Audits and Review of Financial Statements
For each of our member firms, a large part of their practice is providing assurance and accounting services to a broad range of clients located throughout Atlantic Canada Our members firms have been part of their communities for an average of 15 years; some with roots of 40 years. This long-term presence means clients can count on AC Group members to know the local business environment.
Clients engage us because they know they can rely on our professional reputation for independence, objectivity, and credibility in carrying out our work. Business owners and external users of the financial information can also feel more confident in the reported results because of our involvement.
Many of our clients require an annual audit to add credibility to their financial statements for bankers and other external users of their financial reporting. An audit provides the highest level of assurance and is the most reliable service available to the public. Our signing and issuance of an Audit Report means that we have examined a client’s books and accounting systems, and have provided an informed opinion on the fairness of the financial information attached to that report.
However, a large number of our clients don’t need an audit, perhaps due to the owners’ level of personal involvement in the business, or because external parties don’t require this high level of assurance. As a result, we often perform less extensive work, and communicate the results in what is referred to as a Review Engagement Report.
Other Financial Information Including Projections and Forecasts
Many clients engage us to provide assurance on other financial information, including various financial schedules, projected financial results, and financial forecasts. Again, our involvement may be needed to fulfill a requirement by a third party (such as a franchisor, landlord, or financial lender) or may simply be the result of an owner or manager wanting to be more comfortable with the fairness of the information.
Many businesses call on us to assist them in their accounting and record-keeping, and in the preparation of financial statements. This is often a more practical and cost-effective solution than hiring and retaining employees with the degree of technical training, skills, and experience that our firms can provide. In some cases, such as payroll preparation, an owner manager may choose to use us, as an external party, due to the confidential or sensitive nature of the information.
Typical accounting services that we offer to our clients may include:
- Preparation of financial statements (compilation engagements)
- Preparation of financial projections
- Monthly/Quarterly/Annual Bookkeeping
- Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) Return Preparation
- Workers’ Compensation Return Preparation
Several AC Group member firms offer even more services, including:
- Complete Payroll services including: preparation of payrolls and payroll cheques, T4 and T5 Summary and Supplementary preparation, and Employee Deduction Remittances
- Interim staffing and controllership services to fill vacant positions, family leave, etc.
- Support for numerous accounting software programs including: AccPac, Simply Accounting, Quickbooks and Business Vision (two of the firms are licensed representatives for their region).
Our objective is client service. Accordingly, if an AC Group member firm does not offer a particular service, it will assist clients by referring them to another AC Group member firm or another source for such services.
Many clients rely heavily on us to be their financial and business advisors for a wide range of issues, including:
- Reviewing accounting and reporting systems to establish appropriate management controls
- Assisting in establishing a new business including setting up accounting systems (both computer and manual) and registering with appropriate government departments
- Business planning and developing growth strategies
- Liaising with bankers and government agencies upon request
- Assisting in drafting shareholder agreements. We can assist you, your business partners and your lawyer in arriving at an agreement that addresses current tax legislation and makes practical business sense.
- Assisting companies in the development of management and owner-manager compensation policies which reflect optimum solutions in relation to tax planning strategies
- Assisting businesses in finding new sources of capital or financial assistance, consulting on mergers, joint ventures and partnerships acquisition, and the sale of a business
Clients engage us in many ways throughout the year, according to their unique situation and needs. Services range from assisting with compliance (preparation and filing) of HST to complex planning for business start up, expansion and succession. Our clients benefit from their firm being part of The AC Group regional network, as specialized expertise at one firm can be a resource to any of the member firms.
In addition to filing required corporate tax returns for our clients, we are constantly looking for ways to keep their tax bills to the legal minimum. We provide a broad range of planning services that commonly involve estate plans, corporate reorganizations and income splitting techniques.
We provide tax advice and tax return preparation services to a wide variety of individuals. We are often called upon to assist clients in their cross-border tax reporting.
GST/HST rules are complex and often difficult to understand. Failure to comply with the rules can result in considerable tax liability, as well as an exposure to potential interest and penalties. All firms are able to advise clients on GST/HST rules, and several have highly qualified individuals who specialize in GST/HST services.
Estate and Trust Returns:
We are often called upon to assist in the preparation of the final tax return and trust returns for the estates of deceased taxpayers. This is a complex area of tax law and the advice of a lawyer and tax accountant are a must.
Estate planning can best be described as the growth management and preservation of one’s assets, with provisions for the most cost effective and least complicated transfer of those assets to one’s heirs. Without appropriate estate planning, you may have little or no say in who inherits your money, your family may have to pay taxes, and probate could be more complicated and time consuming than is necessary.
The most common tools in estate planning are wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and living wills. Other specialized tools may be used to avoid unnecessary probate. We work with our clients, their lawyers and insurance professionals so that they know which steps are available and help them implement the steps, such as alter ego trusts, family trusts and charitable planned giving that they choose.
Each AC Group firm has the necessary in-house resources to serve most requirements of clients in this region. However, like most local accounting firms, some firms do not have the necessary volume of work which requires highly specialized training and experience to justify a full-time business valuator, insolvency practitioner, or other specialist within each independent practice. As a result, this work often must be referred to others.
However, as members of the AC Group, we draw on the combined knowledge and experience of the other independent firms in the group, and have a combined volume of engagements to allow such specialized services to be provided from within the group.
AC Group firms have the resources to assist clients in performing both informal estimates of the value of their business, and when circumstances dictate the need, to provide clients with more formal independent expressions of value.
Value determinations are commonly needed in corporate reorganizations and in negotiating the purchase, sale or merger of a business enterprise. In addition, business valuations may be beneficial or necessary in the following situations:
- Obtaining financing
- Reviews of the adequacy of Life Insurance
- Dissenting shareholder and partner disputes
- Matrimonial breakdown
- Benchmarking of your company’s success
- Death of a Shareholder
Business valuations are often required because ownership interests in privately held companies can represent a significant portion of one’s estate. The value or worth of an interest in a privately held company (as opposed to shares in a public company) is because there is no active market to sell or trade that interest from which to ascertain or approximate value.
Business valuations begin with in-depth research and analysis conducted by qualified and experienced professionals on the economic outlook, competition in the marketplace and financial position of your business enterprise. Then, by analyzing financial statements, operating data, legal documents and other company information, they can determine the fair market value of your business.
Insurance Claim and Litigation Support:
AC Group member firms assist their clients when there is a need for those specialized services which often lead to a final determination in a court of law.
A number of the partners and staff of AC Group member firms have considerable experience in such areas as Insurance Claim and Litigation Support; several have Chartered Business Valuator (CBV) or Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credentials, and are recognized by the courts as experts in their field.
Some of the areas where we can provide litigation support services include:
- Valuation of shares or net assets of small and medium-size businesses for litigation purposes, such as shareholder or matrimonial disputes
- Loss quantification for damages in breach of contract or tort cases, including personal injury
- Loss quantification for business interruption insurance purposes
- Compensation due in expropriation matters
- Forensic investigations in cases of fraud or misappropriation of funds