Connect Series: Meet Finance Assistant Chloe Do!

Chloe was born in Vietnam and moved to Canada nine years ago to start her education and career in accounting. As a math teacher and business owner Chloe’s mother used to teach her lots of things about math and business finance when she was a kid. Her mother has been the biggest influence in her career choice.

Chloe has a passion for helping business owners and individuals to manage and grow their financial well‑being. She has great attention to detail and enjoys working with numbers and analyzing financial statements. After graduating from Simon Fraser University Chloe had a few years of experience as an accounting clerk. Her main duties were recording, processing and checking all financial transactions to ensure accuracy and transparency.

Chloe is not only passionate about the field she graduated from but also inclined towards creative activities. In her free time she enjoys singing, playing guitar and learning piano from her boyfriend. She also enjoys learning different languages and cooking on weekends.

We see you have a great passion for what you do in the financial world. What has been your biggest win in your career thus far?

So far my greatest achievement was when I was a treasurer for the Vietnamese Student Association at my college. I led my team in hosting a funding event where we sold Vietnamese sandwiches and coffee to students and staff on campus. We made a profit of $350 from selling and used this fund to host a traditional Lunar New Year event for our club members. I learned a lot from that funding event about how business theory applies to the real financial world, how to keep the product cost as low as possible and also how difficult it was to persuade the customers without being annoying.

Many people dislike looking into their finances and try to avoid it until they absolutely have to! What advice can you give to people preparing for the upcoming tax season?

A lot of things have changed recently due to the pandemic, including taxes. Here are some tips that I can share to prepare for the upcoming tax season:

  1. Make sure you report CERB or CRB payments when you file your personal income tax return.
  2. Look into the simplified home office expenses deduction. As many of us worked remotely in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has made it easier to claim a deduction for home office expenses this year. If you were working from home for more than 50 percent of your usual work hours over at least four consecutive weeks in 2020, you can deduct $2 from your taxable income for every day you worked at home due to the pandemic (up to a maximum of $400). This new method is called the temporary flat rate method.
  3. Make tax-efficient deduction decisions. If you expect to have a significantly higher income in the coming years, you can defer taking the tax deduction this year. You can make an RRSP contribution now and not claim the deduction until you are in a higher tax bracket. For example, a $10,000 contribution deducted at a 29 percent rate will generate $2,900 in tax savings. A $10,000 contribution deducted at a 45 percent tax rate will generate $4,500 in tax savings. You’ll still benefit from the tax deferral for any income generated by investments in your RRSP in the meantime, even if you have not taken the deduction.

Finance isn’t your whole life, and we see that you have many other hobbies, such as playing instruments, singing and other creative outlets. Have these hobbies played a part in navigating you through this pandemic? If so, how?

Picking up hobbies is the key to managing mental health. Back in March when I was staying at home all day long, I watched some videos of people around the world making music during their lockdown — from Italians singing “Bella Ciao” from their apartment balconies to policemen in Spain playing guitar while on patrol. I found music to be a cheap and effective way to distract myself and a buffer against stress. Then I started to think of some hobbies that I could do at home and decided to learn to play the piano. Sometimes my boyfriend, my housemate and I play guitar and sing our favourite song — “Lemon Tree” by the Beatles — together on Friday nights. I also tried several singing apps on my phone, such as Smule and WeSing, to sing with my friends online. This has maintained our connection and reduced loneliness during the quarantine. I’ve realized staying at home is not that bad. Staying at home not only protects us and other people from the virus but also enhances our social bonding and gives us a chance to learn some new skills. Music, like so many art forms, can help us process our emotions and feel like we are not alone. The virus might be keeping people apart, but music can help bring them together.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” — Henry Ford

Team resonates with me most strongly because I believe teamwork and collaboration can help solve difficult problems and improve the organization’s success rate. I love working in teams where team members are willing to contribute different perspectives and support each other. No one is perfect and can do all the work alone. Our teammates will help us recognize our strengths and weaknesses. They can also give us constructive feedback when we make mistakes because to me it is not about what mistake we made, but it is about what we learn from it and how we fix it so we are not repeating the same mistake in the future. Having a good relationship with our teammates can make us feel happy and productive at work. Each of us can spend around 40 hours a week and about 80 percent of our lives working. It is important that we spend most of our lives around people who we can connect with and be happy to work with.

We have been talking a bit about wellness on the blog and through our Slack channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying well?

Getting myself a manicure or pedicure is a great way to boost my mood and brighten my day. Years ago I worked in a nail spa, and I loved it. It was so fun to see new clients each day and watch them enjoy doing something nice for themselves. A lot of people would go to the salon to get a mani-pedi, but you can easily get a mini mani-pedi kit from Shoppers Drug Mart and do it at home. Spending a little time and paying a little attention can make you feel like you’re getting a mani-pedi in a spa. Here’s a tip for making nail polish dry faster: after you finish painting your nails, wait about two minutes and then dip your nails in cold water for about four minutes. After you remove your nails from the water, you should see water beading on top of the nail surface — this means your polish is completely dry.