Is Canada’s tax system fair? Are its tax rules distorted in any way? Do our tax laws respect the principle of neutrality? Under the leadership of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, Luc Lacombe, tax partner, and Brigitte Alepin and Manon Deslandes, professors at the Département des sciences comptables in UQAM’s École des sciences de la gestion (ESG UQAM), pooled their expertise to attempt to answer these questions while focussing, in particular, on a number of tax issues that impact families.

The authors sought to determine whether the tax rules are neutral where families are concerned. They concluded that given the many, and substantial, breaches of neutrality in the tax measures applying to families, the question is whether Canadian families are ultimately making decisions based on their needs or based on the tax measures that are available to them. This innovative study of the tax measures applying to Canadian families also presents some thoughts and considerations for overhauling Canada’s tax system.

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Implementing a human resources plan means you’re providing equitable working conditions for your team, both internally and externally.

A basic human resources plan is not just for large organizations. It is possible to develop and adapt tools for your situation, such as an employee handbook, internal rules, a code of conduct, standard work contracts, job descriptions, onboarding and integration tools, a compensation policy and many more. These tools will provide your business with clear rules and avoid several issues.

The tools or skills presented below can be used to support your success:

Performance appraisal

Develop a competitive advantage as an employer with a simple and efficient performance appraisal program. This tool promotes employee engagement and a common understanding of mutual expectations without excessive control.

Most employees want feedback on their performance, particularly those in generation Y. Competencies to be developed in order to advance or take on more responsibilities can be outlined, an approach that also boosts employee retention.

The ability to delegate

Are you always putting out fires? Do you think you know better than anyone how to perform tasks in all departments? Do you suddenly realize that you’ve responded to social media messages, made arrangements to have the truck repaired and prepared the financial statements all on the same day? It’s probably time to start delegating. A clear plan, supported by psychometric tests, will help you identify key individuals, based on skills, who can (finally) take over certain tasks so you can focus on what you do best.

Planning HR needs

Even the most technologically advanced company needs human intervention to deliver the final product. A seamless business strategy on paper still has to pass the live performance test.

Planning your organization’s current and future staffing needs today will help you develop solutions to meet your hiring, promotion, business experience knowledge transfer and succession management objectives.

Efficient communications to manage change

In times of change, a business’s employees are the key to success.

Beyond the technological aspects, if you’re planning an expansion, a change in the organizational structure, new work methods, make sure you focus on employee communication right from the onset.

Be transparent and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the changes, the upcoming steps and what is expected of each person.

A balanced agenda

Now, more than ever, we are being pulled in all directions. It’s important to learn how to manage priorities, deal with emergencies and control disruptions that interrupt concentration. It is possible to organize tasks, telephone calls, emails, instant messages and discussions around the coffee machine to take advantage of them and not find yourself wondering where half your productive time went during the day.

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s management consulting team can assist you in implementing a clear and efficient communication plan to foster employee engagement in a change situation. Contact our human resource professionals, they can help you unlock your organization’s full potential.

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How a manager communicates with employees plays a pivotal role in employee retention and engagement.

The word communication comes from the Latin communicare, to share. It’s important to remember that communicate and inform do not mean the same thing.

One message, two styles

To illustrate two very different communication styles, we can use the example of two diametrically opposite animals: a crocodile and an elephant.

You’ll recognize the crocodile in a supervisor who talks all the time and implements solutions without trying to understand what caused the situation in the first place. The crocodile’s jaws are much bigger than its ears, it talks a lot and doesn’t listen much. His sharp comments can be hurtful and if you go against him, he can bite back.

A supervisor who listens is more like the elephant. He asks open questions, seeks advice, restates messages and tries to understand a situation before acting. Like the elephant, he’s all ears. The employee feels valued and respected. The elephant is not afraid to acknowledge having made an error.

Listening first to communicate better after

In our management consulting practice, we sometimes come across crocodile-type supervisors, especially if they are new to the position and want to make their mark. Employees will certainly feel frustrated and disheartened (why should I speak up, he/she won’t listen to my idea?) and may even leave the organization to go somewhere where their skills and opinions are appreciated. Knowing someone is paying attention makes employees feel valued and doesn’t cost the organization anything.

When a person feels misunderstood, hearing someone else speaking loudly or too much may only make matters worse. In these cases, it’s best to have “an elephant in the room”. Being quiet and listening carefully—without thinking about your answer at the same time—promotes efficient communication.

Five tips for better communication

  1. Listen carefully to what’s being said, without distractions. If you don’t have the time, or you’re busy, say so or postpone the discussion.
  2. Pay attention to non-verbal communication, such as facial expressions or body language. The speaker doesn’t want to feel like prey facing a crocodile!
  3. Don’t start thinking about an answer while the other person is speaking.
  4. Repeat what the person has said in your own words to confirm your understanding. Use expressions such as “If I understood you correctly, you’re saying that …” or “From what I can see, you’re not comfortable with …”.
  5. Use psychometric tests to become aware of different behaviours. Our personality traits partly dictate our behaviours and attitudes. For example, someone extroverted in a position of authority and with strong leadership skills may tend to talk a lot and take over the conversation with employees and colleagues.

With work and practice, communication skills can be developed, just like any other ability. In today’s business world, they are key for any supervisor, regardless of the hierarchical level and will contribute to his or her success.

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We begin this third edition of 2018 with the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) major new Discussion Paper Financial Instruments with Characteristics of Equity.

This contains proposals that would alter the process for classifying financial instruments issued by an entity as either financial liabilities or equity.

We then move on to consider the likely outcome of Argentina being declared hyperinflationary in the second half of 2018, and the effects this would have. The accounting implications of such a large economy being considered hyperinflationary for IFRS purposes are likely to be felt well beyond Argentina itself, and we encourage clients with operations there to start preparing for the change now.

Further on in the newsletter, you will find IFRS-related news at Grant Thornton and a general round-up of financial reporting developments. We finish with a summary of the implementation dates of newer standards that are not yet mandatory, and a list of IASB publications that are out for comment.

Download the document below for details.