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ISSUE 68 • January 31, 2012
Your e-connection to CGA-BC

January 31 CPD Deadline - Extended to February 1, 2012

Your CPD activities must be reported by 11:45 pm, February 1, 2012 for the 2011 reporting year. The January 31 deadline has been extended due to technical issues with our website. Please note that a NIL report must still be filed even if no hours were earned for 2011. Click here to access the Member Services Login page to report.

Remember when entering your ethics course to check off the box that indicates that it qualifies for the four-hour ethics requirement.


CPD Three-Year Cycle
Keeps Rolling Along


Now that the 2009 – 2011 cycle is complete and the three-year rolling cycle has changed to 2010 – 2012, why not get on track for 2012 by taking advantage of PD seminars being offered now? If you have any queries about how the Continuing Professional Development cycle works, see our helpful description of the Three Year Cycle Requirements.

CGA-BC PD for February and March

See all of our PD seminars for Feb / March PD. By registering early, you help yourself in two ways. First, there is a better chance the seminars you want to attend don't get cancelled due to low bookings. Second, you improve your odds of getting a seat at the event you want.


Check Us Out on Social Media

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Whether you’re interested as a student, member, potential student, educator or member of the media, you can follow us on Twitter. We're extremely social. With more than 2,100 Twitter followers, CGA-BC has the most followers of any provincial accounting designation in Western Canada.

You can also follow us as a fan on Facebook.


Subscribe Now to Your Chapter Newsletter

The best way to stay up-to-date on your chapter's activities and news is by subscribing to your online chapter newsletter. It's easy.

  1. Visit the Chapter Newsletter page of our website.
  2. Select your newsletter.
  3. Click on the orange RSS Feed button on the top right of the newsletter.
  4. Select the 'Subscribe to this feed' button to automatically receive new posts via email.

Now you won't need to remember to visit the newsletter online, the news will come to you.

Get the latest scoop on CGA-BC's hottest jobs...

CGA-BC PD

See our PD schedule for 2012.


Certificate In Executive Leadership

Make the most of your leadership potential and take your career to the senior executive level. Check out the CGA-BC Certificate in Executive Leadership—where leaders are made. Learn all you need to know about this exciting opportunity here.




Chapter PD

See which professional development seminars the chapters are presenting through February.
 
Maintaining Public Trust

As part of CGA-BC's commitment to upholding our high standard of conduct, members and students are reminded to visit the Protecting the Public section of our website on an ongoing basis. Open to the public, this section relates to our commitment to transparency and full disclosure. It explains our ethics process and provides up-to-date information on public advisories and the latest disciplinary summaries.




Free In-person Tax Seminars

Did you know you can attend free events and seminars held by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to help you understand your tax-related obligations or those of your client?

The CRA's popular tax seminars are held across Canada and give individuals, businesses, and their representatives important information about how to manage their tax affairs. Seminars for individuals include such topics as: seniors and income tax, the Child Disability Benefit, and newcomers to Canada. Seminars for businesses include topics such as: registering for a GST/HST account, payroll requirements, T4 slip preparation, and more.

Go to B.C. events to register for an event in your area.

New Routes to Professional Development

If you’re interested in webcasts, video seminars and online courses, it’s time to check out PD Net. Visit today and discover a wealth of opportunities on a huge variety of topics. You’ll find seminars on ethics, taxes, leadership and more. And all of these seminars are designed for working CGAs like you.
Unifying the Profession:
Membership Invited to Attend Town Hall Meetings


All CGA-BC members and students are invited to attend the town hall merger meetings in their region. Ten town halls have been organized, and all of the meetings are free of charge and scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Please RSVP to Events Manager Tracey Tse so we may coordinate meeting spaces and ensure adequate seating.

In addition to the in-person town hall meetings, we will be hosting an online video presentation for those who cannot attend a town hall meeting. The presentation will be available after Feb. 1, 2012. We’re also exploring the possibility of conducting some of the town halls as webinars that remote viewers would be able to join online. Once the technology and timing have been finalized, we will inform you via the website, social media, and email.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - Burnaby/Coquitlam
Executive Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre Coquitlam
405 North Road
(604) 936-9399

[Read More...]
CGA-BC Plays Prominent Role at Economic Outlook
Cindy Choi at Board of Trade

VANCOUVER – Cindy Choi, FCGA, began her term as CGA-BC’s 2012 Chair much in the same manner as her predecessors when she attended the Vancouver Board of Trade’s 23rd Economic Outlook. In what has seemingly become an annual tradition, CGA-BC sponsored this important gathering of business and government leaders and Ms. Choi introduced the event’s keynote speakers for both the breakfast and lunch presentations.

The morning session featured a global economic overview by HSBC’s Peter Marber, Chief Business Strategist, Emerging Markets—Americas, for HSBC Global Asset Management. Marber’s research showed that the primary economic growth indicators are all pointing up in emerging markets, while they are flat or trending down in the developed world. With expanding labour forces, strong GDP growth, growing foreign reserves and negligible debt, the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and their brethren elsewhere in Asia and the Americas are poised to redefine the traditional economic relationships that once favoured countries like the U.S., Japan and those in Western Europe.

CIBC Chief Economist Avery Shenfeld then provided a Canadian economic perspective, while Central 1 Credit Union’s Helmut Pastrick shared his forecasts for B.C. They were all joined by CKNW’s Michael Levy for an insightful, and often divergent, discussion of what we might expect in the future.

The lunch presentation featured B.C’s Minister of Finance, the Honourable Kevin Falcon. Falcon presented a positive outlook for the province’s economy, citing his government’s past record of fiscal discipline and job growth as key contributors to B.C.’s strong position relative to other Canadian provinces. The Minister also unveiled his new online budget consultation tool, entitled ‘My BC Budget’, which was designed to solicit opinions about how the government should allocate revenues for the next fiscal period.
Teekay Shipping, BC Ferries Drop Anchor With PEP


Ahoy there. CGA-BC’s Partners in Employment Program (PEP) has attracted two of the province’s largest maritime employers this month, signing Teekay Shipping (Canada) Ltd. and BC Ferries Inc. According to PEP Coordinator Jerrick Barroso, the latest additions bring the program’s total number of corporate partners up to 134.

Teekay Shipping transports and delivers a comprehensive set of marine services to the worlds’ leading oil and gas companies. Founded in 1973, Teekay has a fleet of over 150 vessels and offices in 16 countries; the Teekay Group has four divisions that trade on the NYSE. Teekay employs roughly 6,400 seagoing and shore-based employees worldwide, with roughly 240 at its operational headquarters in Vancouver, 50 of which are in accounting/finance. As a strong supporter of career development, Teekay invests extensively in its employees by providing financial support for courses and allowing time off before and during the days of exams. Professional membership dues are also covered by the company.

BC Ferries is one of the largest ferry operators in the world and is the integral link between the coastal communities of B.C. With more than 4,200 employees, including over 100 in accounting/finance, BC Ferries provides many opportunities for career advancement. Many CGAs and CGA students list BC Ferries as their employer, including Executive Vice President and CFO, Rob Clarke, CGA.

Both organizations are currently looking to hire intermediate to senior-level finance professionals. See CGAjobs.org.



BFL

JDC West Organizers Astonish CGA-BC Sponsors
With Crisis Management Skills


Dan Relihan, CGA, CGA-BC Manager of Recruitment and Employment Initiatives, attended the 2012 JDC West business competition in Edmonton last week to judge the marketing competition. He came away as impressed by the young event organizers as he was by the student competitors.

It turns out that the strongest display of leadership came not from the competitors but from the small team of event organizers.

In business, we all understand that the true measure of our leaders and teams comes when the inevitable unforeseen challenges arise. But what is to be said for demonstrations of leadership and teamwork in the face of challenges that verge on near calamity?

Anyone who has ever attended a JDC West competition can appreciate the tremendous amount of teamwork, leadership and logistic planning involved in coordinating the entire case competition. Rooms, transportation, building access, team isolation, schedules, judging, technology, break rooms, education centres and a multitude of other logistical complexities must be precisely orchestrated.

All of this was indeed expertly in place at JDC West in Edmonton this weekend. But no one could have expected a full scale emergency evacuation midway through Sunday afternoon’s case presentations. A broken pipe set off a screaming fire alarm, and the next thing we knew the entire building had to be cleared. There was no certainty that we would be let back in any time soon. This year’s JDC West 2012 competition was in imminent peril as the critical competitions had been disrupted....

[Read the full article at the CGA CareerView blog.]
CGA-Canada Launches National Find-A-Firm Service
CGA-Canada Launches National Find-A-Firm Service The “Need an Accountant” website is a free online service provided by CGA-Canada. This website was developed to assist the general public in finding Certified General Accountant Public Practice Firms in Canada that meet their accounting needs.

The public can search for a Canadian CGA accounting firm by specifying their accounting needs and/or using the map to search for firms by location. Once a firm is selected, the viewer can see the firm’s profile page, which provides contact information, map location (including driving directions), and other information the firm has provided. Search results can be shared with others using the “E-mail This Page” feature, and the firm’s profile and driving directions can be printed.

For more information about the site, or if you have any problems, contact CGA-Canada at NeedanAccountant-Contact@cga-canada.org.






CGA-Canada Applauds Recommendations to Reduce Red Tape
The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) welcomed the release of January 18's comprehensive report by the Red Tape Reduction Commission and congratulated the Commission on its work over the past year. The report provides a number of recommendations towards real and lasting results in tackling red tape and regulatory inefficiencies.

“We wholeheartedly agree that reducing the burden on small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) will inspire new opportunities that boost growth, competitiveness and innovation,” said Anthony Ariganello, CGA-Canada’s President and CEO. “I am pleased to see that the Commission incorporated the feedback from stakeholders and that the recommendations are aligned with comments CGA-Canada delivered to the Red Tape Reduction Commission.”

In particular, CGA-Canada noted the following recommendations:
  • Implementing One-for-One legislation – every time the government proposes a new regulation, it must eliminate one existing regulation;
  • Cutting the cumulative regulatory burden, which is detrimental to SMEs;
  • Applying a small business lens to regulatory policy before changes are made or new policies are adopted;
  • Using plain language and providing clear, definitive interpretations of the rules.
“I am also glad to see the specific call for the Auditor General of Canada to be given the mandate to review and report on the progress in reducing regulatory administrative burden. We urge the President of the Treasury Board to move swiftly to implement this and all other recommendations,” continued Ariganello.

“We will continue to work with the government to take meaningful action and implement permanent solutions for Canadian SMEs,” says Ariganello. “The creation of an expert panel to simplify Canada’s tax regime is one significant proposal we’d like to explore.”

CGA-Canada would also like to see the development of a pan-Canadian approach to address the accumulated effects of regulatory burden throughout all levels of government. It noted that even the Commission recognizes there are larger inter-jurisdictional issues at hand in order for Canada to truly become a global leader in red tape reduction.

For more details on CGA-Canada’s recommendations, consult its submission to the Red Tape Reduction Commission.
Kenneth Eng of Burnaby Expelled from Membership
January 16, 2012

The Certified General Accountants Association of British Columbia has expelled Kenneth Eng of Burnaby, B.C., from membership, effective December 19, 2011.

A complaint was filed by the Association alleging that Mr. Eng used his employer’s credit card to purchase personal items and subsequently concealed these expenses, approved expense reports that he knew or ought to have known were false and misleading, and prepared monthly financial statements based on information that he knew or ought to have known was false and misleading.

Mr. Eng was found to be in breach of several of the Association’s ethical principles and rules of conduct, including those that address members’ responsibilities to society, trust and duties, due care and professional judgement. He was consequently expelled from membership. Read the Disciplinary Summary for more details.

A person expelled from membership is not permitted to hold out that they are a Certified General Accountant or use the CGA designation or conduct business as a member of the CGA Association.

The Accountants [Certified General] Act (CGA Act) provides for an independent disciplinary process, which is implemented in accordance with the tenets of administrative law. This process commences when a complaint is filed with the Association against a member or where the Association deems it appropriate to do so. It requires a full investigation before the Association can take disciplinary action. The CGA Act does not permit the Association to summarily suspend or expel a member without due process.
Ethics in Focus: Take Care With the Reputation of Others
In the Winter issue of Outlook magazine, we were introduced to CGA Ann Sampson and her sister Kate. After purchasing a motel, restaurant and gas bar on the advice of CGA Sam Lo, Kate suffers buyer’s remorse. She tells Ann that Sam underestimated the cost of financing the purchase and overestimated the financial viability of the businesses.

Ann tells Kate what she would have done had she been advising her on the purchase. Kate claims that Sam missed several steps that Ann mentioned. Ann suggests that Kate talk to Sam again, and that if she is still unsatisfied, she should contact CGA-BC.

The following week, Ann receives a phone call from a very angry Sam Lo. He tells her that Kate is “bad-mouthing” him to local businesses and citing Ann as an authority on “what a competent accountant would do.” He tells Ann that she has acted unprofessionally by not first approaching him with her “accusations.”

He ends the call with a warning: “You’d better fix this.”

What should Ann do?

Please email Edward Downing with your response to the ethical dilemma. We’ll publish the best answers in the next issue of Outlook.
Order Your Copy of “Personal Tax Planning 2011–2012”

This concise book outlines what you need to know to minimize the income tax you pay, or defer it for future years. It is written in plain language so it's easy to follow. It addresses personal tax rates and features that are specific to the federal level, as well as to each province and territory.

You will find current information of interest on such topics as:
  • income splitting
  • investment income and expenses
  • business and self-employment income
  • and expenses
  • tax rates for various levels of ordinary income,.
  • capital gains, and dividends.
To order a copy of the guide, call 604-732-1211, ext. 200 (toll free at 1-800-565-1211) or send an email to jspankie@cga-bc.org.
Convocation Date Set for November 10, 2012
Students approaching graduation, set this date aside: Saturday, November 10, 2012. That’s the day CGA students cross the stage and take their CGA pins, receive scholarships, and recite the Oath of Obligation. It’s when friends, family, co-workers and the Association recognize you as graduates.

Convocation and the evening’s dinner and dance will be held at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre West located at 1055 Canada Place.

Registration for this highlight of the student calendar will be posted online in the August.
Member Benefit Partner: Vancouver Résumé Writing and Interview Coaching Services
Vancouver Résumé Writing & Interview Coaching Services has partnered with CGA-BC to offer all members, students, and staff a 20 per cent discount on résumé writing and interview coaching services.

This is your opportunity to talk one-on-one with a former executive recruiter with proven experience in reviewing and analyzing résumés, identifying the skills and core competencies employers crave, and extracting essential information about past employment history and performance.

Partnering with an expert recruiter and well-known Vancouver résumé writer with diverse crossfunctional knowledge in the various ways Fortune 500 companies and small owner managed businesses conduct their hiring process, could make all the difference for your résumé writing project, your interview coaching workshop and ultimately your career.

Ken Docherty specialized for 10 years in the recruitment of accounting and finance professionals in Europe and North America, making him a strong partner for any accounting professional seeking résumé writing and interview coaching services.

To take advantage of this special offer, contact Ken directly at ken@vancouverresume.com to request your services and payment link with CGA-BC discount applied.

For more information, visit www.vancouverresume.com.
Vancouver Chapter Spreads Warmth to the Needy
As this winter approached, the Vancouver Chapter asked its members and students to collect clothing items for Covenant House. The response was overwhelming.

Clothing was collected days prior to the Chapter’s November 16 PD event. Even PD speaker John Nicola and his staff at Nicola Wealth Management pitched in to help. They collected items in their office and brought them all to our seminar. At the end of the day, the CGA Vancouver Chapter collected $300 and over 10 bags of clothing for Covenant House. For a first-time event, this was a huge success for the Vancouver Chapter.

The Chapter directors would like to thank everyone who made this event such a great success. The Chapter hopes to make this an annual event and to help more people in need next year.



For information on Covenant House, please click here.
Planning to Prepare T1s?
If you are a CGA preparing individual T1 tax returns, with or without schedules, you are required to register this limited practice with the Association. See the Register in Public Practice page for details on registration requirements.

Effective September 2011, members and students preparing T1s on a voluntary basis are not required to register as long as the services are provided to family and close friends only. Otherwise, registration is required.
Canada Revenue Agency’s T1 Letter Campaign
For the third consecutive year, CGA members and clients of CGA public practitioners may soon be receiving a letter from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as part of its annual letter campaign, which commences in early 2012.

One of two types of letters may be received:
  1. Information will be provided about eligibility criteria for certain deductions the taxpayer has claimed on recent income tax returns.
  2. Similar information may be provided as above with additional notification of the possibility that the taxpayer’s income tax returns may be selected for audit.
Members or clients are being asked to self-review their claims regarding income and expense claims related to rental and/or business activities, employment expenses and calculation of capital gains or losses upon disposition of publicly-traded shares or mutual fund units. If warranted, income tax returns can be amended by completing an adjustment request in cases where deductions were claimed in error or inaccurate information was provided.

Requests for adjustments can be made online by accessing My Account using the change my return option, or by mail with form T1-ADJ, T1 Adjustment Request, available from CRA at www.cra.gc.ca/forms.

Questions regarding the CRA letter or help making any changes to previously filed or current tax returns may be found at www.cra.gc.ca/audit or by calling the individual income tax enquiries line at 1 (800) 959-8281.
CPP Changes Effective January 1, 2012
In case you missed it on our website’s home page, members are again reminded of changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) that took effect in January 2012. The changes affect two age groups: 60 to 65 and 65 to 70 year olds.

60 to 65 years old
Employees and self-employed Individuals in this age category, who are receiving CPP benefits, must continue to contribute to the CPP.

65 to 70 years old
Employees and self-employed individuals who are at least 65 and under 70 years of age will be required to pay into the CPP unless an election is filed.

For employees, filing the election must occur in the month prior to ceasing the contributions. If you are an employee, qualify to elect and choose to no longer contribute to the CPP commencing in January 2012, your election needed to be filed by December 31, 2011. The election form is called Form CPT30, Election to Stop Contributing to the Canada Pension Plan, or Revocation of a Prior Election and must be filed with your employer.

If you have only self-employed income, you will elect when filing your 2012 personal income tax return, which can be filed up to June 15, 2013.

Eligibility to stop paying CPP contributions is based on whether an individual:
  • is at least 65 years old but under 70; and
  • is receiving a CPP or QPP retirement pension; and
  • is employed or self-employed.
Further details on CPP changes can be found at Webcastcanada and CRA.
Public Practice News
Inaugural CGA-BC Practitioners Symposium

Practitioners, join us May 25 - 26, 2012 at the Westin Wall Centre, Vancouver Airport, for CGA-BC's inaugural Practitioners Symposium. Friday, May 25 will be an evening of networking followed by a day of seminars. Featured presenters are Ronald Baker and David Cottle. Both speakers have been featured in Outlook since 2009. Ron Baker's self-proclaimed mission is: "to once and for all bury the billable hour and time sheet." David Cottle, author of four books, has described features common to most highly successful firms. For more information and to register, contact Anita Fortune at (604) 714-2350, 1 (800) 565-1211, ext 350 or email afortune@cga-bc.org.


Internal Revenue Service Reopens Their Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reopened its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) this month following continued strong interest from taxpayers after the closure of their 2011 and 2009 programs. This program could affect Americans living in Canada if they have not previously filed annual tax returns with the IRS. The program gives taxpayers the opportunity to report not only taxable income but foreign assets held for up to eight of the most current tax years.

Although this year’s program is similar to that in 2011, there are a few key differences: 2012’s program has no set deadline, terms of the program may change at any time, the penalty structure has changed for taxpayers in the highest penalty category and the program may end at any time.

More details will be available in February on IRS.gov.


U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Affects Americans in Canada

In 2010 the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATACA) was enacted. The Act targets non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers through foreign accounts. This Act requires action from two groups in Canada:
  1. Financial institutions must report to the IRS about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. To be considered a participating Foreign Financial Institution, each must enter into an agreement with the IRS by June 30, 2013. Implementation of reporting and other requirements will be phased in by January 2015.


  2. U.S. citizens residing in Canada who hold foreign financial assets with an aggregate value exceeding certain thresholds must report specific information about those assets on new Form 8938, which is to be attached to the taxpayer’s annual tax return. Reporting applies for assets held in taxable years beginning after March 18, 2010. Failure to report foreign financial assets and tax underpayments will result in penalties. This new report is in addition to, and not in replacement of, the taxpayer’s obligation to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
Recruitment Events for February and March
February:

February 1 Okanagan College Business Expo & Employment Fair (Kelowna)
Joint CGA/CA/CMA Information Session at Okanagan College (Kelowna)
UBC Speaker Series (Vancouver)
February 2 UBC Okanagan Career Fair (Kelowna)
Trinity Western University Career Fair (Langley)
UVIC Commerce Student Society Business Banquet (Victoria)
UBC TACS Welcome Session (Vancouver)
February 3 Joint CGA/CA/CMA Information Session at UBC Okanagan (Kelowna)
February 3-5 University of Victoria Leadership Conference (Victoria)
February 7 CGA Information Session at SFU (Burnaby)
February 8 SFU Student Leadership Program Workshop: Leadership Training (Burnaby)
February 9 Joint CGA/CA/CMA Information Session at the University of Fraser Valley (Abbotsford)
February 10 Kwantlen ‘Careers in Accounting’ (CA/CGA/CMA) (Surrey)
February 16 SFU ‘Student Awards Formal’ (TBA)
February 25 SFU Career Paths Conference (TBA)


March:

March 1-4 RoundTable 2012 (Saskatoon)
March 5 Douglas College Career Exploration Fair (New Westminster)
March 6 13th Annual Influential Women in Business Awards (Vancouver)
CGA Information Session at Capilano University (North Vancouver)
March 6-7 Northworks Fair (Prince George)
March 7 CGA-BC Workshop for SFU Student Leadership Program: Ethics and Standards (Burnaby)
Selkirk College Career Fair (Castlegar)
University of Fraser Valley Career Fair (Abbotsford)
March 8 Camosun College Business Career Fair (Victoria)
Langara Employment Day (Vancouver)
College of the Rockies Career & Job Fair (Cranbrook)
SFU Finance Night (TBA)
March 14 SFU BASS Banquet (Vancouver)
March 16 UBC ME Inc. Conference (Vancouver)
March 20 Vancouver Island University Bean Counters 2nd Annual Accounting Students' Evening Dinner (TBA)
March 21 BCIT ‘Know-How’ Workshop (Burnaby)
March 22 Kwantlen Career Day (Surrey)
March 23 Business Career Expo (Vancouver)
March 26 BCIT Career Fair (Burnaby)
March 28 CGA Information Session at North Shore Multicultural Society (North Vancouver)
March 29 UBC Style and the City (TBA)