Description: Ten years ago a think-tank known as the Carbon Tracker Initiative concluded that the amount of fossil-fuel reserves held by corporations was about five times greater than the amount scientists had concluded the planet could reasonably absorb. The finding, in a sense, paved the path to the divestiture movement. In these last ten years, investors have dumped approximately $15 trillion in fossil-fuel investments. A recent report from the giant firm Blackrock indicates that dumping these investments has not hurt returns, indicating that the momentum for this divesting trend may well continue.
Date: April 3, 2021
1) Has your university divested of fossil fuels from its endowments and other investments?
2) Do you support the trend towards divestment? Have you participated in the movement on campus?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, deals with the issue of asset impairment (see 9-16). At what point do you think the resource producers will have to consider writing down their reserves of carbon-producing resources?
Description: It’s a big ask by Britain, but some politicians are claiming that tobacco companies should be forced to pay for the cleanup of cigarette butts. Discarded cigarettes have been calculated to form close to 70% of litter counted in surveys. The annual cost of the cleaning them up is estimated at 40 million British pounds.
Date: March 30, 2021
1) Do you see many cigarette butts in your community? Do you think they would be 70% of the litter you see as they are in Britain?
2) What do you think would be the most effective way to promote and encourage litter cleanup efforts?
3) Chapter 1 of Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach contains a section discussing corporate social responsibility assurance. Do you think the issue of how manufacturers deal with impacts of waste/litter/etc that come from their products would fit under this umbrella?
Description: NFTs: have you heard of these nonfungible tokens? Art student Jonathan Wolfe certainly has. He sold one of his digital paintings recently for 24.43 units of Ethereum, a cryptocurrency, bring him over $50,000 Canadian. All told, Wolfe has generated over $1 million for sales of NFTs since last fall, all for artwork he used to post for all to see on Instagram.
Date: March 25, 2021
1) Have you ever heard of NFTs before? What do you think of this concept?
2) Does your university have an art program? Have any of the students been marketing their work as NFTs?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, deals with long-lived assets. How would a company account for any holdings of NFTs?
Description: Despite the global corona virus pandemic, Canadian clothier Canada Goose has been flying high. With traditional retail establishments in reduced operations, Canada Goose has taken advantage of digital commerce. With three of its eight Canadian factories unionized, CEO Dani Reiss has also spoken out against the notion that the maker of luxury jackets is experiencing some labour unrest.
Date: March 24, 2021
1) Do you see many Canada Goose jackets on your campus? Are you a fan?
2) What is your opinion of the company’s approach to managing the issues around potential unionization of the Winnipeg factory?
3) Page 5-6 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, has an inset “Accounting Matters” box discussing challenges of managing inventory at Canada Goose. What is your opinion of the company’s decision to expand its lines to include fleece and footwear to help deal with some of the issues it faces?
Description: It’s a big boat stuck in a relatively small space. The Ever Given, a huge vessel with a length stretching over 70% of the height measurement of the CN Tower, has been stuck in the Suez Canal since March 23. This has been causing headaches for many as the Ever Given has shut down traffic through this major passage. With 10 % of global commerce passing through that narrow opening, supply chain disruptions are a concern.
Date: March 25, 2021
1) Have gasoline prices in your area been impacted yet by the blockage of the Suez Canal?
2) Of the various methods being considered to move the massive ship, which do you think sound the most promising?
3) Chapter 10 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, contains a section discussing provisions and contingent liabilities (see 10-9 and 10-10). How might the owners of the Ever Given account for any lawsuits which emerge from this supply chain disruption?
Description: Many would probably say that the pandemic has been a terrible time for business. But a number of entrepreneurs have confounded the conventional wisdom by starting businesses in Canada during these tough times. For instance, Mike Livingstone saw losing his job as an executive in the transportation business as a chance for him to finally start his dream bakery. Meanwhile, two Nova Scotians saw the pandemic shutdown as a unique opportunity to open Chanoey’s Pasta, a predominantly takeout restaurant in Dartmouth.
Date: March 17, 2021; updated March 18, 2021
1) Do you or any of your classmates know anyone who has started a business during the pandemic?
2) Why do you think some people are able to see new business opportunities while the rest of the world is shutting down?
3) Pages 1-5 through 1-7 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, discuss the three major forms of business organization. Which of these do you think is the most likely form entrepreneurs would choose during the pandemic?
Description: Have you noticed it’s costing you more to fill the tank these days? At the start of the pandemic, gas prices fell precipitously, and Canadians were smiling at least one aspect of the shutdown. But now gas prices have come roaring back. This article from the Toronto Star offers a few reasons why you may be digging a bit deeper into your pocket to pay for a fill-up.
Date: March 17, 2021
1) Do you or any of your friends at university regularly drive a car? Have you been watching the gas prices as they creep up?
2) Of the five reasons given in the article, which do you think is the largest contributor to the increase?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, contains a section dealing with “natural resources.” What is the equivalent term for depreciation when we are talking about natural resources such as oil?
Description: It’s a huge deal. Rogers Communications is proposing to buy rival Shaw Communications in a deal worth $26 billion. The marriage of these two large broadcast and cellular empires will drastically change the landscape in an area where consumers often talk about high rates and a lack of competition. Perhaps it is not surprising that the Competition Bureau is being flooded by inquiries since the deal was proposed earlier in the week.
Date: March 19, 2021
1) Which company is your cell carrier? Are you satisfied with cost and service?
2) Do you think the Rogers/Shaw deal will have an impact on consumers?
3) Problem 8.10B on page 8-42 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, compares the collection experience of these two companies. Complete this problem with your classmates and discuss your findings.
Description: Skip the tickets; at least that seems to be the practice of many Canadians and our companies when it comes to paying their fines. So says an investigation by CBC News, one that shows the provinces and the territories are owed $1.3 billion in fines and penalties. The amounts owing include $5 million in fines for a Toronto propane explosion that killed two people 12 years ago, to a Regina resident with $68,000 in parking tickets, and on to someone from Newfoundland and Labrador owing over $72,000 for driving offenses dating back to 1994.
Date: March 11, 2021
1) Have you or any of your classmates ever had a fine? Are they all paid off or could any of your class’s fines be part of the $1.3 billion total?
2) Why do you think some provinces may have downloaded collection of certain fines to the municipalities?
3) Chapter 8 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, is titled “Reporting and Analyzing Receivables.” If you were an accounting officer in a province or municipality, what are some strategies you might employ to recover a portion of these outstanding receivables?
Description: Two of Canada’s largest craft beer makers reported that sales were up in 2020, despite the fact that Corona virus had shut down sales channels in bars and restaurants. Big Rock Brewery of Calgary had its highest sales in seven years. Waterloo Brewing Ltd. saw strong growth of 20% during the year, a figure helped along by the fact that only a small percentage of its sales is in the bar and restaurant trade.
Date: March 12, 2021
1) Do you have any craft breweries in your university community? How have they fared in this strange Covid-19 time?
2) In the article, the Big Rock representative mentions that when bars closed down, the company had to take back a lot of inventory in kegs. Can you think of any strategy that could have prevented the loss of that inventory?
3) The article mentions a term “EBITDA.” What does this term mean? (For some help, see page 14-36 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.)