Canadians Stayed Within Holiday Budgets in 2011
The 2012 RBC Post-Holiday Spending Poll revealed today that a majority of Canadians stayed within their holiday budgets in 2011. With 69 per cent keeping holiday spending in check, Canadian’s concern over debt levels and their tracking spending within a budget are reasons given for why they were able to stay on track.
On the other hand, 31 per cent of Canadians expressed they had spent more than their allotted holiday budget, a downwards of two per cent from the previous year. Overspending an average $467 per person, those Canadians that were outside of budget spent $38 more than they did in 2010. The demographics of overspenders showed that women over the holiday were more likely to be generous with their budget while parents also spent more than planned.
"It's encouraging to see that the majority of Canadians kept an eye on personal debt and took a more cautious approach to holiday purchases," said Richard Goyder, vice-president of Personal Lending at RBC. "However, some Canadians went beyond their budget, meaning that there's still room for improvement when creating a budget and payment plan."
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The RBC poll also found that holiday overspenders would have a more frugal January. 42 per cent planned to cut back on entertainment while 41 per cent expect to cut back on day-to-day living expenses such as groceries, phone and cable. In the end, 31 per cent of Canadians hope to give their credit cards a break in January while 31 per cent think cutting down their coffee trips will help them get back on track.
"There are ways to get into the spirit of the holiday season without breaking the bank and then having to deal with short-term fixes throughout the year," added Goyder. "The New Year is a great time to review your finances, get a proper handle on your debt load and set out a budget to pay it off and start saving."
When it comes to keeping within one’s budget, Goyder offered these important tips:
- Tackle your debt: Organize your debts in order of their interest rates and pay off the one with the highest interest rate first. Also consider consolidating all of your loans under one umbrella.
- Track and prioritize spending: Look at your monthly expenses to get a better idea of your daily spending. Include everything, even small items such as snacks and coffee. Prioritize your spending by looking at small adjustments that you can make easily before moving on to bigger items. Try to tuck away a fixed amount into savings or investments, such as a Tax-Free Savings Account or an RRSP.
- Use free online tools: Online debt calculators can help you track your overall debt and how this compares to your income and savings. These online tools are free and easy to use so that you can get a consolidated view of your full financial picture.
- Get professional advice: Speaking to a qualified financial advisor can give you a better idea of your overall credit situation and advice on what strategies you can use to reduce your debt load and stick to your savings plan.
Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda
New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.
According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.
And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.
Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.
Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax
Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.
According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”
Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models
Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.
Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected
in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.
"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."
Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities
Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.
At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”
Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting
Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.
Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact
Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements
Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.