We leave 2021 in a different
but similar space to the previous year. The needs of the business community continue to change along with the
challenges put before it.
For the last Voice of Business of the year, we’re taking a look at a few of the issues that
business are facing.
Bruce Springsteen recently sold his recorded music catalog for a reported $500 million. A musical legend, there’s obvious value in holding the rights to much of his life’s work, but how much value?
Many modern businesses are built and thriving on what is termed intangible assets. These are items that aren’t physical,
but hold value. This can include algorithms, intellectual property, copyrights, research and
development, and brand value.
The Chartered Professional
Accountants of Ontario recently release a white paper titled You Can’t Touch This: The Intangible Assets Debate. It’s a must read for businesses
investing in technology and innovation, highlighting the need for accounting to modernize to develop a buffer against the risks of a market with jaw-dropping valuations for start-up and tech stocks and the monetization of assets like cryptocurrency and carbon offsets.
According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, seven of the 10 largest companies in the world were built on a
data-first model and it’s
estimated that 70% of the value of companies listed on the TSX consists of intangible assets.
The white paper is available through both the OCC and CPA Ontario websites.
Business Needs for Future Public Health Emergencies
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on governments of all levels to update their plans for future public health emergencies so unnecessary and damaging economic disruptions can be avoided. This includes:
• Travel protocols
To avoid broad-based shutdowns, there is a need to develop a range of testing protocols to enable safe travel. The Canadian chamber would like to see things like
recognizing vaccinations status, health credentials, and foreign digital health credentials sorted out ahead of the next health crisis.
• Increased harmonization of policies and regulations across provincial boundaries
The confusion with
contradictory messaging and protocols from various levels of government has been costly. A coordinated approach will help avoid the patchwork we’ve seen unfold.
• Future workplace health and safety guidance
Businesses want to implement the appropriate public health measures to protect
employees and customers, but the ever-changing nature of the guidance they have received has made it
overwhelming to follow. A clear, coordinated approach will help businesses navigate not only health rules, but
accessing PPE, handling
vaccinations and the
implications of it, and
protecting digital information from cyber attacks.
• Initiate an independent review of lessons learned
COVID-19 has killed millions of people and devastated economies around the world. A thorough review will help us prepare for the next crisis. It’s key that the review not assign blame, but sort through what did and didn’t work to help us plan for the future.
Fall Economic Statement
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued its response to the federal Fall Economic Statement, voicing its concerns that it would have been an ideal time to lay out more of an economic recovery plan rather than waiting for the 2022
budget. The Chamber notes that despite progress,
businesses are facing some
including more than a million job vacancies, one-third of businesses reporting labour shortages, over 40% reporting rising input costs as a
challenge, and the looming threat of a new COVID variant.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcomed
funding for rapid test kits, the introduction of a tax credit for small businesses to support ventilation improvements, and the extension of the home office expense deduction. However, concerns remain about the plan to get back to balanced finances, no thorough plan to address supply chain challenges, a lack of initiatives to address cyber security
challenges, and we’re long overdue for a review of our tax system.
Though we’re facing a lot of challenges and they don’t feel significantly different from last year — we have positive
momentum. Vaccinations are freeing up critical intensive care beds and our health
agencies and pharmaceutical
companies are responding to changes and challenges at a record pace. We’re currently dealing with some setbacks, but we are slowly moving forward.