Ascend Financial
It's not what you earn... It's what you keep

Changing Technology

There is always a lot of talk about technological changes and their high percentage of failure. However, it is important to note that many of these projects fail not as a result of the project, but because the technology requires the staff to adapt to change. Specifically, technological changes usual meet the most resistance from staff members that have limited computer skills. Therefore, careful consideration should be given by management to the training, time and budget requirements associated with all components of the project.

Management must set techniques for managing the people side of change, a method for reducing resistance to the change in new technology or processes.

Note that every project is different and requires different techniques for managing the people side. Changes to business processes or business applications require significantly different techniques than those required for software upgrades. Changes to the business process usually requires a change in management. This means that a significant part of the project must address not only the training of the new users and of the new technology, but also setting up an ongoing change management program.

Even with this in place, organizations will still have to understand that the benefits of such changes may not be realized until the new process has become routine. This may take some time - considering how long it can take to adapt to simple routine changes, such as taking a new route to work. Imagine the time it could take for radical changes to business processes. Management needs to digest the fact that implementing new processes and technologies is more than rolling out new systems; training  and support are integral.

Organizations need to make time and budget allowance for the change an agreement components. The change management process has three major components:
1) Preparation
This component includes a readiness assessment and strategy development. It also starts with identifying key personal for the change management team. Focus should also be given to which employees will be affected, the nature of the change and the speed at which it will occur (it is useful to identify the staff members who will resist change).

2) Management
This is the largest part of the process. It involves implementing the vision and establishing the necessary training. It will also include a communications and monitoring model.  Communications should be done often to avoid  the FUD factor(fear, uncertainty and doubt).
My experience has been that there will always be staff that will, despite all your effort, resist change. You must monitor the change and control those that resist change as their they will spend great amounts of time and energy combating the process. You must either get them to accept that this is what is happening or remove them.

3) Reinforcement
This is the component where every small success is recognized and is celebrated. As noted above hidden and open resistance needs to be identified. This should be done in a face to face setting to be effective.

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CloudOnIf you a...

CloudOn

If you are like me, one of the things that has always bothered me was the problem associated with starting a document at the office on Word and trying to finish it on my IPad. I was always converting this back and forth between different file formats after emailing it back and forth or using Dropbox.

Well, with the release of CloudOn, Microsoft brings a fully loaded version of Microsoft Office to the IPad, so I can now edit documents on-the-go using all of Office’s features and store the document right in Dropbox.

Now, CloudOn isn’t really a touch-optimized version. It is much more like a screen shared app with a computer running the program elsewhere. Do note that for connection to CloudOn you must have internet access (to CloudOn’s servers). It actually runs quite well despite being designed for a mouse and keyboard. I think if you are planning on preparing long and detailed documents, this might be tiresome, but for short documents or quick edits, it is really useful and eliminates compatibility problems. It also stores all your files in Dropbox allowing for easy access wherever you are.

Best of all, CloudOn is completely free. So you have nothing to lose by giving this a try. Simply go to your app store and search for CloudOn.


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2012 PERSONAL T...

2012 PERSONAL TAX CHANGES

  • The Family Caregiver Tax Credit – Is a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount of $2,000 that provides tax relief to caregivers of infirm dependant relatives. This includes, for the first time, infirm spouses, common-law partners, and minor children. Canadians can claim this new, non-refundable tax credit for the first time when filing their 2012 taxes.

  • The Medical Expense Tax Credit – In order to fully recognize the medical and disability-related costs incurred by caregivers, the Harper Government has removed the $10,000 limit on the amount of eligible expenses a caregiver can claim in respect of financially dependent relatives.

  • The First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit – Assists first-time home buyers with the costs associated with the purchase of a home, such as legal fees. More than 550,000 Canadians have taken advantage of the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit.

  • The Children's Fitness Tax Credit – Canadian families can claim a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount up to $500 for the cost of registering a child in eligible physical activity programs, such as soccer or hockey teams. For the 2011 tax year, over 1.5 million families took advantage of the Children's Fitness Tax Credit.

  • The Hiring Credit for Small Business – Small businesses that meet certain criteria and paid more in Employment Insurance premiums in 2012 over 2011 are eligible for the credit, which puts up to $1,000 back into the accounts of job creators. As of September 30, 2012, over $200 million has been credited to over 500,000 eligible employers.

  • The Children's Arts Tax Credit – Canadian families can claim a 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount up to $500 for the cost of registering a child in eligible artistic, cultural, or other programs, such as music lessons or tutoring. Over 460,000 families claimed the Children's Arts Tax Credit in the 2011 tax year.

  • The Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit – Provides employers with a tax credit of up to 10 per cent of the eligible wages payable to eligible apprentices. The maximum credit an employer can claim is $2,000 per year for each eligible apprentice. For the 2011 tax year, more than 10,000 employers across Canada used the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit.

  • The Tradesperson's Tool Deduction – Allows tradespeople to deduct from their income part of the cost of tools purchased throughout the year.

  • The Textbook Tax Credit – In order to better recognize the cost of textbooks, this credit provides increased tax relief to students in addition to the Tuition and Education Tax Credits. Students must first claim their credit on their own returns, but may be able to transfer unused amounts to a parent, grandparent, spouse or common-law partner.

  • The Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) – Gives families with young children more choice in child care by providing $100 per month for each child under age six. Canadians received almost $2.7 billion in UCCB payments in 2011.

  • The Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) – Allows all Canadians to earn tax-free income through a range of investment products. TFSAs have become increasingly popular, with approximately 8.2 million Canadians having opened an account and roughly 2.5 million Canadians contributing the maximum in 2011. Starting on January 1, 2013, Canadians will be able to contribute $5,500 to their TFSAs annually.

  • The Registered Disability Savings Plan – A long-term savings plan to help Canadians with disabilities and their families save for the future. Since being introduced by the Harper Government in 2008, over 60,000 plans have been opened.

  • The Canada Employment Credit (CEC) – A 15 per cent non-refundable tax credit on an amount of $1,095 in employment income, the CEC was introduced by the Harper Government to recognize employees' work expenses for items such as home computers, uniforms and supplies.

  • The Public Transit Tax Credit – Allows Canadians to claim the full amount they spend on eligible transit passes for the year. In 2011, more than 1.6 million Canadians claimed this credit.

  • The Volunteer Firefighters' Tax Credit – Available to any volunteer firefighter who serves at least 200 hours per year at one or more fire departments in their community. In 2011, more than 37,000 Canadian volunteer firefighters took advantage of this new tax credit.
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    Adoption of the accounting framework CAS for Not for Profits


    Societies that have chosen to  adopted the accounting framework Canadian accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations (ASNPO)  are allowed certain exemptions and options for the retrospective treatment of the adoption of these accounting changes in the following areas:

    Fair value of assets;
    Employee future benefits;
    Financial instruments;
    Business combinations; and
    Asset retirement obligations

    For these organization, a restatement of fair value of certain assets may be of useful. This would entail having an independent appraisal or valuation of those assets, in particular land and buildings, that have been owned for a number of years and are worth more than their original cost. This one time oportunity to restate the values of chosen assets to more accurately reflect their fair value is available in the year of adoption. This would result in a restatement of net assets disclosing the original amounts, amount of change and ending amounts as at the transition date. Once the restatement of the assets has been recorded, this will become the carrying value of those assets.

    In order to comply with Canadian accounting standards, the Society’s comparative Statement of Financial Position must be presented showing the balances as at the date of transition and the balances for the comparative date as well as the balances at the end of the current fiscal year.

    There are other disclosure requirements in the year of transition from Canadian generally accepted accounting principles to Canadian accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations that will be addressed during the audit engagement.

    For more information on this topic feel free to contact our office.
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    Cloud Technolog...

    Cloud Technology?


    The Cloud - What does it mean?

    Business applications are moving to the cloud. It’s not just a fad—the shift from traditional software models to the Internet has steadily gained momentum over the last 10 years. Cloud computing is not something that is new. In fact it has been around for many years, but has recently been gaining strength. Looking ahead, the next decade of cloud computing promises new ways to collaborate everywhere, through mobile devices.

    Life before cloud computing

    Traditionally business applications have been very complicated and expensive. The amount and variety of hardware and software required to run them are daunting. You need a whole team of experts to install, configure, test, run, secure, and update them. The dollar cost of paying your IT experts can be overwhelming.
    When you see the biggest companies with the best IT departments aren’t getting the apps they need, you can easily understand why Small and mid-sized businesses don’t stand a chance.

    Is Cloud computing a better way?

    Have you ever wished you could eliminate those headaches that are associated with managing hardware and software—by adopting a Cloud computing model you are shifting that responsibility to a experienced vendor. The shared infrastructure means it works like a utility: You only pay for what you need, upgrades are automatic, and scaling up or down is easy.
    There are Cloud-based apps that can be up and running in days or weeks, and they cost less. With a cloud app, you just open a browser, log in, customize the app, and start using it.
    More and more businesses are running all kinds of apps in the cloud, like customer relationship management (CRM), HR, accounting, and much more. Some of the world’s largest companies, such as the Major Banking Industries, Telecommunication giants have already moved their applications to the cloud after rigorously testing the security and reliability of our infrastructure.

    As cloud computing grows in popularity, thousands of companies are simply rebranding their non-cloud products and services as “cloud computing.” Always dig deeper when evaluating cloud offerings and keep in mind that if you have to buy and manage hardware and software, what you’re looking at isn’t really cloud computing but a false cloud.

    Mobility in the Cloud

    The latest innovations in cloud computing are making our business applications even more mobile and collaborative, similar to popular consumer apps like Facebook and Twitter. As consumers, we now expect that the information we care about will be pushed to us in real time, and business applications in the cloud are heading in that direction as well. With the Cloud, keeping up with your work is as easy as keeping up with your personal life on Facebook.

    The Cloud for your Accounting Systems

    At Ascend Financial - Certified General Accountants, we recognize the benefits the Cloud brings to our client's accounting systems. Imagine having all your IT handled by a staff of expert no matter your size, all your backups managed, mobile access at all times, as well as providing your accountant  your records at a click of a button. Instant help is just a click away and the size and price is scalable to the client's needs.

    To find out more about how the Cloud can work for you feel free to contact our office at
    403-823-1212.
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