Description: The Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) – the organization that manages the public sector pension funds in the western province – is coming under criticism for investing over $1 billion in the Alberta oil patch. A number of these investments have lost money, with one company collapsing despite a $60 million investment by AIMCo. Critics point out that unlike the Canada Pension Plan, AIMCo is subject to political influence, such as a clause allowing the Minister of Finance to assign chunks of the portfolio to another fund manager.
Date: April 22, 2020
1) Do you know anyone from Alberta who may be impacted by AIMCo’s investment strategy?
2) Why do you think the story seems to suggest that the Canada Pension Plan has a better governance model than AIMCo?
3) Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting identifies three types of pension plans on pages 455-457. Which type do the provincial employees in the province of Alberta have?
Description: For those in the early stages of their careers – with birth years of 1980 through 1996 – the COVID-19 virus has introduced them to their third recession. The CBC interviewed three Canadians in this category to get some perspective and advice. One of those interviewed, Jessica Moorhouse, transitioned from an educational background in film into a career providing financial counseling. One important perspective she provides: “It’s the first time it’s happened to you, but not the first time in history.”
Date: April 14, 2020
1) Have you been concerned about how this current crisis might impact you in the job market?
2) What piece of advice from the article do you find the most useful? Why?
3) In chapter one of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can read about several prominent Canadians who have started their careers in accountancy. (See page 4). Where do you see your career heading?
Description: Business are asking consumers to pay with plastic to reduce contact in face of the COVID-19 virus. The Bank of Canada, however, is urging retailers to continue accepting cash, despite this current climate of social distancing. The Bank does not want to see those who rely on cash unable to transact business for necessary supplies.
Date: April 14, 2020
1) Are you using any cash these days?
2) What do you think you would do if you were an executive for a company in this COVID-19 crisis? Would you stop accepting cash?
3) Illustration 7-2 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, provides a description of control activities over cash receipts. Considering the 5 control activities in the illustration, explain how control might differ if you only accepted payments by cards or other electronic means.
Description: Canadian farmers are getting some help from the federal government to pay for foreign workers. Because the workers will have to be quarantined for 14 days after entering Canada, the government will provide farmers with up to $1,500 per worker to cover pay during the quarantine period. Each year about 40,000 of these agricultural workers come to Canada to keep our farm production going.
Date: April 15, 2020
1) Have you ever worked on a farm? What about your classmates?
2) Would you be willing to work on a farm this summer, given the changed job situation for students?
3) Farmers in Canada are permitted by the Canada Revenue Agency to use the cash basis of accounting under certain circumstances. What are the main differences between the cash basis of accounting and the accrual basis? Hint: See Illustration 4-2 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: Tech writers are claiming that Apple is close to a release of a new iPhone model. Samsung had just announced a new mobile device prior to the current social distancing phenomenon, perhaps giving the Galaxy a leg up on the iPhone. One big question is, when we get to the other side of the COVID-19 crisis, will there be much demand for these new phones?
Date: April 8, 2020
1) Do you think the story is correct in the sense that people may delay new purchases?
2) When do you plan to purchase your next phone? What will be the key factors in your decision?
3) On page 14 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, is a discussion of the concept supply chain. Do you think that after the COVID-19 situation is resolved that companies may change their supply chain practices?
Description: The COVID-19 virus has created havoc in the summer job market for students. Regular summer jobs are disappearing, as well as positions for student practicums and co-op opportunities. The loss of practicums is especially concerning as they are often required for graduation from certain programs. The Prime Minister has responded that the federal government will fund 100% of some summer employment opportunities to encourage organizations to employ students this summer.
Date: April 10, 2020
1) Have your summer employment plans been impacted? How about those of your friends and classmates?
2) Do you think the government’s plan will adequately address the summer-jobs situation?
3) On page 5 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, we learn about the external users of financial statements. If you were preparing the financial statements for an organization that used this student employment program, what do you think you would need to disclose to the external users of those statements?
Description: Around the world, governments, medical authorities, and scientists have been organizing responses to the COVID-19 virus. The response to the crisis is tapping into human resourcefulness and inventiveness. Yet economists are asking what is it that keeps us from being better prepared for such a crisis, one that epidemiologists had warned about? Something economists call the “social discount rate” helps explain why we are reluctant to spend today for measures that can avoid future catastrophes like epidemics and climate change.
Date: April 10, 2020
1) Have you ever heard of the social discount rate?
2) In your business classes, you have probably learned quite a bit about strategic planning. Why can we not seem to plan for big risks as a society?
3) In chapter two of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you will several pages on the conceptual framework for financial reporting. Do you think our current conceptual framework might contribute to our failure to prepare for the “big” problems?
Description: US cellular customers are now dealing with a world in which there are only 3 major carriers. T-Mobile has received regulatory approval to purchase Sprint. Along with the deal, T-Mobile has promised to hold the line on rates and to improve service in rural areas. Some critics maintain that it will be very difficult to ensure the company keeps its word.
Date: April 1, 2020
1) What do you think will happen to rates for consumers with the reduction to 3 major suppliers?
2) Have you ever compared the rates for US phone and data plans to Canadian rates? If there are differences, what might explain them?
3) On page 654 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you will find Illustration 12-3 providing accounting guidelines for strategic investments like this acquisition. Which of the three methods would likely be used to account for the type of investment discussed in this story?
Description: A number of measures have already been put in place to help Canadian consumers deal with the economic impacts from the COVID-19 virus. But, so far, those high credit card interest rates don’t appear to have been touched. With Canadians facing outright unemployment or reductions in hours worked, a break on credit card rates would be welcome. Quebec financial institution Desjardins has announced a rate cut on its credit card accounts because of the crisis, and the Prime Minister stated the government has been in discussions with financial institutions on this matter.
Date: April 3, 2020
1) As a student, do you have a credit card? Do you carry a balance? What about your classmates?
2) Do you think the federal government has a role to play in forcing down these credit card rates ?
3) In Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, chapter eight opens with a vignette dealing with credit management at Canadian Tire. How does Canadian Tire’s credit card program rank in terms of its overall accounts receivable?
Description: Business, schools, and individuals have been quickly learning all about the Zoom, the software that has allowed many to link live with friends and colleagues during this time of social distancing. You should be aware, however, that hackers see Zoom as a new opportunity to mess with you and your data. The Toronto Star offers several tips in this accompanying article to keep the hackers at bay.
Date: April 3, 2020
1) Has your school been using Zoom or some other platform to keep learning going amidst the closures?
2) What about the social side of life? Are you using Zoom to set up group interactions?
3) Chapter four of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, opens with a discussion of closing the books at a major Canadian university, Western University in London, Ontario. Read through this vignette and come up with a list of things that might be different this April 30 in closing the books at your own university.