Description: Canadians are launching their Christmas shopping early this year, partially driven by an effort to beat higher prices due to inflation. An American survey indicates that 37% of that population plans to start earlier this year. Robert Domagala, a retail industry analyst, noted to Global News that “prudent shoppers are probably going to try to chip away at things,” to better handle cash flows. Another factor at play could be Canadians buying early to avoid supply chain disappointments we have heard about over and over again since the pandemic started.
Date: October 14, 2022
1) How do you organize your holiday shopping? How about your classmates?
2) If you were an accountant for a major retailer, what sort of challenges might an earlier start to the shopping season bring for you and your colleagues?
3) The vignette on page 5-1 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses changes in Loblaws’ supply chain over recent times. What might be some of the supply chain challenges and opportunities posed by Canadians starting this holiday shopping earlier this year?
Description: On Friday Facebook’s parent company Meta announced that approximately 1 million of its users may have had their usernames and passwords stolen by hackers. Apps downloaded from Apple and Google appear to be the source of the problem, by permitting access to user information while disguising themselves as popular apps like fitness trackers and games. Apple and Google responded by nixing the troublesome apps from their platforms while Facebook has provided its users with advice on how to avoid similar problems in the future.
Date: October 7, 2022
1) Have you ever been hacked? How about your classmates?
2) What are some habits you have adopted to improve your online security in the face of these skillful, but malicious, attempts to compromise your data security?
3) Starting on page 7-3 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making is a section on the five control activities most organizations employ. Which category includes user names and passwords?
Description: Starting October 6, Canadian merchants are permitted to pass along credit card fees to consumers. In fact, Telus has already announced that it will do so. But retail watcher Bruce Winder said he does not see most restaurants and or retailers passing these fees along, fearing a possible customer backlash in an inflationary environment.
Date: October 5, 2022
1) Have you (or any of your classmates) had to pay a transaction fee yet on your credit card?
2) How would a merchant account for these credit card fees? What might the journal entry look like?
3) On page 7-17 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we read about service fees for processing debit and credit card transactions. What is the name of the largest Canadian payment processing business?
Description: On September 6, this blog featured a post on the trend of quiet quitting. Now comes the flip side: quiet firing. Nita Chhinzer a professor at the University of Guelph, speaks of employers who make “the workplace such a difficult environment that the employee feels that they have no choice but to leave,” saving the organization from the cost and unpleasantness of an outright dismissal. Techniques include micromanagement, exclusion from meetings, and scheduling fewer shifts for the employee. Lawyer Hermie Abraham explains that some of those quietly fired may have a legal claim under the principles of constructive dismissal, whereas others may not.
Date: October 8, 2022
1) Have you ever experienced quiet firing? If so, how did you respond under the circumstances?
2) If you were an accountant in an organization that wanted to pursue quiet firing, and your boss came to you asking for a cost comparison of quiet firing to traditional methods, how would you proceed?
3) The section “Payroll” starting on page 10-6 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making features a number of costs that employers must pay in addition to paying their employees’ earnings. What is the name given to this category of expense?
Description: Lululemon and Peleton have settled their dispute. Lululemon had been seeking compensation for Peleton’s alleged swiping of some of Lululemon’s clothing designs. The two companies had a co-branding relationship from 2016 to 2021. After the agreement ended, the “copycat” trouble started.
Date: September 30, 2022
1) Are you a fan of Lululemon or Peleton?
2) What do you think might have caused the co-branding arrangement to end?
3) Which chapter of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making starts with a vignette about Lululemon? What are some things we can learn about the company in this short feature?
Description: The price of crude oil has been dropping, with the price per barrel down about twenty per cent in the last thirty days. Then why are prices at the pump still so high, with drivers in British Columbia paying up to $2.39 per litre, the highest in North America? Part of the problem stems from refinery shutdowns, including one in Ferndale, Washington, impacting the supply in B.C. With demand at high levels, price pressures are strong.
Date: September 30, 2022
1) How is the price of gas in your university town?
2) Have you changed your driving patterns in the face of high gas prices?
3) At the start of chapter nine of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making the feature vignette discusses a number of points about WestJet. How have fuel prices impacted the airline industry?
Description: The inflationary trends on food prices have hit students at Canadian universities, where some have had to turn to campus food banks for relief. Erin O’Neill of the University of Alberta’s campus food bank reports that hundreds of students have registered with the program. Mount Royal University faculty produced survey results reporting food insecurity as an issue for 10 per cent of its students. Campus features a number of care cupboards that allow hungry students to acquire a snack for free.
Date: September 28, 2022
1) Does your campus have a food bank or a care cupboard?
2) What do you think are the root causes of this food insecurity issue?
3) In chapter three of Wiley’s Audting: A Practical Approach we find a story Conrad Farrel of Calgary, founder of a kombucha producer. He notes that margins in the food industry “are razor thin.” Have margins been changing at all during this inflationary period? Do a bit of research to answer this question.
Description: Canada Jetlines took off this week. That gives Canada four discount airlines, the other players being Flair, Lynx, and Swoop. Customers love the bargains that discount airlines offer. A number of experts, however, wonder if there is room for all the discounters. Will an airline bankruptcy be in the offing?
Date: September 24, 2022
1) Do you travel with discount airlines? Why or why not?
2) What do you think are some of the key factors creating openings for discount airlines?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making opens with a vignette on WestJet airlines. Which of the four discounters was started by WestJet?
Description: Less than nothing? That was how the CBC described the situation where the government of New Brunswick seems to be paying forestry companies to harvest pulpwood on Crown lands in the province. The new government rate charges harvesters $3.40 per cubic metre of certain softwoods. But the government then pays the forestry companies $3.90 per cubic metre harvested for provision of management services on the Crown land.
Date: September 23, 2022
1) If you were a senior financial officer in the government of New Brunswick, what advice would you provide in this situation?
2) Why would a government be willing lose money on the harvest of these Crown assets? Is there anything similar in your home province?
3) On page 9-17 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making tells us about the accounting for natural resources, like pulpwood. What term is used instead of “depreciation” when referring to natural resources?
Description: Since the federal auditor general first earned the so-called value-for-money audit mandate back in the 1970s, auditors general in Canada have greatly expanded the scope of their work, moving far afield from the traditional accountancy matters of public finance and internal control. This expansion has sometimes earned the criticism of observers, such as noted public policy expert Donald Savoie. A recent example of this growing scope was last week in Nova Scotia, where the auditor general criticized the nutritional quality of school lunch programs. But generally, the press and public seem to accept the results with open arms.
Date: September 20, 2022
1) How was the school lunch at your last public school?
2) Do you think auditors general should have a broad audit scope or restrict themselves to areas traditionally within accountancy?
3) In chapter one of Wiley’s Audting: A Practical Approach we learn about several types of audits. Which type of audit mentioned in this chapter would be the best fit for this audit of school nutrition policy?