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 your Firm? Click HERE to read

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

Part 4: To be announced shortly

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

Part 4: To be announced shortly

"If you can dream it you can do it." Tom Fitzgerald coined this, not Walt Disney. Accounting & Bookkeeping is not a fairy-tale story. It's a profession that involves numbers that have real-world implications, for me, this is what makes it interesting.

I often think about what inspired that statement. Was it the love of life and family? The hope that we have inside us to be successful no matter what our situation is? Or was it the belief that with hard work anything is possible? Who knows, but Tom Fitzgerald knew what it would take. And so do I.

Let's meet Monica Valbuena:

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

Spending time with my family.

#2 - What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

The TV show Friends.

#3 - What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Always finish what you start.

#4 - How do you like your coffee?

Strong and black.

#5 - What are the values that drive you?

Honesty and professionalism.

#6 - What is something clients have to deal with that you want to fix?

Bookkeeping is a sort of open input system and mistakes are made. Mistakes can affect the entire process and end up costing a company thousands of dollars. It's important to have a process in place that monitors the bookkeeping and accounting processes so they can be started on time and finished on time.

#7 - What do you like about working at Elevate by Welch?

It's very exciting working around numbers, analyzing data, and making sure things are correct. I also get to see people succeed as much as they do. The accounting process is an important part of many business operations, so it’s important to make sure it’s worked well.

#8 - How would the bookkeeping profession change if you could see the future? Anything specific?

I don't know for sure, but I can imagine that bookkeeping would be used more in the financial and medical fields. I think that the number of people working in accounting and bookkeeping should increase as technology changes.

#9 - Do you have any ideas for a business book? Anything that inspired you?

This is a great question. I always try to include the basics of accounting as well as business practices. Everyone moves into their own field, not just accountants. In my story, Monica is a bookkeeper and it is relevant to her work. As for something inspiring, I think there are many stories out there of what makes an individual successful and being passionate about what they do is very important.

#10 - How many years of experience do you have in your profession?

I’ve worked more than 10 years in my career and still love what I do every day. I’m sure there is something else out there that would interest me, but right now, this is where I want to be.

#11 - What's the best thing about your job?

The people I work with are very special. It's a team effort; we all encourage one another to be the best we can be.

Let's finish it off on a light note:

#12 - If you could have one wish, what would it be?

To help others and work on improving the world.

#13 - What is the most important life lesson you have learned?

Follow your dreams. You can do it. Just follow your passion and love what you do, and keep your mind open to new ideas. You never know where they might take you...

#14 - Which was your least favorite pet?

A rabbit.

#15 - Who was your first celebrity crush?

Leo DiCaprio.

#16 - If you could have one wish, what would it be?

To make a difference in the world.

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

I’d love to meet Leonardo da Vinci. His work is life-changing and he is truly amazing. He made beautiful things that changed history. Something about him just inspires me.

#18 - And finally, which superpower would you want?

Teleportation as I’d go to a beach in Aruba.

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 Monica's world, we hope you get a taste of who she is and the enthusiasm she brings to her work. The best way to get in touch with Monica is emailing her here mvalbuena@welchllp.com

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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