Friday News Roundup 21.01.22: Warrior Accountants, depressed Canadians, female entrepreneurs and more
Wrapping up the odds and ends in this week’s Canadian accounting news
TORONTO, Jan. 22, 2021 – The cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on the first day of the presidency of Joe Biden was the big economic news of the week in Canada. While the cancellation was a key policy in the Democrats’ election platform — and clearly telegraphed by Biden during his campaign — it still managed to surprise many Canadians and eclipsed the odds and ends of this week’s news from the world of Canadian accounting:
Are CPAs ready to be “Warrior Accountants”?
CPA Ontario released a white paper this week called “CPAs and the New Social Contract: The Rise of the Warrior Accountant,” a label apparently applied last year to accountants working to harmonize ESG reporting standards at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The white paper combines a call to action, an environmental scan of ESG reporting, some professional and corporate branding, and a survey of CPAs on their attitudes towards ESG reporting.
While niche media platforms like Wealth Professional and Advisor’s Edge welcomed the idea, the Financial Post pointed out “pockets of skepticism,” especially within smaller companies, as well as practical concerns. Whether the CPA profession, which is notoriously conservative in all senses of the word, is ready to play an activist role, is most definitely open to debate. But corporate (or what used to be called management) accountants have a history of being more progressive than practitioners.
Time to boot CERB to the curb
Allan Lanthier, who occasionally writes for Canadian Accountant, had another Op-ed in the Financial Post: "Federal government is still dithering and delaying on CERB." The issue of whether the federal government meant gross income or net income (i.e., income after expenses) when it referred to "total income" upon rolling out CERB is to Lanthier "death by a thousand cuts" and the government should "stop distressing thousands of CERB recipients who acted in good faith, and get on with governing in the midst of a pandemic." A "robust" discussion ensues in the comments section!
Many Canadians feeling down about debt
The latest MNP Consumer Debt Index kicked off the week’s news, showing many Canadians are mighty depressed about their household finances, with the Index reaching its lowest point since its launch in 2017. Four in 10 Canadians are not confident they can cover living expenses this year without going further into debt. Nearly half say they could be in financial trouble if interest rates increase. Three in 10 say they have taken on more debt as a direct result of the pandemic.
Ontario recovers missing millions in Families fraud case
There was an update this past week in a story we reported back a few weeks ago, in the case of a North York, Ontario family whose members worked for the Ontario government. According to the Toronto Star, the family has repaid $11 million that went missing in what the government alleges was a "massive fraud" scheme, involving the Support for Families pandemic finance program.
CPA discusses female entrepreneurs, venture capital
CBC Manitoba features a terrific video discussion with Priti Mehta-Shah, FCPA, FCA, on the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and how they differ from male entrepreneurs. One of her insights is that women who want to start their own business often do not have the necessary credit history to apply for loans. They are also far less likely than men to seek venture capital and bank loans, and use personal sources instead.
PEI Auditor General wants more staff
Darren Noonan, the CPA appointed last year as PEI’s new auditor general, is asking for additional staff. Noonan was the subject of a kerfuffle at the time of his appointment because he was not licensed to sign off on public audits. The new Auditor General wants the funding to hire three additional staff.
By Canadian Accountant staff.