Description: Google has announced that it is laying off 12,000 workers worldwide. The impact is being felt in Canada, although the extent of job loss here was not immediately evident. Google joins other big tech companies in the layoff trend as Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta have handed out notices to employees in recent weeks. Sundar Pichai of Google’s parent company Meta said that though there had been hirings in last couple of years of growth, “we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”
Date: February 6, 2023
1) Have you ever been laid off? How did it transpire?
2) What might be some other strategies a company could use to reduce costs other than resorting to layoffs?
3) Page 1-2 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making mentions Sabrina Geremia, an accountant who became the managing director of Google Canada. What type of conversations would you think that she and other Google executives may have had when deciding on the extent of these layoffs?
Description: When it comes to wearing a favourite clothing brand, the phrase ‘Immediately stop’ gets your attention, doesn’t it? Health Canada has told Canadians to immediately stop wearing certain big brand name Helly Hansen hoodies and sweaters due to concerns over non-compliance with regulations regarding flammability. Roughly 130,000 garments have been subjected to this product recall. The good news is that there have been no reports to date of Canadians having any incidents related to this flammability issue.
Date: February 1, 2023
1) Do a quick survey of the items included in the recall using the link in the article. Is anyone in your accounting class an owner of the listed Helly Hansen apparel?
2) What might be some of the logistical decisions involved in organizing a product recall like this?
3) Chapter 5 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making deals with recording sales revenue and the related returns by customers. What are the two ways of accounting for sales returns described in the chapter?
Description: High food prices have been impacting Canadian consumers in this inflationary environment, and some are expressing their displeasure via social media in the wake of Loblaw lifting a prize freeze it had set back in the fall of 2022. Loblaw has responded through its own social media channels to defend its actions against consumers’ allegations of profiteering. University of Toronto marketing professor David Soberman believes that by responding, Loblaw is doing the right thing. He notes that “If you’re not going to tell people something that they like, at least respond to them because you’re showing respect for their concerns.”
Date: February 1, 2023
1) Were you taking advantage of this price freeze to help stock your cupboards? What about your classmates?
2) Do you agree with Loblaw’s strategy of responding to these complaints on social media? Why or why not?
3) Chapter 5 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making opens with a vignette describing merchandising operations at Loblaw. What are some of the cost savings Loblaw has achieved in its supply-chain management?
Description: Last Monday Nike Inc. announced it was suing Lululemon Athletica for an unspecified amount of damages. Nike’s claims allege four articles in Lululemon’s footwear lineup – Blissfeel, Chargefeel Low, Chargefeel Mid and Strongfeel – infringe on Nike patents. Last year Lululemon was on the other end of the legal argument when it settled a legal action against Peleton regarding Peleton’s supposed knock-offs of Lululemon’s branded clothing.
Date: January 30, 2023
1) Do you or anyone you know own any of these Lululemon products?
2) What sort of system do you think a company like Nike has for finding issues like this and then pursuing them through the courts?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses both intangible assets, like patents, and the distinction between capital and operating expenditures. Do you think the legal defense of a patent would be a capital or an operating expenditure?
Description: High home prices have been bad news for many younger Canadians starting on the home ownership and career journey. But these increased costs have also created stress for older Canadians as they enter the uncharted territory of carrying a mortgage into retirement. Dan Hallett, a financial planner, says “It’s certainly not ideal,” to enter retirement with a mortgage in tow. He adds that if the mortgage has only a few months left, you’ll probably be fine. But if the obligation stretches out for 10 or 15 more years, the retirees will have to make some adjustments.
Date: January 23, 2023
1) Has anyone in your family had to carry a mortgage into retirement? How did it impact them?
2) Have you considered a career as a financial advisor where you might help clients with these types of life decisions?
3) Page 1-2 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses the careers of several well-known Canadian accountants. How do you see your accounting career developing as you move on after graduation?
Description: Last year we started to hear a lot about the phenomenon of quiet quitting: the notion of employees kind of signing-out mentally even if they were still present in the workplace, all as a means of dealing with various discontents in the workplace. A new Gallup survey shows that the rate of highly-engaged employees in America has dropped to 32%, while close to 20% are “actively disengaged” – a good measure, one might say, of the quiet quitting malaise. Part of the discontent of incumbent employees may be fueled by employers offering bonuses or other recruitment incentives in their efforts to meet demand for personnel.
Date: January 26, 2023
1) Have you and your classmates heard about this quiet quitting trend? Have you participated in it?
2) If you were in a supervisory role where you suspected your work team was engaged in quiet quitting, what practical strategies might you use to address the problem?
3) Page 12-25 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making introduces us to the four perspectives of the balanced scorecard. Which of these perspectives might be affected by this notion of quiet quitting?
Description: Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (MUN), is drawing some heat for spending close to $60,000 of its funds on a conference at the luxury hotel on Fogo Island. MUN defends the move, noting that it booked the rooms at $350 a night, versus the $2,875 cheapest listed rate the hotel normally offers. MUN’s faculty association, currently in negotiations for a new collective agreement with the university administration, did not appreciate the optics. And a PC Member of the House of Assembly, Barry Petten, stated the university adminstration was “out of touch.”
Date: January 29, 2023
1) Are you a Memorial student or do you know any students at MUN? What is the reaction to this type of spending by the administration?
2) In addition to the negotiations at MUN, a number of other Canadian universities are facing labour issues, including strikes, at Cape Breton University for example. How does a strike impact student life?
3) Chapter 4 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making opens with a vignette about accounting at Western University in London Ontario. Do the financial statements for your university contain any disclosures around unusual or controversial expenditures like the one at MUN?
Description: We’ve heard some good news and some bad news on inflation in Canada in recent days. While the Bank of Canada’s strategy of raising interest rates to help check inflation appears to be working overall, food inflation continues to soar with an annual increase measured at 11 percent in December. The price on every individual food item in Statistics Canada’s food basket went up in 2022. And while you might delay the purchase of some consumer goods, it’s a bit tougher to avoid the food markets for long.
Date: January 17, 2023
1) Have you and your classmates been noticing this food price inflation in your university town?
2) What are some practical strategies you and fellow students can use to control your food costs?
3) Appendix B of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making contains specimen financial statements for Sobeys Inc. Locate the most recent financial statements for Sobeys. How much different are the earnings for the most recent year from those in Appendix B?
Description: The bot is ready to see you now. Or maybe not. That is, you may not even get in the door of a company you are interested in joining because the resume-reading bot has already declared you ineligible for the position. It’s hard to get to the short-list when you can’t even make it onto the interview list because the AI bot did not like your resume. The bots are a money-saving move by companies to cut the costs of recruiting, but they can miss qualified candidates. There is also a concern that bots may be unfair to candidates who have certain disabilities.
Date: January 19, 2023
1) How does this prospect of a bot examining your resume impact you?
2) Do you know if any of the large employers of accounting graduates are using this technology?
3) On page 3-8 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we read about transaction analysis for hiring of new employees. Does this type of activity represent an accounting transaction?
Description: Development organization Oxfam has reported that the “1%” – the richest people in the world – have acquired 2/3 of the new wealth created since the pandemic. While the upper echelon is adding $2.7 billion to its wealth total each day – yes that does say billion with a “b” – people in less elevated spheres must deal with the economic uncertainty of inflation. Oxfam timed what it calls “shocking” findings to be released on the same day that the World Economic Forum opens in Davos, Switzerland. Oxfam proposes a 5% tax on the wealthiest to generate $1.7 trillion a year, helping to lift many out of poverty through spending in education and health.
Date: January 16, 2023
1) How do you and your classmates react to this story?
2) What do you think various government of Canada might do to address this issue?
3) Page 1-10 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses the concept of corporate social responsibility. How might this concept tie in with concerns over concentration of wealth?