ISSUE 69 • March 30, 2012 Your e-connection to CGA-BC
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.
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; in fact, CGA-BC has the most Twitter followers of any provincial accounting designation in Western Canada.
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.
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.
Update on Unification Survey
Measuring Your Feedback
I am pleased to provide you with an update on the Association’s recent all-member survey. One of our objectives is to ensure that all members are kept up to date on the unification talks, and we have sought your views during this process. CGA-BC conducted a member survey on the matter in the wake of announcing the National Unification Framework and the BC Merger Proposal from March 9 to March 19. Some 2,799 CGAs out of 10,181, or 27.49% of our members, responded. The survey followed our town hall sessions where members also had the opportunity to offer feedback and participate in open discussions.
Results showed that when asked the question, “How likely are you to support a Board recommendation to proceed with a merger as presented in the proposal and based on feedback from other stakeholders and progress in other provinces?” 54.44% said that they were very supportive; 29.59% were somewhat supportive; 11.01% were neutral; 3.27% were somewhat opposed; and 1.69% were very opposed. To put it another way, 84.03% of our membership supports the merger as presented in the high level proposal. The results largely mirrored the outcome of a similar survey completed by CGAs who participated in the 10 town halls and those who watched the presentation online.
Just over 400 CGAs had additional questions or requests for information in this survey. The most common questions from the survey related to:
The effect the merger would have on fees and dues;
The desire for more details about the rules that govern public practitioners, including registration, peer reviews and insurance;
Concerns around the length of time associated with tagging;
Questions around what happens to a national merger if professional accounting bodies in other provinces don’t participate in unification;
Rules affecting the status of FCGA, Life and retired members;
Transitional details for current CGA students and ensuring that the flexibility is maintained in the new CPA designation; and
The effect the merger would have on agreements with international accounting bodies now and in the future.
In recent weeks we have answered scores of your questions in phone conversations and via email correspondence. For many of your questions, the answers have not yet been supplied because the details have yet to be determined. Once these issues have been resolved we will share the results with all members and students.
Thank you to the members who provided feedback in this process. Your input is very important in helping guide the Board in its decision-making.
The Executive Committee continues to work with the other two bodies to address some of the outstanding details and issues. We expect to have a recommendation ready to take to the membership for its endorsement in May. The Board would then make a decision, likely at a meeting held no later than June, whether to request the provincial government draft legislation to merge. The Board’s decision would consider direction received from the members and other stakeholders, and the status of the proposed merger with the other provinces and territories as well as the national bodies.
I urge you to keep up to date on the matter by visiting the Merger Section of the Association’s website.
VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Certified General Accountants Association of British Columbia (CGA-BC) is pleased to announce that David Sale, CGA, of Surrey, B.C. was elected Second Vice-Chair by the Association’s Board of Governors on March 24, 2012. He now joins the CGA-BC Executive Committee.
CGA-BC Chair Cindy Choi, FCGA, praised the Board’s selection. “David has effectively represented CGA for more than 25 years,” she said. “His experience as Past Chair of an accounting faculty of 35 designated accountants will be invaluable to our Association as we meet the important challenges facing our profession in the years to come.”
Mr. Sale, a professor of accounting at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, brings a practical and growth-oriented focus to his new role. “It is essential that CGA be poised to compete for the best of the best entering the accounting profession,” he said. “We must provide support for CGA firms to grow in both size and number so that those firms can provide training opportunities for prospective entrants to CGA.”
Candace Nancke, CGA, First Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors for the Certified General Accountants Association of B.C. was proud to present the Influential Women in Business Award for Lifetime Achievement to Elizabeth Harrison, Q.C., at a special ceremony held at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.
Harrison is a partner with Farris, Vaughan, Wills and Murphy and she provides legal advice in areas such as general corporate and commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate finance. A partner since 1978, she has worked on several major mergers and acquisitions of some of BC’s biggest companies. The award is presented on behalf of Business in Vancouver, which chooses the honouree each year.
Harrison knew no female lawyers when she was growing up in rural Alberta in the 1960s. However, that didn’t stop her dreams of becoming one of Canada’s leading lawyers in a variety of categories. Today she is a member of the Vancouver, Canadian, and International Bar Associations, and has served as a Director with the International Finance Centre, BC Ferries and various other corporations and committees. She has also been a member of the Boards of the St. Paul's Hospital Foundation and Vancouver Opera, and has served as Vice-Chair of Crofton House School.
LANGLEY – More than 120 business students from the University of the Fraser Valley, Douglas College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Trinity Western University packed the Newlands Golf & Country Club in Langley on March 12 to network with CGAs and to hear a presentation by CGA-BC Chair Cindy Choi, FCGA.
There is little doubt that these future accountants made quite an impression on all those present. “This is such a remarkable group of young men and women,” said Jas Randhawa, CGA, the Association’s Manager, Recruitment & Employment. “It’s incredible how smart they are and what they have accomplished already.”
Several CGAs and Association staff members joined more than 20 representatives from CGA-BC’s Partners in Employment Program to share career advice with the enthusiastic students. The PEP representatives included Accountemps, Enterprise Holdings Inc., Langbroek, Louwerse & Thiessen LLP, Overwaitea Food Group, Meyers Norris Penny LLP, Canada Revenue Agency, and Fit Foods Manufacturing.
Naturally, the highlight of the evening was the Chair’s Address. Cindy Choi’s presentation focused on the value of leadership, the significance of opportunity, and the importance of perspective. She also impressed upon the students to develop their network in order to tap into the hidden job market. “Most hirings today originate from someone's current professional network or recommendations from friends and colleagues,” Choi said.
The Chair brought her remarks to a close by making the case for B.C.’s fastest growing professional designation. “The CGA designation has always been a wise choice for people looking to advance their careers in finance and accounting because its flexible, online education program allows students to continue to work full-time while they pursue their studies,” Choi said. “I believe that those who pursue their CGA designation and graduate from UFV’s business program are positioning themselves to become the financial leaders of tomorrow.”
The evening came to an end with draws for prizes and special recognition to the students who helped organize the event: Janice Khunkhun, representative of the Douglas College Business Association, Aadil Jesani, President of the Accounting Students of Kwantlen, Cameron Jonker, President of the Trinity Western University Accounting Association Student Club, and Derek Van Reeuwyk, President of the Accounting Students of the Fraser Valley.
In the wake of an accidental release of CGA student information in late March, the Association has strengthened its processes to protect member and student data. “The Association takes its duty to protect personal information very seriously and we have taken all measures possible to ensure that this does not happen again and to mitigate the issue,” says CEO Gordon Ruth, FCGA.
Within hours of an email and attached Excel file of CGA-BC student information being released, the Association took the following steps:
Communicated with all CGA students to alert them of the incident (read details at Student Heads Up);
Began working with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner;
Instituted a protocol for protecting data files and changed processes as to usage of data and how it can be transmitted;
Set up a working group of senior management to review processes and to report any additional actions that may be necessary.
“In working with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, our investigation quickly showed that there was a relatively low level of any risk for identity theft or other fraud since it was personal information and not financial or other information such as a driver’s license, social insurance or health care number that was released,” said Ruth.
The Association’s CEO also reminded students that the information was not distributed to the public, but sent directly to CGA students, all of whom are bound by the Association’s Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct to uphold the highest standards of professionalism. “CGA students are entrusted with confidential information every day, and we were confident that the information will not be compromised.” Students were asked to delete the file and the majority have already confirmed with the Association that they have.
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has confirmed that the steps taken by the Association are appropriate.
We have moved to simplified non-verifiable CPD reporting in order to streamline both the CPD reporting and auditing process.
Only the non-verifiable hour amount needs to be submitted. Beginning in the 2012 CPD reporting year, which runs from January 1 to December 31, 2012, you are no longer required to submit your non-verifiable activities in detail. Instead, when submitting your non-verifiable hours, you will simply submit the hour amount — you will no longer need to fill out the description field for your non-verifiable activities.
Please note, however, that you must still keep a brief listing of the hours spent doing technical reading, or any major change in job responsibilities or new responsibilities in a volunteer capacity. This information might be requested if you are selected for a CPD audit.
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.
Initial evaluation of education available online from CGA-Canada.
Foreign-educated accountants now have a free, online self-assessment tool that will give them a preliminary evaluation of their education, an important first step in becoming a Certified General Accountant (CGA).
The Accountants Coming to Canada website and self-assessment tool will make it easier for internationally educated accounting professionals and graduates to discover how to earn a Canadian accounting designation.
“This free, online self-assessment tool offers foreign-educated accountants and graduates a convenient way to learn if they’re entitled to any CGA program exemptions,” said Anthony Ariganello, President and CEO of CGA-Canada. “It’s great for newcomers and prospective immigrants who want to learn how to make the most of their accounting skills and knowledge.”
“When you’ve earned your education and training outside of Canada, determining where you stand in those areas can be a challenge,” said Lyle Handfield, FCGA, CGA-Canada’s Vice-President, International and Corporate Affairs. “Accountants Coming to Canada will give newcomers a good sense of what it will take to become a CGA.”
Accountants Coming to Canada was developed by CGA-Canada with nearly $1 million in funding from the federal government’s foreign credential recognition program. While the tool already contains details of interest to members of two dozen professional bodies and over 100 post-secondary institutions, CGA-Canada will continue evaluating and adding many more foreign accounting programs over the next year.
The Association sponsored the latest installment of the BC Chamber of Commerce’s Cabinet Ministers’ Breakfast Series when the Honourable Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, addressed the Chamber last Friday morning.
Minister Lekstrom addressed the infrastructure investments B.C. will need to make to meet its Asia Pacific Initiative obligations—both in the Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert.
Representing CGA-BC at the table of honour were First Vice-Chair Candace Nancke, CGA, and CEO Gordon Ruth, FCGA. Also in attendance were Past Chair Bruce Hurst, FCGA; Board member C.Y. Tay, CGA; and Director of Communications Edward Downing.
CGA-BC will host the 2012 Quarter Century Club Recognition Dinner on Friday, May 11, 2012, at the Vancouver Sutton Place Hotel.
This year’s Quarter Century Club welcomes 199 “new” members, those loyal men and women who have 25 years of CGA-BC membership. And we will also celebrate 18 members emeriti, outstanding members with 50 years of membership.
One of the most enjoyable events of the year, the Quarter Century Club dinner allows members a rare opportunity to reconnect with CGA friends and colleagues. As we salute every QCC member, we also have the chance to see ourselves as we were 25 years ago. Sometimes that’s an opportunity for a bit of friendly humour.
Look forward to an evening of fun, appreciation for your years of service, a great meal and a chance to make some new memories.
“Management is about doing things right;
Leadership is about doing the right things.”
CGA-BC’s June Leadership Series is designed to help you:
Take your career to the next level Transform your existing skills into a strategic asset Become a stronger, more effective leader Discover the latest research about team development, leading change and conflict management
DATES: June 4 – 8, 2012 LOCATION: Arbutus Club, Vancouver PROGRAM: 17 leadership seminars totalling 109 CPD hours, including 11 new seminars
Have you already learned English but still struggle to be understood? Heavily accented speech, inappropriate tone of voice, or speaking with slight grammatical errors can create obstacles to progress for both individuals and companies. We are hosting a free workshop for CGA students and members called Speak Clearer: Techniques in Accent Reduction on April 4, from 6 to 7:30 pm at the CGA-BC office. Led by the L2 Accent Reduction Centre, this session addresses communication skills for professionals working in Vancouver’s diverse corporate world. Learn how you can speak clearer and relate better by applying accent reduction techniques to your speech.
If you can’t make it to this workshop, we plan to host more sessions in the summer and fall. To register for the April 4 session, please email email@example.com. To learn more about L2 Accent Reduction Centre, visit their website.
VANCOUVER – CGA-BC and BC Hydro are encouraging British Columbians to join other Canadians in support of Earth Hour 2012 by turning off their lights on Saturday, March 31 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Last year British Columbians saved 117 megawatt hours of electricity and reduced the provincial electricity load by 1.8 per cent – the equivalent of turning off 7.8 million 15-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs for the hour.
To date, 87 municipalities have confirmed their participation in this year’s Earth Hour. In 2011, millions of people in more than 135 countries participated in this symbolic event to show how easy it is to save energy every day.
The annual Earth Hour global event is hosted by WWF, the World Wildlife Fund. Here are some fun ideas for celebrating Earth Hour:
Head outside and gaze at the stars (weather permitting, of course);
Host a candlelit dinner for friends and family; or,
Camp out with the kids on the living room floor.
British Columbians can extend Earth Hour into every day through simple conservation actions including:
Hanging clothes to dry;
Turning down the heat; and,
Choosing ENERGY STAR products when upgrading lighting, appliances, and electronic equipment (from now till the end of April, BC Hydro is partnering with retailers across the province to offer instant rebates and other incentives).
No, Victoria’s members and students aren’t garlic-phobic, mirror-shunning vampires. Quite the opposite. When it comes to blood, Victoria CGA members and students would rather give than receive, and they have the third party recognition to prove it. For 2011, Certified General Accountants in Victoria have again received a certificate of thanks from Canadian Blood Services’ Partners for Life program for rolling up their sleeves and making 54 blood donations.
Congratulations to the South Vancouver Island chapter. CGA-BC is a long-time Partner for Life with CBS, and all CGA members and students across the province are encouraged to donate blood and blood products when they can. We realize that CBS has very few clinics outside the Lower Mainland and Victoria, but we ask you to donate when possible. After all, the blood you so generously donate is used province-wide for young and old.
When you next donate blood, don’t forget to identify yourself as a representative of CGA-BC.
Attending CGA-BC's annual conference has long been recognized as a great event for members. But it is also a proven winner for employers, companies and firms. Here are four reasons why:
Skills development — You are an asset to your organization and all assets require regular maintenance. So, it only makes sense that you continuously upgrade your skills. The Conference’s professional development seminars and workshops can provide you with the best training for your needs. Best of all, you can share what you learned with others when you get back to the office.
Knowledge expansion — If you attend the Conference, you will hear experts talking about the latest practices, innovations, products, and services that can help you in your business and give you an advantage over your competition.
Networking opportunities — Making new business contacts is important and another great benefit of attending Conference is meeting people who can help you. That’s valuable. This is also how you can often learn best practices and come up with new ideas for your organization. It might even be how you find your next career opportunity or bright new employee.
Personal growth — All work and no play makes for a very stressful life. Attending the Conference is a great way to inject new energy into your life, whether for business or personal reasons.
The value of attending Conference is undeniable, so we encourage you to check the Conference page today. Remember, many sessions sell out so be sure to register early to avoid disappointment. We will also mail you the Conference brochure in May. We look forward to seeing in Kelowna in September.
CGA-BC’s 2012 Conference
September 18-23, 2012
Delta Grand Okanagan Resort and Conference Centre, Kelowna
Special hotel rates for all delegates are available until August 19, 2012.
Accent Inns offer CGA-BC Members special preferred rates at all five of their locations: Victoria, Vancouver Airport, Burnaby, Kelowna and Kamloops.
All the hotels offer spacious, well-appointed rooms and suites featuring restaurants on site, kitchen units, free in-room high speed internet access, exercise facilities, voicemail, free local telephone calls, pet-friendly rooms, and meeting room facilities. In addition, the Vancouver Airport location provides free airport shuttle service, and the Burnaby and Victoria locations offer free scheduled shuttle service.
Accent Inns also offer a variety of getaway packages – golf, ski, and wine touring, to name a few. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, Accent Inns are everywhere you want to be. Accent Inns’ new “Best Rate Guarantee” ensures that your preferred corporate rate will be reduced to match the lowest available rate posted on their website.
For more information visit Accent Inns. For reservations call toll free (888) 663-0298 or fax (604) 273-9522 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. When making a reservation, please use the special code: CGA OF BC.
Attend the Inaugural CGA-BC Practitioners Symposium May 25-26
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; Saturday will be a day of seminars.
You’ll learn more about the most current practice management topics that impact your firm. From using “Smart” Checklists and trashing the timesheet, to succession planning and value pricing, the Symposium will offer a wide array of topics that will support a firm of any size. We invite you to be a part of this enriched learning experience, network with the best and brightest, and develop strategies that will not only boost immediate profits, but also create new opportunities.
Keynote presenters Ronald Baker and David Cottle have both 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 found definite features common to most highly successful firms.
For more information or to register, visit Events. To get your questions answered, contact Anita Fortune at email@example.com or call (604) 714-2350, or toll free 1 (800) 565-1211 ext 350.
Vancouver Public Practice Speed Interview Night – June 5, 2012
If your firm needs to hire quality staff, consider participating in this free evening event. The next Vancouver Public Practice Speed Interview Night will take place on June 5.
To register your firm, contact Anita Fortune. For job seekers, check CGAjobs.org for registration start dates and contact information.
New Accounting Standards Projects
The Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) decided to undertake a project to revise Section 9200, Compilation Engagements after seeking the views of Canadian practitioners in 2011 through roundtable discussions sessions and an Invitation to Comment.
The project has two stages:
Phase 1: Conduct research, and
Phase 2: Revise or replace.
During 2012 the AASB, under the direction of a taskforce, will carry out Phase 1 research by means of desk research, consultation with bankers and other lenders, legal counsel and the Association of Insured Chartered Accountants, and with practitioners.
Phase 2 will determine the nature and extent of revisions to be made to Section 9200. Three approaches will be considered:
converting Section 9200, Compilation Engagements, to the clarity format, with revisions that would be limited in scope;
adopting revised ISRS 4410, Compilation Engagements, as Canadian Standard for Related Services (CSRS) 4410, with appropriate amendments (if any) that meet the AASB’s criteria for amendments; or
developing a new Canadian-specific compilation standard in the clarity format.
The AASB recently approved a project proposal to develop a new Canadian standard or other authoritative guidance for engagements dealing with prospective financial information.
Achtung, Practitioners With Clients Receiving German Social Security Pensions
Germany is issuing “requests to file” tax returns to Canadian residents who received German social security pensions in the 2005 to 2009 tax years. In addition, all future years require annual tax filings. Practitioners, please note that if you have clients asking for assistance to file their tax return in Germany to report their pension income, the individual preparing the return must be a German approved tax consultant. For further information, contact Brigitte Ilk.
Canada Revenue Agency Contact Lists
Practitioners, email Anita Fortune to receive your copy of the 2012 CRA Pacific Region contact list. Please note that this list is intended solely for the use of public practitioners and not for the general public or your clients.