A Chip in the Windshield
A good friend of mine, definitely not me, was driving to his weekly dinner with his parents and took a stone to the front of the windshield. There was a loud SNAP, one that makes you jump in your chair and bang your head on the ceiling of the car – at least, that is what he told me. Sure enough, there was a substantial chip right in the centre of the window.
“Damn, perfect ending to a terrible day,” he thought as he continued down the road, running late for dinner. Like the world was not messed up enough with complications at work, family strife and Christmas just around the corner. The last thing he needed was an additional cost and the time it would take to deal with it.
Today’s cautionary tale will be a metaphor for (I always love the phrase ‘metaphor for’ – could one just say meta-eight?) procrastination, timed for the beginning of the new year…perfect.
My friend meant to take the windshield in for repair right away, but a week later, it was unchanged. Then early one morning, when the car had been outside overnight, on an unusually crisp and frosty winter’s eve, he came out and started the car, cranking up the defroster. The sound of the c-r-a-c-k was just like ice on a shallow puddle as you slowly press down with your winter boots.
He felt the guilt spreading through his bones for a task undone, as he watched the windshield defrost to reveal a 2-foot splinter heading left and right. “Damn – that should have been repaired last weekend.” He made a mental note to fix it right away. But,
“There were planes to catch and bills to pay,
he learned to walk while I was away…”
By now, the crack went from the driver’s corner, all the way over to the edge of the passengers’ window. He really would have to deal with it right away. But, even as I typed out this story it started to spread north towards the roof of the car – before long the windshield will be lying in his lap.
“Really, this weekend I will get it fixed,” he lamented just last evening as he reviewed the events of the week.
Is there a chip in the windshield of your organization, or your personal finances?
- A staff challenge that you have not addressed?
- A restricted balance that needs your attention?
- Does your chart of accounts drive you crazy?
- A need to repair or update equipment that is tired or out of date?
None of these problems will go away without addressing them head on. Their impact on profitability and growth will spread until it is hard to see through the challenges.
We need to stay vigilant and deal with issues and problems as they arise. Dealt with quickly, they will be challenges, soon forgotten; left to fester, they will become nightmares that haunt out dreams.
If you are facing challenges, give me a call and we can start to tackle them right away. Now, does anyone have a suggestion on the best place to repair the windshield in a Buick?
If Clarity NPO can help, go to our contact page and drop me a note, or give me a call.
Please feel free to leave a comment, below.
Thanks for your eyes.
Now Hiring: Bookkeeper
You like to work independently and are both effective and efficient. As an experienced bookkeeper, you have strong foundational skills and would like to learn how to maximize them. You have used some or all of QBO, Sage 50, or Xero.
You are excited to work from home but also to travel to and engage with our client’s in their work spaces throughout the Lower Mainland.
You make things happen instead of letting them happen. In ten years, you want to be running our business as an equal colleague.
Finally, you believe that diversity is strength, that differences are opportunities, and that our handicaps are also our gifts.
At Clarity NPO we support not-for-profit organizations and charities by:
- helping them to control and develop their accounting and financial reporting processes
- supporting their progress through setting budgets and achieving targets
- developing the highest standards of governance and clarity of communication
Many of our clients currently need bookkeeping support. We are anxious to accommodate and are looking to add your bookkeeping talents to our team.
Please send your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org, with bookkeeper in the subject field.
In your cover letter please tell us about a time when you found unparalleled strength in diversity, or answer the question: how does diversity build strength?
It has been my honour to support Movember for a few years now. Two years ago I started letting the highest bidder colour my Movember moustache any colour of their choosing.
In 2017, one of my students, Reese Wilson, (now in tax at PwC) put us over the top by making a masterful bid that entitled him to colour my moustache. Reese chose thankfully, not just to humiliate me, for he has two causes that he cares about. The first is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which, at the time, used a pink ribbon. The second is Pink Shirt Day, which supports anti-bullying. It is because both these use pink as their colour that he chose the vivid pink that you see in the picture above.
Last year, in 2018, it was Harvey Peters (of No Social Media for Me) that stole the show by making an incredibly generous donation. Harvey works with the well-recognized accounting firm, Manning Elliott, and he has always been a generous and caring man whom I respect and love. Thank you Harvey for all that you do.
So here it is 2019! I’m so excited to be participating again this year and extremely proud that I am doing so under the banner of Clarity NPO. We started operations a month ago and I’m not sure we’ve learned to crawl, let alone walk and grow moustaches. I am determined, however to make this a successful year and to challenge the targets established and met in the last two years.
- The network established in Clarity NPO is small and so we will be asking a lot of each of you as we look for participants to help us achieve our targets.
- The Movember target for this year is $2000. If we make that target, the highest bidder gets to choose the colour of my Movember moustache.
- I colour on the last day of the month to be certain of the highest bidder and I wear it dyed for a week. This year, much to my chagrin, I will be attending a conference at the Directors College in Ontario where I will be completing my journey to become a Charter Director. I think that means I’ll be in a room with a bunch of serious people trying to do serious things, while sporting a purple, or green, or rainbow coloured moustache.
I hope that it will be you that picks that colour. I hope it will be you that helps me achieve my goal.
During the month I will write a piece each week to update the progress and maybe to show the occasional picture of my fledgling and pathetic “oh so white” ‘stache.
Here is what I need you to do:
- log onto My Movember now and make a donation if you are able.
- Send a note, today, to five people that you think might be willing to support Movember and this journey.
- Share this blog on your LinkedIn, or your Facebook.
- Follow us on Instagram and share the photos of my moustache and progress.
- Follow me/us on Twitter (Grant and Clarity-NPO) and share the fun.
Thank you for your support, as always.
Six Things to be Thankful for this Election Season
After listening to the leadership debate last week, I am determined to find the top six reasons to be thankful for Canadian politics and the election cycle that we are currently enjoying (sic).
I am hoping you may want to comment, yell, cheer, talk back to me–there is a place to do that on our blog, for we value your contribution.
I am going to do this left to right, by which I mean the order of the leaders in the photo above, not the electoral left to right.
- Elizabeth May
Can we really claim gratitude for there being a single woman engaged in the leadership race? One out of six is not the goal. The goal is enough strength and recognition that we get to stop counting. The goal is that we are certain of equal respect, without question.
We may, however, be thankful that climate change issues have grown in strength where a party exists to give the climate crisis voice. We may be thankful that hundreds of thousands of people gathered across Canada for the climate strike and have made it a critical issue in this campaign.
- Justin Trudeau
We can complain about lots of things, but let’s give thanks for the willingness to open new paths. It is challenging to allow dialogue and still show a united front. Justin walked that path, in his caucus, and stumbled along the way, but we can acknowledge that none before would even take the risk. We should continue to expect fractures when the ground changes under our feet.
- Andrew Sheer
My social thoughts go left, way left by some standards. So I do not share much in common with Mr. Sheer. But let’s be thankful for a leader who strongly acknowledges a position of conscience and an equal commitment not to try and impose it on the nation.
Sheer has said, “I am personally pro-life but I’ve also made the commitment that as leader of this party, it is my responsibility to ensure that we do not reopen this debate: that we focus on issues that unite our party and unite Canadians, and that’s exactly what I’ll do and why I’ll vote against measures that attempt to reopen this debate.”
This is an astoundingly strong statement of political conscience and we should be thankful that the dialogue is open and direct.
- Maxime Bernier
What a diverse world, that this extreme voice should be able to stand at a podium and debate with someone as far left as Jagmeet Singh. It is a strong democracy that welcomes his voice to the stage. While giving him credit, for having achieved the position overnight, we should acknowledge that his voice clearly resonates with a real portion of the political spectrum. We should appreciate that there is a segment of the population that needs dialogue and needs to be heard, if we wish to avoid the extremism we see south of our border.
- Yves Francois Blanchet
What a kick! I am always thankful that the strength of our democracy allows for a party committed to the breakup of the nation, as it exists. I take comfort that, although there seems a possible resurgence, it is based on soft selling the separation issue.
- Jagmeet Singh
The NDP may well form the balance of power after next week. This would be an amazing reality for a party whose fortunes seem to be in free fall. We could do worse. Our history is full of social program development that comes when the NDP are in a position of influence. We should be proud that we have such a social voice.
Discourse can get messy, and parliamentarians continue to talk over top of one another. I would prefer the rhetoric be toned down and that we could have conversation instead of commercials and attack ads, but there remains value in the commitment and positions of those who seek to lead.
I am excited for the results, next week and also for the feedback I might get from you. Thanks for reading and please hit me with your best shot.
One can plan for anything, but should always be prepared to expect it to end up differently. Ten years ago I started a CA firm. “But what have you done for me lately?” said the unrelenting anxiety of being.
Well here it is, welcome to Clarity NPO! Welcome to the fall of 2019 and the rise of my new reality.
Soon I will talk about the future.
Today, as I start this piece, it is 6:00am I have finished my morning run (yes, I run now) and I am sitting in my luxurious office, at 7:00am Joanne will text me and I will walk back to the house to have coffee, read a paper and share some time together, before the day really gets rolling. Idyllic!
The photo at the head of the story was just taken. I walked to the door of my garage stepped into the yard and took a picture of the house. It is dark, but the camera says otherwise. My luxurious office is my garage, or as I call it, The Garoffice. I have a desk, a couple of monitors, and a friend gave me a printer. Over my left shoulder is the truck, over the right is the car. Flint sleeps about 2 feet away. It is simple and I love it.
When the weather is good!
I hope this is something we will share, that is why I am writing this article to you.
Clarity NPO is about supporting Charities and Not-for-Profit organizations like this:
- You should know more about your financial statements than your auditor does. I want you to learn the comfort of confidence in your reporting. That is Clarity.
- Your goals are hard to reach, because change is difficult and your society is in the business of change. I need you to have the security of establishing budgets and goals that you will achieve. We provide the power to budget financial goals of growth and achievement. That is Clarity
- The role of management as it relates to the governance of the board is always ebbing and flowing. Your organization is unique and will achieve more as those roles are clarified. Success means that your unique structure is working for you. Management and the board should feel comfortable in their governance role, knowing how to support each other. We coach governance and, yes, that is Clarity
Clarity NPO is unique. Our team wants only to see you achieve your dreams. We are thrilled by seeing your success.
I do not exist in a vacuum, many people support me, and in future articles and interviews, I look forward to introducing you to some of the great people I have the pleasure to work with and support.
For now, I have a favour to ask. This is the first piece for Clarity NPO and I want you to do three things for me:
- Please leave a comment on the blog or where you find this (good or bad) and I will endeavour to suffer the slings and arrows only briefly, before I take arms… Your feedback will make me stronger.
- Please post this article on your social media, because it will help me grow my entity and support more charities and NPOs.
- Please help me reach out to the not for profit organizations that you know and love, so we can work together to achieve their vital mission statements. Just forward this to those organizations you support and believe in.
If we haven’t met and you are wondering how much to believe, that is so easy. Just go to Clarity’s Website and look at the people we support and the testimonials. During my professional career I have supported many organizations and we grow because our clients refer us.
Together we will change the world.
A Note on Inclusion
Inclusion … gulp.
This is an exciting period at Clarity NPO, as we launch our services and open our virtual doors.
In this post I want to tell you a little about our work to focus efforts on inclusion. This is a watch word for Clarity, and a frightening one at that. I am challenging the organization to consistently take the path less chosen, to involve everyone, to expose our blind spots, so this means sensitivity and open learning. It shines the light into the dark corners of my ignorance.
Today, I am going to focus on just one of those challenges. As we looked to build our website I raised the issue of building a site that is inclusive for persons with disabilities. This started both Corinne Impey (she is one of the superstars that supports Clarity NPO) of Six Words Communications, and me, on a road of discovery.
I had only a vague knowledge of The World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C and only that because I listen to Spark, with the amazing Nora Young (I am so looking forward to the new season!). If this is new for you, there is an international effort founded on the belief that: “The social value of the Web is that it enables human communication, commerce, and opportunities to share knowledge. One of W3C’s primary goals is to make these benefits available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.” (Keio, 2019)
With a little more digging, many elements of an accessible website came to my attention:
- Changes to the way you navigate, to allow keyboard only navigation, for those find a mouse unsupportable.
- Reducing or eliminating text in graphics, so that text can be read by a computer, a requirement for visually impaired users.
- Including written transcriptions of audio, to support those with hearing impairments.
- Much of our work is prepared in a font called OpenDyslexic3, which has been designed to assist readers who experience the challenge of dyslexia. You may be seeing these words in that font now!
Clarity NPO wanted our website to be as compliant and onside as possible. We found lots of support through the W3C and worked with another couple of amazing individuals, Stephen Ramsay and Steve Fox, both with our great IT provider Fox Canada. Together, we developed something of a white paper on how to build an inclusive website. Our final product includes a checklist that can be used to monitor your success in making your own website meet the W3C standards.
If you are involved with an NPO or charity, I know that inclusion may be a fundamental principle for you, and you may not have crossed this barrier yet. We can help and we can do so in two ways:
- If you are a do-it-yourself kind of team, then download our report and checklist on inclusive websites, as you can use it to test how well your website stands up to the test.
- If you would like more support, give us a shout, and we can provide an audit of your website’s inclusive status. We will review the site and provide and report on the best steps and costs of becoming even more compliant.
Clarity NPO is committed to being inclusive in as many ways as possible, today we have taken a very quick look at some of the work we do on or website and in our publications.
But I try to be sensitive to my failings as well, in this regard, please support us by speaking out when we make mistakes, because it helps us learn. Expose us when we are insensitive, or just plain ignorant, so we can consider, engage and adjust. On our website, we leave the comments open on our blogs, in order to welcome feedback. our policy is to edit or remove only those who:
- Appear to be generated by bots
- Use language that is deemed inappropriate
- Appear to be harassing or bullying in nature
Finally, I have two requests:
- Click here to receive communications from Clarity NPO so you will never miss my ramblings.
- If you have comments or criticisms about this blog piece, please leave us a note on our blog page, or wherever you have found it.
We grow through your comments and feedback.
Download Website Accessibility – Your Guide to Inclusion on the Internet here for more information and a detailed checklist that will help ensure your website is accessible.
Tax Support Spring of 2020
I want to share something fantastic that I got to do last spring and the incredible opportunity that it has opened up for me in the new year.
Clarity NPO is teaming up with The Lookout Society!
A number of years ago, I reached out to the MS Society, Lower Mainland Chapter to offer some assistance for those suffering with MS and finding the disease a barrier to filing their taxes. We looked at putting a program in place, but it ultimately failed, as some of my colleagues felt that it was a drain on profitability.
This spring, free of the barriers, I reached back to MS and we put a program in place. I was able to support about 20 people, for whom the complexity of filing was burdensome. While doing it I became more conscious of the challenges that tax filing creates and the limits it imposes on those who are disadvantaged.
I was struck by scale this year. I prepared three returns in a row:
- The first, a successful entrepreneur owed over $10,000. For them this was a frustration
- The next was another financially successful person, whose refund was also greater than $10,000. For this person, the refund was a pleasant surprise and they quickly considered how to spend this bounty.
- The third person had taxable income that was less than either the extra taxes of the first or the refund of the second.
The disparity of the circumstance left me gobsmacked.
Every year I talk to clients about their tax credits. You also get them, and some examples are:
- Child tax credits
- Medical credits
- Charitable donations
For those in poverty a couple of other ones are the BC Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit, which is designed to cover the cost of the carbon tax for people with lower incomes, and the GST tax credit designed to offset some or all of the GST/HST paid by lower income parties.
Now here is the deal, if you do not file, or do not get these important credits. You do not get this cash.
Struggling with poverty restricts the ability to file a return, sometimes simply due to a lack of an address. Those of us who are privileged find taxes frustrating and a nuisance, but to many in our society they can be a lifeline.
Next spring Clarity NPO will be working jointly with The Lookout Society to assist disadvantaged people in filing taxes. Details are still pending but watch this place for updates.
- Would you like to help?
- Do you have feedback
Please drop us a note on the blog because your opinions and comments matter and the inspire change.