Description: With Greyhound bus line winding down its business in Canada, the company is selling off its fleet of buses. Corporate Assets Inc. is handling the auction of 38 of these units, with the bidding scheduled for January 18, 2022. Greyhound operated in Canada for close to 100 years, and its exit may be especially tough on rural communities that often have few public transit options.
Date: November 18, 2021
1) How do students get to your campus at the start of a term? What type of transportation do they depend on? (This might be a fun in-class survey to try.)
2) Is your university community well-served by public transit?
3) In Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, chapter 9 tells us about three methods of depreciation for long-lived assets. If you were a bus company like Greyhound, which of these three methods would best reflect the “wear and tear” on the buses?
Description: When Peter Cook, a former ‘franchise’ holder, took the Crown corporation NB Liquor to court over the awarding of a contract to a different store owner in the small town of Hartland, it was probably somewhat embarrassing for the government of New Brunswick, (the sole ‘shareholder’ of NB Liquor). But this past week allegations surfaced from a former senior official at NB Liquor, placing additional attention on issues of governance and decision-making at the Crown corporation. A former NB Liquor board member, who is tangentially involved in the matter as a lawyer, declared that he was “gravely concerned by the lack of compliance with basic governance principles in this matter.”
Date: November 8, 2021
1) How are alcoholic beverages marketed around your university? Are they available only through government-run stores or are they more widely available?
2) Do you think whistle blower legislation is a good thing for Canadians?
3) On page 7-11 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can read about a federal Crown corporation, the Royal Canadian Mint. (See https://www.mint.ca/store/mint/about-the-mint/reports-1400016.) As a class activity, compare information available from NB Liquor (https://www.anbl.com/reports) to that of the Mint, and see if you can develop preliminary questions and impressions for comparing the governance practices of the two Crown agencies.
Description: With Canadians already facing a squeeze from rising prices, 2022 promises some additional trouble with the news that payroll burdens will rise. Both the rate and the yearly maximum contribution will be increasing for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). And while Employment Insurance (EI) rate will not jump in 2022, the overall maximum contribution will increase, further cutting into the take-home pay of Canadians. Given that EI rates have been frozen during the pandemic, and with an uptake in benefits given layoffs during these past 20 months, the EI program has a deficit close to $35 billion, indicating we have not seen the end of rate increases.
Date: November 12, 2021
1) Have you ever noticed how much of your paycheque goes to contributions to CPP and EI?
2) The article speaks about a coming review of the EI program by the Government of Canada. What changes do you think should be made in the program?
3) Starting on page 10-6 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, we read about the various payroll deductions, like EI and CPP. What is alternative terminology for these deductions?
Description: Rivian is a tiny company in the electric vehicle space, having only produced around 150 vehicles so far. But it does have a couple of big backers, namely Amazon and Ford. Rivian went public last week through an initial public offering (IPO) that might be called a spectacular takeoff. Despite its marked lack of production, Rivian was loved by the market, and by week’s end its market valuation exceeded not only that of its sponsor Ford, but also that of General Motors, an automotive giant that sold close to 7 million vehicles in 2020.
Date: November 11, 2021
1) Had you ever heard of Rivian prior to reading this story?
2) Why do you think that investors have valued the company so highly?
3) On page 11-9 in Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting we read about the concept of an initial public offering (IPO) What legal document is provided to possible investors before the sale of shares in an IPO?
Description: Peleton, the exercise equipment manufacturer that benefited greatly from a pandemic-fueled rise in home exercise, has suffered a loss of $8.5 billion in market valuation after decreasing its sales forecasts for 2022. Net income will also be impacted by a price-cut on Peleton’s flagship bike as well as rising shipping costs. A loss of approximately $375 million in the latest quarter underscores the seriousness of the situation.
Date: November 5, 2021
1) Have you or your classmates become Peleton users over the pandemic? What has the experience been like?
2) What strategies might traditional gymnasiums employ to recover from the financial hit of the pandemic closures?
3) On page 11-7 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can read about the concept of market capitalization. As a class activity track the market capitalization of some other companies in the fitness business to see how their experience matches up with that of Peleton.
Description: Some are calling it ‘career shock.’ The Covid-19 impacts such as shifting to work at home, being laid off, or seeing colleagues and friends laid off, has forced employees towards deep reflection about the future of their own careers. In the United States they’ve given a name to the phenomenon of workers in low-wage environments seeking greener pastures in these unusual times: the Great Resignation. Anil Verma of the University of Toronto offers that some of this movement was already underway prior to 2020, but the pandemic has both “magnified” and “accelerated” trends in rethinking work.
Date: November 6, 2021
1) Have you experienced career shock?
2) As you look forward to your graduation, how do you think the lessons of career shock might impact on your career?
3) In Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, we are introduced to the concept of the balanced scorecard (see the section beginning on page 12-24.) As you consider the four most commonly used perspectives in the balanced scorecard, where would organizations be most likely to account for how they responded to career shock?
Description: Canadians turn out to be more financially literate than they anticipated. In a survey conducted by Canada Life, Canadians were first asked to self-assess their own level of financial acumen. Then, the same survey proceeded to ask them a number of questions around specific financial topics, such as what are the differences between TFSAs and RRSPs. While only 41% of the respondents gave themselves a “high” rating regarding their confidence around financial matters, these same Canadians had an average score of 71% on the detailed financial questions.
Date: November 4, 2021
1) How do you think you might score on a test of financial literacy?
2) The article notes that Canadians in their 20s had the lowest scores on the test. Why do you think this age group did not score as well as other segments of the population?
3) Chapter one of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, discusses a number of well know Canadian accountants and their careers. Would you be interested in a career oriented towards educating Canadians about money matters?
Description: Politicians meeting at the G20 conference Saturday have endorsed the notion of a minimum corporate tax. The countries of the G20 make up about 80% of the world’s economic output. The fact that leaders of these competing economies have agreed on this minimum corporate tax is part of an effort to prevent corporations from sheltering profits in tax havens.
Date: October 30, 2021
1) Have you been aware of the presence of tax havens?
2) Do you think that the 15% minimum tax will reduce the incentive for companies to move income to low tax countries?
3) Chapter 5 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making introduces the concept of the multi-step income statement. Where does corporate income tax appear on this multi-step income statement?
Description: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced that his company will now be known as Meta. The move by the social media giant sure seemed to attract its own share of social media response, with Twitter showing “Zuck” and “META” trending at the top of the list. Some of the online opinion questions whether this name change might be a move to switch the conversation after leaks of information painted Facebook in a very unfavourable light.
Date: October 29, 2021
1) Have you been following recent controversies around Facebook?
2) How are your classmates responding to the revelations such as those about Instagram’s harmful impacts on young users or Facebook structuring algorithms privilege certain types of controversial content? For example, have any of people at your university consciously reduced usage of these platforms as a form of protest?
3) Page 2-19 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses Facebook’s price-earnings ratio. How have recent news stories impacted this ratio for Facebook?
Description: With petroleum prices on the upswing, Suncor Energy is rewarding its shareholders by doubling its quarterly dividend. Early in the pandemic, Suncor reduced its dividend by 50%, but with an operating income of over $1 billion in the latest quarter, the energy producer saw this as a good time to put cash back in the shareholders’ hands. Suncor has also been engaged in buying back shares from its shareholders, with estimates that up to seven percent of the shares may be repurchased by the company.
Date: October 28, 2021
1) Do you or any of your classmates own shares in a public company?
2) Why would a company such as Suncor be interested in repurchasing shares?
3) Starting on page 11-9 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you will find a section dealing with the repurchase of common shares. What will the journal entry look like if the shares are bought back at a price above their average cost?