Working to help end pet cancer

By Sherry Warner

Mary Wilkes has lost many pets to cancer. Now that she’s launched her own bookkeeping/accounting company, this pet lover is taking steps to support a cause that’s close to her heart.

“I originally thought of doing something with (shelters) then I read about Kali’s Wish Cancer Foundation. Cancer is just so prevalent — we’ve lost three dogs to cancer and several other pets including our guinea pig and rabbit,” says Mary.

Any clients that come to Accalia Accounting and reference Citizen Pet & Equine, Mary will donate 5 per cent of fees paid to Kali’s Wish Cancer Foundation.

Accalia Accounting focuses on full-cycle accounting for small businesses with five employees or less. In addition to bookkeeping and financial statement preparation, Accalia Accounting offers personal and corporate tax services, GST and payroll preparation, technical support and profitability consulting.

“My specialty is clean-up jobs,” says Mary. “If you get two or more years behind on your taxes I will get you caught up and keep you there.”

Accalia Accounting opened in May 2014. “I was looking for something that would allow me to be my own boss,” she says. “I certainly didn’t think it would be accounting but a friend of the family offered me a part-time contract job at her accounting firm after I got laid off from the city.” Mary loved the work and got her Certified Professional Bookkeeper designation as well as certification in Accounting Applications and Advanced Accounting Applications while at the firm. And the rest, as they say, is history.

A lot of small business owners try to do their own books. Unfortunately, many don’t have time or do it wrong, then when it’s year end, an accountant, charging anywhere from $150 to $300 an hour, has to do extra work. “You end up paying a lot more for your year end than if you’d been paying someone to do the bookkeeping all along,” says Mary.

People do their own bookkeeping because they think they’re going to save money but it actually ends up costing more, she explains. “Especially since it’s not their business. It takes them longer to do the work and that means they are not making money doing what they do best.”

Many accountants don’t do in-house bookkeeping so small businesses usually have a separate bookkeeper (often the owner) and an accountant. Then the accountant has to decipher what the bookkeeper has done.

“I do the whole thing start to finish so it takes me less time because I’m already familiar with the business by doing the bookkeeping,” says Mary. Also, by doing full-cycle accounting, Mary knows how the business is run and can offer valuable advice such as cash flow analyses or profitability reviews.

“That’s not to say that I won’t do just the bookkeeping,” she adds. If someone already has an accountant they trust and like, it doesn’t make sense to change.

One of the most common mistakes small business owners make is getting behind on bookkeeping and taxes. Depending on how much activity there is in the business, you’ll want to do weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual bookkeeping. For example, annual bookkeeping is enough for a consulting-type business while weekly bookkeeping is suggested for a retail operation.

Another mistake with respect to taxes is missing deductions or claiming incorrect deductions, says Mary. “A lot of people who do their own books don’t really know what they’ re allowed to deduct or they don’t deduct those things that they could be deducting. They don’t know the rules that well.”

Mary also helps her clients use technology to make record keeping easier and faster. She can suggest all kinds of apps — such as a mileage app that uses GPS tracking and a receipt app that scans and records all your receipts for you — and is schooled in many software programs designed especially for small businesses.

To save her clients time and money, Mary prefers to do everything virtually through cloud-based accounting systems. “Obviously on the clean up jobs I need the “box” (of receipts). But, once a client is caught up we talk about virtual ways to do the job,” she says.

For more information or to book an appointment call Mary at (403) 836-9326 or visit