www.lexisnexis.ca Vol. 30, No. 16 December 2014
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Ontario CPAs look to new era, seek unity, opportunity

This is an exciting time for an accounting profession poised to provide greater leadership in an increasingly complex world, says Carol Wilding, the new president and chief executive officer of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario.

"The critical skills of financial leadership, business leadership, strategic thinking, are paramount. And I think those are best rooted in the accounting profession," Wilding said to more than 300 delegates to CPA Ontario’s first annual conference.

"Now that we are all united as one, we have a real opportunity to play an even bigger role in terms of focusing on how we want to be adding our best value provincially, nationally, or globally."

Little future in historical roles, speaker warns

Technology advances have traditionally forced massive changes on society and the workplace, but today’s environment is different because they affect professional work, including some financial duties of accountants, said Paul Juniper, director of the Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre.

"The automation this time is hitting the people who are in this room," Juniper told seminar delegates at CPA Ontario’s recent annual conference in Toronto.

Juniper cited a 2013 Oxford University study which predicted that activities such as accounting, auditing, budget analysis and tax preparation would largely become automated over the next 30 years.

Taking the ‘nudge approach’ to tax dodgers

United Kingdom tax authorities have called on psychologists to help deliver messages to delinquent taxpayers that "nudge" them to pay up, and since the start of the program a few years ago it has meant millions of pounds annually in additional revenue for the public purse.

Although not everyone agrees that taxpayers should be subtly coerced to pay their fair share, the program has gained attention from the media worldwide and countries such as Australia have copied it with equal success. Now the Canada Revenue Agency has begun a trial campaign using similar tactics aimed at reducing underground activity in the construction industry that could lead to tax avoidance.

"If it works, it is worth a try in Canada," says tax professional Michael Cadesky, who heads up Toronto-based Cadesky and Associates, adding of the CRA, so far, "it simply sends reminders that note the amount owing and states that interest is accruing on the balance."

Board goes public with criticism of U.S. KPMG

The U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has gone public with its complaints about how KPMG performed some of its 2011 and 2012 audits, after it decided that the firm’s efforts to improve its quality control systems weren’t good enough.

The findings do not relate to the Canadian operations of KPMG.

The previously private portions of the 2011 and 2012 inspection reports were released in late October because, according to the PCAOB, the firm did not address quality control issues to the board’s satisfaction within the required 12 months.

"The quality control remediation process is central to the board’s efforts to cause firms to improve the quality of their audits and thereby better protect investors," stated the PCAOB about the reports, released Oct. 23.

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