Monday, September 9, 2019

Not exactly cheering...

In spite of having had an agreeable breakfast at the golf club this morning, and notwithstanding the perfect azure sky and refreshing autumnal air, my frame of mind was nonetheless grainy. I suffered that bristling energy characteristic of an impending dispute - though apart from the occasional driver who pressed to pass (and always with the most laughable and inconsequential results) it was only life in its most generalized rendition that disturbed me. It may therefore have been serendipitous that upon regaining the fold I read an email from my accountant which contained those never cherished words "Canada Revenue Agency".

Regarding an email on the fly - that is, without consuming the entire message before coming to an informed conclusion - is naturally a poor tactic.  This however is precisely what I did. My hackles instantly arose upon reading "Canada Revenue Agency"; and I regret to say I shamefully levelled a judgement of imminent distress. Turns out I was wrong.  Indeed the accountant's advice was the exact opposite; namely, nothing further was required.

Having recovered from this unanticipated assault - almost I might add with a degree of pshaw - I imagined my truck regarding matters financial was at an end.  But again I was wrong.  There was in fact a second email from the accountant, this one bearing details of a portal for the on-line accumulation of supporting documents to be filed with one's annual income tax return. It appears that the abacus professionals have adopted the vulgar preoccupation of the merchant class with technology to expedite its offices. The accountants have translated on-line shopping (and the reduction of bricks and mortar) into digital filing.  The theme is essentially that the client will create an electronic filing cabinet (the "portal") and then submit to it a collection of his or her documents. There is of course nothing offensive about this procedure especially since most accountants now file their client's income tax returns electronically.  Most people now receive T4s and T5s electronically so it is eminently more convenient to save and forward those same documents electronically rather than a printed copy by snail-mail or by hand. Where the challenge arises is the creation of the on-line vehicle, both at the generic and individual levels. Technology perpetually ensures struggle upon initiation.

Given the modernity of this transition it is thus expectedly yet fraught with rough edges. In keeping with my usual passion for technology I greedily embraced the opportunity to absorb this particular project. We therefore spent the subsequent hours poring over the technology and adapting our personal resources to it, including a series of communications to the accountant requesting clarification and further intelligence.  All very exhausting in the result, I don't mind saying.  It is however the cost of advancement (a new twist upon the old adage about "the price of knowledge"). What matters now is not so much what you learn but more how you perform it.  Technology hasn't really enlarged the substantive element of our knowledge but it has certainly propelled the manner of communicating it.

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