NorthBridge Consulting Services

February 2011

Issue 28

This Issue: Accidental Inventions TestimonialEmployee ProfileDates to RememberStreetwise Five Banks, Five Different Predictions for 2011 Data Collection Through the SR&ED Process

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Accidental Inventions

Some of the world’s best inventions have been created due to a lucky mistake. These inventions sometimes go by the term “accidental invention” – though these accidents have proven to create items that we can’t imagine living without. In fact, some of these inventions have completely altered the way we work on a day-to-day basis.

Taking a look at some of these accidental inventions can remind us that mistakes are not always a bad thing. They can go on to be developed into some of the world’s greatest materials or products.

Penicillin was first discovered in the late 1920’s by Alexander Fleming. Fleming went on a month long holiday during his study of staphylococci – leaving his cultures of staphylococci out in his workshop. When he returned, some of the cultures had some fungus growing on it – and these cultures had no staphylococci in them anymore. This fungus was developed into penicillin, which is still widely used today.

In the mid-1800’s, Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanized rubber when he accidentally mixed rubber and sulphur together. Today, we are still using vulcanized rubber for tires, shoe soles, and even hockey pucks.

The Post-It note was developed by collaboration between Art Fry and Spencer Silver in the 1970’s. Silver had developed a glue that was reusable and pressure-sensitive. This glue was put to use by Fry who saw a need for small semi-permanent bookmark. Since then, Post-Its have become a staple to every office environment.

In the same strain, there are products that were invented for one use that have been repurposed to become what we know them as today.

In 1886, Coca-Cola was created by pharmacist Dr. John Stith Pemberton to cure headaches and other ailments. It wasn’t long before the potential for a soft drink was recognized, and it is now sold world-wide.

Play-Doh had originally been created as a wallpaper cleaner by Kutol Products. When the company discovered that kids were using this product in arts and crafts projects, however, they quickly removed the cleaning agents from the product, and added coloured dyes to make it more fun for children to use.

So what can we learn from all of these examples? Embrace your mistakes – they could become one of those lucky mistakes that ends up being a product that everyone will be using in a few years. And don’t forget that if your product isn’t as successful as you had originally wanted it to be, there may be another use that you hadn’t previously considered for your product.


"Working with NorthBridge was not our first experience with the SR&ED program – a few years ago, we had claimed for the program on our own, only to have our claim cut back drastically during the CRA review. After being approached by NorthBridge, we decided the time was right to try claiming for the SR&ED program again. As well, while putting together our first claim with NorthBridge, a dispute arose with one of our subcontractors about who could claim certain expenditures. Max at NorthBridge worked on our behalf with the subcontractor to settle the dispute, allowing us to claim all subcontract costs that we had incurred. We were pleasantly surprised when our claim was Accepted As Filed. This second experience with the SR&ED program showed us that partnering with people who knew the program well made the claiming process easier for us, and gave us the confidence that we wouldn’t be missing out on funding that we were eligible for."

- Keith Martin, Technical Director at Jamesway Incubator Company Inc.
Jamesway Incubator is the leader in the incubation industry, and has been for over 100 years.

Employee Profile: Jeff Mitobe

Position SR&ED Team Specialist
Industry Experience 15 yrs plastics and wood coatings industries
Educational background BASc – Engineering Chemistry, Queen’s University
Hobbies/Interests Golf, Hockey, Coaching Ringette
Biggest non-work-related accomplishment His two kids!

Dates to Remember

February 28 August 2009 FYE claims due now


February 16 Seminar for ACC Farmers Financial Clients (Abbotsford, BC)
February 24 Seminar in Milton, ON
March 2 Seminar in Brantford, ON


Is Steve Jobs irreplaceable to Apple Inc.?

While the issue of the impact of Steve Jobs on Apple will continue to be hotly debated, the reality is that the answer is likely only to be known over time.

The world's largest technology company by market value, announced on January 18th that CEO Steve Jobs is taking another medical leave of absence with COO Tim Cooke handling day-to-day operations. Since the news, questions have been asked about the future of the iconic company. One can argue that no other CEO is so closely tied to his company’s success than Steve Jobs. His vision for the iPods, iPhones, iPads and MacBooks are responsible for redefining the image of Apple. Since re-joining the company as CEO in the late 1990’s, Apple has gone from a struggling tech stock, hovering around US$5 per share, to around US$340 per share as of January 18th – it’s no wonder why investors are feeling a little nervous.

Entrepreneurs often become so busy taking care of their family and business that they neglect to consider that succession is inevitable, whether it is planned, due to an unsolicited offer or a sudden change in circumstances (e.g., health concerns).

Succession planning has never been one of Apple’s strong suits nor has it been a priority. As the mastermind behind Apple’s success and innovation, as well as being the company’s public face, a lot of people see Steve Jobs as what defines the company, which is easy to see why he has a direct impact the stock price.

Should he have stayed on as CEO after publicly announcing that he suffered from pancreatic cancer in 2004 or when he required a liver transplant a couple of years ago? At the end of the day, I’m sure he had his own smart reasons for handling things the way he did and in his defense, how does one know when it is the right time to start thinking about it or planning it? The answer is, there is no right answer. But what can be done is make sure that the company’s success is not reliant on the business owner. Many businesses, particularly small and mid-size companies, rely on the skills and relationships of the business owner, which will make it difficult to transition the personal goodwill of the business owner into the company itself. That is why it is critical to hire good people and select one or two stars in your management team, who you can trust, and groom them to become your eventual successor.

Steve Jobs, is a great CEO, but it takes a lot of capable engineers and developers to get those products to the market. That being said, Apple still needs a captain. What's potentially bad for Apple, might have been viewed as good for the company's competitors. What do I think? It may be a good time to buy some Research In Motion stock.

Streetwise is written by James Ro, a founding parnter at NorthLink Capital Advisors. The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author of the article and not necessarily the views of NorthBridge. For more information on NorthLink Capital Advisors, please visit or contact James Ro at 416.302.9580 or

Five Banks, Five Different Predictions for 2011

Five banks, five predictions. While there are some discrepancies over the pace of growth, the shared opinion is that "modest growth, the currency close to parity, and mild interest rate hikes" can be expected this year.

Warren Jestin, Bank of Nova Scotia, on the global outlook:
"We're looking at a period of modest growth at best. The delays in fiscal retrenchment and the inevitability that rates will rise, suggest that beyond 2011, economic performance will be meagre and somewhat halting." The main message: "we're on the road to recovery, but we have to get used to the unfamiliar markets and take advantage of the opportunities there in order to capitalize."

Sherry Cooper, Bank of Montreal, on the U.S. economy:
"I believe the U.S. economy will grow at a more rapid pace this year than last." This is mostly because both personal income and after-tax income are growing more rapidly, and also because the unemployment rate is slowly decreasing. Tax cuts and the prospect of corporate tax cuts will also encourage growth.

Craig Wright, RBC, on the Canadian economy:
A "decent growth" for Canada this year is to be expected, steming from: "still low interest rates, a strengthening U.S. economy, and global growth which will spur trade." Several reasons to remain positive include: "businesses are sitting on a 'ton of liquidity,' giving them room to make investments. And a strong dollar will make those machinery and equipment imports more affordable."

Avery Shenfeld, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, on financial markets:
He sees a retreat in prices during the first half of the year in oil, copper, and other commodities, due to the fact that commodity prices have been "behaving as if growth is shooting ahead," and may have overshot supply and demand fundamentals. That may in turn weigh on commodity currencies, like the loonie.

Craig Alexander, Toronto-Dominion Bank, wrapping it up:
Alexander states that "there's no question the recession's over," but due to the fact that huge amounts of uncertainties remain, Canadians are having a hard time being more confident. "Nonetheless, the most likely scenario is still moderate growth, gradual rate hikes, and solid corporate profit growth. I suspect 2011 is going to turn out to be a pretty decent year."

Read more at :

Data Collection Through the SR&ED Process

Part 4: Planning for future SR&ED claims (Ongoing Tracking)

Receiving the refund from your claim should not signify the end of the SR&ED process – the process should be ongoing, in order to prepare yourself for your future SR&ED claims.

The CRA likes to see contemporaneous documentation for claims. Contemporaneous documentation is any tracking documents that were created at the time that your SR&ED work was performed – this includes photographs, prototypes, emails, and so on. The best way to get contemporaneous documentation is to use tracking systems that have been put in place with the help of your NorthBridge account manager. (Don’t let the term “tracking system” intimidate you: a tracking system can be as simple as a few Excel workbooks that we have put together for you!)

Continuing to use the tracking systems that NorthBridge has developed with you is good for a number of reasons.

Increasing claim size. In our experience, we have found that companies with good tracking practices submit larger claims (and thus receive a larger percentage of their refunds) than those who don’t have a tracking system in use. The reason for this is due to the fact that we can see more time and activities that go on during the SR&ED process that may be overlooked when it comes time to preparing your next claim.

Claim preparation time is significantly reduced. Because you already have your tracking in one central tracking system, it is easier for us to gather all existing documentation relating to your SR&ED claim, and to pull that documentation into a meaningful narrative for your claim.

You don’t miss failed projects. Failed projects can often be overlooked, but by tracking them, your NorthBridge account manager will ensure that you claim these and any other portions of successful projects that may have been missed if they weren’t being tracked.

Monthly reviews for eligibility. By having a tracking system in place, you can regularly review the projects in order to see whether you have been doing some SR&ED-eligible work. Your NorthBridge account manager can work with you to review these projects.

Some of the best practices when creating contemporaneous documentation are as follows:

  • Track all activities, even if you don’t know whether they would qualify.
  • Implement a common running project list, using the same project name between different employees. This allows you to return to postponed projects.
  • Update your tracking system on a weekly basis – this will usually only be about 5 – 10 minutes a week.
  • Ensure that all documents are dated – emails, photographs, minutes, contractor invoices, designs, prototypes, etc.

Speak with your NorthBridge account manager to set up the best tracking system for your company, as well as to get other tips to best collect your contemporaneous documentation, so you are well prepared for your next year’s filing.

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