Posted by & filed under Canadian Economy, Taxation & Planning.

New method for calculating the QST

As of January 1, 2013, the QST will be calculated on the selling price not including GST. However, to ensure the total taxes payable remain the same, the QST rate will be increased to 9.975%.

Calculating the Taxes

Currently, GST and QST are collected on most goods and services supplied in Québec.

 Example You sell a taxable good for \$100.   Taxes are calculated as follows: Selling price \$100.00 GST (\$100 × 5%) \$5.00 QST ([\$100 + \$5] × 9.5%) \$9.98 Total \$114.98

From a business point of view: The rate you use for calculating the taxes will depend on your cash register:

• You must use the 9.5% rate to calculate the QST if your cash register calculates the GST and QST in three stages, that is, if it calculates 5% GST on the sale price, adds the GST to the sale price, then applies the QST to the resulting subtotal.
• You must use the 9.975% rate to calculate the QST if your cash register calculates the GST and QST intwo stages, that is, if it calculates 5% GST on the sale price, then also calculates the QST on the sale price. This rate may be rounded off to 9.97% only if your cash register does not process three-decimal numbers.
• You must use the 14.975% rate to calculate the GST and QST if your cash register calculates these taxes in one stage, that is, if it uses a single rate to calculate the GST and QST on the sale price. This rate may be rounded off to 14.97% only if your cash register does not process three-decimal numbers.

The rates of 9.97%, 9.975%, 14.97% and 14.975% must not appear on the document attesting to the sale.

Only fractions equal to or greater than one-half of a cent (\$0.005) are counted as a whole cent (\$0.01) of sales tax. If more than one good or service is being sold, you can calculate the taxes on the total price of all the goods or services purchased before rounding off the fractions.

Change in the calculation of QST as of January 1, 2013

As of January 1, 2013, QST will be calculated directly on the selling price not including GST. The QST rate will also increase from 9.5% to 9.975%. For consumers, the total taxes payable will generally not change.

 Example of sales tax calculation as of January 1, 2013 You sell a taxable good for \$100.   Taxes will be calculated as follows: Selling price \$100.00 GST (\$100 X 5%) \$5.00 QST (\$100 X 9.975%) \$9.98 Total \$114.98

The QST paid remains the same.

To ensure you are ready to use the new way of calculating the QST on January 1, 2013, we suggest that you contact the manufacturer of your cash registers to verify their configuration. If your cash registers cannot process three-decimal numbers, you may, only in this instance and solely for the purposes of calculating the taxes payable, round the rates to 9.97% or 14.97%.

What does all this mean to the consumer?

For the consumer the harmonized sales tax is the same as the two tax rate system, now  the tax rate is 14.975% of the purchase price.

Businessess will  continue to remit the amount to Revenue Quebec as usual.

This should help simplify the accounting process for businesses.

The Journal Entry to record a Sale by a company will be as follows:

Dr Accounts Receivable   or Cash   \$114.98

Cr Sale                                                                  \$100.00

Cr HST due to Rev.Quebec                               \$  14.98

The original entry prior to January 1, 2013 would have been as follows:

Dr Accounts Receivable or Cash      \$114.98

Cr Sale                                                                     \$100.00

Cr GST  payable                                                       \$  5.00

Cr QST payable                                                        \$   9.98

Comment: As you can see from the above the amount due to Revenue Quebec is the same (Note that the Federal GST and Quebec QST is collected by the Quebec government)

Discussion Questions:

1. Will the harmonized sale tax increase , tax revenues for the Quebec and Federal government?

2. In your opinion why do you think, Quebec is moving towards a Harmonized Sales Tax format?

3. You must realize that not all products and services are taxed as 14.975% rounded to 14.98% : Financial services and food are exempt from tax. In your opinion  having zero rated taxes on financial services and exemption on food a good policy decision?

Information taken from the Revenue Quebec link:

Posted by & filed under Accounting Principles, Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, IFRS, MD&A.

MD&A (Management Discussion & Analysis) – Counterpart to or Distraction from Financial Reporting

Introduction

The MD&A  is an important component of a company’s reporting obligation. Intended to provide

investors with more comprehensive information of financial outcomes, MD&A permits greater

opportunity to present both short and long-term analysis. A study published by Contemporary

Accounting Research indicated that there is a strong relationship between MD&A content

and the accuracy of financial projections, suggesting that the quality of the MD&A is vital in

this relationship. As such, the effectiveness of the MD&A greatly depends on the quality of its

explicit content.

Attention directed to the quality and importance of the MD&A particularly intensified once

such large cases as those of Enron and WorldCom became public. In response to uncovered

malpractices, securities regulators strengthened disclosure rules for publicly traded companies

and toughened enforcement practices.

MD&A content has been an ongoing topic of debate in recent years. Management’s concern is

primarily related to the impact of regulated content on the quality of the MD&A and its usefulness

to investors. Anecdotally, it is suggested that regulators and not investors are increasingly becoming

the MD&A’s target audience. Regulators, in turn, continue to be preoccupied with the fact that

financial statements are not sufficiently informative for investors to determine whether past results

are indicative of future performance.

The Purpose of Management Discussion & Analysis:

The purpose of the Management Discussion & Analysis (MD&A) is to complement and

supplement the information provided through financial statements by affording balanced

discussions of company’s operating results and financial conditions.

Complexity has  amplified as a result of emerging issues of particular importance to investors such as transition to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the environment and executive compensation.

MD&A – An Overview

The MD&A is a narrative explanation of how the company performed during the period covered

by the financial statements, the company’s financial conditions, and its future prospects. The

MD&A aims to improve overall financial disclosure by providing a balanced discussion of

company results and financial conditions. Moreover, the MD&A not only discloses changes in

financial conditions, but also enables the reader to understand trends, events and transactions.

Publicly traded companies file their MD&A together with their financial statements. The

responsibility for preparing the MD&A rests with the management of the company. Similarly

to financial statements, the MD&A of publicly traded companies are signed off by the CEO

and CFO, and approved by the board (or, in the case of interim reporting, the audit committee);

certifying that provided information accurately reflects the state of the company.

The MD&A is an interim and annual document. The interim MD&A builds on past MD&A’s and

therefore should contain the most current information. Often, analysts and investors show more

interest in the interim MD&A as it provides renewed insight and revised company information.

The annual MD&A discloses financial year end information and often confirms what investors

already know. Additionally, CSA regulations state that the interim MD&A must update the annual

MD&A for all required sections in addition to providing analysis of current quarter and year to

date results, changes in operations, and any seasonal aspects that may affect financial conditions

The MD&A should supplement and complement financial statements, but not form part of

the financial statements. The MD&A should complement financial statements by integrating

financial information with managerial discussions about the business that is not evident in the

financial statements. For example, a manufacturing company may disclose new employee safety

expenditures under its operating expenses with a follow-up discussion on the actual safety

measure and its future benefits. The MD&A also supplements financial statements by providing

of events or decisions. For example, a farming company can present its quarterly earnings

which show better than expected growth. As an explanation, the company may mention that this

unexpected growth is expected to plateau in the near future, thereafter perhaps normalizing back

to projected activity and profit levels.

Forward looking MD&A:

A forward looking MD&A communicates management’s objectives for the entity and strategies in

pursuing those objectives. It also discusses known trends or uncertainties that may affect company

business. Disclosed information needs to be clearly defined as being forward looking. In addition,

factors that are subject to changing the outcome of disclosed forward looking information

need to be identified through material assumptions, appropriate risk disclosures, and use of

cautionary language.

Discussion Questions:

1. Do you agree that the MD&A should supplement and complement the financial statements?
2. Review the a Financial Statements from “Bombardier” do you find these financial statements easy to understand?
3. Read the MD&A : Does the MD&A provide a better and clear view of the company results and financial position?

Original text by:By Kevin Girdharry, Elena Simonova, and Rock Lefebvre, information obtained from the CGA website.

Click to view :Bombardier Annual Report link

Posted by & filed under Accounting Principles, Advanced Accounting, Auditing, Financial Accounting, Financial Reporting and Analysis, IFRS.

International accounting standards definition of Going Concern:

‘a going concern … will continue in operation for the foreseeable future … [and] … has neither the intention nor the need to liquidate or curtail materially the scale of its operations’

The purposes of the going concern assessment:

To determine whether the financial statements give a true and fair view and in

particular:

1.         To determine whether a break‐up or liquidation basis of accounting, rather than the

going concern basis of accounting, should be adopted in the financial statements

and, if so, to provide related disclosures about the basis of accounting adopted; and

2.         To evaluate whether there are material uncertainties about whether the entity is a

going concern that should be disclosed in the financial statements.

They say the auditor is a watchdog not a bloodhound. But should the auditor raise the alarm when an entity is running into financial difficulty?

In revisiting the events that occurred during the 2008-09 financial crisis, some regulators have been questioning whether auditors did enough to raise red flags about the financial difficulties facing their clients, particularly banks, or were they “the watchdog that didn’t bark?”

A number of initiatives around the world are exploring how best to provide practical and timely disclosures to users regarding potential going concern issues an entity may be facing.

An audit is not designed to provide assurance on the future viability of the entity – it is, after all, looking at the historical results of the entity.

Even if it was so designed, if the auditor included an alert in the auditor’s report casting doubt about the future viability of the entity it could quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So how do current standards deal with this conundrum?

Under current auditing standards, the auditor’s responsibility is to conclude whether management’s use of the going concern assumption when preparing the financial statements remains appropriate. In simple terms this just means making sure that the entity has not decided to liquidate or cease trading, or has no realistic alternative but to do so. In theory, if the going concern assumption is not appropriate, the auditor should qualify the auditor’s report – a situation which very rarely happens in practice. By the time an entity reaches this stage the writing is already on the wall, and everybody knows about it.

The auditor is also required to alert the reader when the entity is a going concern but a material uncertainty exists, and point to where that uncertainty is disclosed in the financial statements. Some users do not see this alert as being early enough to be useful.

So how does the audit meet the public interest in times of trouble?

Two different views are developing. The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board is working within current standards towards revising the auditor’s report to provide more transparency about the auditor’s responsibilities and conclusions relating to going concern.

But the United Kingdom’s Sharman Inquiry: Going Concern and Liquidity Risks: Lessons for Companies and Auditors is going in a whole different direction.

Lord Sharman would like to see a move away from the existing model where disclosures about going concern risks are only highlighted when there are significant doubts about the entity’s survival. The new model would strengthen the going concern assessment process and require the MD&A to always include a statement on going concern risk disclosures and how management arrived at it. This statement would be supported by a report by the audit committee and conclusion of the auditor about the robustness of management’s going concern assessment process. Lord Sharman believes that this model will engender a greater openness between entities and investors and avoid the self-fulfilling prophecy issue.

Discussion Questions:

1. Is adding more transparency about Going Concern and Liquidity Risks, in the auditor’s report a viable solution?
2. Should the Going Concern and Liquidity Risks be disclosed by management and not the auditor?
3. Should the Going Concern and Liquidity Risks be the responsibility of the stakeholders

Report written by Eric Turner: You may wish to email any comments to eric.turner@cica.ca

Posted by & filed under Accounting Careers, CPA, Financial Accounting, IFRS.

A new CPA certification program

Canada’s new chartered professional accountant (CPA) designation became a reality May 16, 2012, with the merger of Quebec’s CA, CMA and CGA bodies.

To support CPA Quebec, and in preparation for anticipated merger developments in other parts of Canada, work on the proposed CPA certification program is getting underway. This will help ensure a smooth transition for CA students should mergers proceed across Canada.

The proposed CPA certification program is driven by the vision of the new CPA profession: to be the preeminent, internationally recognized Canadian accounting designation and business credential that best protects and serves the public interest.

It is based on three fundamental principles:

• it will be at least as rigorous as the existing qualification programs;
• it will meet the needs of industry, government and public practice; and
• it will meet or exceed IFAC standards and the requirements of existing and future mutual recognition agreements.

The proposed qualification process will be based on a new CPA Competency Map. This new map was developed through winter 2011-2012 by an expert team, with extensive input from the academic community and from employers.

Like the current CA map, it is competency driven.

It outlines the competency requirements for six areas of technical competency:

1. financial reporting

2. strategy and governance

3. management accounting

4. audit and assurance

5. finance

6. taxation.

Five enabling competency areas are also identified:

1. professional and ethical behaviour

2. problem-solving and decision-making

3. communication

4. self-management

CPA Certification Program: Entrance Requirements

To ENTER the program:

Specified subject area coverage – but NOT specific prerequisite courses; universities to develop their own programs

Accreditation standards will be developed to accredit university programs

CPA Certification Program: Practical Experience

24 months of supervised field experience offering candidates the opportunity to develop and      demonstrate: ethical behavior and professionalism

competency development in accordance with the CPA

Two equally rigorous experience pathways: Approved path: positions offered by offices/organizations in training paths that are approved by the profession.

Experience Verification Model: positions supervised/mentored by a CPA who may or may not be employed by the candidate’s employer

Monitored by the profession

Discussion Questions:
1.  Are you ready for the challenge to become a CPA?

2. Are we moving in the right direction, in having one designation instead of three?

Posted by & filed under Fraud Accounting, Uncategorized.

Top 5 Fraud Prevention Tips for Businesses

###### Stop fraud at its source. Organizations should develop a sound ethical culture in order to prevent fraud. Key actions could include a mission statement which focuses on ethics, clear policy statements, a route which suspected fraud can be reported (a whistle blower policy for example) and an internal audit process.

Discussion Questions:

###### 1.  Do you believe that a whistle blower policy will prevent fraud?

2. Does a code of ethics deter fraud in an organization?

3. Do you agree that preventing fraud should be part of managements responsibilities?

To read more on Fraud: visit the CGA site

Also read by the CGA: Does Canada have a problem with occupational fraud?

Posted by & filed under Canadian Economy, Corporate Restructuring.

Technology for Performance Measurement

Performance Management and reporting is critical for every organization whether small or large, Private or Public. It’s also the source of many questions and assignments we work on in assisting our clients.

There is little doubt that leveraging technology to help deliver
an organization’s performance measurement framework can be very beneficial. Technology can automate many manual processes including the transfer, reconciliation and reporting of data so that more time can be devoted to providing value added analytics on the information that is produced. In order to enhance the benefits of utilizing technology for a performance measurement program, an organization should employ the following four steps when undertaking this initiative:

1. Identify data requirements and potential source applications

Once the organization has decided what it is going to measure, the key first step in leveraging technology is understanding what data is needed to produce the measure and where this data will come from. An example is where an organization decides that it needs to measure customer profitability in order to determine the cost to service a customer. In order to produce this
information the organization will need margin visibility for all customers by
brand and channel.

2. Develop Conceptual Data Model

It is useful to develop a conceptual data model (CDM) once you have determined what data you need and where you will get it from. The CDM creates a single, high level view of the performance measure that you are trying to capture. This can be done in a strategy session with key
stakeholders to understand key concepts, definitions and data sources/flow.

3. Conduct Data Quality Assessment

Data quality can prove to be one of the most significant obstacles to completing a technology implementation for performance measurement on time. It is usually during an implementation that an organization will discover that their data is of poor quality and the underlying reason why the organization spends so much time reconciling data rather than performing value added analysis. One cause of poor data quality lies in the entry of data into the system. For example, if an employee is entering a labour expense which should be an entry into direct cost, but instead they enter the transaction into salaries & wages, this will inevitably change gross margin
calculations. In some cases, the data may not be poor, but it is just not structured in a way that the system requires in order to produce the desired reporting.

4. Gap Analysis

Once the above steps are completed, the organization should conduct a rigorous gap analysis to understand, from a technology perspective, where you are now versus where you need to go in order to deliver the desired
information.

Myth:

One of the biggest business myths is that having more data will automatically improve performance. As a result, executives are drowning in a sea of data, when what they really need is useful information and great insight.

Conclusion:

Information is only useful if it helps you make better decisions. By aligning your key performance indicators with the strategic objectives, you create a
foundation for better performance management, competitive intelligence and effective decision making.

Discussion Questions:

1.Do you agree that too much information  is not necessarily good?
2. How should a company determine Key Information?
3. What Key information would you need to manage RIM? Click on RIM for more information.

Read the complete article from KPMG:  Finance Function Insights

Posted by & filed under Auditing, Corporate Restructuring, Financial Accounting, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Financial Statement Analysis, Uncategorized.

We knew Facebook was big : you don’t get to 800 million
users without making a few bucks — but until today, we didn’t know just how
big.

Facebook filed papers for an initial public offering on Wednesday, pulling back the curtains on the inner workings of the world’s largest social networking site and opening a new phase in the company’s ambitious plan to compile, and make money off of, our personal information. Facebook seeks to raise \$5 billion in an IPO that looks likely to be the largest by a web company since Google in 2004 and could place the social network’s value as high as \$75 billion to \$100 billion.

Facebook Expansion will it continue to Grow?

Facebook looks more seasoned than many of its Silicon Valley peers had when they announced plans to go public. According to the prospectus it filed with the SEC, Facebook has been profitable for the past three years. The company reported revenues of \$3.7 billion last year, an 88 percent increase over the prior year, and earned a \$1 billion profit, more than Google’s total revenue the year it debuted on public markets. Facebook’s income also dwarfs that of other internet companies that recently completed their IPOs. Zynga’s profits totaled \$90.6 million in 2010, for example, while LinkedIn had barely flirted with profitability when it filed for its IPO and Pandora was still hundreds of millions of dollars short of breaking even.

Advertising comprises a full 85 percent of Facebook’s revenues, down from 98 percent in 2009. Zynga alone accounts for 12 percent of Facebook’s total revenues, as the social gaming company must pay Facebook a cut of purchases made in Zynga’s Facebook games.

Facebook revealed impressive statistics about its growing and active userbase, which totals 845 million members, more than half of whom, or 483 million, return to the site daily. These hundreds of millions of users have shared more than 100 petabytes (100 quadrillion bytes) of photos and videos with Facebook, and produced an average of 2.7 billion “likes” and comments a day in the final three months of 2011.

The company’s stunning growth will prove difficult, if not impossible, to sustain, however. Facebook has reached a 60 percent penetration in the U.S. and U.K., according to the company’s own estimates, and Facebook warned investors to expect its expansion to slow.

Discussion Questions:

1. Read and review the IPO, click on this link: Is this what you imagined an IPO would contain as investors information?

3. Do you believe that the market capitalization of \$100 billion is realistic?

Posted by & filed under Accounting Careers, Financial Accounting, International Accounting, Managerial Accounting.

Montreal, March 28, 2012 – Today, Jean-Marc Fournier,
Minister of Justice and Minister responsible for the application of
professional legislation, tabled Bill 61, Chartered Professional Accountants
Act, that will constitute the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés (CPA)
du Québec. The CA Order, the CGA Order and the CMA Order welcomed the news.

Another milestone in the process to unify the accounting
profession in Quebec has therefore been reached. The bill will have to follow
the normal steps in Quebec’s legislative process before the Ordre des CPA du
Québec becomes a reality.

The new single accounting order will encompass all the professional accountants in the province, whether they are currently CAs, CGAs or CMAs. It will result from the pooling of the competencies and expertise of the members of the existing professions. Moreover, the regulations governing the new CPA Order will draw on the best elements of the rules currently in force in the three existing orders, while aiming for the highest professional and ethical standards. Decidedly forward-looking, the accounting profession will be in an even better position to serve the business community and all organizations in Quebec.

The chairs of the three orders are very pleased with this announcement.

“The creation of a single order will enhance the protection of
the public. With a single accounting designation, and especially a single set
of mechanisms to monitor the profession, the new order will clearly be even
better equipped to protect the public,” stated Manon Durivage, FCA, Chair of
the Ordre des CA.

Increased influence:

In addition, chartered professional accountants will enjoy
increased influence on a global scale. “Not only will the new CPA Order have
unprecedented sway with the profession’s regulatory bodies, it will also be
very attractive to future accountants, employers and the business world,” said
Stephan Robitaille, FCGA, Chair of the Ordre des CGA.

Lastly, unifying the CA, CGA and CMA professions also means
strength in numbers. “The future accounting body will have a membership of
35,000 professional accountants and will form the third largest professional
order in Quebec,’’ added Charles Auger, FCMA, Chair of the Ordre des CMA. ‘‘In addition to merging the driving forces of the accounting profession, this
process will result in increased efficiencies and effectiveness that will
benefit the profession as a whole.”

The tabling of the bill also represents a positive development towards the
unification of the accounting profession in the rest of Canada since several
other provinces are goinsimilar process. It seems likely that Quebec will lead
the way and that other provinces will soon be following suit.

Discussion Questions:

1. We have united three professions, is this good news for our Quebec students and does it really improve your future?

3. Is there strenght in numbers, do you agree?

To read more, visit the CGA site: Bill creating the ordre des CPA

Posted by & filed under Canadian Economy, Taxation & Planning.

List of a few Budget Highlights

Last year’s budget introduced a
temporary Hiring Credit for Small Business of up to \$1,000 per employer. The
2012 budget proposes to extend this temporary credit for one year. In
particular, a credit of up to \$1,000 against a small employer’s increase in its
2012 Employment Insurance premiums over those paid in 2011 will be provided.

Discussion Question: Why do you think the govenment continued the above hiring credit?

Travellers’ exemptions

The budget proposes to increase the travellers’ exemption to:

• \$200 (from \$50) for
returning Canadian residents who are out of the country for 24 hours or      more.
• \$800 for travellers who are
out of the country for 48 hours or more. This new \$800 threshold will  replace the current 48-hour exemption of \$400 and the current
seven-day  exemption of \$750.

The new exemption levels will be effective for travelers returning to
Canada on or after June 1, 2012.

Discussion Question:Do you agree with this budget idea to motivate Canadians to spend more outside of Canada?

Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement

As expected, the budget contains measures affecting seniors’ retirement
income.

Eligibility age
The age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS)
and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will be gradually increased from 65 to 67, starting April 2023, with full implementation by January 2029. This
measure will not affect anyone who is 54 years of age or older as of March 31, 2012. In particular, individuals born on March 31, 1958 or earlier will not be affected. Individuals born on or after February 1, 1962 will have an age of eligibility of 67. Individuals born between April 1, 1958 and January 31, 1962 will have an age of eligibility between 65 and 67.

Discussion Question: Why is the government increasing the age of retirement?

Posted by & filed under Canadian Economy.

The 2012 Canadian Federal Budget will be presented in the
next few weeks.  KPMG is committed to
helping you determine how these changes will affect you and your business.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will deliver the Conservative
government’s 2012 federal budget on March 29, 2012. With a majority government
in power and the next election years away, this year’s budget may be an
important one that could include significant changes to the tax system.

What else to expect

The Department of Finance has indicated that we can expect a
focus on so-called “tax integrity” items in the 2012 budget. For example, the
2011 federal budget included new rules that limit the tax deferral
opportunities for corporate partnerships and new anti-avoidance rules for
RRSPs. A senior Finance official indicated at the Canadian Tax Foundation
conference in November 2011 that we can likely expect to see more of these
types of measures to broaden the tax base.

There will be changes to :

International competitiveness and

Personal tax changes such as;

Charitable giving
To encourage greater
charitable giving, the Committee recommends that the government support
initiatives such as the Committee’s study on tax incentives for charitable
donations.

Some witnesses before the Committee advocated a “stretch” tax credit that
would apply to amounts that exceed a donor’s previous highest level of giving.
This measure could provide an extra 10% credit for donations exceeding the
previous highest level up to an annual donation limit of \$10,000.

To read more visit the following KPMG link 2012 New Federal Budget

Discussion Questions:

1. Why do governments issue a budget on a yearly basis?

2. Does the Canadian citizen benefit from a Budget?

3. After reading the real budget issued on March 29, by our Harper government, was this budget important to you?