What are the best cloud-based accounting apps?

There are many types of businesses, including newly incorporated start-ups or small to medium-sized businesses looking to move to the cloud. No matter what type or size of business, there is a clear tech stack we recommend any business consider as part of their digital transformation, and continued improvement in the area of financial management.


Xero is the only cloud-based accounting software we use, and it is by far the easiest to use by both accountants and business owners while providing valuable information to both parties.

Here are some of the highlights of using Xero:

  • Xero can be used anywhere, as long as you have Wi-Fi available. This means you can check out your live data whenever and wherever.
  • Xero can integrate with hundreds of different cloud-based apps. I’ll be listing out a couple of them but there are many more available that can provide added value depending on your business goals.
  • Xero connects to your bank and credit card accounts and will automatically upload your transactions through an API connection. This means you are saving roughly 50% of manual data entry and getting the information on a daily basis (instead of monthly or annually).
  • The support for Xero is efficient and useful and can be accessed by accountants or business owners. 


Hubdoc is a cloud-based receipt management app that integrates with Xero and provides a quick and easy way to capture your documentation and support for the business.

Our top reasons for choosing Hubdoc:

  • Hubdoc allows you to download an app on your phone and take a picture of your receipt anytime and anywhere. You no longer have an excuse for losing that receipt!
  • For the many recurring subscription services out there, Hubdoc allows you to hook up your account information directly so that receipts upload automatically.
  • In addition to subscriptions, you can connect your bank account which will pull monthly bank and credit card statements all in one spot. 


Plooto is a payment processing system that can collect and make payments on behalf of the business by connecting your bank account(s) online.

Here are a few key features of Plooto:

  • You can add a Controller or CFO to the app to make payments on your behalf without giving them direct bank access. An approval process can be set up so that you are always approving and staying involved when needed.
  • Plooto can integrate directly with Xero, meaning it will pull bills and invoices to the app, so you don’t have to go back and forth. Once this bill/invoice is paid, it will automatically mark this paid in Xero.
  • Plooto allows businesses to make payments directly to CRA for GST, payroll, and corporate taxes. These can also be set up on a recurring basis, so you don’t have to initiate it each time.


Wagepoint is the main payroll provider we use for clients. For salary and hourly employees, it is easy to use and does everything from payroll processing to preparing T4s at year-end.

A few great qualities of Wagepoint:

  • The app integrates with Xero, so all payroll bills push through, and no manual journal entries are necessary. Speaking from an accountant’s point of view, this can save a lot of time!
  • The technical support for Wagepoint is great and their response time is quick.
  • Wagepoint allows you to set “autorun” for pay periods. This means you never have to worry about forgetting to pay your employees – it will automatically run each time.
  • They deal with all the remittances to CRA, so you never have to worry about missing a monthly or quarterly remittance payment.

 And just like that, the top cloud-based apps that will get your business up and running or will simply create that efficiency and scalability your business is looking for. This tech stack is what we will always recommend for any business or start-up looking for solutions. We’ve provided a high-level overview of each app above but there is obviously a lot more to learn!

Consider the Gift of Education for your Grandchildren

the gift of education for your grandchildren

Post secondary graduates earn, about $1 million more than those without a degree…

If you’re a grandparent, you already know the joys of having grandchildren in your life. And, like so many grandparents, you may be looking at ways to help your grandchildren get the most out of their lives.

Perhaps the most valuable thing you could give your grandkids is the gift of education.

Consider this: Over a lifetime, post secondary graduates earn, on average, about $1 million more than those without a degree according to the Census Bureau. So, putting money toward your grandchildren’s post secondary education is a good investment.

Furthermore, your grandchildren may well need the help, because getting an education is expensive and costs continue to rise. Consequently, you may want to contribute to an RESP. Rules around RESPs have steadily become more accommodating over the years. You have several options for how the money can be invested and there is a lifetime contribution limit of $50,000 per beneficiary. Growth within the plan is tax sheltered, and when a student draws funds from the plan to pay for his or her education, the income is included on their tax return. As most students generally have negligible income, the tax payable on the withdrawals can be as low as zero.

If you name one grandchild as a beneficiary of an RESP and that grandchild decides not to go to college or university, you can switch the account to another grandchild – in other words, you maintain control of the money for the life of the account.

Another common way to invest money for a grandchild’s education is through the use of an “in-trust” account. An “in-trust” account is an informal trust because there is no trust deed. However, it’s important to note that once gifted, this money no longer belongs to the donor.

If you put your money into either a formal trust or an in-trust account for a minor grandchild, all income will be taxed in your hands until the child reaches age 18. Any capital gains will be taxed to the child regardless of their age. This is why investments that generate capital gains are ideally suited to this type of arrangement. For this type of arrangement to work properly, care must be taken to ensure that the in-trust account is set up properly and complies with the applicable tax rules.

Whichever option is right for your family, there are a variety of opportunities for you to give something to the grandchildren who give so much to you.

The Theresa-Belfort Spectrum

piggy bank relationship with money

Armed with an education in finance and financial market experience I could write an article loaded with important concepts. An argument or concept backed by data, trends, and figures could appeal to a certain reader demographic. A few fancy charts could provoke thought about a tactical financial change. A call to action about estate planning might aid the unprepared.

But none of this is what has fascinated me in my time investigating and managing our most secretive relationship.

Money is our most secretive relationship, because it is one of the relationships that we hold most intimately, and deal with most differently on an individual basis. Families exist where finances are regular dinner table talk, and families where spouses are not sure how the math adds up on the other side of the bed.

This is the unique niche in which I, as a financial advisor, operate. We create conversations that do not exist outside of our office, because if we are going to build your dreams, we to need to discuss the dollars and cents.

We need you to show us the vulnerability that no one else may get to see.

When considering our relationship with money it is important to identify the two ends of the motivational spectrum, so we can begin to quantify where we as individuals might lie.  On the one end of the spectrum we have a Mother Theresa, who donated a life time of charitable work for the greater good and asked nothing in return. Next to the diving-board we have the now infamous Wolf of Wall Street,  Jordan Belfort – someone who generates their entire concept of self worth based on net worth. We lie somewhere between these two extremes at any given time in our life, and it is an important internal conversation for each of us to have. The dangers are that a Mother Theresa risks ostracizing herself from the conversation entirely, and a Jordan Belfort has no time to begin the conversation because they believe time is money.

Our place on the Theresa-Belfort spectrum is emotional and established by our childhood. We are placed somewhere along the spectrum on the day we receive our first piggybank (or don’t). We shift up and down the spectrum based on experiences, education, stage of life, and beliefs about money.

Our relationship with money is a massive factor in our subconscious decision-making process. It is something we should try to analyze consciously. I am not going to claim there is a right or an wrong place to be on the spectrum, because we all have a relationship with money that built on different foundations. What I ask is that we analyze our own relationship with money. I ask us to measure this relationship the same way we look at other relationship in our lives.

Hopefully you can find time to consider your relationship with money. Reflect if money is the only reason you are getting out of bed in the morning or keeping you in bed past the 3rd snooze on the alarm. If you want help to explore your own internal conversation, maybe it is time to consider relationship counselling: call up your financial advisor.