Description: A phone that folds. Lots of talk about 5G, for those who claim they need even more speed. An electric-powered Harley that connects to the cloud. Audio technology that attempts to simulate the concert experience. And, of course, lots and lots of those trendy virtual assistants. These are a few of the highlights of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Date: January 9, 2019
1) Do you or your classmates know anyone who has visited the CES in Las Vegas? What was the best memory?
2) If you were the controller of a company with representatives attending the CES, what account would you recommend for the travel expenses to be charged to?
3) What is the difference between research costs and development costs? Check out chapter nine of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: It seemed at one time that the internet might offer greater freedom and democracy to the population of China. But the growing threat of China’s hacks and espionage are causing us to rethink those views. A recent paper describes the 2015 attack on GitHub’s giant stores of computer code. This attack has been called the “Great Cannon”, a companion to the “Great Firewall.” Whereas China’s “Great Firewall” is designed to control information flowing into the country, the “Great Cannon” appears oriented towards controlling what gets out of the huge nation.
Date: January 10, 2019
1) Does this story about the Great Cannon and the Great Firewall concern you?
2) What can companies do to address this type of security risk?
3) In what phase of the audit would the auditors assess the risks associated with possible attacks like this. See Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach.
Description: Malaysia is building mountains of our plastic waste since China ceased accepting it from the west in January 2018. For over 25 years, China had accepted roughly 50% of the western world’s plastic waste, turning it into products to be sent back to us. Meanwhile, Canada’s two largest grocery chains, Loblaws and Sobeys, seem to be far behind grocery stores in Britain in reducing all that plastic consumer waste. By 2050, some have estimted the weight of plastic in the ocean will exceed the weight of fish.
Date: January 11 , 2019
1) What do think Canadian grocers could due to reduce the amount of plastics we take home with their their products?
2) Why do you think retailers choose plastic over other types of packaging?
3) Which type of audit discussed in Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach might a grocer use to report its performance in reducing plastic waste?
Description: Somewhat of a rare move you might call it; Apple has predicted a downward trend in its sales volume due largely to declining demand in China. Apple’s bad news comes amid a brewing trade dispute between China and the United States, the world’s two largest economic powers. The markets did not like this bellwether news, sending Apple stock and the markets downwards. Meanwhile, Canadian markets benefitted from a 47 cent rise in oil prices.
Date: January 3 , 2019
1) Are you an Apple user? If so, what appeals to you about their products?
2) What type of year are you predicting for the Canadian economy?
3) Why do you think Apple has stopped disclosing the number of units sold?
Description: In the grand battle of the City of New York versus Airbnb, the online rental agency wins this round. This means that Airbnb and other online rental agencies will not have to provide the City with details of renter addresses and names. The City is concerned that Airbnb and similar agencies can drive up rents and change neighbourhoods. In many cases it is illegal to rent an apartment in New York for less than 30 days.
Date: January 3, 2019
1)Have you used Airbnb or a similar service? What was your experience?
2) Do you agree with the City of New York’s position that short-term rental services like this will drive up rents and change neighbourhoods?
3) Where would you anticipate seeing a lawsuit discussed in Airbnb’s financial statements? For information on this question, check out chapter ten of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: So they have large and expensive houses there on Yacht Haven Lane in Saint John, New Brunswick, and so of course they pay their fair share of property taxes. You can imagine then, that the Yacht Haven Lane residents would expect the City to plow their road. But years ago, when the property developer, Sandy Robertson, began the development, his road into the community was classified as too narrow to be designated as a City of Saint John public road. Therefore he and the residents had to assume the costs of snow plowing, despite their contributions to the public purse.
Date: January 4 , 2019
1) Whose side do you take on this discussion?
2) If you were the Treasurer of the City of Saint John, what advice would you present to the City to help in the decision regarding snow plowing on Yacht Haven Lane?
3) If you are a company that has just received your property tax bill for the year, what journal entries would you need to record to set up the transactions related to property tax? Hint: You may want to take a look at Chapter 10 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: Unemployment in Canada has hit its lowest rate in forty years. The curious thing though, is that wages are not rising, in contradiction to our understanding of demand and supply. So, we seem to be faced with a case of good news/bad news. Though an increase in jobs is a very good thing, Manulife Asset Management executive Frances Donald said “I would caution us against celebrating too quickly.,”
Date: December 7, 2018
1) With employment numbers up, how does it look for you in terms of finding summer employment?”
2) What’s your theory on why wages are not keeping up with job growth?
3) On page 422 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can read about the work of collection agencies. How do you think the current low unemployment tsitutation would influence the work of collection agents?
Description: Some call them job killers, those automated checkouts that seem to be spreading in the retail world. According to a survey from Dalhousie University, about 25% of those sampled had never used a self-checkout. Automation obviously allows for companies to cut costs. Some argue, though, that technological change leads to job growth.
Date: December 8, 2018
1) Are you a regular user of the self-checkout? Why or why not?
2) How will these advancements in technology impact the Canadian economy?
3) In the article, you can read a comment from citizen Dan Morris of Brockville who said “Machines don’t pay taxes, they don’t pay into the pension plan.” Where do companies account for their pension liabilities in their financial statements? Hint: See page 62 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: Some shocking news emerged this week as we found out that Canada had arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States. As the Canadian court held a bail hearing on Friday, it seems that the CFO faces possible fraud charges regarding Huawei’s use of a subsidiary to sell product to Iran. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is expressing considerable concern around the matter. Stock markets reacted negatively in fear that the event may trigger further trade troubles between the US and China.
Date: December 7, 2018
1) Do you or any of your classmates use a Huawei phone? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
2) How do you think this international situation will play out?
3) What are three common methods used to account for an investment in another company? Hint: see page 654 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: For many years, General Electric (GE) was a darling of the stock market, hitting target after target and pursuing solid growth. But now, analysts are sounding alarm bells. There are liquidity concerns about GE, as well as an ongoing investigation of its insurance business. In addition, there may be possible tax issues to deal with. It’s no wonder the stock has reached a low last seen during the financial crisis.
Date: November 30, 2018
1) How does a company go from a place of high esteem to, as the story says, a place where it “can now barely go one full week without a negative headline?”
2) How would these current problems at GE impact an auditor’s decisions around audit risk? (For more information on this topic, consult Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach.)
3) What are some common measures of liquidity, one area of concern at GE. (If you consult chapter 14 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can see a full suite of liquidity measures all in one location.)