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December 4, 2012

Business update: Tax update

December 4, 2012 - Categories: business

I filed my taxes on November 2 by myself, since I wasn’t comfortable with the first accountant I hired. It turned out to be not that scary (aside from, well, making really big electronic payments) – I don’t mind balancing books, making sense of GIFI codes, or searching the Quickbooks/TurboTax websites for information.

A little over two weeks later, I received a Corporation Notice of Assessment that said I owed an additional $146, with no interest due if I paid it before December 31, 2012. (Good news: that means my tax payments made it into the correct account!) The difference was in the Ontario tax calculations. It was easy to send in another tax payment through my bank.

Someone from the Canada Revenue Agency has been trying to reach me in order to ask questions about my HST registration. We’ve been playing phone tag for a few days. I called the CRA to follow up on that and ask a couple of questions. I confirmed that I was eligible for quarterly instalments instead of monthly instalments. The CRA agent also pointed out that I needed to take into account that I just wrapped up a short tax year, so I recalculated all of my instalments and set up bigger payments. I double-checked that they don’t mind me overpaying my instalments for a little peace of mind. (I know, funny question! “Is it okay if I send you more money than I need to?”) Whew!

I’d still like to know an accountant whom I can e-mail quick questions or ask to review my books. In a few years, I’ll probably want to start taking money out of the corporation in order to take advantage of the basic personal exemption for taxes, and it would be great to have an accountant help me get that set up properly. In the meantime, it’s good to know that the CRA isn’t all that scary – no be-suited auditors breaking down our door! <laugh>

Sketchnote reflection: conference intensity

December 4, 2012 - Categories: drawing, kaizen, reflection

Still a little tired from two intense days of sketchnoting: 62 2-minute pitches from Sunday’s AngelHack Toronto, and then a 12-hour sprint involving 33 talks and 11 startup demos for Monday’s Lean Startup Day. Focused listening is tough – squeezing through hundreds of people to find a seat at AngelHackTO, straining to hear pitches despite the back-of-room chatter competing with weak sound; dealing with a quick succession of topics with a livestream that shows only brief glimpses of slides; tweeting with one hand while drawing with the other.

Although I had to shift writing positions a few times, my hands didn’t cramp up once. The breaks were just enough time for me to shake out any tiredness, drink some water, dash to the facilities, munch my way through three energy bars and a sandwich, and answer questions from curious onlookers. After the conference and a short time at Quantified Self Toronto’s pub night, I gratefully slid into the quiet of solitude, and I slept for eleven hours once I got home.

It was intense work, but worth it. Visually summarizing the pitches and talks during the event itself meant that the sketchnotes could be part of the conversation instead of an afterthought, and people appreciated it both here and elsewhere.



Every time I sketch an event, I learn something. Here’s what worked well:

Here’s how I’m thinking of making things even better next time:

Next on my sketchnoting calendar: today’s talk by Dan Roam on “Blah Blah Blah”, the Wednesday lectures on Entrepreneurship 101, and next week’s book club on “Best Practices are Stupid”. People tell me these sketchnotes are valuable. I’m getting better and better at making them!