5 Things your Bookkeeper wants you to know about e-commerce (and one sneaky tidbit from the branding department)
By Crystal Wilson
So, you’ve taken your business on line and are now operating an e-commerce shop. Great! You’ve got your branding on point, your photos are inviting, and your copy is pure fire. Amazing!
These are, of course, all very important aspects of your e-commerce endeavours. But they’re not the only things to consider! In addition to having the front end of your shop doing its job (drawing in and converting visitors to paying customers), the back end needs to be considered and well structured in order to ensure you are able to efficiently get the data you need to make good decisions and keep your business moving forward well. Here are a few back-end details to consider before you make your first sale (or asap now that you know...):
- Will you be selling exclusively within Canada? Or will your sales reach the USA and other international markets? Consider whether it is best to have a Canada specific sales system or one that facilitates international orders. Maybe having both is the way to go for you? If you will be selling exclusively to a Canadian audience, a Canada specific option (ie shopify.ca) is likely your best. If there is a chance of international sales, then a different account (ie shopify.com) will serve you well. Keeping Canadian and International sales seperate can maintain clarity regarding which items are HST applicable, and reduces the need for pesky currency conversions back and forth within your bank accounts. The extra fee to operate both may easily be saved in reduced bookkeeping fees because of the simplifications created.
- If you will be selling across various provinces, be sure to set up your tax amounts appropriately based on each province’s tax laws.
- Consider the additional supplies you will need and their associated costs, which should either be incorporated into shipping fees or the product costs. Boxes, tissue paper, and labels for shipping, printing capability for shipping labels, value ads, etc. are all additional time and finance considerations to make when pricing and tracking data. If you have a strong brand for your business, you may want to use the shipping experience to reinforce that for your customers.
- Be sure to provide your bookkeeper with the highest possible level of access to the back end of your e-commerce site. They will be able to get the data they need and answers to questions without having to interrupt you if they have sufficient access. This easily translates to more efficiently processed data and money saved. You will have the information you need, faster, in order to make the best decisions for your business.
- Take care in choosing how you will accept payments. Will you use a trusted app like PayPal, or go with the streamlined option of taking credit card payments through your e-commerce platform? Consider integrations that may be required, stacking fees, and what you can give your bookkeeper access to - they will need to get at the payment details!
As you make these decisions, be sure to consider where each one points you in regards to your long term goals - start with the end in mind and you'll have a firm foundation to build from!