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?
Description: Ontario is considering changes to its marijuana sales model. In the past fiscal year, the Crown corporation handling sales of the newly legalized product lost $42 million. Ontario is not the only province to lose money. New Brunswick has also recorded millions in losses.
Date: September 27, 2019
1) Are you surprised to see that governments have lost money on sales of marijuana?
2) What do you think has caused this type of bad result?
3) In chapter five of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , we can read about the differences between the cycles of a service business versus a business which sells a product. What is the big difference between the two cycles?
Description: A consultant, Jason Coulls, reports that he has discovered Scotiabank software and access codes on a website. Scotiabank is taking action, directing its technical team to remove the material. Scotiabank is reassuring the public that no problems will result to its 25 million customers.
Date: September 20, 2019
1) Do you bank at Scotiabank?
2) Have you ever been victimized in a data breach?
3) In chapter seven of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , we learn about another sort of bank error at Scotiabank. Track this down in your textbook and discuss with your classmates how this error may have occurred.
Description: If you wanted one of those Beyond Meat sandwiches from Tim Horton’s, quit looking, unless you live in Ontario or BC. The coffee chain said the product had been offered as a market test. Significant uptake in Ontario and BC has prompted management to keep Beyond Meat in those two jurisdictions while pulling it elsewhere.
Date: September 18, 2019
1) Have you tried the Beyond Meat products at a restaurant or at home?
2) How often do you eat out versus making meals at home? Does it differ during your school year?
3) In chapter twelve, page 156, of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , we learn about standard costing. How would you go about developing standard costs for the Beyond Meat sandwiches at a fast food company?
Description: A tough exam is kind of what you are expecting if you are sitting down to write the CPA national examination to qualify to become an accountant. That’s why CPA students take-off weeks to study for this important career milestone. This year, however, the exam writers in some centres had additional challenges to overcome. In Edmonton, for instance, problems linking up the Wifi resulted in students starting to write the exam at 2 pm when that actually should have been the finish time. There appeared to have been similar problems in Victoria where the exam centre eventually had to use a secondary Wifi source, prompting a need for invigilators to more closely monitor students to ensure they were not consulting websites outside those permitted in the exam.
Date: September 20, 2019
1) Do you know any of your former classmates writing the CPA exam this year? What were their experiences?
2) The first chapter of Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach , tells us about important regulators and standard setters overseeing the auditing profession in section 1.7. How do you think these various parties will respond to the exam controversy?
3) Are you hoping to enter the CPA program after graduation? How does this story impact your plans?
Description: A tough quarter: that’s a quick way to summarize the financial results at the Hudson’s Bay Company for the three months ended August 3. HBC’s loss was booked at $984 million. The loss averaged $5.35 per share.
Date: September 12, 2019
1) Do you shop at the Bay?
2) The story notes that the Chairman, Richard Baker, would like to take the company private. What would be some reasons why an investor might want to do this? What are some disadvantages?
3) In chapter two of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , we learn that we should not compare earnings per share between companies. Why would you not want to compare HBC’s earnings per share for the quarter to other retailers?
Description: Right now the United Auto Workers is involved with negotiations with the automakers, the contracts having expired September 14. Given this, the timing of this past week’s announcement that Vance Pearson, a member of the UAW’s executive board, had been arrested on charges of embezzeling union funds, is quite unfortunate. The union responded that charges are not the same as a conviction and that a number of facts have been misconstrued.
Date: September 12, 2019
1) Were you ever working at a job where someone was accused of stealing funds?
2) If you were asked to implement controls to prevent board members from committing fraud, what might be some things you would recommend?
3) In chapter three of Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach , we learn about the fraud triangle (Figure 3.4). Take a look at Figure 3.4 and discuss how the three sides of the triangle may be applicable here.
Description: It’s always nice to be prepared for that job interview, whether you are talking about next summer’s internship, a part-time job during the school year, or looking ahead to life after graduation. This week’s article tells us of some fascinating methods executives are using to help figure out if you’re the employee they are looking for. One CEO tells interviewees everything that’s wrong with the company, telling potential employees not to take a job there, all in an effort for honesty and getting the interviewees to be open as well.
Date: September 11, 2019
1) Are you thinking yet about preparing for job interviews for internships or your post-university work? If so, what are some things you have been doing?
2) In Chapter 3, page 106 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , we read about the process of analyzing transactions. Recruiting employees is very important to a business. How would you analyze the recruiting of a new employee using the process in Illustration 3-1?
3) What is the strangest interview question you have ever been asked?