Description: The government of New Brunswick is taking steps to reduce red tape for business. The Business Navigators program will begin as a pilot project, where government provides business owners with a special phone line and email they can use to ask for assistance in navigating the regulatory framework. New Brunswick’s initiative is getting positive feedback from the Moncton Chamber of Commerce. John Wishart, CEO of the Chamber, said the biggest problem in dealing with red tape is the time delay it imposes on business projects.
Date: October 25, 2019
1) Have you or any of your employers run into delays from red tape?
2) What do you think of the Business Navigators program as a means of addressing the red tape problem?
3) Government places costs on businesses for such things as Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan. How do businesses account for their share of these programs, as well as the deductions they must make from employees’ paycheques for the employees’ share of the costs? Hint: Check out Chapter 10 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: Amazon profits fell in the latest quarterly results. The decrease has come from Amazon’s efforts to deliver parcels even faster for its Prime customers. Looking for one day delivery to Amazon Prime members is causing problems for Amazon. An analyst said the average one day order is for only $8.32. The problem is it costs Amazon $10.59 for shipping and handling.
Date: October 24, 2019
1) Were you aware that Amazon was making most of its profits from its cloud services rather than retail side of the business?
2) Has anyone in your class become a Prime member? Do you think the additional services are worth the annual fee?
3) Starting on page 227 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making you can read a section on Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis. Given what we know about Amazon’s costs for these one-day delivery transactions to Prime members, how do you think the managerial accountants at Amazon may have weighed in on these decisions to further decrease shipping times?
Description: You may have heard of customers lining up to purchase a new pair of high end running shoes. But have you ever thought about people who buy, sell and collect sneakers as works of art? One Canadian collector reportedly paid in excess of $1 million dollars to Sotheby’s for 99 pairs of classic running shoes. Then he topped that off by paying approximately $600,000 for a rare set of shoes. One problem with collecting sneakers though is that these assets will deteriorate over time, perhaps crumbling to a dusty pile of waste.
Date: October 26, 2019
1) Have you ever heard about sneaker collecting? What do you think of sneakers as a work of art?
2) How much would you be willing to pay to visit Sneakertopia?
3) On page 317 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making is a section on valuing inventory at lower of cost or net realizable value. What would be some of the challenges in applying this rule to an inventory of sneaker art?
Description: GM and the striking United Auto Workers seem to have reached a deal, ending the first strike against GM in over ten years. Financial analysts have estimated that the strike has cost GM roughly $2 billion. Getting the workers to ratify the agreements may prove challenging, with many of them upset that the automaker announced it would shutter four more plants in the United States.
Date: October 16, 2019
1) If you were a GM worker presented with this contract offer, what way would you vote?
2) How do you think accountants could be involved in calculating that figure of $2 billion in losses?
3) On page 15 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making is a discussion GM’s use of the theory of constraints to change operations in its plants. To what extent do you think this theory of constraints might impact labour relations?
Description: Lead – and lots of it – is still a big part of the battery business, particularly when it comes to batteries for motor vehicles. Lead batteries could also be a big component for the energy storage market as we head toward green sources of energy. The problem though is that lead and various lead compounds are regarded as toxic. As the article in the Financial Post says, lead is the “metal no one wants to talk about.”
Date: October 17, 2019
1) Did you realize lead was toxic and that there was so much of it in use?
2) Would you be prepared to pay more if there was an alternative to lead and acid in batteries? How much more would you pay for such a battery if you could find one?
3) In Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, chapter 12, you can read about reporting through the balanced scorecard. If you were a company that was using potentially toxic products, how might you talk about this in your balanced scorecard reporting?
Description: Amazon is giving toymakers favourable promotion for the upcoming Christmas sales season – if they are prepared to pay up to $ 2 million. There’s nothing illegal about charging the toy manufacturers a fee for their place in the sun. But some have commented that the practice is not clearly disclosed to consumers. They may be disappointed to find out that a highly rated product is recommended strongly because the vendor has paid for the privilege.
Date: October 17, 2019
1) Were you aware that this practice was going on? What do you think of it?
2) How could consumers make their voices heard to cause Amazon to have better disclosure of the link between dollars and product placement?
3) Have you ever noticed how Amazon seems to have such a high price-earnings ratio? See problem BE14-12 on page 806 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making for an example of this. Why do you think the P/E is so high compared to other companies?
Description: According to Inc.com, over 50% of the average worker’s workday is chewed up by 3 unnecessary tasks. You might be able to guess a couple of them quite easily: emails you don’t really need to do your job and those “no value added” meetings. The third time waster actually happens outside the workplace as you commute to and from the office. According to Inc.com, you spend about 5.6 years of your work life in your car.
Date: October 8, 2019
1) Have you experienced these time-wasters in any of the jobs you have had while attending university?
2) How could a managerial accountant develop a way to cost each of these three time wasters?
3) In Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can learn about the concept of ROI. If you were asked to calculate the ROI on a new office email system, how might you factor in the cost of the lost time from the unnecessary email?
Description: Greenpeace is still out there cleaning up beaches as part of its annual survey of Canadian litter leaders. Once again, Tim Hortons and Nestle are leading – if one can call it that – the race as the top plastic polluter. Perhaps not surprisingly, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola are in the top five as well.
Date: October 9, 2019
1) After reading the story in the link, what struck you as the most surprising thing?
2) How do you think accounting could contribute to solving the plastic problems?
3) How many of the top five companies in this story can you find in the index of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making ?
Description: The male-female wage gap is shrinking, with a new Statistics Canada study indicating that females are earning about thirteen percent less than males on average. The research shows more women entering higher paying occupations in the last twenty years, such as those in business and finance. Associate Professor Margaret Yap of Ryerson University noted that the glass ceiling effect is in place, preventing females from moving into higher levels of organizations.
Date: October 7, 2019
1) In looking ahead at the job market for when you graduate, what are some of the higher-paying careers out there? How does accountancy stack up?
2) How do you think the male-female wage gap can be addressed?
3) In chapter one of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , see the All About You text box on page 17. Note the question regarding choosing a university major under the heading What Do You Think? Take a look at the two options and choose your answer YES or NO.
Description: Out there in the job market, we may have to be keeping our eyes on the robots and AI. It looks like the service sector jobs in areas including banking may be being replaced by electronic workers. The financial industry has been pouring $150 billion a year into artificial intelligence, clearing out jobs at even low wage levels. As software continues to grow and develop, workers may be pushed out at higher levels as well.
Date: October 3, 2019
1) At this point in your university life, have you thought ahead to your career choices? Are you considering accountancy?
2) How do you think AI may impact your planned career?
3) In chapter thirteen of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making , we see a discussion of how businesses plan for large capital investments. When banks are investing billions in AI, what are some important techniques they may be using to support their investment decisions?