GOVERNMENT\nFirst official visit\nPrime Minister Stephen Harper meets Kevin Dancey, CPA Canada’s president and CEO; Shelley Brown, chair of the CPA Canada board of directors; and the heads of the major accounting firms during the PM’s visit to CPA Canada’s Toronto office on Aug. 13.\n“This is the first time anyone can recall that a PM has visited one of the accounting bodies,” says Dancey. “I believe this is a dividend from the unification process and proof that as one profession in Canada we can have a more influential voice.”\nDATA DIVING\n\nPlanning a vacation? How will you pay?\n\nSPEAKING OUT \nUnified response to federal budget\n \nCPA Canada’s 2¢ is worth much more than that to federal budget officials.\nEvery June, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance invites Canadians to participate in pre-budget consultations.\nCanada’s accounting designations have always made important contributions. In 2013, CPA Canada teamed up with CGA-Canada on a written submission, and they appeared as witnesses before the finance committee to deliver remarks and key recommendations. This year, CPA Canada — 190,000 members strong — is speaking to parliamentarians for the first time with a single voice. It submitted its pre-budget recommendations in August and appeared before the committee this fall. As a trusted adviser to the finance committee, CPA Canada provides expert insight and counsel that influences the budget process in a way that advances the interests of members and the public.\nCPA Canada’s track record so far has been excellent. In 2013, for example, the finance committee endorsed CPA Canada’s recommendations to simplify Canada’s tax system and standardized business reporting language.\nEndorsement, of course, doesn’t mean CPA Canada’s recommendations make it into the federal budget. The budget is an ever-evolving cycle: the passage of the current year’s budget overlaps and influences the pre-budget process for the upcoming fiscal year.\nThat’s why formal submissions and statements to the committee are only part of CPA Canada’s strategy. Outside the pre-budget consultations, it meets with ministers, members of Parliament, senators and senior bureaucrats. It writes editorials and is part of the government’s media lock-up on budget day. And CPA Canada issues in-depth commentary and analysis after the budget is tabled. (Its 2014 report card resulted in a whopping 4.5 million media impressions, including stories in The Globe and Mail and on radio.)\nConsultation with members is critical. This year’s pre-budget submission was based on input from CPA Canada’s president and CEO, its vice-presidents and members of CPA Canada’s committees, especially the Tax Policy Committee. Visit cpacanada.ca/prebudget.\n“If Canadians are to become more financially literate, then gaining knowledge is essential”\n— Cairine Wilson, Vice-President, Corporate Citizenship, CPA Canada, in an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 13. Visit cpacanada.ca/aplus to read the full story.