Description: With winter-like weather hitting several parts of Canada last week, you may have seen many citizens enjoying the warmth of a “Canada Goose” jacket. With rising revenues, the company is seeing its shares up about twenty percent. Meanwhile, Canada Goose has invested in the acquisition of Baffin, a footwear manufacturer. It looks like Canada Goose is expanding beyond its warm clothing and into the winter boot market.
Date: November 14, 2018
1) Have you ever worn a Canada Goose jacket? What makes them so popular?
2) What do you think of the company’s expansion into footwear? Is it a good strategic move?
3) Using the guidelines of Illustration 12-3, page 654 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, what method is Canada Goose likely to use for its acquisition of Baffin?
Description: According to the theory, the massive US tax cuts of last year were supposed to get the tech companies hiring lots of workers. But according to the Financial Times of London, five large American tech firms, including Apple and Alphabet, spent $115 billion on share buybacks. This could be setting up the companies for long-term problems as instead of investing for the future, they may be focused on short-term gains for investors and executives. Meanwhile, the taxpayers may have to dig deeper or suffer program cuts as the treasury suffers from revenue depletion to pay for the tax cuts.
Date: November 14, 2018
1) What is your feeling towards the tech giants and other companies that seem to have been spending their tax savings on dividends and buying back shares?
2) Do you think tax cuts are a good way to stimulate the economy?
3) In Chapter 13 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, problem BE 13-11, page 739, poses the following question regarding Apple: “Why do you think the amount of dividends paid is greater than the amount of capital expenditures in 2014?” Given the information presented in this article and Chapter 13, what do you think the answer might be?
Description: How did this happen? So, you’ve probably heard that marijuana has been legalized and there are now a variety of ways to buy it, depending on where you live. But in New Brunswick, where the government has chosen a Crown corporation model, at least 12 of the roughly twenty Cannabis NB stores were shut down some time in the last week because they were without inventory. Customers showing up at the closed doors were probably not pleased.
Date: November 6, 2018
1) Had you or your classmates heard about this store closure issue? What was your response?
2) On page 6 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can read about the impact of stock outs. How do you think these stock outs at Cannabis NB may impact on the company?
3) What journal entries would you prepare to show the sale of a product and the corresponding cost of goods sold when you sell inventory? See Chapter Five of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: According to a recent survey by Robert Half, over three-quarters of Canadians are tired at work on a fairly regular basis. If you are tired, it is more difficult to put in a strong effort at work. More mistakes can happen. Profits could suffer. Productivity catalyst Clare Kumar argues that both management and the employees share responsibility in making sure workers get that 7 to 8 hours of sleep most people require.
Date: November 8, 2018
1) Could you relate to this story? Is getting enough rest an issue for your life?
2) What approach might you take to try to determine the cost of tired workers to a company?
3) In Chapter Seven of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, we can see a discussion of the limitations of internal control. What limitations does worker fatigue best fit under?
Description: Last week this space featured a discussion of a request by Statistics Canada to obtain banking information of Canadians without having approached those Canadians first. Of course, the opposition parties in Parliament were quick to criticize this apparent breach of protocol, though Statistics Canada had made efforts to brief the press beforehand. This week National Post columnist Andrew Coyne offered another view of the story, noting how political parties in Canada have plenty of personal information about us in their files. To make matters worse, the federal political parties have written the laws on privacy such that they do not apply to them.
Date: November 5, 2018
1) Were you aware of the volume of information the political parties can gather and their exemption from privacy legislation?
2) Have you ever worked on a political campaign? What sort of information did you have available to help the campaign?
3) How are donations to political parties treated in filing personal income tax returns?
Description: With fuel costs per litre up close to 40% over last year, WestJet’s latest earning report is not pleasant reading for shareholders. Profits are down this quarter. In addition to the fuel cost pressures, the threatened pilots’ strike in May probably impacted passenger bookings. And, like others in the industry, WestJet feels the intense pressure of low-cost providers.
Date: October 30, 2018
1) Have you ever flown WestJet? How would you rate this airline compared to others?
2) From reading this article, what would you say are some of the key challenges faced by airlines in setting ticket prices?
3) Take a look at the opening vignette in Chapter Nine of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making. What does WestJet use as the useful life of its airplanes in calculating depreciation?
Description: It’s been a source of dispute between Newfoundland and Quebec for many years. But the Supreme Court ruled this week that there is no need to reopen the 65 year agreement covering the Churchill Falls hydro development. The problem is that Hydro Quebec has earned about 27.5 billion dollars from the project because the price it pays Newfoundland actually decreases over time. Newfoundland has earned about $2 billion over the same time period.
Date: November 2, 2018
1) Had you ever heard of this Churchill Falls problem? After reading the linked article, where do you stand on this dispute?
2) What lessons can an accounting student learn from this dispute?
3) What are some of the significant challenges associated with planning massive capital projects like this?
Description: Statistics Canada says that our banking information is “carefully protected and never shared publicly.” But with the headlines full of data breach stories, news that Statistics Canada has been asking the banks for our banking information – without asking us first – was grabbing attention this past week. Opposition politicians are piling on the Liberal government on this story and the privacy commissioner has started an investigation into the matter.
Date: October 31, 2018
1) Are you concerned that your banking information may have been shared with Statistics Canada without your approval?
2) Do you feel confident in the assurance over data secrecy provided by Statistics Canada?
3) The article has a picture of a citizen about to make a purchase via a bank card. What type of control activities would you expect to see over such a transaction? See page 360 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: In a bold move, Starbucks had opened a location in Washington, D.C. where customers can order using American Sign Language. The store is located near to Gallaudet University, a preeminent institution for the deaf and hard of hearing student population. Other features to enable better communication include two-way consoles that will permit customers to dialogue with the baristas.
Date: October 23, 2018
1) Do you know how to communicate with American Sign Language?
2) What are some challenges faced by the deaf and hard of hearing student population on a university campus?
3) Take a look at the concept of the Balanced Scorecard in Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making. How might a move to open a store like this one be reflected in a balanced scorecard at Starbucks?
Description: Exxon calls it “baseless allegations.” But the New York Attorney General is moving ahead with a lawsuit, saying Exxon deliberately understated the potential liability for dealing with carbon costs in Canada’s oil sands. Right now the Attorney General is floating a figure of approximately $30 billion in understatements. The aim of the legal claim seems to be to force Exxon to return money to investors who may have not had the correct information on which to base their investment decisions.
Date: October 26, 2018
1) Were you aware of this legal suit? What is your opinion on who is right and who is wrong?
2) How would accountants develop estimates for these carbon costs?
3) If you were an auditor, how would you go about developing an audit program to verify these cost estimates? What sort of audit engagement would this be? (Hint: See chapter one in Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach.)