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Knowing when to say no

by Lisa van de Geyn

You’re doing yourself a disservice if you can’t drop the word “yes” from your vocabulary.  Here’s why.

You’re an accountant at a mid-sized firm.  A colleague, we’ll call him Ken, walks into your office, cursing under his breath.  He sits down and starts rattling off his long list of to-dos for the day – back-to-back off-site meetings with clients, assisting on an audit, a business lunch and a conference call.  You commiserate for a few minutes – your day also looks pretty packed – then suggest you two take a load off after work; you’ll buy him a beer at the pub down the street.  He nods, stands up and starts toward the door, but before you can avert your eyes back to your growing number of unread emails, he says, “Actually, there’s something I wanted to ask you.”  You swivel your chair back toward him.  “I’m meeting with a potential client tomorrow and haven’t had time to review the file.  I’m obviously too busy to do it today.  Will you check it out for me?  I’ll owe you one.”

Here’s the dilemma:  you’re up to your eyeballs in work, including a new assignment the boss handed you yesterday.  If you’re going to get ahead of your responsibilities to avoid working all weekend, you don’t see how you can fit Ken’s new client analysis in the mix.  But, Ken is obviously treading water and needs you to throw him a lifeline – maybe he’s having problems at home that are taking his attention away from his work at the office, or maybe an overly needy client is monopolizing his time and he’s gotten behind.  Ken is a coworker and a good guy and you don’t want to leave him hanging out to dry, but there’s already too much on your plate.

So what do you do?  Agree to help out and put yourself in a pickle, or utter that dreaded two-letter word and risk disappointing a colleague?

Read more….

From CPA Magazine, January 2016 issue with permission of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, Toronto, Canada.  Any changes to the original material are the sole responsibility of EPR Canada Group Inc. and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

Engagement Quality Control Review (EQCR)


Canadian auditing standards have identified situations where an engagement quality control review (EQCR) is required or preferred. An Engagement Quality Control Review (EQCR) is an important component of a firm’s overall engagement quality control process.  It typically involves someone who is not part of the audit engagement team and who essentially performs a review of the file before the report is issued.

Section 3000, paragraph 36b, of the Handbook, requires the EQCR to perform an objective evaluation of the significant judgments made by the engagement team, and the conclusions reached in formulating the assurance report.

Not all engagements are required to have an EQCR. For some engagements, it is required by law or regulation and for others it will be based on the firm’s policy.  When a firm creates a policy regarding an EQCR, it should be found in their quality control manual and will identify the criteria for when an EQCR should be performed.

Each firm can establish the criteria for an EQCR that apply to their firm, therefore no two firms may have the same criteria.

Examples of the basis for the decision of having an EQCR are as follows:

– Entity is publicly listed

– Entity is contemplating a security offering

– Entity has more than 25 stakeholders, partners, or investors

– Entity has broad public interest

– Engagement has been assessed as high risk

– Fees expected to be in excess of a specific dollar amount (example, $15,000)


The criteria for an EQCR will be different for every firm, but once in place must be followed by the firm.

If you require additional information please feel free to contact your local independent EPR Canada Member firm.

Jackie Dableh-Hakimian, BBA, CPA, CGA

EPR Daye Kelly & Associates

Metrics are not a solution

by Trevor Wilson

If reporting metrics were the solution to gender equity, the past 40 years should have demonstrated that it does not work.  “Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience.”

I am always struck that in this profound quote by Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of Visa Inc., neither diversity nor gender is mentioned as a criterion for hiring.  However, when he wrote it, Hock’s organization did not fall under a “comply or explain” instrument such as last year’s rule amendments to the OSC Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices (National Instrument 58-101), which require the annual disclosure of the number and percentage of women on boards of directors and in executive positions for publicly traded companies.

According to the latest report from the approximately 700 TSX companies that have provided information, the results are less than stellar.  Fewer than 50% of companies have at least one woman on their board and only 15% have added a woman in the past year.

More disturbing the fact that more than two-thirds of organizations have not even taken the time to write a policy for the identification and nomination of female directors.  This raises two questions:  is the rule working? Or is it too simplistic an approach?

Read more…

Reprinted from CPA Magazine, January 2016, with permission Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, Toronto, Canada.  Any changes to the original material are the sole responsibility of EPR Canada Group Inc. and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

Administrative Professional Day

thank youToday, April 27, is Administrative Professional Day. This is just a few days before the 2016 Canadian Tax Filing Deadline, which falls on May 2nd this year.  What better time to thank not only our fantastic administrative professional staff, but all of the hardworking individuals in the EPR Member firms across the country that have been working diligently these past few months to complete tax returns on behalf of our clients.

Thanks to all of you for your hard work and dedication.

The Ideal Candidate

by Rosalind Stefanac

Today’s employers are looking for team players who can behave ethically, think strategically and act decisively.  New CPAs come well prepared on all counts.

SEEKING A TRAILBAZING, ETHICAL SUPERACHIEVER.  Must be a critical thinker, astute problem-solver and adaptable to rapid change.  Ability to number-crunch a given.  Interested candidates, please submit your resumé to

Long gone are the days when a professional accountant was expected to sit in the back offices of an organization crunching numbers.  Today’s accountants are key members of the management team, tasked with making critical recommendations about a company’s future.  They have a prominent voice in determining the strategic direction of the business.  Often they move beyond the traditional role of providing financial advice to leading the company as the CEO or starting their own business.

It’s not surprising, then, that employers are looking to the new chartered professional accountant for that ultimate candidate – a professional who is smart enough to interpret massive amounts of complicated data and who possesses the business acumen to put it to optimal use for the betterment of a company or clients.

Read more…

From CPA Magazine, January 2016, with permission of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, Toronto, Canada.  Any changes to the original material are the sole responsibility of EPR Canada Group Inc. and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.