According to software review aggregator site G2, there are over 400 Project Management applications out there – that just they have reviewed. Other software review sites have many more. The market for productivity is quite vast, and finding a way to manage projects and tasks is big business. In choosing these apps, there are multiple factors:
Does The Application Work Like You Do?
Are you visual and love Kanban boards and colors. Are you structured and prefer grid like excel layouts? Are you organized and like grouped layouts? Of course you can be all three – but the reality is each system leads with a different approach, and only test driving it will let you know of you like it or not.
Does The Application Suit Your Business / Project Size?
For people that do smaller numbers of large projects (measured in months) or undefined / custom development projects, Project Management applications are ideal. The number of tasks for each project are much larger, and milestones at each phase may change future phases. They key here is to always have the big picture view as well as the task view.
For people that do large numbers of smaller projects (measured in weeks) or very well defined repetitive projects, Task Management Systems are ideal. The number of tasks for each project are limited and the team gets into a groove with them and know how they work.
How Many People Are On Your Internal Team?
And can you afford the monthly SAAS pricing? Some really beautiful systems are designed for smaller teams of power users. The difficulty comes when you have a larger number of users who only use the application some of the time. Then the pain of each license comes in. It’s a good idea to calculate a three year window of license costs. Is the price right at your current user base? I’ve seen some people take the approach – well not everybody needs to use it, so we’ll only license some team members. That won’t work. People will find workarounds and start using free systems like Slack.
How Many External Team Members / Customers Need to Use The Application?
In our interconnected world, there is every chance you will want to share project plans / updates with your customers. Will you be paying for them too? For external team members, how will they co-ordinate task updates? For customers, will weekly / milestone status reports be enough?
Finally, Is Your Business Disciplined Enough?
There is a saying that the best applications are the ones that you will use all the time. If your business is free flowing – and people will not use the application all the time – then maybe spreadsheets on Google Drive are good enough. If you are drowning in spreadsheets, and want to scale your business – then you need to put the processes and discipline in place first. Only then will you be able to start to find the right Project / Task Management application for your business.
10 Project / Task Management Applications To Consider
The cities and towns we live in are in endless evolution, designed by the infinite activities that take place in their edges and nodes. Driving and parking are among the vital happenings that have shaped North American cities since the rise of automobile ownership in the 1950’s.
Although there have been progressive benefits, the challenges that have culminated from the boom of driving outweigh the pros. From increased traffic congestion, increase in air-polluting emissions (affecting the environment and human health: climate change & the rise in asthma) and lastly – a problem not often thought of – parking.
Probing the topic of parking and its challenges makes room to explore the future of parking. There are cities pushing for sustainability and smart city growth that may be exemplary for big solutions on the horizon. The use of existing technology and creative data innovation has brought forth concepts like “smart parking”.
A Car Governed Society
Automobile ownership had evolved from a luxury to a necessity for commuting to and from work as a result of suburbanization – a product of the transportation revolution. Because of the car, cities became more spread out and less walk-able than they had once been. When we think about the effect cars have had on the way we utilize land, we might often forget about the impact parking has also had on the planning process.
The demand for parking spaces goes hand-in-hand with the boom in driving. Early on, cities and towns began requiring developers to include parking with the construction of new buildings. These policies required builders to include mandatory parking minimums, which varied by building type but included a corresponding amount of parking needed for approval.
In some places, many parking spaces do not get used and it appears to be an excessive amount of spaces but in other cases, parking is few and far between and can be pricey. Dense areas with limited space for expansion become challenging for city planners and developers to account for these parking minimums, especially when parking spaces increase the overall cost of development.
We pay for the free parking we demand as a taxpayer, as a resident, as a shopper and these rules are constricting the planning and design process as well as hurting the growth of our cities. How we utilize land is fundamental to the development of cities, so encouraging smart applications and efficient use for more livable spaces should be at the top of municipal to-dos.
What IS “Smart Parking”?
Well, it’s not as the picture above suggests. Cars cannot really drive up a wall to fit into a parking spot! Watch the video below and you’ll see what we mean. Although, it’s a great ad developed by Oakville Audi.
As we know it, the car is not going to be phased out of existence any time soon, based on the current climate of the gasoline industry and the continued heavy reliance on cars. A push in the right direction is unraveling thanks to the realization of climate change’s environmental, social and economic impacts. Electric cars and self-driving cars are some of the innovations on the rise in metropolitan areas like Japan, etc.
There can be such lure for residents and newcomers for cities to establish futuristic and efficient applications of technology for sustainability and smart growth.
Smart parking uses sensors to deliver real time monitoring of parking occupancy data which improves the livability of a community and the municipality’s management of their parking assets. Residents and out of town visitors can use an app to quickly locate and navigate to available parking spaces. This eliminates the need to circle the block reducing traffic congestion and emissions.
A municipality will be able to dynamically manage their parking assets. They will understand the usage patterns of each spot individually to ensure the number of available spots is meeting the demand for an area and that the occupancy of them is permissible.
As mentioned, this innovation aids with traffic congestion and helps residents plan their routes smarter and more efficiently. Through the use of innovative technologies like this, municipalities can stay more connected and organized which provides a valuable social experience???
What is a “Smart City”?
The word “smart city” has been a buzzword within the urban development and technology industries for over a decade and although it doesn’t have an exact definition, it is an idealistic development concept with socio-economic benefits.
A smart city can be characterized by the use of technology and innovation to create efficiencies, improve sustainability and economic growth to enhance the general life of those living and working in a city landscape. Smart parking can provide municipalities reliable information to make informed decisions with existing technology.
Metadata will be created for each job posting (description and keywords) used by search engines. Employer can provide short description and keywords, or we will use relevant opening sentence of job description and up to 3 keywords from the job posting.
Each job given a unique ID number.
Each Silicon Halton Employer’s job post is published to our twitter feed.
There has to be rules. Here they are:
“Silicon Halton Employers” are considered those who have a mailing address in Halton Region. Non-Silicon Halton (“SH”) companies are those who do not have a mailing address in Halton Region. If you are able to join the Silicon Halton LinkedIn group, we consider you a “Silicon Halton Employer.”
“Silicon Halton Employers” are permitted to post for opportunities located outside of Halton Region
Applicants are directed to an employer’s email address or website. Employer must provide means for applicant to submit resume. If not present, job posting returned to employer and not posted.
Silicon Halton will not respond to any communications from candidates or any other inquires about the job posting. Silicon Halton will only communicate with the designated contact at the company – the person who posted/submitted the job.
By default, opportunities are presented on the jobs page chronologically (by posting date).
Each job is manually vetted to ensure it meets our rules.
Job posting must state if role is full-time, part-time, contract or gig.
To remove or modify a job, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jobs are removed by “day+1” (business days) after being requested to do so. Billing ends on “business day” Silicon Halton is informed and client is billed for that “business day”.
No refunds. No Guarantees. Your mileage may vary.
Errors made by Silicon Halton to job posting are corrected at n/c, but assumes no responsibility.
Silicon Halton bears no responsibility whatsoever for errors in posting.
The job poster is sent URL after posting goes live for confirmation purposes.
Net 30 – Posting not paid for within 30 days are immediately removed. Reposting is consider a net-new job posting.
As an employer or third party acting on behalf of an employer, you understand and agree that it is your responsibility to ensure that your job advertisement complies with all applicable federal/provincial/territorial legislation including employment standards and human rights legislation;
As an employer or a third party acting on behalf of an employer (i.e. placement agency), you understand and acknowledge that this is an Internet job advertisement service that is publicly accessible. As a result, and with the exception of the contact information on a job advertisement, you agree to not post any sensitive or personal information which could include but is not limited to: a person’s name, address, e-mail address, telephone number, place of work, age; or medical information.
By posting your job opening with Silicon Halton you accept these rules, rates, and offering.
Join members of the TU20 team for a lively discussion and active planning session focused on:
Creating and implementing a Shared Intern program that will employ 10 students full-time in July and August 2015
BACKGROUND: THINKING DIFFERENTLY
Inspiration: Chris Herbert and Mark Arteaga’s internship / mentorship stories, shared during the March 2015 TU20 meeting, illustrated that small and micro businesses are interested in and can benefit from involvement in internship programs.
What we know …
Small business is the growth engine of the economy(Canada’s Economic Action Plan)
There are over 600,000 small businesses across Canada with fewer than 5 employees (Stats Can 2013); some 4,000 – 5,000 of those businesses are in Halton (from 2007); many are involved in ICT.
Small businesses with of fewer than 5 employees may find it difficult to fund a full length summer internship, but they would benefit from an influx of skills and ideas in:
Programming / development
Project management, research
Product development, entrepreneurship
Sales, business development
Customer service, support
So, how do we get more small businesses involved?
What would an internship program for small / micro businesses look like?
Where would the jobs come from?
Where would the students come from?
Do we start with a defined goal?
Employ 10 students for 8 weeks from July to August 2015
HOW WOULD WE PROCEED?
Create a ‘Shared Intern’ program that would:
Employ 10 students (in a variety of focus areas) full time for 8 weeks (Jul, Aug)
Engage each student in 4 x two week projects, each with a different employer, but in their focus area (eg. programming, project management, business development, marketing, design, customer service)
Ensure that each ‘project’ delivers an opportunity for the student to add value, engage in real work and satisfy a real employer need
Allow small / micro business owners to engage in an internship without
a huge time commitment (only 2 weeks) or
a significant financial burden (outlay of approx. $1,100 = 80 hrs of project work time @ minimum wage + a small SH fee)
Provide a small amount of funding for SH (10% of the $1,100)
What mix of skills would make up the group of 10 ‘shared interns’?
3 x programming, development, project management interns
3 x business development, product development, entrepreneurship interns
2 x design, marketing, product development interns
2 x business management, customer service, support interns
Would a group like this also benefit from meeting 2 or 3 times over the summer to network and share their experiences with each other?
What are YOUR thoughts, ideas, suggestions?
Are there 40 small / micro sized ICT companies in Halton that would each benefit from offering a 2 week internship project between July 1 and August 31, 2015?
Halton Region is home to hundreds of solopreneurs…
…and small businesses that provide valuable products, services and solutions. The Silicon Halton Peer to Peer (P2P) group meets monthly to network, learn and grow. They partner, collaborate and collectively work together to make their businesses succeed and deliver value to Silicon Halton members.
The Solopreneur P2P Traction Marketing Campaign is a collaborative project that focuses on two things:
To generate awareness of the Solopreneur P2P & increase active participation in monthly meetings. Learn more >
To generate awareness, business opportunities and new customers.
Meet Our Solopreneurs!
Silicon Halton is proud and fortunate to have these solopreneur businesses here in Halton. We encourage you to learn more about them and to contact them to learn more about what they offer.
PlanIt! Comfort Optimization Blinds™ are a green alternative to regular blinds. They let in full sunlight, block 92% of UV rays, generate heat in cooler months and deflect solar heat in warmer months, lowering energy cost up to 40%.This innovative product is the only blind on the market today that sustains a comfortable room temperature throughout the year
For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, high utility costs have become a big operating expense. Similarly, low productivity can result from fluctuating temperatures and poor lighting. This can hamper performance and contribute to injuries or absenteeism.
Made from transparent, eco-friendly food-grade PVC material, they work like a two-way mirror allowing 90% visibility to the outside in the day, while preventing onlookers from seeing in, providing privacy and protection – ideal for health professionals, gyms and salons. At night, lighting makes inner contents and occupants fully visible from outside providing security.
This product may qualify you for Federal or Provincial energy saving incentives. Contact us today to get your free estimate and ROI assessment using the form below.
ModTel Installations helps our customers navigate the constantly changing and often confusing telecommunications landscape. For some customers, that’s as simple as maintaining and upgrading their older Nortel/Norstar phone system. For some, it’s taking advantage of cost savings and new features with a move to VoIP. For other it’s enabling all their remote employees and offices to be extensions on the same system, by moving to a game changing Hosted VoIP solution.
No longer do companies have to pay for every phone every month. Our brand new Hosted model is based on the number of concurrent calls a company makes. We will work with you to customize a plan to fit your specific needs and budget. Check out our no-contract Hosted VoIP solution today. Save 20% on your first year of service when you call us on 1.888.553.9512 and mention “SoloP2P”
Cards In Motion – Media trends support that business and consumer audiences prefer video as the quickest and most engaging way to receive comprehensive information that will inform their decision-making. Yet as our devices become congested with digital noise, the personal nature of a printed package landing on one’s desk grows even more alluring. Cards in Motion blends the most appealing attributes of print and digital media into one unique, highly openable marketing/communications tool.
From the moment it’s delivered, a video brochure by Cards in Motion is hard to ignore – the high quality print production and substantial book-like quality beg for it to be opened. Once the front cover is lifted, the viewer’s attention is instantly captivated by vivid HD quality video with sound that communicates your message on the embedded LCD screen. All our video brochures are custom tailored to each client’s needs and budget for maximum impact. Don’t keep letting your competitors stay ahead of you, contact us today and let’s get it done.
John Chisholm, CEO and Partner, SB Partners has been named as a Fellow to CPA Ontario. This prestigious honour, designated by the initials FCPA, FCA, formally recognizes leading accounting professionals whose achievements in their careers or community leadership have earned them distinction and honour to the profession. FCPA’s are nominated by their peers who have recognized exemplary qualities and contributions.
John is a strong advocate of the accounting profession, employee enrichment and community support. A CPA since 1991, John ‘walks the talk’ by living the mission and values of SB Partners, giving freely of his time and talent. Leadership coupled with strategic thinking and financial expertise is the foundation by which John exemplifies SB Partners’ philosophy. A generous advisor and mentor to staff and externally, a role model and leader to clients and community, John is authentic.
Recognized for his thoughtful insight and contributions to the community, John has served on several boards including the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford, Burlington Economic Development Corporation, Gift Planning Council for the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital Foundation and Cabinet Chair for the accounting division of the United Way’s Burlington Campaign. John Chisholm is well-deserving of the FCPA Ontario Fellow designation.
We’re thrilled for John and SB Partners – and proud to have SB Partners as a Silicon Halton sponsor.
If you look beyond the acres of new housing and on-going construction projects, you will see that this is also true of its economy.
Milton’s Population Will Double In 15 Years Milton’s population is estimated to double in the next 15 years and every new house represents two highly educated professionals that are new to the community. They are primarily employed in the technology, engineering, financial services, professional services and educational fields. The median age is 34 years old, meaning that they have about ten years of work experience and are at a prime age to step out and start their own business.
3000 New Home Based Businesses A growing pool of local entrepreneurs is a key component of the local economy. Did you know that 1 in 8 houses on Milton streets contains a home-based business. There are over 3,000 such businesses in town right now. As Milton’s population doubles over the next fifteen years, the number of home-based operations will also double. This will add more economic diversity/balance and complement the existing manufacturing and logistics sectors.
400 New Knowledge Based Companies Since 2010 over 400 new Professional, Scientific, and Technical sector companies were established in Milton, making it the fastest growing sector in Milton.Knowledge Lives Here!
Milton Education Village Innovation Center At The Nexus
The MEV Innovation Centre is at the nexus of this evolving economy. We are the primary co-working facility in the northern part of Halton Region. Our objective is to ensure that there is a robust eco-system of entrepreneurship in the community that acts as a driver of economic growth and prosperity. We believe that coworking offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to reduce their isolation, be more productive away from home distractions, make connections with each other, pick up new ideas and tap into business support resources. All of this in turn, will allow them to better succeed at their business.
Come Share What You Need
On October 13th, we will be working with Silicon Halton to explore how to better strengthen the link between coworking and economic/community development. Please join us at MEVIC on October 13 and tell us what you need for your business and your ideal working environment. Tell us your challenges and ideas – and help shape the direction of the Innovation Centre – so that we can align with your business or professional needs. In the end, it’s about empowering your business to grow, and enable you to do a better job.
Tax Court of Canada’s perspective on SR&ED eligibility criteria
The Tax Court of Canada recently ruled in favour of Les Abeilles with respect to a SR&ED claim denied by CRA. We thought the decision was worth highlighting, and expect that this ruling will impact how CRA will test SR&ED eligibility going forward.
The case came to trial in July 2013 after CRA rejected the claim on grounds that none of the claimed work met the definition of SR&ED eligibility: the work undertaken was standard practice and/or routine engineering with no technological uncertainty, no technological advancement nor any systematic investigation. CRA also cited a lack of contemporaneous documentation to corroborate the claimed work.
On October 23, 2014, Justice Gaston Jorré allowed an appeal to the Tax Court of Canada (TCC) made by Abeilles Service de Conditionnement Inc. Abeilles is located in the east end of Montreal and is 49% owned by General Electric. The company manufactures electric motors and other component subassemblies such as heating elements, control panels etc. used in household appliances.
The following three rulings by the judge are contrary to the usual stance taken by CRA to reject a claim.
Technological Advancement: The Court ruled that research does not have to lead to technological progress for it to be SR&ED. Work undertaken in the interest of technological progress, even if it fails, can still qualify. Additionally, increasing the productivity and flexibility of a process can constitute technological advancement. In determining whether there has been experimental development, the Court stated that one must consider the project as a whole rather than looking at each individual test or step separately. This ruling contrasts with the approach taken by CRA.
Technological Uncertainty: Criteria of technological uncertainty can be met by the taxpayer not knowing how to achieve some goal that is very specific to its situation. This is a clear distinction from the statement “Technological uncertainties may arise from shortcomings or limitations of the current state of technology that prevent a new or improved capability from being developed. It is the “no shortcomings or limitations of the current state of technology” reasoning that CRA auditors all too frequently cite in their assessments.
Other findings of note with respect to eligibility are as follows:
Increases in productivity rate and flexibility of the process are acknowledged to constitute a “technological advancement”.
Projects should be assessed as a whole and across multiple years, not “de-constructed” until no eligibility remains.
A diligent search by the taxpayer that shows a lack of information public domain with respect to how to achieve the outcome sought in the project, is adequate evidence of “technical uncertainty”.
The need to develop a commercially viable (i.e. cost effective solution) can be a factor of technological uncertainty with respect to SR&ED eligibility.
Adjusting a manufacturing process can constitute “systematic investigation”.
Technological progress in the manufacturing process equates to “advancement”.
The requirement to develop a cost effective solution was a practical factor with respect to the criteria of technological advancement and technological uncertainty.
While contemporaneous documents are needed to corroborate the occurrence of SR&ED, those documents need not have special content relating to SR&ED; it is sufficient to be able to cross link the work claimed to the timeframe of the claims.
The last part of the ruling would be interest to claimants familiar with the SR&ED audit process. CRA often uses internal staff as expert witnesses in court, including using the same staff members who denied the claim in question. In this case, the Court ruled that the CRA staff member appeared to be guided by CRA guidelines, including certain standards for proving facts which were not appropriate in his role as expert witness. The court found that the Crown’s expert (a CRA employee) was not sufficiently impartial after the taxpayer objected that the he was not “independent”. The court observed the expert’s “confusion” between his duty to uphold the very CRA administrative policies that formed the basis of the original assessment and his role at court which is to “clarify” technical evidence so that the court can make its decision.
Raj Phalpher, P.Eng, CMC, is the Chief Results Officer of Resultel Technologies Inc. Raj’s focus is exclusively on SR&ED tax credits since 2002. Previously he provided training, counseling, and support to some of the world’s largest and most prestigious organizations in both the public and private sectors. Raj founded and chaired Emeritus of Toronto SPIN (Software Process Improvement Network) and is the Past-President of CIPS Toronto Chapter . Raj currently serves on several boards: GTA Chapter Board of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants [CAMC], Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar, Oakville Senior Citizens Residence and Shared Services International in addition to owning the Networking track of Silicon Halton monthly meetups. [ Email] [LinkedIn] [Web]
As tech companies, and especially startups, we seem to be constantly searching for places to ‘hang our hats’. We’re all more than comfortable working ‘virtually’, but we also know that there’s nothing like a face-to-face meeting with clients or investors when the time comes.
At NEXED we’ve been lucky to be able to use a beautiful café in Bronte – Taste of Colombia – to host many events, demos and meetings. The café recently expanded and now offers an events room adjacent to it. It’s 850sq.ft with space for up to 60 people, wifi throughout, access to a digital projector and sound system, tables and chairs that can be arranged as you need them and free parking. And of course, having a café right beside you has benefits that don’t need to be spelled out.
Currently, Taste of Colombia is offering the space at a reduced rate for SH members. To book an event please contact Yurry Wu at 289.837.2031. And stay tuned for updates about a new SH meetup group on Fridays at the café – TGIF Tech. The first is scheduled for November 28th- 3-5pm. More details coming soon!
Sometimes a more formal and intimate atmosphere is required. Carolyn Moshtagh of AXXYR, also located in Bronte, is offering her boardroom to SH members who are looking for a quiet place for smaller meetings. Again, with access to whatever you may need to meet, demo and discuss. Contact Carolyn at 416.500.9195 to set up a time.
So if you need to get out and about, these are two great locations in Bronte for SH members to call home- at least for a couple hours!
We are thrilled to announce that Silicon Halton has reached 1000 members, with our 1000th member joining the LinkedIn Group last week. This milestone puts us well on the way to our BHAG goal of 2500 members this year and shows that our three pillars of Technology, Community, and Growth are really resonating with high-tech professionals living or working in Halton Region.
Meet Our 1000th Member!
Our 1000th member is Alan Montgomery (LinkedIn profile), a telecom tech serial entrepreneur based in Burlington. His latest venture is ModTel Installations, a telecom service company. Alan lists his title on LinkedIn as “CEO, shipping clerk and janitor”, so we had a feeling he would be an interesting person to talk to.
So this intrepid reporter caught up with Alan on the Internet and asked him a few questions.
Alan Montgomery on Entrepreneurial Beginnings
Q: Can you tell us about how you got started and your current company?
A: Voicetouch (my first venture) was created in 1991 as an entirely different venture than what it became. It began as a part time venture with my dad here in Burlington providing telecom based check-ins on seniors on behalf of their children (think of a proactive alternative to “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”). That didn’t really develop as well as we had hoped, and the company lay dormant for a couple of years while I worked in sales and marketing for several industrial control firms.
I’ve loved finding deals and buying/selling ever since I was a kid, and an opportunity presented itself where I could do that all day, every day and get paid for it and I’ve been at it ever since. The nice thing about being a small company is that it’s very fluid and responsive to opportunities. There are no huge bureaucratic hoops to jump through to get approval for a new product or market. I’ve pursued several of these over the years, and subsequently sold off that part of the business. As examples, we supplied PDA parts to the North American repair centers of major retailers for 6 years, as well as sold large quantities of surplus computers and blackberries to eastern Europe and Africa. Every day was different and exciting – what every job should be! For the last 8 years or so, VoiceTouch has been focused mainly on the wholesale space in the telecom sector as a telecom equipment broker.
A little over a year ago, I acquired ModTel Installations (http://www.modtel.ca/), which was a good customer of mine. ModTel focused on installing and maintaining telephone systems for retail clients (such as Dr.’s offices and school boards). Since then, I’ve spent most of my time growing that business, and now have 5 technicians serving customers across the GTA. Being more vertically integrated than our competitors, we have a distinct price advantage as well as a substantial inventory (with warehouse space in Burlington as well as Niagara Falls, NY). In the past year, we’ve ramped up the VoIP and networking side of the business as well as entering into a couple of strategic partnerships to better serve our customers.
Q: Are you facing any business challenges at the moment?
A: I face the same ones that most (all) small businesses face: finding good people, cash flow and finding a balance between traditional marketing and online/social media… all while trying to run and grow a successful business!
No Place Like Halton for Home, Work, and Community
Q: Do you live or work in Halton (or both)?
A: I live and work in Halton, and have my whole life. I went to school at Nelson and Sheridan College, and now my kids are going to the same elementary school that I did. I’ve traveled a fair bit, but have never found a place I’d rather live (other than an island off the coast of Australia, but the telecom opportunities were pretty thin!).
Q: How did you hear about Silicon Halton?
A: I found you through LinkedIn and also through a friend who works out of the Burlington HiVE.
Q: Why did you decide to join Silicon Halton?
A: I wanted to join because I’ve found that being around innovative people spawns, well, innovation and creativity. I think I can both contribute to, and benefit from, that dynamic.
Q: What can you help other members with?
A: A lot of people find the whole VoIP topic quite daunting and confusing. Hopefully, I can distill some of the cacophony down and help people decide if VoIP is something they should be considering… it’s not for everyone.
Welcome to Silicon Halton, Alan, along with everyone else who has joined in the last few months!
Author Bio: Dave Truman writes about technology and makes technical information easier to find and use. He has done information architecture, marketing writing, and technical writing for companies ranging from Dell to lean software startups. Learn more and contact Dave at <http://davetruman.com> .
It’s a world filled with email SPAM, phishing schemes and malicious software attacks. We see it in our inbox every day and watch it on the nightly news as more and more Canadians and being taken advantage of. To combat these unwanted attacks, Canada has developed a new piece of legislation that comes into effect on July 1st, 2014, Canada Day. Its called the Canadian Anti-Spam legislation or affectionately known as CASL. Although we are one of the last of the G8 nations to adopt legislation against SPAM, it is one of the most aggressive anti-spam laws in the world. But, is it enough to stop the global dilemma of SPAM.
So what are the facts?
As business owners or leaders in organizations, what do we need to know? CASL is based on consent. Call it permission marketing if you will. As of July 1, 2014 you will need to obtain proper consent from the recipients of a commercial electronic message or CEM. A CEM is really any electronic message that is sent for the purpose encouraging action in a commercial activity, regardless of whether there is an expectation of profit. Emails, SMS text, instant messaging and social media messages (e.g. Twitter) are all forms of electronic messages. After July 1, 2014 you will be required to obtain consent, either express or implied, to send an electronic message. Express consent meaning someone actively gave you permission to send them a CEM, like an email opt in on your website. Implied consent meaning you have their consent based on a prior relationship, i.e. a customer from a business transaction. There are some exemptions that you will need to be aware of, like you will not be required to receive consent to send a quotation. Once you have received consent it is good for a 2 year period. Is your head spinning yet?
What can we do to prepare for CASL?
What I am recommending to my clients is that they first complete a CEM audit and process review. Make certain that everyone in your organization that communicates through CEM with clients, prospects, partners and suppliers know about the extent of the new law. Complete the audit and review of all your electronic communications methods, as an example review existing email lists and online data capture forms. Make certain that you have some systems in place for tracking consent from your clients and prospects, like an email marketing solution or a CRM customer database. Now is the time to reconfirm your consents with your existing clients. Why you ask? Because after July 1, 2014 you can’t send an email to get consent. Also, you’ll need to change some process by adding what they are calling “prescribed information” to all your outgoing electronic messages identifying yourself and providing an unsubscribe mechanism. Sound like a lot of work? It is, but it’s the new law and we will all need to comply.
Remember, the penalties for each violation can be up to $1-million for an individual and up to $10-million for companies. Yes, steep!
If you interested in a bit more background on CASL I have deliver presentations on the subject and they are posted on Slideshare and of course there is the government site for more details.
Richard Bolton, Centricity360. As President of Centricity360, Richard Bolton is an independent consultant specializing in small business growth. Focusing on internet marketing strategies, online selling techniques, increasing customer value and implementing value added technologies. He works with business owners, professionals, and organizations as a trusted advisor producing dynamic results.
The ever-changing technology field has resulted in tremendous opportunity, growth and profitability for business owners quick to identify and meet marketplace demands.
Fundamental to financial success is maximizing profit and minimizing operating expenses. Yet equally important, is managing your after-tax cash flow through smart tax planning to ensure you take full advantage of the tools available. Here’s a sample of the tax areas that should be reviewed to maximize profits:
For 2014, corporate tax rates remain unchanged, calculated at 15.5% of the first $500,000 of associated company income and 26.0% on any remaining balance of income. If your corporate income is above $500,000, then there may be opportunities to restructure the operations to use multiple companies to reduce the corporate tax burden.
Personal Income Taxes
There are many tax planning options that can be considered. Although some options are more complex, the tax advantage can be significant:
Tax Integration– our tax system considers the integration of taxation involving corporations and individuals. Some business owners receive a salary from their companies, others may take dividends and some may be a mix of both salary and dividends. Due to increases in the dividend tax rates for 2014, it is important to review your compensation strategy early to determine the best compensation strategy and avoid paying too much in tax.
Registered Retirement Savings Plans – make your RRSP contributions early in 2014 (rather than February 2015), the long-term power of investment compounding is significant. Your contribution limit for 2014 is noted by CRA on your 2013 notice of assessment.
Tax-free Savings Account – ensure you have TFSA in place for all family members, the maximum contribution for 2014 is $5,500 and the cumulative limit since inception is now $31,000.
Registered Education Savings Plan – consider contributing the standard $ 2,500 for each eligible child now, this will generate the standard government grant of $500.
Individual Pension Plans (IPP) – consider the possibility of an IPP for owner/managers. Although there are both advantages and disadvantages to the establishment of an IPP, these plans can be highly effective in the right circumstances to save/defer both corporate and personal income taxes.
Spousal Loans – consider documented personal loan to your spouse, established at the current CRA prescribed rate of 2%. Presumably, your spouse can invest funds to earn in excess of 2% per annum.
Family Trust – the implementation of a Family Trust to own shares in your Company can be a very powerful vehicle for tax planning, estate planning and business planning purposes. Tax planning advantages can involve the splitting of company dividends with adult family members and access to multiple $800,000 lifetime capital gains exemptions applicable to all family members and reduce tax on the eventual sale of the company.
Attention to the above points early in 2014 should be of assistance to help identify and understand tax planning options. However, in the end, tax planning strategies that are implemented should be customized around the specific facts of your corporate and personal financial situation.
If you’d like to learn more about tax planning strategies for your business, or have any questions about the information above – please feel free to contact me.
This blog summarizes the technical and financial changes made to the SR&ED program as of Jan 2014.
For project descriptions, CRA wants project descriptions to include the following five elements:
What were we trying to achieve and what technological (not technical) challenges we encountered? Why technology sought exceeds prior limitations?
What hypothesis was formulated to address the technological challenge? How does a new idea close the gap?
What scientific work was done to prove / disprove the hypothesis? How this work advances the technology sought?
Did the work result in scientific advancement?
Clearly demonstrate the planned approach including:
The experiments and/or analysis conducted,
The results obtained, their interpretation, and
A good example illustrating these aspects is as follows:
Challenge – Smartphones GPS unable to retrieve the location information indoors
Hypothesis – Is it feasible to use LLA (Latitude-Longitude-Altitude) markers, which once scanned could possibly provide accurate location coordinates?
Work Done – Developed code, hardware, etc. to use LLA markers;tested LLA markers in various conditions
Conclusion – LLA markers did not work because……brief explanation, or LLA markers worked and we have successfully developed the ability to make GPS work indoors
These stringent new requirements are coupled with a reduction in tax credits. These reductions are more significant for larger corporations; for small, private corporations (CCPC’S), the following are reduced:
Proxy from 60% to 55%
Contract work from 100% to 80%
Capital from 40% to Zero
Raj Phalpher, P.Eng, CMC, is the Chief Results Officer of Resultel Technologies Inc. Raj’s focus is exclusively on SR&ED tax credits since 2002. Previously he provided training, counseling, and support to some of the world’s largest and most prestigious organizations in both the public and private sectors. Raj founded and chaired Emeritus of Toronto SPIN (Software Process Improvement Network) and is the Past-President of CIPS Toronto Chapter . Raj currently serves on several boards: GTA Chapter Board of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants [CAMC], Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar, Oakville Senior Citizens Residence and Shared Services International in addition to owning the Networking track of Silicon Halton monthly meetups. [Email] [LinkedIn] [Web]