Editor's note: taking on the challenge

Okey Chigbo, Editor of CPA Magazine, introduces the features in the May 2015 issue.

According to The Globe and Mail, the first out-of-province expansion of La Maison Simons, the 175-year-old Quebec retailer, has "generated more than $600 per square foot" of retail space since 2012. This outstanding performance at the West Edmonton Mall should serve as a warning to the rest of Canadian retail. The retailer — it started as a dry goods store in the 19th century — is planning to establish itself across Canada as a major national brand in the next four years.

Our cover story on this planned expansion is focused on president and CEO Peter Simons, fifth generation scion of the Scottish founder. Writer Kathryn Leger met with him at his office in Quebec City. "You can’t sit in your little backyard and say, ‘I am the biggest fish in a little lake,’ " he told her in the conversation about the family company’s plans to grow outside la belle province. "It is a big ocean out there and there are a lot of sharks all trying to eat our lunch." There is no doubt that the Canadian retail industry is in deep competition with all sorts of big fish swarming in from the south, and that the situation demands action. Will Simons win against the sharks? Read more in Simons Says Shop.

What’s a Sherman Tank? No, not the ubiquitous, massively produced armoured fighting vehicle that was so useful to the Anglo-American Allies in the Second World War. In workplace terms, a "Sherman Tank" is not useful at all: unlike the US-built main battle tank that ganged up on German Tigers, it is not a tool for punching through (military) problems. It is a hindrance in the workplace. "Sherman Tank" is the tag used by management consultant and author John D. Byrnes to identify workplace bullies who destroy everything in their path in an effort to silence anyone who dares question them. In On the Job With Difficult People, writer Rosalind Stefanac interviews experts who tell us how to defuse the incoming artillery from these office terrorists and how to deal with other types of office problem people.

The women’s movement has brought about tremendous changes in the workplace for women around the world, especially in Western countries. So why is there still a gender gap in compensation in many professions, including the CPA profession? In The CPA Gender Pay Gap, writer Robert Colapinto looks at a 2013 CPA Canada survey that examined this and compares it with other studies in other professions. With a new CPA Canada study on the topic coming out this month, Colapinto asks a number of female professionals why this problem persists.

Did you know that the total debt owed by Canadians is $1.3 trillion? In The Theory of Everything Debt, writer Mary Teresa Bitti digs up all that you might want to know about what we and the rest of the world owe.