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Meet the Collins Barrow Brown Inc. Team

David Brown, CPA, CA, CIRP
May 26, 2015

David Brown, CPA, CA, CIRP

For over 30 years Dave has been helping people solve their debt problems and learn how to live a successful debt-free life. He treats everyone with respect and understanding and enjoys the personal reward of seeing people recover from a difficult situation. Today, he oversees a team of professionals that has helped thousands overcome financial obstacles, get out of debt and regain their financial freedom and well-being. He is highly experienced in overseeing complex personal and corporate debt restructuring, including CRA tax debt settlements.

    Andrée Laurencelle, B. Comm, CPA, CA, CIRP
    May 26, 2015

    Andrée Laurencelle, B. Comm, CPA, CA, CIRP

    Andrée Laurencelle is a bilingual Licensed Insolvency Trustee who has been assisting people in solving their financial problems including business, consumer and income tax debt for over 20 years in the Ottawa area. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (1997) and a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional. She has been working for national accounting firms in the insolvency division for over 19 years including Collins Barrow Brown Inc. when she joined the insolvency practice in 2012.

    Syndic authorisé en insolvabilité bilingue, Andrée a aidé de nombreuses personnes à résoudre leurs problèmes financiers par l’entremise de processus légaux régis par la loi de la faillite et de l’insolvabilité depuis plus de 20 ans dans la région d’Ottawa. Elle est une professionnelle agréée en insolvabilité et en restructuration. Elle est également comptable professionnelle agréée (1997). Elle a plus de 19 ans d’expérience en insolvabilité au sein de cabinets comptables nationaux, y compris celui de Collins Barrow Brown Inc. auquel elle s’est jointe en 2012.

      Julie Merkley, B.Comm, CPA (ME), CIRP
      May 26, 2015

      Julie Merkley, B.Comm, CPA (ME), CIRP

      Julie joined the insolvency group at Collins Barrow in 2008 after four years in the insolvency and debt restructuring practice of a global accounting firm. She obtained her US CPA (ME) designation in 2003, her CIRP designation in 2011 and received her license to practice as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in 2012. Julie is focused on assisting consumers and small businesses experiencing financial difficulties, including negotiations and settlements with Canada Revenue Agency.

        Gail Dagg
        May 26, 2015

        Gail Dagg

        Gail began her career in the HR department of a global accounting firm in Toronto. Approximately twenty-eight years ago, she moved to Ottawa where she began working in that firm’s insolvency and debt restructuring practice. She subsequently completed the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Administrator course and the examination of the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP). She has also met the qualifications of the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) of the Government of Canada to conduct initial meetings and assessments of individuals in financial distress and to provide credit and financial counselling in accordance with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). During her career Gail has assisted thousands of Canadians with financial concerns and challenges to better understand their finances, to declare bankruptcy and to file consumer proposals. She has advised and assisted Canadians from all walks of life, including students, unemployed, retired, disabled, self-employed, wage earners, married, separated, self-employed, income tax debtors, professionals and new Canadians. With her many years of experience in the insolvency practice, and her ability to relate to people, Gail’s empathy and strong listening skills help benefit her clients. She believes in people and treats everyone with dignity and respect. Gail teaches them how to manage their finances and provides them with the tools to help them in their future endeavours.

          Trevor Brian
          May 26, 2015

          Trevor Brian

          A native of Montreal, Quebec, Trevor has lived most of his life in Ottawa, Ontario. Upon graduating from high school he studied marketing and business at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Ontario. He then worked in the sales and marketing fields for a number of years. For the past twenty years, including the past ten years with our firm, Trevor has held various positions with Ottawa, Ontario, Licensed Insolvency Trustee firms. Always willing to go the extra mile to listen to and give support and direction to individuals in financial distress, he has a strong understanding of personal bankruptcy and proposal practice and administration. He is currently the assistant to Gail Dagg.

            Meric Arsen
            May 25, 2015

            Meric Arsen

            A native of Turkey, Meric lived for many years in Germany before immigrating to Canada over twenty-five years ago. She speaks and writes fluent Turkish, German and English. Meric is our receptionist. It is Meric’s calm and pleasant voice that you hear when you first call to make an appointment, or we contact you to confirm a meeting. Upon arriving at our office, she will greet you with a smile and offer to get you a cup of coffee or a glass of water. Meric is also responsible for a number of our accounting and office support functions.

              Esther Thornback
              May 24, 2015

              Esther Thornback

              Esther has spent her career in HR and accounting positions with large manufacturing and car dealership concerns in southern Ontario. For the past eleven years, she has been responsible for our banking and trust accounting. She has a strong command of the professional and regulatory banking requirements that Licensed Insolvency Trustees must comply with. Our customers may contact her directly to address questions about their required payments to us.

                November 19, 2014

                Meet the Collins Barrow Brown Inc. Team

                Your Licensed Insolvency Trustees and Consumer Proposal Experts

                We are a group of chartered professional accountants, licensed insolvency trustees and proposal administrators. We have very strong knowledge, know-how and experience in accounting, finance, income tax, bankruptcy and debt- restructuring law and practice. Each of us is dedicated to helping you resolve your debt crisis, and appease your creditors, with timely, affordable, caring advice that is proven effective.

                  Home Budget Calculator
                  November 13, 2014

                  Home Budget Calculator

                  • Home Budget Calculator

                    Managing your monthly budget can be difficult and frustrating. One of the most important aspects of controlling your budget is to determine where your money is going. This calculator helps you do just that. We’ve also prepared a few tips to help you get a better handle on the budgeting process so you can take greater control over your finances.

                    Using This Calculator

                    By entering your income and monthly expenditures, you can see how much you have left to save and where your money is being spent. In addition, press the view report button to compare your budget breakdown to our targets which can help identify areas for improvement.

                    Do You Need a Budget?

                    Does your household need a budget? Are you experiencing any of these issues?

                    • Difficulty paying bills
                    • Difficulty paying off debts
                    • You have trouble keeping track of your money
                    • You’re having trouble saving money
                    • Want to plan and save for future purchases or events
                    • Want more money for the things that are important to you
                    • Experience stress in your relationship due to money issues

                    Even if you only said “yes” to one of these items, you’ll benefit from a household budget.

                    A budget helps you manage your income and expenses to get a handle on exactly how much money you have and where it goes every month. A budget gives you a guideline to follow and can help you guide your spending to reach your financial goals.

                    A budget will help you:

                    • Prioritize your spending
                    • Reduce expenses
                    • Save more money
                    • Pay off debts
                    • Eliminate personal and relationship stress

                  Home Budgeting Basics

                  If you’re feeling uncertain or apprehensive about your household budget or your budgeting skills, don’t worry. Preparing a budget doesn’t have to be complicated, and can be simplified into a straightforward 5-step process:

                  1 – Set Goals

                  Why do you want to set a budget? Start by identifying what your financial goals are. These should include both short-term and long-term goals.

                  For example:

                  • Paying off your debts
                  • Saving for retirement
                  • Saving to buy a new home
                  • Planning for future education (your or your child’s)
                  • Travel

                  Saving for these goals should absolutely be a part of your budget. They will help inform your decisions and help you prioritize your spending habits.

                  2 – Identify Income and Expenses

                  After you’ve set your goals, you need to identify your income and your expenses. Start by tracking all your expenses for a week to get a sense of where money goes during your day-to-day. Expand on this list and track expenses for a month, recoding everything. Looking at a full month of expenses will give you an accurate image of how much you’re spending on average.

                  Record all these items in a spreadsheet and compare it to your monthly income. It might surprise you to see how quickly small expenses add up and how large expenses can be more manageable than you think. If you’re spending more than is coming in, you might be at risk of falling deeper into debt.

                  Note: Debts and loans count as expenses but will eventually be paid off. Don’t forget them in your list of expenses.

                  3 – Evaluate Your Needs and Wants

                  Needs are, as you’d expect, necessities or requirements that are essential for your life. These include food, housing, clothing, transportation, and medicine.

                  Wants are those things that you’d enjoy having but could live without. For example, eating out when you could buy groceries and prepare meals for yourself is a want, not a need.

                  What are your needs and wants? Identify them by going through your expenses. For example, if you can brew a cup of coffee at home and buy it in bulk, do you really need to buy one every day? This doesn’t just have to be for the basics and day-to-day items, either. If you’ve been eying a beautiful new car, but a second-hand or older model will work just as well, that would also be a want vs. a need.

                  4 – Build Your Budget

                  Now that you have the data you need to work with, it’s time to put it all together. You’ve got to compare your expenses with your income and prepare budget figures accordingly. Create a month-to-month document with budget lines for all your expenses. It’s important to ensure your budget is balanced, or that the expenses are never higher than your income.

                  If you do find your budget doesn’t match with your income, you need to make some cuts. Watch for small recurring expenses, and cut those first, alongside any “wants,” and see how that impacts your budget. Be realistic and honest with your budget. It’s of no use to you if you fudge the numbers a bit to make your expenses look less ominous or overwhelming! This is your roadmap to success. Use it accordingly.

                  If you have any leftover money—a surplus—it’s important to use it wisely. If you’ve budgeted for monthly savings or an emergency fund already, your surplus can be redistributed to other areas to help with you budget. Alternatively, that surplus can become your emergency fund.

                  5 – Use Your Budget

                  You’ve built the budget and created your plan—now stick to it! If your pay periods are irregular due to the nature of your job, or you’re paid on a set schedule, start planning how you use your paychecks to get you through the month. For example, rent is due the first of each month, so with a bi-weekly payment schedule, you know you’ll need to have that money set aside by the end of the month.

                  Monthly bills, too, should be accounted for. You should track your progress and monitor how closely you adhere to your budget, updating as needed and as you achieve your goals or as you modify your strategy.

                  If you’re still struggling to create a budget, or you find your debts overwhelming, contact Collins Barrow Brown today. If you’re feeling stuck, we can help you regain control.  As a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, we can substantially reduce and eliminate debt with federal government-licensed bankruptcy and consumer proposal services.

                  Our passion—our mission—is your health and well-being!