Description: It sounds like a bit of a messy breakup for Canada’s professional accountants. In June, the provincial bodies for Chartered Professional Accountants in both Ontario and Quebec informed the national umbrella organization, CPA Canada, that they were triggering the withdrawal mechanism that would see them leave in 18 months. Meanwhile though, six former chairs at CPA Canada have gone on record to express their displeasure, noting it could bring about the “undoing of unification of the profession” that occurred between the three former accounting bodies (CAs, CMAs, CGAs) in the previous decade.
Date: September 10, 2023; updated September 12, 2023
1) What do you think is the key issue behind this situation?
2) If you have been considering a career in accountancy post-graduation, does this uncertainty in the profession concern you?
3) On page 2-21 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we see a discussion of the role of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in establishing the conceptual framework used in International Financial Reporting Standards. Do a bit of research to determine what role CPA Canada has with the IASB.
Description: Wired is calling it a new era for Apple. The iPhone 15 had its splashy kickoff last week, and one big change is the lightning port has been replaced by the USB-C port, meaning all your Apple devices can now be charged with the same cord. On the Pro Max model, Apple has introduced a periscope zoom camera that will allow users to capture a clearer focus on subjects at a distance. Apple also announced an intention to move towards sustainable materials for its cases and away from leather.
Date: September 12 2023
1) What percentage of your classmates are iPhone users?
2) Do you think Apple’s big product launches are as effective as they once were?
3) On page 3-29 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we read that Apple Inc. would have a large number of accounts on its Chart of Accounts compared to a smaller organization. Why would this be the case?
Description: Injured workers in Ontario may have been surprised this week when the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced that more than 100,000 workers would be receiving payments to make up for being “shortchanged” over the last twenty years. These payments will total approximately $42 million. The situation can be attributed to a coding error that occurred 20 years ago when the WSIB was implementing a cost-of-living component to its formula for calculating compensation to injured workers. CEO Jeff Lang said “We’re not happy it took us so long to find out that we’d made the mistake,” and he noted internal controls are in place to hopefully present future occurrences.
Date: September 13, 2023
1) As a student, have you ever been injured on the job and received worker’s compensation?
2) If you were an accountant responsible for establishing internal controls at the WSIB, what do you think you would implement to help prevent future problems of this nature?
3) Page 7.1 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making includes a discussion on the five primary components of internal control. Which of these five do you believe would have been the most important in detecting – and then correcting – the payment issues at WSIB?
Description: Payment processing company Square was facing problems on Thursday and Friday as customers were unable to access their accounts. Square has been a popular innovation for small vendors who use it to process payments from customers. The system outages also impacted Cash App, an application that is not available in Canada.
Date: September 8, 2023
1) Are you familiar with Square?
2) What impact would a small vendor face if they were suddenly unable to process a payment via Square?
3) Page 7-11 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making includes an inset box titled “What is Cash?” What percentage of purchases in Canada are made by cash?
Description: Rat infested: It’s a headline that kind of gets your attention eh! When it comes to a description of our Prime Minister’s official residence, it’s a sad summary statement on the state of a public building. Justin Trudeau has not occupied 24 Sussex, his childhood home, since he was elected in 2015. And his statement that “No prime minister wants to spend a penny of taxpayer dollars on upkeeping that house” seems to signal that continued decay may be in the future for this facility. But, one might ask, is that any way to treat an asset that belongs to the Canadian public?
Date: September 9, 2023
1) As a student, a taxpayer, and a part owner of this historic asset, 24 Sussex Drive, what do you propose should be done about the situation?
2) Put yourself in the position of a senior financial officer within the government of Canada. Can you think about how decisions to maintain this asset might avoid the negative optics of a prime minister spending public money on his or her own house?
3) Page 9-6 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses the classification of expenditures during the useful life of long-lived assets. If 24 Sussex Drive does receive a major renovation, would you classify the expenditures as operating or capital in nature?
Description: Last week this blog spoke of how New Brunswick’s auditor general, Paul Martin, was about to face questions from a legislative committee on why so many staff (over one-third) have been leaving his office since the start of this year. But for Mr. Martin, it does not appear to have been all that much of a showdown. He attributed the departures to a hot job market for qualified accountants, and refused to disclose if any of the departures were due to firings.
Date: September 7, 2023
1) If you were a graduating student who had received a job offer from the Office of the Auditor General of New Brunswick, would the uncertainty around the firing issue concern you?
2) Why do you think the job market is strong for professional accountants?
3) Page 10-27 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses the role of bond raters, organizations which can significantly impact a government’s cost of borrowing money through sales of bonds. Do you think bond raters would consider the findings in an auditor general’s report before setting that province’s bond rating?
Description: If you are an auditor general, you’re probably used to being the one asking the questions. Auditors general in Canada are generally highly esteemed in the public and the press, and rarely have to face scrutiny of their own. But on September 7 the Auditor General of New Brunswick may face challenging questions from the Public Accounts Committee regarding why so many people have been leaving his office. Since the start of 2023, over one third of the 32 staff have left the Office, what seems to be a very high turnover rate.
Date: August 17, 2023
1) Have you ever seen an auditor general under scrutiny like this?
2) What do you think would be a reasonable turnover rate for an organization of this size?
3) On page 1-10 of Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach you will find the beginning of a section on Threats to Independence. All auditors must consider these Five Threats before taking on any assignment. Which of these threats do you think would create the most difficulty for a comptroller of an organization who immediately became the auditor of that same organization?
Description: Welcome back to another season of wileyaccountingupdates.ca. New and returning students are arriving on campuses across Canada as another academic year gets started. Of course, there is a certain excitement in the air as classes and other on campus activities start up. Fresh friendships bloom and older ones are brought back after a summer hiatus. It’s an exciting time. But some students are facing challenges amid the positives, including food insecurity that drives some to seek relief at college food banks. It’s hard to escape the economy, no matter where you are.
Date: August 30, 2023
Source: yahoo.com; cbc.ca
1) What are you looking forward to as you begin your studies this year?
2) Have you ever experienced food insecurity?
3) Page 7-27 of Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting contains a vignette discussing internal control at the Daily Bread Food Bank. What are some of the internal controls the Daily Bread Food Bank has put in place to protect donated assets?
Description: Canadian banks have been making it clear that it is now time for employees to head back to the office for at least three or four days a week. The hybrid or remote working arrangements that exploded in the pandemic may be coming to an end. But “not so fast,” say office workers. Linda Duxbury of Carleton University sees both the original 2020 transition to remote work and the current push to return to a formal office setting as a bit of a disaster. Duxbury points out the importance of looking at the job, and not the individual currently carrying it out, in determining the future working arrangements.
Date: September 4, 2023
1) As a student you may have a unique perspective on the return to the office, having perhaps carried out both remote learning and remote work. What do you think are the key factors for employers and employees to consider in this time of transition?
2) When you think about your career post-graduation, how important will remote work be to you in selecting an employer?
3) Chapter one of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making includes a brief discussion of the career paths of a few well-known Canadian accountants, such as hockey agent Joe Resnick and Sabrina Geremia of Google. As a future accountant, have you mapped out your career path? What do you see yourself doing ten years from now?
Description: On Wednesday morning we woke to the news that 155,000 federal public servants had gone on strike. While the union has been asking for a 13.5% increase spread over three years, the federal government’s best offer is pegged at 9%. The striking workers include 35,000 from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), raising potential problems for those Canadians seeking information to deal with taxation matters.
Date: April 18, 2023
1) Are you or any of your classmates slated to work for the federal government for the summer? How might this strike impact this employment?
2) Do you require any services (a passport, for example) that might be interrupted by this strike action?
3) Page 6-25 of Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting includes an inset box “Ethics in Accounting” that discusses how the Canada Revenue Agency treats credit losses by companies. What approach does the CRA take on this issue?