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Timesinks

A 5 day tax holiday

Thanks to this month's Heartbleed bug shutdown, Canadians get an extra 5 days to file their taxes - the revised deadline for 2014 is May 5 as the CRA announced.

Despite what most people think, not all accountants do the same kind of work - I'm not a full-time tax accountant, though this was another season where I spent some quality time at the free CA tax clinics. The majority of the clinics run in March so if you qualify for them, plan ahead next year to take advantage of a really useful service. Much better than spending $60 when things are tight when that could go towards food or shelter!

Posted: Apr 23 2014, 06:11 AM by Krupo | with no comments
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Taxes shouldn't be so complicated

Two general principles you should keep in mind:

  1. Society works well if there are rules in place, there's a cost to this.
  2. People respond to incentives.

To run a society, you need a basic level of taxation to enforce the Rule of Law.

In addition to your basic Rule of Law, there are activities that your community will decide are favourable or unfavourable. Polluting the air, we can generally agree, is a Bad Thing. Educating the children, by the same token, is a good thing.

Charge a tax on activities that cause pollution, apply that to education and enforcement of law. Add on a basic level of taxation to close the gap between what your pollution tax collects and what you need to break even.

There, done.

Reality is of course several orders of magnitude more complex, but if you get into any more detail, you're making it too complicated.

Get things done properly, and move on. Let the "experts" deal with the details.

Boom, done.

If you're wasting money on frills like entitltements for politicans, though, you're Doing it Wrong.

CA magazine: about to disappear

If you visit CAmagazine.com - at least between now and the end of 2013 - you'll be greeted with this cheerful message:

Welcome to CPA Canada!

The CICA and CMA Canada joined together January 1, 2013, to create CPA Canada as the national organization to support unification of the Canadian accounting profession under the CPA banner.

Our integrated CPA Canada website will launch in January 2014. Until that time, all our existing resources, services and information are available through the CICA and CMA Canada legacy sites.

This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone: the first order of business after any sort of merger or takeover is to start the massive rebranding effort.

The Editor-in-chief, Okey Chigbo, spoke to the upcoming changes. I do hope he continues in his role sitting awkwardly in that chair, as the magazine does a fairly decent job despite being an 'industry journal' covering what a common outsider would dismiss as "a magazine for accountants?!" The erstwhile competition exist in the form of CMA magazine, a publication I haven't really been paying any attention to.

I was about to brush off CMA magazine, being a CA and all, as a publication only running 6 issues a year, compared to the much more robust 10 issues a year that CA Magazine has been running off, but then I stopped and gaped: CMA magazine has the inestimably Mara Gulens in charge! If you're not a total nerd, I'll forgive you for not recognizing her as the past editor of Toronto Computes!, a publication from that heady era where the best way to share information about computers was still in print. She did an excellent job in very difficult times. I recall how under her reign the passage of BBSes as a mainstream-ish "thing" happened, along with the slow but gradual transition to the "current" era of online everything. I mean, google her and you find an ancient job posting advising applicants to fax their resumes in. Sensational!

All this nostalgic talk is, if you think about it, entirely appropriate given that two publications with well over a century of history between them are about to merge into something new starting this January. Both publications have wonderful editors so I hope the accountants in charge will find a good home for both of them. The skills and experiences they bring will, not to be too dramatic about it, hopefully not disappear.

Posted: Oct 16 2013, 06:16 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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Hitting undo on your PDF files: software review

I recall many instances where a colleague, client or other external auditor provided me with a PDF. And the partner I was working with would ask for one of the tables in that PDF, except they'd want to change a grand total of two or three words. Maybe the year, whatever. Unfortunately, PDF files are like a piece of paper. If you want to quickly swap out a word, it's like assembling a ransom note with words cut out from different magazines. Cumbersome, ugly, and perhaps even a little creepy.

Adobe provides some very rudimentary solutions, but more specialized tools are generally called for. One such solution is a handy program called Able2Extract PDF Converter 8. I'll stick to calling it Able2Extract, though A2E or PDF-Undo sounds equally tempting!

ACS reviews Able2Extract

I planned on doing more reviews when setting up the scope of ACS. Never really got around to that, along with many other topics that should get covered one day.

Able2Extract opens quickly, and guides you to its open dialog to find the PDF you want to start working on. I'd like the ability to drag and drop a PDF file into the main window but it doesn't look like that's an option.

If you've already opened a PDF in the past, the file history does give you access to your last four PDFs.

Once the file is open, you have the option to extract your PDF into a Word or Excel file, as well as PowerPoint, Publisher, OpenOffice, HTML, AutoCAD or into an Image. The last option seems redundant, given that you could easily copy and paste into Paint, but the option to select different resolutions, sizes and formats (BMP, JPG, PNG, GIF and TIFF) is handy. There's even a GIF animation option I simply had to play with.

I had already converted PDFs that were one or two pages, and those completed within seconds. I wanted to try something that could make the program choke, so I did something silly for the GIF animation feature test: rather than take an amusing series of images from a TV show or viral video, as one might normally do, I dug around and found the first ever Costco cookbook sitting in one of my computer's slush folders - I have no idea where that came from, but it's a thing, and it's a 276 page document, perfect for torturing a program like Able2Extract.  to get cracking while my timer started. With the PDF weighing in at 112MB, this should be well within Able2Extract's capabilities. It got to 35% complete in 5 minutes, I got nervous thinking it had stalled, and then the progress bar continued on its merry way, proving that PDF extraction software is much like the proverbial kettle. Stop staring at it, because that only makes it nervous and impedes boiling. Or extraction.

13 minutes and 40 seconds later, the GIF appeared, and was auto-opened on my computer's graphic viewer. Impressively, the GIF was half the size of the PDF, coming in at 55 MB. The program downsampled the images in the cookbook, which explained how space got saved, but everything was perfectly legible and the 276 frame "animation" worked perfectly. Yes, I actually sat there and watched 276 slides of cookbook fly by. And I did this shortly before Thanksgiving dinner, so I got downright hungry in the process.

I reran a new conversion, this time giving Able2Extract the somewhat more sane task of converting that same PDF into a Word document instead of creating an animated GIF. The output was more useful, but the conversion still took a while. I initially expected the conversion to be faster, then realized this would not be the case as the progress meter was only a third of the way through at the 8 minute mark. The extended conversion time suddenly made sense, however, when I considered the much more elaborate formatting work the program had to engage in to take all the images, tables and text boxes that comprise the cookbook, to convert it all into a Word file.

Sadly, the conversion ran 24 minutes and then warned me it ran out of memory. I was, mind you, running a battery of other applications at the same time. No matter, the program halted the conversion process gracefully rather than locking up itself or the computer. I decided to give it another shot at the project, and rebooted my system.

I rebooted, ran again. Sadly, the process halted, seemingly at the same point - the error code and line detail was identical. I've crunched through messy PDF files using Adobe's proprietary tools in the past and those exercises have gone for 30 minutes to an hour as well, so the program did as much as it could - to pull off a conversion in "one shot" I'd clearly have to upgrade the RAM on my computer. The fact that there were no crashes were a testament to Able2Extract's coders, though it's a shame it wasn't able to pull off a trick like caching enough data on the hard drive to avoid running out of memory. I could've completed this task by scanning two "halves" of the file - and you're entirely able to select a sub-section of a PDF - and I did just that with a few of the first pages to confirm my theory. A small disappointment here, but not the end of the world.

Having put Able2Extract through a stress test I toyed with some of the other conversion features. The ability to convert a PDF to HTML was an interesting one, as I took a PDF of a resume and had it spit out as a webpage. The output looked very professional, even better than I expected.

The program did what I expected with small tasks, and partially succeeded at the large. There were a few other small things to nitpick which I'll get to, but no absolute show-stoppers.

Installation and Help documentation

Installing the program was exactly as straightforward as it should be. Run the Install program, pick your directory, off you go. Able2Extract kept it simple, and it worked just fine. Good job there.

I scanned through the Help files in the program. The files are saved locally and open in your browser. The documentation's very easy to read and the company is very friendly in its responses to frequently asked questions. My favourite was the response to "fatal internal error #16," a problem I didn't personally experience: "This error is very rare and should never occur. If you are receiving this error, please send us an email with the file attached ...". Throughout the documentation the company is quick to offer a response if you have a bizarre PDF file that won't open. I don't harbour a lot of half-gig sized PDF files, but they claim they've tested their software to open mammoth beasts and Able2Extract should be able to pull it off, assuming your computer has enough power to do it.

What I'd like to see

The program offers a very straightforward conversion process, holding the user's hand through the steps needed to convert a PDF. You can select the entire PDF or just highlight parts of it. The instructions in the "Quick start tips" feature correctly tell you to left click the portion of the PDF you're interested in, but the introductory help boxes have a small error, telling you to "hold down the right button." Not a big problem, but a small documentation error that can lead to confusion with users unwilling to click the "other" button to get a response.

I wrote at length about the challenge you face when trying to force the program to swallow a huge file in a single shot. If you have 2 GB of RAM, you in theory have four times the minimum required. I'd advise running at least 4 GB if you want to deal with PDF files that are larger than 100MB efficiently - the recommended specifications page from the developers would be better served by mentioning "recommended" in addition to the minimum required specs!

The program pulls off some fascinating tricks with embedded graphics. You will not get a precise rendering when the authors of a PDF have used sneay tricks, like the watermark embedded in Groupon coupons, but Able2Extract is clever enough to render those as graphics you can then drag away, to reveal the underlying text. When text is comingled with a graphic, you may or may not get the words within that graphic extracted. I played with an order confirmation from NCIX.com and the plain text was extracted without a problem, but text embedded in graphics was treated like a graphic. As the program does not feature an OCR engine that'll decode text that's in graphical format. This is a perennial challenge for all sorts of programs, but given that Microsoft OneNote does an amazing job of doing an OCR function, it would've been good to see more OCR capabilities here as well.

Overall impression

Quibbles aside, particularly on the trouble it faced in its stress test, Able2Extract showed itself to be a good program that delivers on its promises and boasts several handy features to do things I hadn't even considered doing like HTML output. It's a worthwhile purchase if you deal with any volume of PDFs that you need to have their contents extracted, and have a sufficiently stronger computer to cope with larger files.

More information

The program has a free 7-day trial, and it's available for Windows, Mac and Linux, so it's definitely worth trying if you have a ridiculous document in PDF format that you need to extract some information from.

Investintech provided me with a free copy of the program to prepare this review.

Posted: Oct 15 2013, 07:21 AM by Krupo | with no comments
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Like waking up from a nice long nap, in time for Thanksgiving

The reasons aren't particularly important, but I'm going to acknowledge the fact that there's been an exceedingly long break between postings here. As a reminder, the original "scope" of this site, to use CA-speak, was to track notes and force myself to think more about the UFE. That milestone after three days of writing, and got validation along with an awesome victory poem from a friend along the way. I've meandered away from that core scope with various observations on the profession and whatever else seemed interesting at the time, but it's good to realize that there always is a 'home topic' to return to over time.

And the bonus good news out of all this is that my study buddy did end up passing later on a repeat attempt.

So did pretty much all my other friends and mentees through the process. We're getting close to a decade since the process started for us, but everyone found their way around or through the challenges thrown up by the exam.

 

Now I find myself coaching co-ops who are more than a decade younger than me - ouch, I know - who'll face new hurdles with all new pillars of competency assessment. Although the terminology will keep evolving, the general idea will stay the same. Aim for perfect, inevitably screw something up, and fix your answer up so it's good enough for a pass.

Posted: Oct 14 2013, 08:47 AM by Krupo | with no comments
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Green Dot Kool Aid

The absolutely masterful takedown by Going Concern of Deloitte's ill-conceived twitter account if worth reading now.

That's all for today, go enjoy it if you haven't already.

Their account is a weird place indeed.

Why post a washed-out cell phone pick of your "chairmen" (sic) anyway?

Ernst & Young introduces its new CEO, and its refreshed logo

My stalwart contacts pointed me to a video you can see here (click the link if the embed below doesn't cooperate, it's being fussy with me) showing the new CEO of Ernst & Young Mark Weinberger extolling the virtues of, well, I'd say the Quality in Everything (They) Do, but that tagline's dead and buried. On a very superficial level, note that the official external short name is "EY", dropping the venerable ampersand and getting the firm in line with PwC and KPMG which haven't really been big on that, as well as Deloitte which has been the Big Green Dot but not D&T for most of the past history.

The video is trippy in that it shows the vision of a Global Big 4 Accounting Firm but steers wildly clear of the majority of the tough slogging that the Chartered Accountants, CPAs, CMAs, and CGAs battle through on a daily basis. I had to rewatch the video and register the thoughts that impact along the way.

The first fifteen seconds is a happy little montage with stock footage of Mark with headlines announcing his appointment to the top job. This is actually a pretty savvy move so you don’t simply go, “who is this random guy,” though he’s quick to burnish his credentials by explaining he left the firm three times, noting he “joined four times,” to really develop those political connections which are all so handy in a world where accounting regulations are like manna from heaven for accountants when mandated by governments. Be sure to freeze the frame 28 seconds in where his accomplishments are listed along with a series of stars which I gather indicate the order in which he did each gained each of those Life Achievements. I really hope an airhorn went off similar to the achievement siren in Team Fortress 2 (opens in new window) when he hit those points.

This follows by a series of jobs he held for Clinton and Bush and a rundown on all the meetings he keeps holding with politicians, to make sure politics match what the business world would like to see. This leads to an act break at 1:30 where he mentions a Vision through 2020 for EY to no doubt increase business and continue to make oodles of cash. No matter which large firm you work in, you’ll at some point encounter the lovingly crafted Five Year Plan. Some will be set to run 7 years, but that’ll usually be so that can point to a nice Big Round Number. Think only individuals care about big milestones like turning 30 or 50? No, firms love those round numbers too. Sorry, did I digress? Well he’s talking about being globally integrated and all sorts of other lovely corporate speak which probably fills you with no real knowledge because you’re busy being distracted by images of Asian cityscapes, possibly Singapore, which subtly tell you all you need to know about the future of the global economy. Hi-tech infrastructure also pops up, finally alluding to the Massive Fortune 500 corporations that are in fact linked with EY’s type of work, although doing it in the most subtle way possible.

There’s some gobsmacking but clever messaging at the 2:08 mark. First, he mentions how “through every Advisory project we help companies get more efficient to hire more people and build their local communities.” I’m going to have to pause on three thoughts there.

Every Advisory project.

Companies get more efficient.

Hire more people.

I had fantastic professors who told my classmates and me that layoffs should be the last thought on any intelligent person’s mind. There’s a tremendous human cost when jobs are lost and you’d better do you’re damned best to find a Good Solution that doesn’t involve the loss of jobs. If a company goes out of business, or is on track to do so, that’s the last ditch line of operation that may occur, not your first move.

So with that logic in mind, I admire where he’s coming from, by focusing on creating new jobs and hiring more people. But he couples this with the idea that every project the company takes on helps with this. That sounds like a very ambitious assertion, to put it lightly. It’s one thing to make a bold vision statement, it’s another thing to make bold claims that an auditor would raise their eyebrow on in a most Vulcan manner. This may, of course, explain the new logo – there’s surely enough shock going around after a messy year where a lot of North American offices endured a nasty string of quiet layoffs. With that in mind, please pardon my skepticism on the idea that the consulting gigs the firm engages in always have hiring more people as an end product.

The next thought he dances through is the matter of “revenue tax engagements,” which makes sense given his tax law background, talking about how they help companies comply with complex rules around the world. It’s funny to hear that. On the one hand, tax regulations are actually relatively straightforward in some countries if you’re not trying to do something “interesting.” There are many reasons why you need to hire high priced consultants. Perhaps you’re operating in a country with super byzantine rules. Then again, maybe you want to find a way to structure your operations so that you earn accounting profit in a country with very low tax rates, and incur very high costs to wipe out your accounting profit in high tax rate countries. There’s nothing illegal if you’re complying with each country’s tax laws, but that doesn’t mean local governments don’t get extremely angry, or at least pretend to be extremely angry to avoid being voted out of office, such as in the UK where Amazon, Starbucks and others have been subject to Tax Shaming. Anyway this is a happy introduction pointing to the future, so let’s not get hung up on that.

Throughout all these wonderful clips of exotic international locales one thought comes home: where are the actual accounting minions? Asian fruit markets and harbour ferries look cool, but have little to nothing to do with the work EY does. Which is kind of hilarious because he drops, “Building a better working world” in a roguish little way before introducing it as the official new corporate tagline, replacing the old “Quality in everything we do,” tagline. Not a single Excel Spreadsheet or Powerpoint slide deck being lovingly crafted. A pity, for anyone who wishes to give a shout out to the peons in the trenches.

We’re then told at 3:03 that this is “an incredibly important time in the world economy,” and I’m sure there are reasons to support that important statement. And I’m still waiting to hear them when the focus jumps to the importance of the organization and the ‘relevance it provides.’ I don’t see how the Third World classroom footage ties back to the firm’s operations, but hey, let’s do quick jump cuts before anyone can really digest any of the corporate catchphrases and happy “We’re saving the world” messaging in a critical manner.

I love the fact that he was also in Scranton, PA, which is home of the American version of The Office. One day, with any luck, there’ll be a wonderful parody video with Mark playing Gervais’ role.

Trying to get to the office can be a life and death adventure

I'm pretty careful on the streets. Turns out I have good reason to watch out for those who don't.

Pedestrians, may I suggest follow the sidewalk at the furthest point away from the road in order to avoid any out of control cars

— Jack West (@SgtJackWest) June 17, 2013

I'm trying to get this site to quote a tweet above: if that worked, the suggestion from the Toronto police is that cars may fly into me so I should always be on guard, well, it's quite the Mad Max world we live in.

It would explain the crazy skid marks I've seen on some city streets - still, it seems bizarre that it's the pedestrians that should be cautioned.

Wouldn't it make infinitely more sense to say things like, "drivers, don't let your car get out of control. There's X demerit points out there, you'll lose your license, and face the eternal shame and guilt of harming or killing an innocent person?"

The "drivers are at fault" crowd would rightly get riled up when the good Sarge makes another pithy observation on crosswalks, admonishing peds to watch out for cars that won't stop for them. To be fair, however, he preceded that with a string of posts admonishing drunks who try to drive and parents as well as others who fitz about with their cell phones while driving, especially in front of their kids.

My unscientific scan of the past half year of posts suggests a 65:35 split of "warn drivers against being stupid" vs "warn peds/cyclists". Probably a fair split, though the recent history including some shenanigans that knocked out people and objects alike make one wish that there was a heavier hand smacking the drivers that do stupid things.

Posted: Jul 07 2013, 06:53 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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ICAO 2013 council election results: rolling around to the idea of the CPA, CA

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario released results from the 2013 election. 60% voted in favour of the new "CPA, CA" concept and the candidates running for Council who expressed opposition to the merger process were defeated. The winners for seats on council are:

  • Michael Banks, CPA, CA
  • Kathleen Bell, CPA, CA
  • Chris Boland, CPA, CA
  • Georgina Daniels, CPA, CA
  • Renzo Francescutti, CPA, CA
  • Michel Lavigne, CPA, CA
  • Catherine Russell, CPA, CA
  • Dave Vert, CPA, CA

I have no idea how long the biographies of all candidates will stay up, but you can compare a winning and losing candidate profile by hitting up this link.

26% of all Ontario CAs voted, which is not a bad result - historically response rates were in the teens or worse. Given that the voting period was extended due to technical issues with the voting site, the turnout was decent.

Posted: Jun 26 2013, 08:51 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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Bad ideas: scheduling Friday afternoon meetings

There's nothing like checking your inbox after hours and seeing a message from a vendor along the lines of: "WONDERFUL NEWS, we're done our report, would you like to get EVERYONE to meet with us at 4:30 pm on a Friday? In the summer? Before the start of a long weekend."

If only I was joking.

Yes, it's still during work hours, and perhaps some people might be available. But if it's not a fire requiring immediate attention, that time of the day, on that day of the week, is just a Bad Idea.

If I have to explain why, well, perhaps I should make this an interview question for new hires.

"What problems do you anticipate when proposing a meeting at the end of a day on a Friday before a long weekend?"

Anything in addition to "it sounds idiotic" would score points for certain.

 

After all, it might be board game night.

CPA merger townhalls continue: June 2013 news

How do you lure a CA to a townhall on a merger that’ll give them a new designation? A free lunch or breakfast doesn’t hurt. That’s what the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario did, having hundreds of CAs come down to the Hilton in downtown Toronto on June 6, following dozens of townhalls across the province.

 

 

Later this month another vote takes place on the merits behind merging with the alphabet soup of accounting designations in Canada – CAs share the landscape with Certified Management Accountants and Certified General Accountants – this includes both a vote on the merger, and another vote for the composition of the Ontario ICAO Council, with 16 people running for 8 positions. Last year there were roughly equal slates running for and against mergers, leading to progressively higher voter turnouts than those held in the past.

ICAO President Rod Barr and Governing Council Chair Rob Scullion hosted the meeting, and explained why this entire process makes sense to them, and then invited questions from the floor. Eight CAs spoke up, asking a range of questions ranging from “how does this work and what are you planning,” to more interesting questions that showed that they had already listened to the presentation and had some angry remarks to share. The latter were of course the more cringe-inducing but amusing contributors to the event.

One of my favorite angry quotes was from the accountant who derided the communications on the merger “promotional twaddle.” That barb was preceeded by a questioner who posed a series of questions, including challenges on why the turnout was a relatively low 28.5% turnout in the last by-election vote, despite the fact this happened to be the highest turnout in recent history. Rob amused the room by explaining that the ICAO was told that “legally (they) can’t force you to vote.” Unlike the situation for general politics in Australia, where laws mandate participation, here doing something like making membership contingent in participating in votes simply isn’t permitted.

 

The same questioner, who admittedly gave the hosts a hard time raising one argument which wasn’t actually correct, a claim, challenged and corrected on the spot, that membership was falling when in fact new admittances recently hit an all-time high, finished off his time at the microphone by calling out Rod for checking his Blackberry, tartly saying, “Sorry if I’m boring you,” which drew a chuckle from the room. Rod apologized more sincerely explaining that some kind of important e-mail was expected. Rob rescued the awkward situation by tying off that line of questioning, explaining how the ICAO is coping with a “tsunami wave of change,”  saying that it’s key to “surf the wave or get flooded by it.”

 

The session was rougher than the previous townhall but never matched the absolute venom that came forth a year ago when the issue was first raised. This month’s vote will be another interesting one.

Posted: Jun 06 2013, 09:56 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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Important CA or CPA job interview tip

One day the long convoluted merger from the Chartered Accountant designation to the new Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant may in fact arrive at completion.

Until then I'll occasionally use the tortured device of "CA or CPA" to keep the advice and good ideas here relatively timeless.

Today's gem stems from the wild world of interviewing for new hires.

When you go to a job interview and have a wild story to share, stick to words. Pictures are not necessary.

If you have ever been shot, the bullet may have left an exit wound.

You do not need to show off this wound no matter how cool the story about fending off feral cats at a Turkish shooting range.

I didn't actually experience madness at a shooting range of the sort I allude to, but if you did, try and find a way to relate the story back to accounting if it's an accounting job you're applying for.

 

Last year I took an undeclared vacation from writing here in July. I suppose that means May was 2013's vacation month. There's plenty of stories, topics, and even a software review lined up. This month should be more interesting.

Good news: the CICA lowered CA fees for 2013-2014

There's a small decrease in the professional fees you or your firm is paying for the privilege of calling yourself a Chartered Accountant: the full member fee for 2013-2014 came out to be $22.60 lower than the $1107.40 that was charged last year. Savings of 2%.

The total fee is still a hefty $1084.80 including taxes, and breaks down to $520 paid to Ontario's ICAO, $440 paid to the overall Canadian CICA, and $124.80 in HST, and it represents the "on time" payment amount - late fees of $100 extra are charged if you pay after June 1, 2013.

The ICAO kindly explained that the savings are courtesy of a $20 decrease in the CICA portion of the fee.

At least CAs can't complain about rising fees this year.

Curmudgeons are welcome, however, to scoff at the following warning message that is plastered on the bottom of the ICAO's website.

"The ICAO website is optimized using Microsoft's Internet Explorer and it's use is strongly recommended to ensure that all pages load and act as designed. The use of other web browsers such as Mozilla's Firefox is not recommended and not supported."

IE? Seriously?

I ran the payment through IE for kicks. I had nothing but annoying prompts every step of the way. Not ideal. Back to Firefox next year.

 

You may also kvetch about the limited amount of Foie Gras you're able to procure with these savings.

That whole "CPA, CA" thing? Someone at the ICAO tripped up yesterday

Yesterday I noted that the nomination period for the next ICAO council election is now open.


One of my friends noticed that the original invitation to vote was signed by "Michael K. Banks, CA, Secretary".

Today, a curious second e-mail came out with the subject line "Legal Notice - Official Call for ICAO Council Election Nominations".

I didn't pay close attention to it, with a busy day not giving me a lot of time to look careful - but it really seemed odd they repeated the notice a second time.

That same friend, being a good auditor, took a good look at the second e-mail and noted the enhancement: the second invite is signed by "Michael K. Banks, CPA, CA, Secretary".

I wonder whether someone within the ICAO quickly noticed the missing "new" CPA designation, or whether this was in response to someone outside the Institute calling them out on the oversight? I'm guessing an insider called them out on the mistake - a silly little oversight, though it's symptomatic of the "it feels like they're flying by the seat of their pants and making it up as they go along" sensation this entire merger process is kicking up as it grinds along.

Chartered Accountants are notoriously, famously attentive to detail. It's far too easy to lose their trust and confidence with silly mistakes - the sillier the worse, really. An occupational hazard with the a high risk of missing the forest for the trees, of course, but a reasonable CA will forgive someone a small mistake that arises when high-pressure work under tight deadlines is being completed.

The performance bar and the accompanying room for error for official communications, on the other hand, is significantly tighter, given that people are preparing communications with plenty of advance notice. The more time you have to prepare, the more 'perfect' the messages should be, really.

ICAO 2013 council election: nominations now open

Chartered Accountants of Ontario interested in serving as members of the Council that oversees the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario have another chance to influence the direction the ICAO is taking: the next vote for positions is coming up soon, with 8 spots open, each for a two year term.

The deadline to apply to run in the election is Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. The application must be accompanied by candidate statements that'll be due on May 31, 2013.

You need two get at least two CAs in Ontario to sign your nomination papers, and submit the other needed documentation explaining who you are and what you've been up to.

Given the entire Canadian "CPA, CA" issue that's been front and centre throughout the year, I'm sure this election will continue to generate a fair deal of attention. In last year's election, for the first time I'm aware of, there were roughly twice as many candidates as their were openings on the Council, with opposing "slates" of candidates both in favour and opposed to the ICAO's handling of the Canadian CPA designation.

 

It'll no doubt be fascinating to see how things play out this summer - after a series of town halls explaining what the ICAO's been trying to accomplish, are many people as mad as ever, or have enough of them been placated as evidenced by recent developments such as the by-law vote working out in the leadership's favour?

Posted: Apr 24 2013, 09:11 PM by Krupo | with no comments
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