Description: This past week saw the start of the NFL season. It also saw Nike jumping into the middle of the storm surrounding quarterback Colin Kaepernick by including him as the central figure in a new advertising campaign. Colin Kaepernick has been a figure of some controversy, given his practice of not standing for the national anthem when he was on the roster of NFL teams. Some have supported his stand. Others, including the sitting US president, have decried his behaviour.
Date: September 5, 2018
1) Have you been following the Colin Kaepernick story? What are your observations?
2) Why do you think Nike has chosen this advertising campaign?
3) Take a look at the section Focus on the Value Chain, page 13 in Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making. What stage or stages of the value chain would Nike be focusing on in making the decision to create this focus?
Description: Warm weather and beautiful beaches are among the top reasons a Canadian might want to set up residence in the Bahamas. But if you are a rich tennis star like Eugénie Bouchard, the fact that there is no income tax is another important consideration that may have prompted her to take up residence there. Her move has raised the attention of Quebec politicians, with François Legault of the poll-leading CAQ suggesting she should be back in Quebec, paying taxes where she first learned to play tennis.
Date: September 5, 2018
1) What was your reaction to this story?
2) Do you think that athletes choose to live in other jurisdictions because of the taxation rules?
3) What do you think is the maximum marginal tax rate a government can impose before we see high income earners moving to other jurisdictions?
Description: The past week has seen story after story on the trade talks between Canada and the United States. This all follows the US and Mexico coming to terms on a trade deal. Will Canada be left on the sidelines in the North American Free Trade Agreement? What will this mean for Canadian consumers? One piece of the puzzle is figuring out what to do about Canada’s supply management in the dairy industry. But as Jennifer Wells points out, American dairy farmers are in crisis, with way too much supply. They may need supply management too!
Date: September 1, 2018
1) Have you been following any of the discussion on the trade talks? What have you heard?
2) How do you think the trade talks might affect you? For instance,what items that you buy may be affected?
3) What surprised you about reading this article? For example, were you unfamiliar with the problems in the US dairy sector?
Description: Well. welcome to another school year! Or maybe it’s your first year at university or college, so just plain old welcome. And as you get ready to start this academic year, it’s a good time to think about how far your dollars will go. Certainly one way to save some money is to take advantage of those student discounts: as long as you don’t end up buying stuff you don’t need just because you have a discount coming your way.
Date: September 1, 2018
1) Do you have any tips for your classmates on how to stretch your dollars further?
2) Are you a budgeter?
3) Take a look at the table of contents in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making. What are you looking forward to learning in your new accounting course?
Description: This Labour Day CBC radio took the title of the day to heart by hosting a special Workplace Whistleblower documentary https://www.cbc.ca/radio/it-s-in-their-dna-what-makes-people-blow-the-whistle-over-their-silent-counterparts-1.4791859 . Whistleblowers bring forward problems in their workplaces, but as can be seen in the accompanying article, blowing the whistle can mean the end of their careers. Interestingly enough, the problems with the Pheonix payroll system may have been compounded because employees were afraid to bring problems forward.
Date: September 2, 2018
1) Do you know anyone who has ever blown the whistle in the workplace? How did this work out for them?
2) Why do you think employers punish whistleblowers?
3) If you were employed as an accountant, and you observed something that was fraudulent for example, how would you approach the situation?
Description: Tax time is rolling around quickly for Canadians. And with all the 2017 hype over Bitcoin, some may be wondering what to do with any income earned in trading the cryptocurrency. The simplest answer: if you trade, keep records; if you make income, declare it.
Date: April 13, 2018
1) Do you know anyone trading in Bitcoin?
2) How does the article say gains on trading Bitcoin will be taxed?
3) On page 367 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, there is a discussion of what exactly constitutes cash. Do you think Bitcoin should be treated as cash by accountants?
Description: Succession issues can pose a serious problem with family owned businesses. It seems that this is the case at Leon’s furniture where family members are now feuding over ownership of a certain class of shares. A complex series of trust arrangements appears to be a central issue as a widow of one of the Leon’s family members takes forward her claim against Terry Leon, the CEO, and his brothers.
Date: April 20, 2018
1) What interested you most about this article?
2) Does a career as a tax planner interest you?
3) At the start of Chapter 11 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, you can read a short vignette about Leon’s furniture. What was the somewhat humorous event that got this furniture giant started?
Description: Many Canadians have heard by now of the Phoenix payroll system failures. (It was featured in this blog on November 27, 2017.) The delays in federal employees getting the right pay at the right time just don’t seem to be disappearing. And, this week we learned there aren’t anywhere near enough parking spots for the workers trying to process that pay and help fix the Phoenix problems in Miramichi, New Brunswick. It’s just one more stress for the employees who have been trying to cope with the pressures of a troubled system.
Date: April 17, 2018
1) Do you or any or your classmates have a federal government job for the summer? Are you concerned about getting the right pay at the right time?
2) If you were an accountant tasked with fixing the Phoenix pay problems, what would be your first move?
3) Starting on page 527 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, there is a section on Payroll. How does an employer record the benefit expense for the employees? Were you aware that benefits are a significant percentage of an organization’s expenses?
Description: Toys R Us may just have received a reprieve from liquidation. Billionaire Isaac Larian, a prominent toy marketer has stepped in with a billion dollar offer to buy up Toys R Us stores in Canada and the United States, Intriguingly, the offer includes a crowd funding component. Keeping the Toys R Us chain afloat appears to be part of a strategy to keep the toy industry healthy.
Date: April 13, 2018
1) Were you familiar with the troubles as Toys R Us? What do you think caused them?
2) How would the crowd funding portion of the purchase be treated in the financial statements of those providing the funding?
3) On page 76 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, you can read about a key assumption that is foundational to accounting: the going concern assumption. How would this assumption have been called into question at Toys R Us in recent months?
Description: The general rule is that if something is in demand, then the price goes up. But while employment is growing in both Canada and the United States, and shortages of workers could become a problem as the baby boomers move into retirement, wages have not been growing. Economists have offered a variety of explanations, including such factors as government policy, global competitive factors and weaker trade unions.
Date: April 9, 2018
1) What is the labour market looking like for summer jobs for students at your school?
2) How are wages looking this summer versus last year?
3) The article gives a variety of explanations for the failure of wages to match job growth. Which factor do you think is the most significant?