Let taxes equal charities

Photo via Thinkstock

Is it really better to give?

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. March 3, 2015

It’s hard to get excited about taxes. Like having someone reach into your pocket and take whatever they want, tax season often leaves us all feeling a little violated. But for as long as civilized living has existed, taxes have been constant and increasing. It’s clear today that if we want to continue living the Canadian life, we’ll need to pay taxes, and a lot of them.

After you wash away the tears, let’s take a look at all the benefits, because it is all about the benefits. Public safety and services are two popular reasons to pay taxes, and they’re good ones. I’ll be glad to pay taxes if the firefighters put out my burning house or if a policeman arrests the dude who just robbed me. I frequent the library, so I’m happy about the books my tax dollars bought. I drive, so I’m glad there is money left to fill potholes and extend the highway. Let’s call taxes a security for our future, insurance for our way of living, and a charity for the people in our society.

As I progress through life, I have noticed that I’m paying more taxes. I remember there was a time when I received money from the government for simply being alive. Now, I’m required to pay it back—it’s bullshit. But I’m not going to stop working; I’m not going to stop making money. My attitude toward taxes is different. I want to make more money so I can pay more taxes. Rich people get praised all the time for donating to charity, but they get pitied for having to pay significant taxes. No! Don’t pity them. They are rich. If needing to pay taxes is a deterrent for wealth, there is something wrong with your mentality, and that needs to change.

Money creates power and power begets money. Taxes break this pattern. They put responsibility on the wealthy to help provide for their less fortunate peers as they cope with the hardships of life.

We are all in this together, although we might not all agree on where the money should go. Some say the money should be dedicated to slums, others say it should go into renovating a public art gallery. Some want it to build a new transit infrastructure; others want to upgrade the healthcare system. We might never agree, but the thing is, we should be optimistic that wherever our money goes it’s going to good efforts. The same way we have little control once we donate to a charity, is the same way we should approach taxes.

Kashoo’s Startup-friendly Software Enables Anyone to be an Effective Accountant

Formerly published in Techvibes. 

The number of small businesses in the country is growing, and for a while we thought that accounting software were never going to catch up.

One of two things needed to happen: either people had to get smarter, be more organized, and find more time in their day to process all their book keeping—or the act of accounting had to become more accommodating.

Well, I don’t know if we’re any smarter, organized, or efficient at what we do—but one thing is certain: Vancouver-based Kashoo, an online and mobile accounting application, is revolutionizing the way small companies establish and maintain their business. The result is no more headaches, neglected invoices, and taxing shoebox of receipts.

“Every small business owner hates accounting and record keeping,” Jim Secord, CEO of Kashoo, told Techvibes in an interview. “It’s hard to do, it’s confusing, and the tools are antiquated—there is QuickBooks or Simply Accounting. With the advent of Cloud and mobile, we saw an opportunity to do it a lot differently. Not only to make it easier, but to make it more convenient. And really disrupt the accounting software world that largely went unchanged for the past 20 years.”

Harnessing the possibilities of touch screen features and mobile convenience, Kashoo is making rock stars out of accountants. The old image of a tepid individual in a dimly lit room, with empty cups of coffee, file folders and a calculator on the desk is no longer a correct portrait of accountants—today with smartphones, tablets, and portable computers, anybody can be an accountant.


RELATED: Kashoo Reaches 50,000 iPad App Downloads


“I don’t think software can ever replace [accounting] expertise,” said Kasey Bayne, Kashoo’s director of business development. “With Kashoo, accountants aren’t doing things like entering your receipts—but more high value things such as business planning and making smarter decisions. More like a business advisor type of role.”

Some people cringe at the word “accounting,” but Kashoo is doing more than changing people’s opinion—they’re gaining popularity success. After iOS 7 was released in September, Kashoo had been the top 10 business apps in 83 countries, top five in 54 countries and number one in Canada.

“Accounting software is pretty much international,” said Secord. “For a small business person, whether you are running it in Canada or if you are running it in Nigeria—it’s very similar.”

The app has over 100,000 registered small businesses in over 180 countries. Kashoo’s iPad app is currently available in English, Spanish and French (with Japanese and German in development).

All in one, but still focused on the specific needs of small businesses, Kashoo offers features that allow users to track income and expenses, making the worrisome annual tax season less of a chore. Features including a built in camera to capture receipts, a quick expense entry function and on-the-go invoicing, not only makes the job easier for business owners, but they’ll be inclined to do it.

“A lot of time, it comes down to the expenses,” said Secord. “There are tens of millions of dollars that small business people in Canada lose because they’re just not organized with their records. They don’t claim the proper deductions.”

With technology becoming so accessible, work and personal life are blending together—so why not make it easier? Kashoo enables users the flexibility of managing business even on vacation. Although some may be repulsed by the idea of having work everywhere, the ability to operate anywhere anytime is a liberating advantage.

On October 10, Kashoo announced its partnership with Paychex, a leading provider of payroll, human resources, and other solutions for small to medium size businesses. Collaboration was more logical than strategic, since both companies have overlapping qualities. Those who use Kashoo will also use Paychex and vise versa.

“[Paychex] recognized the synergy of having an accounting software with payroll software,” said Secord. “When people are starting a business or when their business gets to a point—it may be two or three years—and they say maybe it’s time to get organized and stop running out of a shoebox or an envelope and handing it over to the accountant. Paychex understood that and if they wanted more payroll customers, then why don’t they offer accounting software. They looked around, found Kashoo, and said that is the accounting software they wanted to offer.”