Philip: Working to create a solution that works for everyone

When Philip played board games as a kid he wasn’t solely focused on his own ability to play – he paid special attention to every player in the room.

“I loved playing board games with my friends, so I would take these really complex games and learn them inside-out, and then I would be able to explain the rules and how to play the game so each person could understand it. I wanted it to be fun for everyone.”

Philip joined the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in 2014. As with the board games he loved as a kid, Philip’s role at the Agency involves identifying how different projects throughout the CRA impact one another. He then ensures that he understands all the interactions and rules so that the solutions developed work together for all users.

At the Agency, Philip met long-time colleague Kyle – “someone who definitely would have enjoyed my approach to games as a kid,” Philip laughs. Together, Philip and Kyle began working on Confirm My Rep, an online service that gives taxpayers an active role in authorizing who has access to their tax information. Taxpayers access this service through My Account and My Business Account to actively confirm or deny authorization requests from representatives.

“It was a real challenge in developing Confirm my Rep to make sure that I understood how each issue interconnected between systems like My Account and My Business Account, to actions like filing returns, to people like the taxpayer, their representatives and auditors,” says Philip. “I would look at the big picture and get lost in specific details – and Kyle would often bring me back down to earth.”

Every day working on Confirm My Rep was different. Part of Philip’s role was to ensure that the service would meet the needs of all types of people who interact with the CRA. He was also the spokesperson for the service explaining how it would work, giving speeches, attending meetings, and demonstrating the importance of the service to stakeholders.

Spending time on his family farm as a kid gave Philip a unique perspective of how one specific community interacted with taxes and the CRA. “I noticed how different their experience was from others. Tax season is also planting season – so while it may have been convenient for others to be focusing on taxes – farmers were out planting crops. I saw that a one-size fits all approach doesn’t always work. This taught me how important it is to meet with clients from all sides before deciding what is best for everyone – and that’s what we did when we were building Confirm My Rep.”

With his ability to see many needs at once and to see how big a difference that small changes can make, Philip, alongside Kyle and various IT divisions, was able to create a service that gives individuals and businesses an active role in protecting their information.

Confirm My Rep went live in October 2021. Since then, Philip and Kyle continue to explore how the rules impact all the players and have continued plans to improve the service.

This story is part of a series to celebrate Small Business Week 2022, and part one of a two-part series about Confirm My Rep. Read about how Philip’s colleague, Kyle, worked with IT teams across the CRA to ensure that the portal could be coded online and would look seamless to all users.

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