensuring that your business has enough liquidity to meet its short-term obligations. They can be beneficial in companies with significant seasonal variations.

Capital Budgets are for large, long-term investments such as purchasing equipment, upgrading software, or expanding to a new location. They help businesses plan and allocate funds for significant expenditures that can drive growth.

The Role of Budgeting in Strategic Planning

A well-structured small business budget is integral to strategic planning. It helps you prioritize your business initiatives, guiding where to cut costs and where to invest more. It serves as a performance metric, enabling you to compare projected performance against actual results, informing future strategies. By aiding in the identification of financial strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, budgeting helps you chart the course of your business’s future.

Understanding business budgeting is the first step toward mastering it. As we dive deeper into the specifics in the following sections, you’ll see how these concepts are applied to create a realistic budget that can navigate your small business toward financial success.

Know Your Costs

Knowing your costs is like having a clear map for your financial journey. By understanding and categorizing your costs, you can make more informed decisions and create a budget that reflects the realities of your business operations.

Identifying and Categorizing Your Business Costs

There are three main types of costs that your small business will incur: fixed, variable, and semi-variable costs.

Fixed Costs are expenses that do not change regardless of your business activity level. They remain the same whether your business is bustling or experiencing a slower season. Examples of fixed costs include rent, salaries, insurance, and any other expenses that are consistent from month to month.

Variable Costs, on the other hand, fluctuate depending on your business operations. These costs increase as your business activity goes up and decrease when it goes down. They often include expenses like raw materials, shipping, sales commissions, and other costs associated directly with the production or delivery of your products or services.

Semi-variable Costs are a blend of fixed and variable costs. These costs remain fixed to a certain output level, after which they increase. For example, you might have a data plan for your business with a fixed cost for a specific limit. Still, any usage beyond that limit incurs additional charges.

By accurately identifying and categorizing your costs, you can create a more precise small business budget and make better decisions about pricing, cost-cutting, and growth strategies.

The Significance of Understanding Your Costs in Budgeting

Knowing your costs is more than just a pre-budgeting exercise—it’s an ongoing part of managing your business finances. When you understand your costs:

  • You can set prices that accurately reflect your cost structure, ensuring your business remains profitable.
  • You gain insights into the profitability of individual products or services, allowing you to adjust your offerings or marketing strategies as needed.
  • You can identify potential areas for cost savings and efficiency improvements, which could mean the difference between struggling and thriving in competitive markets.
  • You can better manage cash flow by anticipating changes in variable and semi-variable costs.

In the following sections, we’ll delve into revenue forecasting and creating your budget. Armed with a clear understanding of your costs, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle these steps confidently.

Revenue Forecasting

Accurate revenue forecasting is a crucial aspect of budgeting. It offers insights into your business’s potential income, allowing you to plan expenditures and evaluate the financial feasibility of your business goals. Let’s dive deeper into the what, why, and how of revenue forecasting.

Basics of Revenue Forecasting and Its Importance

Revenue forecasting involves estimating the amount of money your business will receive in a specific period. It’s not just a wild guess but a calculated prediction based on past data, market research, and industry trends.

Accurate revenue forecasting can help you make strategic decisions about your business operations. It can inform your budgeting, enabling you to plan your expenses accordingly and avoid potential cash flow problems. Additionally, it can help you identify which products or services are most profitable, assess the impact of price changes or marketing campaigns, and plan for growth.

Tools and Methods for Accurate Revenue Predictions

Here are some strategies and tools that can help you create accurate revenue forecasts:

Historical Data: Your past sales data is a gold mine of information. You can analyze this data to identify trends and patterns, which can inform your future revenue predictions. Keep in mind, however, that past performance does not guarantee future results. It’s crucial to consider other factors, such as changes in the market or your business operations.

Market Research: Understanding your industry trends, competition, and target market can significantly improve the accuracy of your revenue forecasts. You might use online research, surveys, or industry reports to gather this information.

Sales Pipeline: If you have a predictable sales process, your sales pipeline can be a valuable forecasting tool. By examining your pipeline stages and conversion rates, you can estimate the likelihood of potential sales becoming actual revenue.

Seasonal Adjustments: Consider these in your revenue forecasting if your business has seasonal fluctuations. You might have periods of the year with higher or lower sales, which should be reflected in your forecasts.

Creating accurate revenue forecasts requires time, effort, and a bit of skill, but the benefits are well worth it. In the next section, we’ll discuss how to integrate this information into creating a comprehensive and realistic budget for your small business.

Creating Your Small Business Budget

A detailed understanding of your costs and an accurate revenue forecast give you a solid foundation to build your budget. This process may initially seem overwhelming, but it can become a manageable and even empowering task with a step-by-step approach.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create a Comprehensive and Realistic Budget

  1. Define Your Business Goals: What do you want to achieve in the specific budgeting period? Your goals might involve expansion, increasing profitability, reducing debt, or investing in new products or services. These goals will influence your budget allocations.
  • Estimate Your Revenue: Use the revenue forecasting methods discussed in the previous section to estimate your income for the budgeting period.
  • Detail Your Expenses: Based on your understanding of your business costs, detail all your expected expenses. They should include fixed, variable, and semi-variable costs. Remember to include non-regular expenses such as annual insurance premiums or tax payments.
  • Create the Budget: Subtract your total expenses from your total revenue to determine your net income. This figure will show whether your business will likely make a profit or loss in the budgeting period.
  • Review and Adjust: If your initial budget shows a loss or less profit than desired, review your revenue and expenses. Are there ways to increase revenue or decrease costs without negatively impacting your business operations or growth? Make adjustments as necessary until your budget aligns with your business goals.

Role of Budgeting Software and Other Digital Tools

In today’s digital age, small business owners have access to a variety of budgeting software and digital tools that can simplify and streamline the budgeting process. These tools can automate data entry, provide visual representations of your budget, and even offer predictive analytics for more accurate forecasting. Some popular options include QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks, but the right tool for your business will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Allocating Resources Effectively: Balancing Between Growth and Sustainability

Creating a budget isn’t just about ensuring your business stays afloat—it’s about planning for growth while maintaining sustainability. Allocate resources to areas that contribute to your business growth, such as marketing, product development, or customer service. At the same time, ensure your essential operational costs are covered and you have a buffer for unexpected expenses.

Remember, a budget is a living document. It will need adjustments as your business circumstances change. The key is to start with a clear, realistic plan and stay flexible as you navigate your business journey. Next, we will discuss the importance of regularly monitoring and adjusting your budget.

Monitoring and Adjusting Your Budget

Creating a budget is a significant first step, but the process doesn’t end there. You should monitor your budget regularly and adjust as necessary to reflect the changing realities of your business.

Why Regular Monitoring is Essential

Business is dynamic, and the assumptions you use to create your budget may not always hold. Market conditions can change, new opportunities may arise, or unexpected challenges may crop up. Regular monitoring allows you to catch these changes early, assess their impact on your budget, and adjust your plans accordingly.

Moreover, monitoring your budget is about more than just tracking your financial performance. It’s also about understanding why your actual results differ from your budgeted figures. By doing so, you can gain insights into your business operations, the effectiveness of your strategies, and the accuracy of your assumptions.

How to Monitor Your Budget

Here are some practical steps for monitoring your budget:

  1. Regular Reviews: Set a schedule for reviewing your budget. This could be monthly, quarterly, or whatever frequency works best for your business. Consistency is key.
  • Track Actual Results: Keep track of your actual income and expenses. Compare these figures with your budgeted amounts to identify any variances.
  • Analyze Variances: If your actual results differ significantly from your budget, try to understand why. Were your assumptions inaccurate, or did something change in your business or the market?
  • Adjust Your Budget: If necessary, adjust your budget to reflect your new understanding of your business. This might involve changing your revenue forecasts, cutting or increasing expenses, or re-evaluating your business goals.

Tools for Small Business Budget Monitoring

You can simplify your budget monitoring with the help of digital tools. Many budgeting software options include features for tracking actual results, analyzing variances, and even sending alerts when your figures deviate significantly from your budget. These tools can save you time, improve accuracy, and provide valuable insights into your financial performance.

Monitoring and adjusting your budget is an ongoing process that encourages continuous learning and improvement. It keeps your budget relevant and effective, ensuring it continues to be a helpful tool for guiding your business decisions. In the next section, we’ll discuss how your budget can help you plan for uncertainties and secure the future of your business.

Planning for Uncertainties

Running a small business involves a degree of uncertainty. Changes in the market, unexpected expenses, and other unforeseen events can impact your financial position. However, you can use your small business budget to anticipate and prepare for these uncertainties, helping secure your business’s financial future.

The Role of Contingency Planning in Budgeting

Contingency planning involves preparing for unexpected events that could negatively impact your business. When creating your budget, it’s wise to set aside funds for such situations. This contingency fund serves as a financial safety net, ensuring you can meet unexpected costs without jeopardizing your business operations or dipping into your essential operational funds.

The size of your contingency fund will depend on your business’s risk level and financial position, but a common recommendation is to cover at least three to six months’ worth of operating expenses.

Scenario Planning and Sensitivity Analysis

Another method to plan for uncertainties is through scenario planning and sensitivity analysis. These involve creating different versions of your small business budget based on various scenarios, helping you understand the potential impact of changes in key variables on your business’s financial performance.

For instance, you might create:

Best-case Scenarios: What would your financial position look like if your sales were 20% higher than forecast? How could you use the extra revenue to further your business goals?

Worst-case Scenarios: What if your sales were 20% lower than forecast? How would you adjust your spending to keep your business afloat?

Most likely Scenarios: What if your sales were precisely as forecasted? Would your budget allow you to cover all your expenses and achieve your business goals?

By considering these scenarios, you can create plans to respond effectively to different situations, reducing the impact of uncertainty on your business.

Importance of Insurance

Insurance is another tool to manage financial risk and plan for uncertainties. Depending on your business operations, you might consider various types of insurance, such as property insurance, liability insurance, or business interruption insurance. While insurance involves an upfront cost, it can save your business from significant financial losses in the event of an unfortunate incident.

Planning for uncertainties might involve some guesswork, but it’s essential to managing your business’s financial risks. By integrating contingency planning, scenario planning, and insurance into your budget, you can create a financial plan that supports your current business operations and secures your business’s future.

Using a Budget to Make Strategic Decisions

Your small business budget isn’t just a financial document—it’s also a strategic tool that can guide your business decisions. By analyzing your budget, you can identify opportunities for growth, areas for cost savings, and strategies for improving your profitability and sustainability.

Driving Business Growth

Your budget can offer insights into potential areas for business growth. For example, suppose your revenue forecast shows strong sales for a particular product or service. In that case, you might decide to allocate more resources to its production, marketing, or development. Conversely, suppose a product or service isn’t performing as well as expected. In that case, your budget can help you decide whether to improve or phase it out.

Additionally, your budget can inform your decisions about business expansion. If your net income is consistently high and you have a strong cash flow, you might decide it’s time to open a new location, hire more staff, or invest in new equipment. On the other hand, if your net income is low or your cash flow is inconsistent, you might decide to focus on improving your existing operations before considering expansion.

Identifying Cost Savings

Analyzing your budget can also help you identify potential cost savings. By looking at your expenses in detail, you might find areas where you can reduce costs without impacting your product quality or customer satisfaction.

For example, suppose your rent is a significant portion of your fixed costs. In that case, you might consider relocating to a less expensive location, negotiating a better lease deal, or even transitioning to a home-based or online business model. If your variable costs are high, you might look for ways to improve your operational efficiency, negotiate better deals with suppliers, or reduce waste.

Improving Profitability and Sustainability

Ultimately, your budget can guide your decisions to improve profitability and sustainability. It can help you set accurate prices for your products or services, ensuring you cover your costs and earn a profit. It can inform your cash flow management, helping you ensure you have enough money to meet your financial obligations. And it can help you plan for uncertainties, securing your business’s financial future.

In the final analysis, your small business budget is more than just numbers on a page. It reflects your business strategy, a tool for decision-making, and a roadmap for your business’s financial success. It’s an asset that, when used effectively, can help you navigate the complexities of running a small business and achieve your business goals.

The Role of a Professional Accountant

Sometimes, you need a helping hand, and that’s where an accountant comes in. They can provide expert advice, help you develop a robust small business budget, and guide you through the complexities of financial management. Hiring a professional may be an added expense, but it can be an investment that pays off in the long run.

Avisar Chartered Professional Accountants is a leading accounting firm for small and mid-sized businesses in the Lower Mainland. Vancouver, Langley, Abbotsford, and Surrey.

Get a free review of your finances by booking a consultation.


Budgeting is a critical aspect of managing a small business. It provides an insightful financial roadmap that can guide your decision-making and strategic planning. By understanding the essentials of business budgeting, you can identify your costs, forecast your revenues, and create a detailed budget. This is not a static document but requires regular monitoring and adjustments to remain effective and relevant to your business’s changing needs.

Contingency planning, scenario analyses, and insurance play a vital role in preparing your business for uncertainties, enabling you to mitigate risks and maintain your business’s financial health in various situations. Your small business budget is also a powerful tool for strategic decisions, helping you identify growth opportunities, discover potential cost savings, and improve profitability and sustainability.

In essence, a well-structured budget is not merely a financial statement—it’s a strategic compass guiding your business toward its goals amidst the dynamic landscape of the market. By integrating effective budgeting practices into your business operations, you can enhance your financial management skills, drive your business growth, and secure its financial future.

Ready to take your budgeting to the next level? Book a free consultation today.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.

mastering financial forecasting

Mastering Financial Forecasting: 3 Things You Need to Know

Financial forecasting is a vital skill that many small business owners overlook, especially when first starting a business. Impacting sales projections, planning for expenses, and cash flow, this skill makes it easier for you to see how your business will do not only today, but tomorrow, next week, and next month. Financial forecasts make it possible for you to determine whether you’ll have sufficient funding to keep your business operating in the future, or if additional funding may be needed.

Mastering Financial Forecasting: Predicting and Planning for Small Business Success

The Importance of Financial Forecasting in Strategic Planning

A financial forecast will project sales, expenses, and cash flow into the future of your business, allowing you to determine areas where financing may be required to prevent your business from shutting down or suffering other financial difficulties. But beyond seeing into the short-term future, financial forecasting also plays other roles in your business, specifically in your strategic planning process.

Having a strategic plan for your business gives your budget some place intentional to put every dollar and gives you strong direction on which way to go as you face a range of issues in your company. Though you’ll still want to have a buffer set aside for unexpected emergencies, having a strategic plan that includes expected growth, capital equipment replacement, annual expenses, and similar revenue and expenses in place makes it easier to make decisions that are in line with your overall strategic plan.

Think of it this way: if a business didn’t plan for capital equipment replacement or for a slow season, the business might be caught without enough funding to successfully complete the financial cycle. With a plan in place, the owner, management, and leadership of the business can make decisions that are in line with the plan, preventing wasted time, money, effort, and materials.

How to Create Financial Forecasting Models and Projections

Though expenses, revenue, and cash flow all look at different aspects of your business’s overall health, all three follow the same basic rules when undertaking your financial forecasting. The biggest difference is which factors you’ll be considering.

  1. Define your financial forecasting purpose. What do you want to learn? Are you estimating sales or determining if your budget will work? These purposes will help you decide which measurements to use in the process.

  2. Pull your past financial data and statements. The past got you to where you are today and will help you determine where you’ll go in the future. You’ll want to know about revenue, liabilities, equity, expenses, losses, investments, income, per-share earnings, and fixed costs.
  3. Choose a timeframe. How long do you want to go into the future? For a business that has a regular income, you can create financial forecasting based on a few weeks’ data, but for irregular or seasonal income, go for several years. Most companies use a single fiscal year. If you’re doing long-term planning, pull long-term data and trends.
  4. Decide what financial forecasting method to use. Quantitative forecasting uses existing historical data for identifying trends and patterns but may not take into account industry changes. For those changes, a qualitative forecasting method that includes expert opinions and sentiment about the business and industry is more accurate.
  5. Document the process and review calculations. Much like weather forecasts, financial forecasting isn’t 100% accurate and will change more the further you get from the point of analysis. Document your process for future use and revision and check its accuracy after strong internal or external changes. Automation can make this process easier.
  6. Analyze the data. By regularly checking the data created regularly in your business against your forecast, you can determine how accurate your financial forecasting will be. You can also determine when your goals and plans should be accordingly adjusted.

  7. Repeat. Based on your timeframe in #3, repeat your financial forecasting on a regular basis to ensure that you’re still on top of the figures and in control of your spending and income.

By understanding how these documents are created, you’ll have a much better idea of how to leverage them to your company’s advantage in the future, including when you’re preparing an annual budget, finding problem areas, setting intelligent business goals, attracting investors, and reducing your risk. You’ll also be able to undertake innovative discussions about your company’s financial health with financial institutions, creditors, and other organizations you work with.

Why You Should Regularly Review and Adjust Financial Forecasting

However, it’s not enough to simply finish these financial forecasting models. You’ll also want to take time on a regular basis to review and adjust as needed to optimize your results. As an example, if you have higher or lower sales or expenses than was forecast, you have the option of slowing down the progress of your strategic plan or speeding it up. The strategic plan will still come into play, but it will have its timeline adjusted when financial forecasting is reviewed and adjusted.

Though financial forecasting can seem like a very complex process, it’s actually fairly straightforward once you understand the basic processes that are involved. Why not take a little time when things are quiet and work one out using the steps above? Once you’ve figured out how to accomplish this task, your business will be in much better hands and will be facing a much stronger future.

Would you like a free review of your financial statements? You can book one here.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.

Setting up a My Business Account with the CRA

Setting up a My Business Account with the CRA

A My Business Account gives directors, officers, and partners access to their corporate taxes, GST, and payroll accounts online. Follow these steps to set up a My Business Account with CRA.

Having a My Business Account with the CRA will make your tax life much easier. Whether you’re looking to review outstanding balances or expected refund amounts, check your past returns or add information to your account, My Business Account is the one place where you can do it all.

Once you have set up your My Business Account, you will be able to:

  • Update any information related to your business (name, address, banking information, etc.)
  • View and file GST returns, payment transactions and GST instalment schedules
  • View T slips that were filed and transactions made
  • View notices of assessment for corporate tax returns filed and any account transactions and balances

What You Need For Setting Up A My Business Account

Setting up a My Business Account with the CRA is a straightforward process, but you will need your CRA business number and your program account identifiers (GST/HST, payroll, corporation income tax, exercise tax and others) to complete the registration process.

In addition, you will have to provide some personal information, including your social insurance number (SIN), postal code, date of birth and information from a previously filed personal income tax return.

Follow these simple steps to register for your CRA My Business Account.

  1. Navigate to the CRA’s sign in services webpage and select “My Business Account” from the list of services.
  2. Scroll down the page to “Option 2 – Using a CRA user ID and password” and select “CRA register.”
  3. Enter your SIN and click next to continue.
  4. Enter your postal code, date of birth, and the requested tax information from a previously filed tax return. Click next to continue.
  5. Confirm that the mailing address CRA has on file for you is correct before selecting next to continue.
  6. Create a CRA user ID consisting of 8 to 16 characters, no more than 7 digits, no spaces, and no special characters except: dot (.), dash (-), underscore (_), and apostrophe (‘).
  7. Create a password consisting of 8 to 64 characters with at least 1 upper-case letter, 1 lower-case letter, and 1 digit. No spaces, accented character or special characters except: dot (.), dash (-), underscore (_), and apostrophe (‘) will be accepted.
  8. Select and provide the answers to five security questions.
  9. Enroll in mandatory multi-factor authentication by selecting your preferred method (telephone or passcode grid).
  10. Enter your business number.
  11. Review and agree to the terms and conditions of use by entering your password and selecting “I agree.”
  12. Registration is now complete until you receive your security code in the mail. Once you do, log in to My Business Account using the CRA user ID and password created in steps 6 & 7 and enter the code when prompted.
  13. Review and agree to the My Business Account terms and conditions of use.
  14. You will now have full access to My Business Account.

Note: Internal accountants and employees (that are not officers) should not use the My Business Account system but are welcome to create a CRA RepID and access the company’s information using the Represent a Client system.

When you work with Avisar CPA, you can authorize us as your representative with the CRA through your My Business Account.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.

using key financial ratios

Unlocking Business Insights: Using Key Financial Ratios to Analyze Small Business Performance

In the competitive business world, small business owners need to make informed decisions to ensure the success and growth of their ventures. One crucial tool at their disposal are financial ratios, which provide valuable insights into a company’s performance.

By understanding and leveraging financial ratios, you can assess your business’ financial health, identify areas for improvement, and make strategic decisions to drive their businesses forward. This article will explore the power of key financial ratios and how you can use them effectively.

The Significance of Key Financial Ratios

Financial ratios are quantitative tools that help assess a company’s financial performance, efficiency, profitability, and liquidity. They provide a snapshot of the business’s financial health and offer benchmarks for comparison with industry standards and past performance. You can utilize these key financial ratios to understand your company’s financial position and make data-driven decisions.

  1. Liquidity Ratios: Liquidity ratios help you understand your cash flow by assessing your ability to meet short-term financial obligations. You can calculate ratios such as the current ratio and quick ratio to determine if the company has enough liquid assets to cover immediate expenses. These ratios help identify potential cash flow issues and enable proactive measures to ensure smooth operations.
  2. Profitability Ratios: Profitability ratios measure a company’s ability to generate profits and help in assessing business performance. Ratios such as gross profit margin, net profit margin, and return on assets (ROA) enable you to gauge your profitability and compare it to industry standards. By analyzing these ratios, business owners can identify areas for cost reduction, pricing adjustments, or revenue enhancement to maximize profits. We explore many of these in The Ultimate Small Business Profitability Checklist.
  3. Efficiency Ratios: Efficiency ratios provide insights into how effectively a business utilizes its resources to generate revenue. You can analyze ratios like inventory turnover, accounts receivable turnover, and asset turnover to assess operational efficiency. These ratios help identify bottlenecks in the supply chain, inventory management issues, or inefficiencies in resource allocation, enabling you to streamline operations and improve overall efficiency.
  4. Debt Ratios: Debt ratios evaluate a company’s leverage and ability to meet long-term financial obligations. You can calculate ratios like debt-to-equity and interest coverage ratios to assess their company’s risk exposure and debt management capabilities. These ratios assist in making informed decisions about borrowing, managing debt, and maintaining a healthy balance between equity and debt.

Interpreting and Applying Financial Ratios

While understanding these key financial ratios is essential, interpreting them correctly is equally crucial.

You should compare their ratios to industry benchmarks, historical data, and competitors to gain meaningful insights. Additionally, tracking ratios over time allows you to identify trends and evaluate the impact of strategic decisions.

It is essential to note that financial ratios should be used with other performance indicators and qualitative analysis to make well-rounded assessments. You can learn more about some of these metrics in The Ultimate Small Business Profitability Checklist. You’ll also find key financial ratios formulas in a key financial ratios pdf.

Financial ratios serve as invaluable tools for small business owners to assess their company’s performance, financial health, and areas for improvement. By leveraging liquidity ratios, profitability ratios, efficiency ratios, and debt ratios, you can gain a holistic view of their operations and make informed decisions to drive growth and success.

Understanding and interpreting financial ratios empowers you to optimize resource utilization, manage cash flow, improve profitability, and make strategic decisions for your business.

To learn more about how to calculate these ratios using your financial statements, check out How to Read Financial Statements: A Guide for Business Owners.

If you’d like help better understanding your financial ratios why not book a free consultation with one of the experts at Avisar.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.

SR&ED tax credit program

What is SR&ED

SR&ED stands for Scientific Research and Experimental Development. And if you want to get tax benefits for doing R&D in Canada, you should know about the SR&ED tax credit program.

Our guest expert, Jude Brown, CEO & Co-Founder of Bloom Technical, explains what the program is, how to qualify, and what you need to do to apply.

The SR&ED tax credit program rewards Canadian businesses for doing innovative and risky work in their fields. The CRA runs the SR&ED tax credit program, and it gives you tax credits, refunds, and deductions for your R&D expenses. But only some businesses can qualify for the program.

How Do I Apply for the SR&ED tax credit program?

You need to meet some criteria to be eligible. Here are the main ones:

  • You must be a CCPC, a Canadian partnership, a sole proprietorship, or a trust. CCPCs get the most benefits from the program.
  • You must do scientific research or experimental development to create new or improved products, processes, materials, or knowledge.
  • You must face technical risk, meaning you don’t know if your work will succeed or fail. You must demonstrate your project iterations.
  • You must keep proper records of your R&D activities, including what you did, how you did it, and what you learned.

To apply, you need to fill out Form T661 and submit it with your tax return. This form asks you to describe your R&D activities in detail and report your expenses and outcomes.

This can be tricky and time-consuming, so getting help from a professional SR&ED consultant is best. They can help you prepare your application and maximize your benefits.

How Big Could My SR&ED Claim Be?

The size of your tax benefits depends on your business type, income, and tax rate. The CRA has different formulas for each factor. The more you spend on eligible R&D expenses, the more you can claim. But there are limits and rules to follow.

Eligible R&D expenses include:

  • Salaries or wages of the employees who worked on the R&D project
  • Contractor fees for the arm’s length parties who performed R&D on your behalf
  • Materials that were consumed or transformed during the R&D project

Some expenses are not eligible for SR&ED, such as capital, overhead, and marketing costs. You also need to prove that your R&D expenses are reasonable and related to your industry. In BC, businesses can expect to get about 64% back from eligible SR&ED expenses.

To get an accurate estimate of how much you can get from SR&ED, contact us today, and we can put you in touch with a SR&ED professional. You can also find extensive information on the program through the CRA.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.

estate planning for blended families

Navigating Estate Planning for Blended Families: A Guide

Estate planning is an essential aspect of planning for your family’s financial future, and it’s particularly important and delicate for blended families. The dynamics of bringing separate individuals together as a blended family create unique considerations when planning for the next generation. Here’s a guide to how you can ensure your family’s financial future is well protected.

Understanding Estate Planning for Blended Families

Estate planning for blended families requires one to take into account the unique dynamics that past relationships, biological relationships, and current relationships create. Bringing two distinct sets of parents and children together is not easy — nor is planning for all members’ financial futures.

Some common issues that blended families frequently face are issues such as:

  • How to meet the needs of all family members
  • How to manage unequal assets and incomes
  • What a fair distribution of assets looks like
  • Whether children’s inheritance should wait for the death of a step parent
  • What inheritances from separated spouses might provide
  • Other issues, such as those already faced in other areas of life

These are not small matters, and they’re bound to bring forth some disagreements that must be worked through. The goal is to work through those with clear and honest communication, as this is how you can keep disagreements from becoming outright conflicts.

Of course, working with an experienced lawyer, accountant and financial planner can be a great help when working through these matters.

Estate Planning Strategies for Blended Families

There are multiple estate planning strategies that families can use to execute their desires. Estate planning for blended families is no different:

  • Will: One of the most crucial aspects of anyone’s estate planning is creating a well-drafted will. A will serves as a legal document outlining how your assets will be distributed upon your death, ensuring your wishes are carried out and potential disputes among family members are minimized.
  • Trust: Trusts offer a controlled and flexible way to distribute assets to beneficiaries. This tool allows you to specify when and how your beneficiaries receive their inheritance, providing an added layer of control over asset distribution. It also might have implications in how your savings are spent (or not spent) during senior years. Trusts can be especially useful for blended families that might want to navigate having children in different life stages.
  • Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are the ones who receive benefits from insurance (e.g. life insurance) and retirement accounts, and the funds can usually be distributed without going through probate when a person is a named beneficiary. Make sure to update any named beneficiaries of accounts after establishing a new blended family. This typically requires filing a simple form.
  • Documents: It’s important to plan for incapacitation due to health. Make sure you know who will make decisions, and how they’ll best follow your wishes. Taking care of this requires a living will (for financial matters) and a medical power of lawyer (for healthcare/end-of-life decisions). These may have to be redone after establishing a blended family, if your choice of who takes on each role changes.

All of these should be prepared in concert with an lawyer so that forms are legal, properly established, and thorough.

Special Considerations for Blended Families

Every blended family is unique and has its own nuances to navigate. There are certain special considerations to most blended families, though. When estate planning for blended families, all parties should be aware of the difficulties that are inherent in:

  • Navigating relationships between biological children and stepchildren
  • Ensuring the surviving spouse is financially taken care of
  • Managing existing conflicts between various family members
  • Handling tax implications that can be extensive and substantial

Again, the key to doing this successfully is open communication and working with knowledgeable professionals. Those who are familiar with the nuances of estate planning for blended families are a great resource and guide for this process.

Get Help with Estate Planning for Blended Families

No matter what your family structure is, don’t neglect to properly go through the estate planning process. If you’re estate planning for a blended family, don’t let the additional challenges stop you from tackling this.

If you have a blended family in the British Columbia area, seek professional help for the best potential process and outcome. We at Avisar Chartered Professional Accountants are here to help. We’ve worked with many blended families, are a leading firm that offers estate planning in BC, and are ready to help you.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.

Federal Budget 2023: Other Measures

Small Business Credit Card Fees

Budget 2023 announced that commitments had been obtained from Visa and Mastercard to lower fees for small businesses. More than 90% of credit card-accepting businesses are expected to see their fees reduced by up to 27%.

Automatic Tax Filing for Low-income Canadians

Budget 2023 announced that the number of Canadians eligible for CRA’s automatic File My Return service will be increased to 2 million by 2025, almost tripling the number of currently eligible Canadians. In 2022, 53,000 returns were filed using this service. In addition, a new pilot project will be implemented to assist vulnerable Canadians in applying for benefits even if they do not file tax returns.

Student Benefits

Budget 2023 proposes increasing Canada student grants by 40%, raising the interest-free Canada student loan limit from $210 to $300 per study week, and waiving the requirement for mature students (aged 22 or older) to undergo credit screening in order to qualify.

Dental Care for Canadians

The Canadian dental care plan would provide coverage for all uninsured Canadians with an annual family income of less than $90,000 (the Canada dental benefit only provided benefits for children under 12) by the end of 2023. The plan will be administered by Health Canada with support from a third-party benefits administrator. Benefits are reduced for families with income between $70,000 and $90,000.

Protecting Federally Regulated Gig Workers

Budget 2023 proposes to amend the Canada Labour Code to strengthen prohibitions against employee misclassification for federally regulated gig workers such that they will receive protections and benefits including EI and CPP.

Ensuring the Integrity of Emergency COVID-19 Benefits

Budget 2023 proposes to provide $53.8 million in 2022-23 to Employment and Social Development Canada to support integrity activities relating to overpayments of COVID-19 emergency income supports.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.