Description: Lead – and lots of it – is still a big part of the battery business, particularly when it comes to batteries for motor vehicles. Lead batteries could also be a big component for the energy storage market as we head toward green sources of energy. The problem though is that lead and various lead compounds are regarded as toxic. As the article in the Financial Post says, lead is the “metal no one wants to talk about.”
Date: October 17, 2019
1) Did you realize lead was toxic and that there was so much of it in use?
2) Would you be prepared to pay more if there was an alternative to lead and acid in batteries? How much more would you pay for such a battery if you could find one?
3) In Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, chapter 12, you can read about reporting through the balanced scorecard. If you were a company that was using potentially toxic products, how might you talk about this in your balanced scorecard reporting?
Description: Amazon is giving toymakers favourable promotion for the upcoming Christmas sales season – if they are prepared to pay up to $ 2 million. There’s nothing illegal about charging the toy manufacturers a fee for their place in the sun. But some have commented that the practice is not clearly disclosed to consumers. They may be disappointed to find out that a highly rated product is recommended strongly because the vendor has paid for the privilege.
Date: October 17, 2019
1) Were you aware that this practice was going on? What do you think of it?
2) How could consumers make their voices heard to cause Amazon to have better disclosure of the link between dollars and product placement?
3) Have you ever noticed how Amazon seems to have such a high price-earnings ratio? See problem BE14-12 on page 806 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making for an example of this. Why do you think the P/E is so high compared to other companies?
Description: According to Inc.com, over 50% of the average worker’s workday is chewed up by 3 unnecessary tasks. You might be able to guess a couple of them quite easily: emails you don’t really need to do your job and those “no value added” meetings. The third time waster actually happens outside the workplace as you commute to and from the office. According to Inc.com, you spend about 5.6 years of your work life in your car.
Date: October 8, 2019
1) Have you experienced these time-wasters in any of the jobs you have had while attending university?
2) How could a managerial accountant develop a way to cost each of these three time wasters?
3) In Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can learn about the concept of ROI. If you were asked to calculate the ROI on a new office email system, how might you factor in the cost of the lost time from the unnecessary email?
Description: Greenpeace is still out there cleaning up beaches as part of its annual survey of Canadian litter leaders. Once again, Tim Hortons and Nestle are leading – if one can call it that – the race as the top plastic polluter. Perhaps not surprisingly, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola are in the top five as well.
Date: October 9, 2019
1) After reading the story in the link, what struck you as the most surprising thing?
2) How do you think accounting could contribute to solving the plastic problems?
3) How many of the top five companies in this story can you find in the index of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making ?
Description: The male-female wage gap is shrinking, with a new Statistics Canada study indicating that females are earning about thirteen percent less than males on average. The research shows more women entering higher paying occupations in the last twenty years, such as those in business and finance. Associate Professor Margaret Yap of Ryerson University noted that the glass ceiling effect is in place, preventing females from moving into higher levels of organizations.
Date: October 7, 2019
1) In looking ahead at the job market for when you graduate, what are some of the higher-paying careers out there? How does accountancy stack up?
2) How do you think the male-female wage gap can be addressed?
3) In chapter one of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , see the All About You text box on page 17. Note the question regarding choosing a university major under the heading What Do You Think? Take a look at the two options and choose your answer YES or NO.
Description: Out there in the job market, we may have to be keeping our eyes on the robots and AI. It looks like the service sector jobs in areas including banking may be being replaced by electronic workers. The financial industry has been pouring $150 billion a year into artificial intelligence, clearing out jobs at even low wage levels. As software continues to grow and develop, workers may be pushed out at higher levels as well.
Date: October 3, 2019
1) At this point in your university life, have you thought ahead to your career choices? Are you considering accountancy?
2) How do you think AI may impact your planned career?
3) In chapter thirteen of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , we see a discussion of how businesses plan for large capital investments. When banks are investing billions in AI, what are some important techniques they may be using to support their investment decisions?
Description: Over one third of Canadians have no retirement savings. And over one half of our citizens are living paycheque to paycheque. These are the rather dismal findings of a recent poll. As well, one third cannot pay off their credit cards each month, an indicator of financial pressures on Canadian households.
Date: September 30, 2019
1) Are you surprised to see that this many Canadians are having financial difficulties? What kind of financial pressures are you and your classmates facing?
2) We are in the midst of a federal election campaign. Do you think these pocketbook issues are being adequately addressed
3) In Illustration 7-7 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , we see a description of the principles of cash management. Which of these principles would be applicable to Canadian households?
Description: Alberta Auditor General Doug Wylie and Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler both issued reports this week on the activities of the former CEO of the province’s energy regulator. The ex-CEO, Jim Ellis, was alleged to have “grossly mismanaged” the affairs of the regulator by using a third-party organization he established to sell Alberta expertise to other jurisdictions. In September, the Alberta government discharged all the board members of the regulator, setting the stage for these reports.
Date: October 4, 2019
1) Were you surprised to see this situation where an auditor general was reporting jointly with these other officials?
2) What might have gone wrong with the corporate governance to cause the government to fire the whole board?
3) In chapter twelve of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , we read about the differences between the non-strategic investments and strategic investments. When the energy regulator set up this ICORE agency, which category would it have been?
Description: At the Ottawa climate march Friday, they said the crowds were larger than those on Canada Day. In cities across Canada and around the world, students left classes to join in climate marches to protest the direction the world is headed in this era of climate change. Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has been inspiring many of the marchers with her impassioned speeches on the need for change.
Date: September 27, 2019
1) Did you or any of your classmates participate in a climate march at your school?
2) How can accountants take a lead in helping their organizations promote sustainability?
3) In Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach, chapter one talks about various types of audits that an auditor can perform. Which of these audits can contribute to helping the sustainable development cause?
Description: About four years ago the world began learning the Volkswagen had used a sophisticated software trick to trick regulators who were checking emission standards. The scandal has already cost the company almost $40 billion. Now we have learned that three top executives at Volkswagen are being prosecuted for their roles in covering up the matter.
Date: September 24, 2019
1) Do you drive a Volkswagen product? Were you impacted by this issue of altered reporting?
2) What do you think Volkswagen could do to restore confidence in the markets and with consumers?
3) Chapter three of Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach, tells us a number of things auditors do before accepting or continuing an audit engagement. If you were a member of the audit team auditing Volkswagen, how would this ethical issue impact your audit approach?