Are Acronyms or Emojis Ever Acceptable for Business Communication

Are acronyms acceptable in a business environment?

The general rule is this: If a customer / client sends you correspondence with acronyms, or emoji’s, it means one of 3 things;

  1. They are young… Very young.
  2. They don’t know how to communicate on a business level which might be an indicator of immaturity, or a genuine lack of understanding of how to communicate with someone that you are conducting business with.
  3. Or they just don’t care.

The communication going the other way should not include acronyms unless the acronym is a generally used and commonly understood short form for a professional organization or term used in finance / your industry.

Emoji’s… Never.  Ever.

But…

There are, however, some exceptions, but they are few and far between.

Imagine telling a friend in an email that you overheard a conversation and that you were “SMH”.  SMH means “shaking my head”.  Your friend saves that email, then down the road wants to introduce you to someone, or refer someone to you, and flips your email out and the person who you were shaking you head at is that person, related to that person, or is best buds with that person.

It might seem small, but it’s not.

The same holds true for people in business who send out emails without taking the time to edit them for punctuation, or spelling, or grammar.  I am certainly not saying that each and every email has to be perfect, but it reflects on you, the time you spend gathers the facts and it tells the person receiving the email that you don’t think enough about them to take the time and ensure that it makes sense and it clear.

If you’re asking for information, make sure that is clear.

If you’re looking for it back by a certain time, make sure that is clear.

If you want to get to the point and are comfortable sending an email demanding something right away, then don’t be surprised if you find that business relationship to be a little cold.  Common sense should tell you that everyone likes to be asked in a respectful manner and given more than a second to provide a response.

Getting back to acronyms, here are some of the acceptable acronyms:

ASAP – As soon as possible.

NSFW – Not safe for work.

These are okay, but not recommended.

FYI – For your information – can be used – but make sure that you know what that means.  Generally it means, this is for you (the receiver of the email) and you can do with the information what you please).

FYI Only.  This means, this email is for you, but do not share it with anyone!  Sharing it could cause huge problems, usually for the personal who wrote or forwarded the email.

Here are some other Business terms you might see used.

Accounting:

DR – debit

CR – Credit

ROI – Return on Investment

CRA – Canada Revenue Agency

IRS – Internal Revenue Service

ITC – Input Tax Credit

GST – Goods and Services Tax

PST – Provincial Sales Tax

HST – Harmonized Sales Tax (both the Provincial tax and the Goods and Services Tax)

VAT – Value Added Tax (like the GST/HST)

WSIB – Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

ITA – Income Tax Act

ETA – Excise Tax Act

BIA – Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act

CY – Current Year

PY – Previous Year

 

Network-related Acronyms

FB – Facebook

IG – Instagram

LI – LinkedIn

YT – YouTube

SC – Snapchat

WP – Word Press

While there is no short form for Twitter, there are some Twitter-related short forms that are often used in more mainstream communications nowadays, such as:

DM – Direct Message

MT – Modified Tweet (Used when re-sharing a Tweet where you alter the text by shortening it to fit within the character limit or removing the  poster’s handle if they have a private account).

PM – Private Message – When someone PM’s you in Twitter, they send a private message to you that no one else can see.

RT – Retweet – When you publish somebody else’s Tweet, in its entirety, to your own feed.

Internally, business units tend to use their own terminology when discussing internal matters.  For example,

B2B – Business to Business – Refers to companies who sell to other companies.

B2C – Business to Consumer – Refers to businesses who sell directly to individuals.

CMS – Content Management Systems are a tool used for editing, scheduling and publishing any written material for the web.

CPC – Cost per Click – the dollar amount an an advertiser pays for every person who clicks on an ad.

CR – Conversion Rate – The conversion rate is the number of people who take an action divided by the number who could have.

CTA (also C2A) – Call to Action – A statement that asks the reader to do something.

KPI – Key Performance Indicators – A metric used to measure success in achieving goals, ie/ measurement of engagement, conversions, shares or clicks, etc.

PV – Page Views

UGC – User Generated Content – content created in order to generate views, comments, etc.

IT – Information Technology

 

Internal Acronyms to get you through an email with your IT Department

ESP – Email Service Provider

ISP – Internet Service Provider

HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language

RSS – Really Simple Syndication

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

API: An “application programming interface” is a set of rules for how pieces of software interact. Your social media management tools use the APIs of Facebook, Twitter and the other networks to post and schedule.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing – How businesses leverage search engines for marketing purposes.

TOS – Terms Of Service

UI – User Interface

 

Taxation

NOA – Notice of Assessment

LFP – Late Filing Penalties

LRP – Late Remitting Penalties

P&I – Penalties and Interest

TPR – Taxpayer Relief

VDP – Voluntary Disclosure Program

T1 – Personal tax return (Individual)

T2 – Corporate Tax Return

RP – Payroll Accounts

RT – GST/HST Accounts

Are there other terms which are commonly used in your field of business which you could add to the list, or do you have any stories of odd or unusual acronyms or emojis you have been sent.  If so, please share the stories below.

 

Advertisements

Are There Really “Red Flags” At the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?

Are there “Red Flags” at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?

How not to get noticed for the wrong things, this Tax Season.

One of the most commonly asked questions of me is about being “flagged” by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and how to avoid getting flagged, or, what gets your flagged.

I hate to break everyone’s bubble, however, there are no red flags!

For the majority of Canadians who file their taxes year-in, year-out, and who make remittances, make their payments, open businesses, close businesses, make money, lose money, and everything in between, your tax account is just a record of transactions, conversations and payments received and made.  Even for those Canadians who should be doing the above and don’t or who fall behind and catch-up on one mass filing, their accounts have a bit more information due to CRA research, however, No flags.

For those engaged in criminal behaviour, however, there are no “flags”, because you are being investigated criminally and whether you know it or not, the CRA knows you and is watching your activities and comparing that to what you file.  Your tax account is known because it is being actively worked by someone.  There are words or phrases placed in your permanent diary which tell anyone who reviews your account what you are up to, but it certainly doesn’t mean you’ve been red flagged.

So why do people talk about flags?

They’re actually talking about stuations like some described below which catch the attention of the screeners on a case-by-case basis, and could result in them being audited outside of their normal audit review period.

1) When you get your tax returns completed and filed for the year, and there are issues, possibly mistakes, which the CRA catches and in anticipation of getting the solution, have a hard time getting a hold of you.

2) You are suddenly self-employed and you are not sure what to claim, or how much you are entitled to, or you claim things or amounts different from your industry standard.   The CRA compiles industry profiles which they use to assign you a “SIC Code” and they compare your returns with the Industry Standard to ensure you fall in line.

3) The dreaded “Net Worth Assessment”.  If you appear to the CRA to be unable to afford the lifestyle that you are currently living in, then the CRA can, and will, issue a Net Worth Assessment and force you to prove that you are not hiding income.  Yes, this can be a challenge, especially in light of the assessments being done from tax centres outside of the Greater Toronto Area who cannot fathom a million dollar house and a $75,000 income.  They don’t take too kindly to the concept of being being helped by family or personal wealth.  Just be warned that a tax return showing $1.00 of income for the year and an address in a wealthy neighbourhood is cause for further questioning.

4) Big changes from year-to-year.  If there are major changes in your income or expenses whether personal or business-related, are going to draw the attention of the CRA.  The CRA wants to make sure that you have not made a mistake, or worse, that you have bought into a tax scheme.  Expect questions, so get proof ready!

There are some tax situations that are just automatically looked at closer – each the year the CRA with the help of the Department of Finance choose a sector of industry to look at in closer depth usually because something has been detected in previous years or because there is a lot of cash floating around these business, such as construction, or dentists, doctors, IT consultants…

Home office deductions for example are frequently looked into as this is often a common problem for taxpayers claiming the home office in order to use deductions without actually utilizing their home as their office.

Even if you honestly never ever use your company vehicle for personal use, it will take some hard doing to prove to the CRA that this is true. Just driving back and forth to work in the business vehicle is classed as personal use. Your best protection here is to keep very detailed records concerning the business vehicles.

6) Renting for income:  Do not assume that rental losses are going to be accepted at face value by the CRA.  While the CRA will give you some grace time to start generating a profit from your rental business, it will still be watched with a close eye based on your industry, location and address(es).

7) Who prepares your return matters!

The CRA is starting to follow the IRS and taking a long hard look at tax accountants and tax preparers to see if there is a pattern among certain firms / indivuduals who either claim deductions they are not allowed to claim on your behalf, or who are missing certain expenses or deductions.  The CRA’s hope here is to weed out the bad apples, and educate the current crop to ensure they take advantage of the deductions and tax credits available to each client.

Should be a valuable change to the Canadian tax filing scheme.

But at the end of the day, doing it right, and on time, is the best way to stay out of the CRA’s bad books.

If, however, you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to reach out to me at any time, at worlans@intaxicating.ca.

 

Reminder: T4’s and T4 Summaries are due February 28th to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

I’m worried.

Not for me, but worried for you. I’m worried that you have forgotten to prepare the T4 for your employee, or nanny, and that you will not be able to submit the T4 with the T4 summary to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by the February 28th deadline.

If you have not completed the T4 or T4 summary yet and are weighing your options, I have some information you need to consider.

First, provided you have been making regular remittances to the CRA, you already have the information you need to submit to the CRA.

Secondly, if you have been making regular remittances the CRA will have sent you a code which allows you to complete the T4 and T4 summary online and which allows you to file online.

Third, if you let the deadline slide by, you are going to pay a penalty.

Say what you will about the Canada Revenue Agency, but they ask and they listen. If you have had the opportunity to attend a CRA information session (or be on a panel as I have) you know that the CRA wants to know what bothers people and how they can improve things. They really do.

In the good old days, when I worked at the CRA, late filing of a T4 was a minimum $100 penalty (plus interest) and late filing of a T4 summary was a minimum $400 penalty to a maximum of $2500.

The CRA has instituted a new administrative policy that applies to certain information returns to ensure that late-filing penalties are charged in a manner that is both fair and reasonable for small businesses. The penalty is the greater of $100 or a penalty determined as follows:

Relieving administrative policy – penalties
Number of information
returns (slips)
Penalty (per day) Maximum penalty
(100 days)
1 – 5 Not applicable $100 flat penalty
6 – 10 $5 $500
11 – 50 $10 $1,000
51 – 500 $15 $1,500
501 – 2,500 $25 $2,500
2,501 – 10,000 $50 $5,000
10,001 or more $75 $7,500

Of course, if you have to get it done by the 28th and you are close on figures, you can always send them your best estimation and amend the return at a later date.  You won’t get hit with the late filing penalties unless your figures are WAY off from the real figures and the CRA feels you sent these numbers to in some way circumvent the rules.  Interest will continue to apply.

Hope you filed on time.

%d bloggers like this: