Description: The Canada Revenue Agency – the CRA – is sending warning letters to 213,000 Canadians telling them that they may have been paid overpaid by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program. Those who have been paid too much will not have to pay the surplus back immediately, thanks to a government moratorium on CRA collections during the pandemic. The CRA stressed in the warning letters, however, that those in receipt of over-payments may want to clear the matter up before December 31. Otherwise, the surplus amount will be considered taxable in 2020.
Date: November 18, 2020
1) Do you know anyone who received the CERB? Were they aware that the CERB would be subject to taxation?
2) What do you think may be the main causes for these over-payments?
3) One of the subjects in Chapter 10 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making is the handling of employer deductions for various payroll liabilities. Do a little research to determine whether or not income tax was deducted from the CERB payments, just like it would be from an employee’s pay cheque.
Description: It’s an appealing prospect for a new graduate: having a mentor to help guide you in important decisions for your career. IBM’s talent acquisition manager Bridget King spoke recently about her tips for making these relationships successful ones. She offers four points on how to proceed with your mentor, including being curious.
Date: November 26, 2020
1) As you look towards graduation, have you thought about the idea of a mentor? What qualities would you be looking for?
2) Does your university offer career preparation advice? Does this include advice on finding a mentor?
3) Chapter 1 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making talks about a number of famous Canadian accountants such as Senator Elizabeth Marshall, Sabrina Geremia of Google Canada, and Joe Resnick, an agent for a number of NHL players. Do some reseaerch on one of these names or others on page 1-2 to see what they have accomplished in their careers.
Description: One thing the Corona virus seems to have done in Canada is that it created a building boom with Canadians assembling IKEA desks to beat the band. During the pandemic, Canadians purchased 631,800 desks, presumably to help them work at home during this time. This outfitting of home offices has been a welcome boost for the Swedish firm as overall sales are down 8.7 percent. To IKEA’s credit though, they have not laid off a single employee.
Date: November 19, 2020
1) Are you familiar with IKEA furniture? Do you have any in your living quarters?
2) Have you ever assembled IKEA furniture? How did your project go?
3) Chapter 7 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we read of a variety of strategies for cash management. If you were an accountant working for IKEA, what strategies would you advise the company to use during this time of sales decline?
Description: Nasdaq is looking to buy the St. John’s based online security firm Verafin for $2.75 billion. Verafin’s security reach extends to tracking down elusive financial crime, such as money laundering. The plan is to keep the firm in Newfoundland and Labrador, with Nasdaq’s global client base offering an excellent opportunity to grow the business.
Date: November 19, 2020
1) Did you realize that Atlantic Canadian firms were major contributors to the online world? Have you heard of the recent book Unicorn in the Woods that discusses this phenomenon?
2) What do you think causes some companies to be so innovative?
3) Page 312 in Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting talks of both the Nasdaq and the TSX. What is the difference between these two exchanges? Why would an organization choose to list on both?
Description: Canada’s new Auditor General, Karen Hogan, appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday to discuss her Office’s 2019 report on e-commerce. In a nutshell, transactions with foreign vendors are not being taxed correctly. Not only has this placed Canadian vendors at a disadvantage, it has cost our public purse $247 million.
Date: November 18, 2020
1) Have you engaged in e-commerce with a foreign-based entity? Do you know if the proper sales taxes were charged by the vendor?
2) What do you think Canada can do to fix this problem?
3) Chapter 10 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making talks about liabilities for various taxes. What type of liabilities should these foreign vendors be setting up on their balance sheets if they start collecting these taxes?
Description: Did you know that November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada? This year marks the tenth anniversary. The Financial and Consumer Agency of Canada is co-sponsoring a November 19 event with the Canadian Bankers’ Association called It’s your money – Make it count!. The event is targeted towards students, so check it out at https://live.webcastcanada.ca/webcast/registration/be14267d-a885-418c-8645-128eb3be7dd6. This has been a stressful year on the finances of many Canadians, so the advice on managing personal cash flow is timely.
Date: November 6, 2020
1) Did you know there was even such a thing as Financial Literacy Month? How is your own financial literacy?
2) What section of the newsletter did you find the most interesting? Why?
3) Early on (page 1-2) in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we learn about a number of Canadian accountants with careers in diverse areas. Have you ever thought about a career in promoting financial literacy?
Description: Grocery chains have been among the winners during the pandemic. With more people working at home, and restaurants either operating under restrictions or not operating at all, grocers are growing their sales. Loblaws has decided to bump up its dividends to shareholders given that profits were up in the most recent quarter. Left on the sidelines are the Loblaw in-store employees who have lost their $2/hour bonus from the early “hero” days of Covid-19. Loblaws, along with two other major grocery chains, Empire and Metro, all cut these bonuses for front-line staff on the same day.
Date: November 12, 2020
1) What is your reaction to this story?
2) Why do you think Loblaws would make this move given the possible reputational risks?
3) Chapter 11 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses how to evaluate dividend performance. What ratios might the shareholders of Loblaws be using to evaluate this latest dividend increase?
Description: The Corona virus is just one of the things shaping the economy. Another factor is the sale of businesses by older entrepreneurs as they transition towards retirement. Jon Shell, a co-founder of SaveSmallBusiness.ca, argues that Canada should join Britain and the United States to create employee ownership trusts, a strategy to transfer businesses to employees and keep them in the communities they did so well in for so many years.
Date: November 12, 2020
1) Were you familiar with the concept of employee ownership trusts?
2) What do you think our nation could do to encourage ongoing local ownership of companies?
3) Chapter 11 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making begins with the story of the Leon family and how the company transitioned following the death of its founder. Do a bit of online reseaerch to determine whether or not the Leon family is still involved in the ownership today.
Description: The Toronto rental market is featuring an interesting switch in demand patterns. Younger renters were often prepared to put up with cramped apartments and high rents to live close to the action in the downtown. But with Covid-19 shutting down so much of the city’s social life in restaurants and bars, renters are heading for bigger (and cheaper) spaces outside the city’s core. As the article says, when you’re working at home all the time, you may not care to sleep in your office.
Date: November 8, 2020
1) Do you know anyone who has made a shift from a city center to outside the downtown in recent months? What impacted their decision?
2) Do you think that there will be a return of renters to the downtown when the Covid challenges subside?
3) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making provides a five-step model for recognizing revenue under IFRS (see pages 4-6 and 4-7). Discuss with your classmates how a rental company would apply the five steps in recognizing revenue from apartment tenants.
Description: An opinion piece in the Globe and Mail this past week offered that cutting student debt may be an excellent policy alternative for generating entrepreneurship in Canada. Over the past few decades, government support for higher education has declined. Combine this with higher tuition and it means students are graduating with higher debt loads. It’s difficult to start a business after graduation if you’re burdened with student debt.
Date: November 4, 2020
1) Are you going to be carrying a student loan when you graduate? How will it impact your decisions?
2) What do you think? Will addressing student debt promote entrepreneurship and economic growth?
3) The story of True Buch Kombucha featured in the opening of Chapter Three in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses the entrepreneurial adventures of Conrad and Louisa Ferrel. What is one important lesson future entrepreneurs can learn from these experiences?