Description: April 22 marked the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. This year’s celebration did not see the usual events; these gatherings were shut down by the COVID-19 crisis. Swedish activist Greta Thunberg took the opportunity to point out that humanity is now fighting two crises at the same time: COVID-19 and global warming.
Date: April 22, 2020
1) Did you participate in any online events for Earth Day 50?
2) What progress have we made since that first Earth Day? What has gotten worse?
3) In the “Business lnsight” on page 554 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, we read about the environmental goals of the organization managing the major airports in Montreal. Read the “Business Insight,” then answer its question: “In what ways could an airport measure whether its expenses to help the environment are providing a return on its investment?”
Description: On April 22, the Prime Minister announced $9 billion in assistance for students who have found their summer employment options limited, or eliminated outright, by COVID-19. With summer camps shuttered, and traditional opportunities disappearing, students will be eligible to receive $1250 per month. While some will obviously appreciate the government’s action, others may question why the government did not just make students eligible for the $2200 per month Canada Emergency Response Benefit. https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/opinion-student-benefit-covid-cesb-1.5541522
Date: April 22, 2020
1) Are you planning to apply for this benefit?
2) Some people are suggesting that this would be a good time for Canada to move forward with the concept of a guaranteed annual income, rather than a suite of different benefit programs. What do you think of this concept?
3) Page 382 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, talks about cash budgeting, one of the important principles of cash management. Have you prepared a cash budget for the upcoming academic year? Have you factored in this new benefit?
Description: The Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) – the organization that manages the public sector pension funds in the western province – is coming under criticism for investing over $1 billion in the Alberta oil patch. A number of these investments have lost money, with one company collapsing despite a $60 million investment by AIMCo. Critics point out that unlike the Canada Pension Plan, AIMCo is subject to political influence, such as a clause allowing the Minister of Finance to assign chunks of the portfolio to another fund manager.
Date: April 22, 2020
1) Do you know anyone from Alberta who may be impacted by AIMCo’s investment strategy?
2) Why do you think the story seems to suggest that the Canada Pension Plan has a better governance model than AIMCo?
3) Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting identifies three types of pension plans on pages 455-457. Which type do the provincial employees in the province of Alberta have?
Description: For those in the early stages of their careers – with birth years of 1980 through 1996 – the COVID-19 virus has introduced them to their third recession. The CBC interviewed three Canadians in this category to get some perspective and advice. One of those interviewed, Jessica Moorhouse, transitioned from an educational background in film into a career providing financial counseling. One important perspective she provides: “It’s the first time it’s happened to you, but not the first time in history.”
Date: April 14, 2020
1) Have you been concerned about how this current crisis might impact you in the job market?
2) What piece of advice from the article do you find the most useful? Why?
3) In chapter one of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can read about several prominent Canadians who have started their careers in accountancy. (See page 4). Where do you see your career heading?
Description: Business are asking consumers to pay with plastic to reduce contact in face of the COVID-19 virus. The Bank of Canada, however, is urging retailers to continue accepting cash, despite this current climate of social distancing. The Bank does not want to see those who rely on cash unable to transact business for necessary supplies.
Date: April 14, 2020
1) Are you using any cash these days?
2) What do you think you would do if you were an executive for a company in this COVID-19 crisis? Would you stop accepting cash?
3) Illustration 7-2 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, provides a description of control activities over cash receipts. Considering the 5 control activities in the illustration, explain how control might differ if you only accepted payments by cards or other electronic means.
Description: Canadian farmers are getting some help from the federal government to pay for foreign workers. Because the workers will have to be quarantined for 14 days after entering Canada, the government will provide farmers with up to $1,500 per worker to cover pay during the quarantine period. Each year about 40,000 of these agricultural workers come to Canada to keep our farm production going.
Date: April 15, 2020
1) Have you ever worked on a farm? What about your classmates?
2) Would you be willing to work on a farm this summer, given the changed job situation for students?
3) Farmers in Canada are permitted by the Canada Revenue Agency to use the cash basis of accounting under certain circumstances. What are the main differences between the cash basis of accounting and the accrual basis? Hint: See Illustration 4-2 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: Tech writers are claiming that Apple is close to a release of a new iPhone model. Samsung had just announced a new mobile device prior to the current social distancing phenomenon, perhaps giving the Galaxy a leg up on the iPhone. One big question is, when we get to the other side of the COVID-19 crisis, will there be much demand for these new phones?
Date: April 8, 2020
1) Do you think the story is correct in the sense that people may delay new purchases?
2) When do you plan to purchase your next phone? What will be the key factors in your decision?
3) On page 14 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, is a discussion of the concept supply chain. Do you think that after the COVID-19 situation is resolved that companies may change their supply chain practices?
Description: The COVID-19 virus has created havoc in the summer job market for students. Regular summer jobs are disappearing, as well as positions for student practicums and co-op opportunities. The loss of practicums is especially concerning as they are often required for graduation from certain programs. The Prime Minister has responded that the federal government will fund 100% of some summer employment opportunities to encourage organizations to employ students this summer.
Date: April 10, 2020
1) Have your summer employment plans been impacted? How about those of your friends and classmates?
2) Do you think the government’s plan will adequately address the summer-jobs situation?
3) On page 5 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, we learn about the external users of financial statements. If you were preparing the financial statements for an organization that used this student employment program, what do you think you would need to disclose to the external users of those statements?
Description: Around the world, governments, medical authorities, and scientists have been organizing responses to the COVID-19 virus. The response to the crisis is tapping into human resourcefulness and inventiveness. Yet economists are asking what is it that keeps us from being better prepared for such a crisis, one that epidemiologists had warned about? Something economists call the “social discount rate” helps explain why we are reluctant to spend today for measures that can avoid future catastrophes like epidemics and climate change.
Date: April 10, 2020
1) Have you ever heard of the social discount rate?
2) In your business classes, you have probably learned quite a bit about strategic planning. Why can we not seem to plan for big risks as a society?
3) In chapter two of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you will several pages on the conceptual framework for financial reporting. Do you think our current conceptual framework might contribute to our failure to prepare for the “big” problems?
Description: US cellular customers are now dealing with a world in which there are only 3 major carriers. T-Mobile has received regulatory approval to purchase Sprint. Along with the deal, T-Mobile has promised to hold the line on rates and to improve service in rural areas. Some critics maintain that it will be very difficult to ensure the company keeps its word.
Date: April 1, 2020
1) What do you think will happen to rates for consumers with the reduction to 3 major suppliers?
2) Have you ever compared the rates for US phone and data plans to Canadian rates? If there are differences, what might explain them?
3) On page 654 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you will find Illustration 12-3 providing accounting guidelines for strategic investments like this acquisition. Which of the three methods would likely be used to account for the type of investment discussed in this story?