Description: People have loved the hardware for years, with consumer after consumer gobbling up iPhones and iPads. This week, however, Apple’s latest launch had a definite services focus. A new Apple credit card, a streaming service and an Apple-news subscription that will give consumers access to 300 or so magazines, including big titles like National Geographic and Popular Science. The unique credit card will not have a number!
Date: March 25, 2019
1) Are you interested in checking out this new Apple streaming service?
2) Why do you think Apple has chosen this new service-oriented strategy?
3) Page 485 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making tells us that at the time the text was written, Apple was the world’s most valuable brand. Is this still the case in 2019?
Description: At $300 million, restaurant chain McDonald’s is using a major tech acquisition of Dynamic Yield Ltd to jazz up its menu experience. CEO Steve Easterbrook has been promoting technology – like the new order kiosks – as a differentiator for the fast-food giant. By using Dynamic’s technology, McDonald’s will be able to update its drive through menus depending on factors like weather conditions. If the temperature is dropping, for instance, maybe the menu will promote a nice cup of hot coffee over soft drinks.
Date: March 26, 2019
1) Have you used the McDonald’s app or a kiosk to order your food?
2) Do you think that this acquisition will help boost revenue?
3) Illustration 12-1 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making explains the difference between a strategic investment and a non-strategic investment. Using this chart as a guide, in which category would you place McDonald’s investment in Dynamic Yield?
Description: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation usually is not in the habit of praising a government for spending more money. This past week, however, the Federation did react positively to the news that the Office of the Auditor General of New Brunswick would be receiving an extra $1 million in its budget for 2019-20. This increase seems to put New Brunswick closer to the its Atlantic counterparts in terms of funding for the legislative audit office. By the way, if you are looking for work, a quick check of CareerBeacon shows the Office is already advertising for additional staff to put those new dollars to work. https://www.careerbeacon.com/en/job/1531232/office-of-the-auditor-general-bureau-du-verificateur-general/performance-financial-auditors/fredericton
Date: March 19, 2019
1) How would feel about an auditing career with an auditor general’s office? Have you considered that as an option?
2) If you were the auditor general, how would spend this extra $1 million?
3) Chapter 14 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making talks about the big subject of performance measurement, but is largely directed towards for-profit enterprises. How could you measure the Office’s performance or success in spending an extra $1 million in the public sector?
Description: An Alberta resident, David Jackel, has taken on Airbnb and won. Jackel had planned a Mexican holiday that included five weeks at a condo rented through Airbnb. But even though he had arranged the rental six months before his vacation, with just a scant three days to go before check-in, the online giant pulled the plug on the reservation. They did offer a couple of other properties, but neither were what Jackel was after. Jackel booked other lodging, leaving him about $6,400 over budget for his dream trip. After months of back and forth between the company and Mr. Jackel, Marketplace, a CBC consumer affairs program, put in a call to Airbnb on his behalf. Within a very short time, Jackel received good news that a refund was on the way.
Date: March 22, 2019
1) Have you ever faced a last-minute cancellation from Airbnb or a similar service? What happened?
2) In this situation we saw a refund shortly after the CBC Marketplace program made the inquiry. Do you think the two events are related?
3) Chapter 9 In Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making talks about the value of a trademark like Airbnb. Do you think the Marketplace publicity could impact the trademark’s value?
Description: This past week our federal government introduced its budget for the next fiscal year. There were some interesting initiatives, including a possible grant to first-time home-owners from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and some early steps towards a national pharmacare program. But what wasn’t there is also quite interesting: the government is planning a deficit for this year and the next several, in contrast an earlier promise to return to surpluses before this fall’s election.
Date: March 22, 2019
1) Have you discussed the federal budget in any of your classes?
2) What is your opinion about deficit financing?
3) Chapter 7 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making talks about cash budgeting and planning major expenditures. What might be some of the challenges you would have if you were planning the cash budgets for the federal government?
Description: Did you hear the news this past week about the college entrance scam? About 50 people – including an Academy Award nominee – were arrested in the United States for their roles in gaming the admissions system at elite schools, all with the aid of William Rick Singer. Singer, in exchange for healthy sums of cash, helped the students get into top schools by either cheating on entrance tests like the SATs or by getting sport coaches to declare that the prospective students were athletic recruits. The parents could then claim their payments to Singer as tax deductions since the cash was funnelled through a so-called charitable foundation.
Date: March 13, 2019
1) How would feel if you found out your parents had gamed the admissions process to get you into college?
2) In an ethics case we often discuss “stakeholders.” Which stakeholders have been impacted adversely by this situation?
3) The feature story at the start of Chapter 4 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making talks about the work of Controller Carter Scott at Western University in London, Ontario. Are there any controls a Canadian university could establish to prevent or detect such a fraud?
Description: Debt on your credit cards can be a common way to sink your financial plan. But university students are often targeted by those marketing credit cards. If you want to use this form of credit – and its pretty hard to avoid it in our time – you should know some common myths about this way of borrowing. Myth number one, as the story says: “A lender will only lend me what I can afford to repay”
Date: March 11, 2019
1) Have you picked up a credit card since you have started university?
2) Which of the “myths” surprised you the most? Why?
3) Page 413 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making has feature story on Canadian Tire. Read through this story to determine where credit cards rank in the composition of Canadian Tire’s accounts receivable.
Description: March 19 is budget day in Canada, and, of course, there’s speculation out there on what measures the budget will include. One thing being discussed is what has been called a life-long learning account. Supposedly the account will receive a top-up from the federal government, something like the RESPs parents create for children. This new program would help Canadians fund their education in various approved programs as their careers progress.
Date: March 14, 2019
1) Have you ever heard about the life-time learning concept during your time at university? What are your expectations in this regard as you prepare to graduate?
2) What do you think of this measure? Is it worth the cost?
3) Public sector financial statements are discussed in Wiley’s Advanced Accounting. What could the Government of Canada disclose in its financial statements to help Canadians track the costs of new programs like this?
Description: Did you know the most common type of household in Canada is now “solo?” Approximately four million Canadians are living alone, a huge increase from the early 1980s when the number was closer to 1.7 million. Grocers are moving to respond, with an increase in single serve offerings. Travel companies like Air Canada, Transat and Sunwing are looking at this space as well with packages aimed towards this market segment.
Date: March 7, 2019
1) Have you ever lived alone? What will your living arrangements look like after you graduate?
2) The article tells us how business opportunities are emerging for addressing the needs of the growing number of single households. What might be some marketing opportunities for accountants to serve this market segment?
3) Page 492 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making has a discussion comparing the profitability of Air Canada versus Westjet. If Air Canada continues to suspend the single supplement as a means to gain new market share, how might its profit margin be impacted?
Description: If you live in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba or Saskatchewan, listen up. Because these four provinces have a federal carbon tax imposed, citizens are eligible for a tax rebate. In Ontario, the amount is estimated at around $300 for a family of four. The carbon tax does not actually start until 1 April 2019, but apparently the government would like you to have a few bucks in your pocket to offset the tax when it becomes effective. There’s only one rebate per household.
Date: March 6, 2019
1) Were you aware of this new tax credit?
2) Have you checked the link in the article to see if you qualify for the extra 10% supplement for the rural and small communities supplement?
3) See page 57 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making. What kind of a “user” of financial information is the Canada Revenue Agency?