“To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.” – Bill Watterson. Stephen Sun was the first person to tell me about this quote. Like many others, he found this quote resonated with him. How does this quote tie into accounting? Here is Stephen's perspective:

"Accountants tell us that a balance sheet is a snapshot in time, and the purpose of the balance sheet is to report a firm’s current financial position. In accounting, much entrepreneurial effort goes into creating a future-oriented organization with an eye on societal change and economic growth. Being entrepreneurial is also about having the courage to dismantle the current way of doing things, to focus on core business activities, and make them work for you.  Entrepreneurship is about sharing your vision and values, and acting on them. That’s what really counts.”

Let's meet Stephen:

#1 - Who are you favourite authors?

Calvin and Hobbes because we're all living in a Calvin and Hobbes world.

#2 - What do you like most about books? Were there any books that had a great impact on you?

Jane Eyre because it’s the greatest love story ever told, and because she taught me that just because you lose all hope doesn’t mean that you should.

And Harry Potter because he’s such a great protagonist. Nothing else like it.

#3 - What do you most enjoy about working at Elevate?

I like the people I work with and the atmosphere we work in. It’s somewhere I can enjoy spending time. Some of the more enjoyable aspects of working for Elevate are the wide range of our projects and having a fresh look on things every day. I don’t know what we would do without all the different things we get to work on; we make sure we take advantage of them all. We get to learn new skills and get better at what we do every day.

#4 - Is there a value that drives you?

Self fulfillment - it’s very personal. The best way I can put it is that everything I do has to bring me closer to my own self-fulfillment. Life is about taking risks, leaving it all behind and pursuing one's own happiness. The only plan I have for everything is make it interesting - there are plenty of other people making plans for other things. I believe if you focus on what makes you happy then the rest will follow closely behind, that all good things can be obtained through hard work and dedication.

#5 - What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

Playing guitar, for those that can relate, is an enjoyable activity that I feel I’m really, truly good at as a result of a great deal of practice. In addition, swimming is also an enjoyable thing to do as it relaxes me and makes me feel more energetic. Everything depends on what you enjoy doing but the main thing is to keep yourself occupied and satisfied with what you do.

#6 - If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

A superpower like flying because I think it would make things easier in general.

#7 - What are you most passionate about?

My family, my friends, music, art and the environment are what I am most passionate about. All are equally important but music is definitely at the top of the list for me.

Let's finish it off on a light note:

#8 - If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be?

Disney world with my family because I think it would be great to have them with me for the experience.

#9 - If you could be in charge of a brand new country, what would be your first act? 

Free health care for all because it is a right we all deserve and we should be able to live longer and happier lives.

#10 - If you could be any animal what would it be and why?

An elephant because I think it would be very cool and unique to be one. Also, they’re great at expressing themselves and they always seem to be in a good mood.

#11 - If you could have dinner with any three people who would they be?

I honestly have no clue. I suppose it would depend on the context of the conversation, but in general I'd love to have dinner with Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lennon.

#12 - If you could travel in time, what would you do and why?

500 hundred years into the future, see what the technology is like or if humans have survived that long.

#13 - If you could go back in time, what era would it be and why?

The Renaissance because I think that period of history is one of the most interesting.

#14 - If you could be a character in a book who would you pick?

Not sure, but probably Harry Potter. He’s a great protagonist. I know there are other interesting ones out there but I can’t help but feel like Harry is an iconic character who really made the series exciting. In addition, he has all these amazing abilities and seems to have no limits to his potential. It would be nice to have some of those powers too.

#15 - Who are your superheroes?

My parents because they’re my greatest role models and they always made sure to teach me the value of hard work and diligence.

Bookkeepers are the unsung heroes of businesses, yet they are always present and look out for their clients best interests. They look at numbers not with dollar signs attached but with numbers not as just a source of income or profit margin, but as an important way to measure how we live our lives.

Elevate by Welch is committed to providing bookkeeping solutions for businesses throughout Canada.

With these insights into Stephen's world, we hope you get a taste of who he is and the enthusiasm he brings to his work.

The best way to get in touch with Stephen is emailing him here ssun@welchllp.com

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” said English author A. A. Milne. With this quote in mind, Olivia adds that you may already be well on your way to becoming person you always wanted to be. Due to set backs or lack of opportunity, you may not realize how much you can actually accomplish; you just need to keep pushing forward.

Olivia joined Welch in May 2021 after working for over 8 years in high tech, education, and aviation. The HR Business Partner's primary role is helping the business align its strategy with the needs of people and ensure that both parties understand each other's perspective and expectations. She enjoys coming to work with the knowledge that each day is different and unpredictable. She loves the ability to see the big picture while also having a lot of details at her fingertips.

Let's meet Olivia

#1 - What do you consider your specialties are?

Could be industry, or type of work, or both. I would say my specialty is working with people. I consider myself outgoing and truly want to help, understand, and support others. Within HR, Talent acquisition is where I have the majority of my background, but I have worked on big and small teams doing the full range of HR tasks.

#2 - What is your education?

I have a BA in English Literature (minor in Psychology) from Carleton University and I graduated in 2015.

#3 - What are some of your favourite books?

My Favorite Murder (or pretty much any podcast about crime/murderers), This Podcast Will Kill You, and most recently This is Important.  Books – As an English major, I will read almost anything. Three stand-outs for me are A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, but I am always looking to receive suggestions!

#4 - What are your credentials & past experience for working in your position?

I have been working in Human Resources for 8 years. I wanted to get into the area because I thought my role would be similar to Toby’s job on The Office (I may be the only person who actually thinks Toby’s job looked like fun…). The work that I do is so much more diverse and rewarding than I imagined it would be, and I love being able to support employees from the beginning to the end of their careers.

#5 - What do you like about working at Welch?

So far, I would say that meeting new, welcoming, helpful people has been the best part of working at Welch.

#6 - What are the values that drive you?

Kindness and respect, and it is impossible for me to truly do my job without those values.

#7 - What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I read! Or go try out new coffee shops and brunch spots in the city. I also raise monarch butterflies.

#8 - What was your favorite subject in school?

English – and it never stopped being my favourite subject.

Let's finish it off on a light note:

#9 - What's the best advice you've ever gotten?

Remember that you can only do as much as you can do. When you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to remember that there is only so much that you can accomplish in a day and as trying your best is the best you can do.

#10 - Who was your first celebrity crush?

Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean.

#11 - If you could be an animal, what would it be?

A sea turtle! I’d love to be any type of sea creature but I have a particular fondness for turtles.

#12 - What do you like to do at home?

Curling up with my cat to read, listen to music, or craft. I am slowly making my way through just about every craft there is during this pandemic.

#13 -  What's your favorite article of clothing?

A Rolling Stones t-shirt I got from their concert that attended with my dad.

#14 - If you were to create a superhero, what super power would you give it?

A high proficiency with observation, deduction, and reasoning like Sherlock Holmes.

#15 - If you could meet anyone in history, who would you meet?

I would love to meet Charles Darwin.

#16 – What did you want to be when you grew up?

My dream job would have been an archaeologist (or, as I grew up, a physical anthropologist).

#17 – Favourite TV show as a kid?

My favourite TV shows as a kid were probably Arthur or The Magic School Bus. I also liked watching throw-backs with my parents like Wacky Races and The Flintstones.

Human Resource Business Partners do a little bit of everything. They act as the main point of contact between the HR organization and the business units at Welch. One of their main responsibilities is to ensure that there is a constant flow of communication, allowing for effective issues management, which also produces an effective working environment for employees experiencing change.

As an HR Business Partner, Olivia:

  1. Provides consultation and advice to both internal and external clients using knowledge and experience of best business practices to ensure ongoing satisfaction of the organization’s diverse groups of employees; 
  2. Enhances the overall HR environment of the organization by assisting the business in achieving its strategic business objectives;
  3. Assists employees and management with to understand and navigate changes to policies, services, and programs;
  4. Ensures that all corporate policies are communicated to employee through various means (e.g., intranet, e-mail, etc.);
  5. Ensures that there are formal and informal communications with employees regarding HR issues (e.g., career development, employment, etc.), and;
  6. Supports employee training for organizational development and employee relations.

And so much more. Want to know more about her role or how she helps drive business success? Reach out to her at oferderber@welchllp.com

It’s no secret that the future of business is changing. What might not be as well known is how quickly new technologies and regulations in Canada are impacting accounting and bookkeeping services. Accountants and bookkeepers need to be on the cutting edge of innovation to keep up with these changes, but many don’t know where to start.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Dext — a leading accounting solutions provider — to examine how creativity can lead to innovation in the accounting and bookkeeping space. For this four-part series, Kevin Durham from Dext talked to Sean Duffy, Senior Manager at Elevate by Welch, about his mission to bring innovation into the mainstream of accounting services.

The discussion centered around innovation, changing business models, technology and how to position yourself for success in the future. Sean Duffy discussed how technology is not only changing how businesses operate but also changing the workplace as we know it.

Part 1: What Does Innovation Mean to Canadian Accounting and Bookkeepers? Click HERE to read

Part 2: How do you lead Innovation at an Organization? TO BE RELEASED SHORTLY

Part 3: Defining Success in Innovation. TO BE RELEASED SHORTLY

Change is constant in our ever-evolving world, but one thing is for sure: women around the world are making their voices heard, stepping up, and leading the change. Caroline Proulx, Onboarding Manager at Elevate by Welch, is one of these outstanding women.

Chosen as a Top 50 #WomeninAccounting for 2020, it’s obvious why Caroline was a top choice. This list celebrates all the amazing women who are driving advocacy and creating opportunities in the Accounting and Bookkeeping industry. Caroline hits all of those points:

  1. Dedicates and promotes inclusivity and diversity in the workplace and beyond;
  2. Invests in the next generation and the future leaders of accounting;
  3. Advocates for the accounting industry and support of the wider community.

“I am truly committed to making this happen because I believe in the path that Welch and I are carving out for me and others. My hope is to showcase Elevate and Welch as a fantastic place for women to work and thrive, and give us something to be proud of

"The profession is becoming more diverse, thanks to the increased number of female students and graduates. However, we have yet to see a greater representation of women in senior accounting positions."

Professionals were included on the list based on their written submissions, promotion of inclusivity and change in the profession, investment in future accounting professionals, and their involvement with causes both inside and outside the profession.

For the full list, visit Practice Ignition’s site here:

https://www.practiceignition.com/blog/top-50-women-in-accounting-2020

The International Film Festival of Ottawa in its first year, brought film and filmmakers together for a few days in March to celebrate and explore the art, craft, and social impact of cinema.

The art & science of filmmaking has exploded in popularity in recent years. Moviemaking is capable of producing engaging, emotional, and sweeping stories and can come in many forms such as a motion picture, a television series, or a documentary. And yet, the industry is still a business.

It is the primary responsibility of the producer to get a film through its life cycle, from a director's idea to final creation. For this reason, it is important that anybody looking into filmmaking understand these important aspects: budgeting, funding, tax credits, cash flow and legal considerations.

With the upcoming soundstage that the City of Ottawa is building bringing more jobs in film to our nation's capital, a panel on the business of filmmaking provided invaluable insight into the role of a producer.

Sean Duffy was joined by Nicole Rogers from Welch LLP. As moderator, she added invaluable insight into the business of filmmaking as we got to hear from the following panel:

Sean Duffy was joined by Nicole Rogers from Welch LLP. As moderator, she added invaluable insight into the business of filmmaking as we got to hear from the following panel:

Jessica Adams, Producer, JA Productions

Mark Edwards, Edwards Creative Law

Brendan McNeill, President, Above the Line Media Services

Jason Meloche, Account Manager, National Bank of Canada

Shasha Nakhai, Director and Producer, Compy Films

Pictured above: the panel provided a high-level snapshot of what a producer needs to know, as well as providing insider tips on the common mistakes made by filmmakers, as such making it easier for the audience to better understand some of the complexities that are often overlooked, such as bookkeeping & taxes for filmmakers, financing & tax credits for filmmakers, and legal.

For many, it can be difficult to understand how the business of filmmaking works. With so many different parties involved, sorting through the information about who does what can seem like murky waters and you may find yourself wondering who is in charge when things don’t go as planned. Need a team to help you shed light on some processes in filmmaking that may seem confusing to you? Or just have a few questions on where and how to get started? Get in touch today with Sean Duffy at sduffy@welchllp.com to see where he and his team can help.

Caroline Proulx, Onboarding Manager at Elevate by Welch , is a compassionate leader and is always eager to support her community. With the aim to support both families in need as well as local businesses, Caroline organized the Meals that Heal campaign with Naturally Vero, a local vegan café and food delivery service.

Caroline says she has always wanted to get involved with the Ronald McDonald House Charities. “I knew about the Meals that Heal program from when I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Toronto many years ago,” Caroline tells us. “Many families are required to travel in order for their children to receive medical care and this can be very stressful, emotionally and financially.”

The National Capital Children’s Oncology Care Inc. Manoir Ronald McDonald House Ottawa has opened its doors to sick children and their families since 1984. They are dedicated to providing a warm, safe, affordable and compassionate environment for families of seriously ill children receiving medical services.

Elevate by Welch’s Meals that Heal program helps relieve families from a stressful night of cooking. Having a sick child can be extremely draining, and the Meals that Heal program takes away the worry of having to create a healthy home-cooked meal for the whole family. Meals that Heal allows members of the community to support these families. RMHC – Ottawa normally opens up their kitchen to the volunteers to prepare a dinner or brunch for up to 30 people. However, there were some changes required due to the pandemic.

“Covid-19 did interfere with how the Meals that Heal program was intended to work,” explains Caroline. “Prior to Covid-19 restrictions, a group would cook the meals for the families in the RMHC kitchen. Due to the restrictions we could only drop off the meals and we were not able to interact with the families.”

Caroline contacted an Ottawa-Gatineau business community stalwart - Veronique Daoust – chef and owner of Naturally Vero, with the hopes of collaborating on this community-driven campaign. Naturally Vero has been a business leader in the Ottawa-Gatineau community for a number of years.

“It seemed like a perfect fit: to be able to partner up with a business leader who crafts wholesome meals that fill the heart as well as the stomach,” says Sean Duffy, Senior Manager at Elevate by Welch.  

Together, Caroline and Veronique wanted to do something to give back to the community during the holiday season.  They wanted to create a meal that was healthy and also comforting for the families staying at the RMHC – Ottawa; it was important to provide a nutritious meal to the exhausted families. “My personal story and the stories of countless families that benefitted from RMHOTT and the staff – inspired Naturally Vero to craft something special,” adds Caroline.

December 30th, 2020 was a cold, quiet winter day. The team at Naturally Vero organized the meal prep at their café located in Chelsea, Quebec. Veronique and Caroline were thrilled to personally deliver the meals to RMHC, despite not having the opportunity to meet and interact with the families at RMHC due to COVID-19 restrictions. The menu for the evening was created specifically for the families at RMHC and the theme was health and comfort. The starter was a Butternut Squash & Sage soup. The main course was a Vegetable Lasagna served with Maple Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables and a Spinach Pear Salad. Naturally Vero also included a bright yellow lunch box for every meal.

Pictured above: Butternut Squash & Sage soup, main course of Vegetable Lasagna served with Maple Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables, and a Spinach Pear Salad.

Elevate by Welch and Naturally Vero intend to continue running this campaign each quarter. “We want to be a presence and an expectation for the families that are staying at RMHOTT – and help to lift some spirits along the way,” says Veronique.

If you want to get involved with helping RMHC Ottawa, visit their website and check out the Get Involved page. They have a number of ways you can help. Once the Covid-19 restrictions lift, Caroline and Veronique will need the help of some volunteers to assist in making dinner for the families at RMHC - Ottawa.  

If you want to know more about how you can help, please reach out at cproulx@welchllp.com

COVID-19 and working from home. Some feel strongly about it, others not so much. The CRA has released guidance on the home office expenses deduction that employees may claim on their 2020 personal income tax return (T1) because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

How does it work? Read on to find out, and feel free to reach out to your Elevate by Welch professional to learn more and ensure you optimize your 2020 tax return. 

Eligibility

To claim a home office expenses deduction, you must meet all of the criteria:

The CRA has also published a number of resources to assist both employees and employers, including

Two available options

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you have two options to calculate the deduction for home office expenses:

Employers may suggest a method for their employees. It is the employees who have the ultimate authority to choose which method to use.

The CRA has designed a calculator (specifically to assist with the calculation of eligible home office expenses).

Temporary flat rate method

What is it?

If you worked more than 50% of the time from home for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19, you can claim $2 for each day that you worked at home up to a maximum of $400 (200 working days) per individual.

If working at home and claiming home office expenses was the norm for you pre-COVID-19, you cannot use the temporary flat rate method to complete your 2020 claim. 

What counts as a work day?

Days you worked full-time hours, overtime-hours or part-time hours from home.

Days that cannot be counted: days off, vacation days, sick leave days, other paid or unpaid leave of absence.

Do I need from my employer a certified Form T2200 Declaration of Conditions of Employment or Form T2200S Declaration of Conditions of Employment for Working at Home Due to COVID-19?

No.

Do I need to retain documents in support of my claim?

No.

How to claim?

You would need to complete the “Options 1 – Temporary flat rate method” section on Form T777S Statement of Employment Expenses for Working at Home Due to COVID-19.

Is the deduction calculated by the individual or by the household?

Each employee working from home who meets the eligibility requirements can use the temporary flat rate method to calculate his/her deduction. If there are more than one eligible employee working at home in the same household, each can choose his/her method to calculate the deduction.

What types of expenses are covered by the $2 flat daily rate?

The temporary flat rate method is used to claim home office expenses that you paid like rent, electricity and home internet access fees, as well as office supplies like pens and paper, and cell phone minutes.

Under this method, you cannot claim any other type of work-space-in-the-home-expenses,  home office expenses or costs for items purchased of a capital nature. 

Can I claim any other employment expenses?

No, you cannot claim any other employment expenses such as allowable motor vehicle expenses, parking, travelling expenses, etc. 

Is the up-to-$400 a credit or a deduction?

Home office expenses can be claimed as a deduction on an employee’s personal income tax return. A deduction reduces the amount of income they pay tax on, so it reduces their overall income tax liability.

Will the temporary flat rate method be extended past 2020?

No. The temporary flat rate method only applies to the 2020 tax year.

Detailed method

What is it?

If you meet all of the criteria listed above under the “Eligibility” section, you may use the detailed method or the existing method to deduct home office expenses. 

Do I need a certified Form T2200S or Form T2200 from my employer?

Yes.  

Form T2200S is a new simplified form for employers to complete and sign for employees who meet the eligibility requirements and who choose to use the detailed method.

If an employee pays for other employment expenses, such as allowable motor vehicle expenses, parking, travelling expenses, the employer must complete the traditional Form T2200.

For 2020 only, the CRA will accept an employer’s electronic signature on Form T2200S or Form T2200.

Do I need to retain documents in support of my claim?

Yes. Generally, you must keep all required records and supporting documentation for a period of six years from the end of the last tax year they relate to.

How to claim?

You can claim the actual working-at-home eligible expenses you paid that are supported by documents. Eligible expenses will be detailed out in the “Options 2 – Detailed method” section on Form T777S Statement of Employment Expenses for Working at Home Due to COVID-19.

How to determine the employment use of work space?

Whether you work in a spare room exclusively used as your work space at home, or at the dining table sometimes or at the kitchen table other times, there are several factors to consider when calculating the employment use of the work space at home, for example:

The CRA may accept a method of calculation other than one based on square meters (feet), as long as you are able to demonstrate to the CRA that your calculated percentage of use is reasonable.

What are eligible expenses?

Commonly seen eligible work-space-in-the-home expenses and other home office expenses include:

The CRA has expanded the list of eligible expenses that can be claimed to include home internet access fees.

Note that salaried employees cannot include the expenses paid pertinent to home insurance, property taxes and mortgage payments (principal and interest) in calculating the home office expenses.

Can I claim any other employment expenses?

If you are eligible to deduct home office expenses by meeting the requirements listed in the “Eligibility” section above, you would use T2200S and T777S forms to complete the claim. You cannot claim other employment expenses such as allowable motor vehicle expenses, parking, travelling expenses, etc. 

If you are eligible to deduct home office expenses by applying the traditional criteria, which are outlined in the CRA Guide T4044 Employment Expenses, you would use T2200 and T777 forms to complete the claim. You can claim other employment expenses such as allowable motor vehicle expenses, parking, travelling expenses, etc.   

Home Office Equipment up to $500

The CRA has expanded its previous position (2020- 0845431C6 (F)) on employer reimbursement of personal computer equipment to include home office equipment. In the COVID-19 context, the CRA will not consider an employee to have received a taxable benefit where their employer pays for or reimburses up to $500 of computer or home office equipment that enables the employee to carry out their employment duties by working at home. To be treated as a non-taxable benefit, the employee must submit receipts to the employer. The CRA indicates that home office equipment would include items such as desks or chairs.

Jessica Zhang-Chapman, CPA, CGA, CIA, of Welch LLP illustrates it perfectly with a great example: 

“ For example, if an employee purchased a second computer monitor for $300 plus an adjustable desk for $400, and the employee submitted receipts in support of the purchases, an employer can reimburse the employee up to $500 without the employee receiving a taxable benefit under the CRA administrative policy in the COVID-19 context. If the employer reimburses the full $700 for the purchases, the amount over $500 (that is, the $200) must be included in the employee’s income as a taxable benefit”

Parsing through tax guidance can be daunting. If you are unsure of where to start, need help moving it along, or want to entrust us with your personal taxes, please reach out to us at sduffy@welchllp.com

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