Message from the

Executive Director

 About Heather               About CTF            

October 2018

Hello to all CTF members—

I have discussed in earlier messages the strategic plan that our Board of Governors developed and approved last year. I committed to providing you with periodic updates on our progress in achieving the plan’s goals.

You may recall that four areas were identified as priorities for the Foundation: (1) membership and engagement, (2) eminence and thought leadership, (3) volunteerism, and (4) technology and innovation. This month I would like to focus on the last of those areas, largely because the recent member survey has made it apparent that technology and innovation are increasingly important in how we deliver our services to you. Our digital initiatives have been very well received, and there is clear encouragement to do much more.

The strategic plan identified three primary initiatives for supporting technology and innovation. The first initiative is tactical but very important: we resolved to modernize the two main digital interfaces with our members—TaxFind, and the Foundation website. The new TaxFind platform was rolled out last month, and we recently started the rebuilding of the Foundation website, a project that should be completed in January. The other two initiatives are broad and longer term: building the internal capabilities required to ensure that we continue to innovate; and balancing the provision of our traditionally strong content with responsiveness and diverse delivery channels.

The member survey generated considerable feedback across a wide range of areas, and all of this feedback will help inform our thinking. Many of you are clearly making innovation a priority in your own organizations, and your thoughts on innovation are a benefit to us.

Some of the dominant themes of your feedback are as follows. First, there is great enthusiasm for the live webcasts offered for many of our major events, with members citing convenience and flexibility as important benefits. There is encouragement to further expand the digital reach of our programming. Many would like to see additional webcast-only sessions, short and regularly scheduled, on topics of current interest. Others have suggested bundling a selection of past video presentations on dedicated topics—for example, a “deep dive” into the TOSI rules or an overview of topics concerned with professionalism (the latter provided in time to meet the year-end deadline imposed by many governing bodies). There are also suggestions that we add our video material to TaxFind so that it can be readily searched. (Fortunately, we earmarked this video content for such inclusion, and have made certain that the new platform will accommodate it.)

Second, members increasingly expect that all of our content will be available digitally. Although some still enjoy hard copies of our publications, the vast majority clearly prefer to receive conference reports and the Canadian Tax Journal exclusively in electronic format, and they look forward to our books, too, being available in soft copy. Furthermore, all of this content should, ideally, be readily searchable. I can inform you that we intend for TaxFind to serve as the single platform for all of our digital content, with new publications to be added to it—starting with the next edition of The Taxation of Private Corporations and Their Shareholders, currently in production. In addition, we have a digitization project currently underway, led by our library team, that will capture considerable historical material.

A third and final technology-related theme from the survey feedback concerns members’ interactions with the Foundation. Our website has been a point of frustration. It contains a wealth of useful information, but it is difficult to navigate. In addition, basic transactions such as registering for a conference, paying dues, or purchasing a publication are unnecessarily complex. To be credible as an innovative organization, we must deliver a consistently high-quality experience to our members. I believe that we have done that with the new TaxFind, and I look forward to soon being able to share with you an equally clean, intuitive, and mobile-friendly website.

There were a host of additional suggestions on how we might use technology to better support you, all of which we will be examining carefully. These suggestions included some great ideas about expanding our programming to smaller communities, providing more support for specialized areas of tax practice, and improving the remote access to our library collection and staff.

I look forward to providing further updates in future messages. Thanks again for all of your input.

See you next month.

Heather L. Evans,
Executive Director and CEO

11/13/2018 9:12:48 PM