Description: The federal Competition Bureau is suing Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) under allegations of deceptive pricing. Apparently, HBC listed a sleep set with a sale price of $788, noting that the regular price was $1,998. The problem was, HBC hadn’t sold a single unit at the regular price, prompting the Bureau to believe the retailer had misled its customers. HBC intends to argue against the complaint.
Date: February 22, 2017
1) Have you ever seen a situation like this where the sale price appears to be compared with an unrealistic regular price? What did you do?
2) Were you surprised that the Competition Bureau can take action on a case like this?
3) What role might an accountant have in defending HBC against such accusations?
Description: The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is coming; coming for taxes that is. CRA is expanding an audit program to ferret out wealthy individuals and companies that may have been avoiding taxation, particularly through offshore activities. The federal government has directed an additional $444 million over the next five years to help the CRA’s audit efforts. The CRA is hoping to add $400 million in tax revenue from this expanded effort this year, a tidy sum to be added to the typical $13 billion its audit activities generate annually.
Date: February 23, 2017
1) What is your opinion on these tax audits? Do you see it primarily as a revenue generator or more as a deterrent to promote taxpayer compliance?
2) Do you think you would like to try a career as a tax auditor? Why?
3) The article notes that their is some controversy over whether taxpayers who voluntarily disclose their avoidance of taxes should be allowed a second shot at this voluntary disclosure. What do you think?
Description: More than one third of Canadians don’t realize how beneficial it is to make more than the minimum payment on their consumer debt. According to a recent survey by TransUnion, a credit monitoring organization, 39% of Canadians surveyed didn’t realize the financial benefits of paying more than the minimum required by credit card companies or other lenders. Low interest rates have perhaps created a false sense of security in portions of the population.
Date: February 22, 2017
1) What did you learn from reading this article?
2) How are you approaching credit card debt as a university student?
3) Check out the section called “Your Personal Statement of Financial Position” in chapter 2 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making. Do you think as an accounting student that there are principles you are learning in class that can help with your personal finances?
Description: In the news this week, we saw a couple of versions of President Donald Trump’s behaviour. Early in the week, we saw a rather uneventful meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Then, later in the week, we saw a rather unusual news conference with what we might call bullying of the news media. How do you handle Trump-like characters in the work place? Carrie Gallant stresses the importance of preparation and asking the right questions.
Date: February 18, 2017;
1) What did you learn from reading this article?
2) Have you ever had to deal with an unpredictable personality in the workplace? What strategies worked in dealing with these difficult situations?
3) What role do you think group work on your university courses has in helping you prepare for the workplace?
Description: It might be Roll-up the Rim contest time, but Tim Horton’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, is looking for more than free coffee and doughnuts. Restaurant Brands is looking to add to its roster of Burger King and Tim’s through acquisitions. Popeye’s was rumored to be on the take-over list, but talks may have broken off. Perhaps more attractive options are out there.
Date: February 14, 2017; updated February 16, 2017
1) Do you have an interest in working in the mergers and acquisitions business when you graduate? What do you think will be some of the key skills you will require?
2) Are you a roll-up the rim contest winner yet this year? How well do you think this annual contest ranks as a marketing tool?
3) Where can you find discussion of Tim Horton’s in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making? How has Tim’s changed since that vignette?
Description: In a move that challenges rival Air Canada, WestJet has announced it is expanding operations in the Province of Quebec. Westjet is adding over 100 new flights to its roster there, hoping to draw both business and leisure travelers through lower fares. Air Canada is expected to fight back, though low fares will be a challenge in the face of rising fuel prices.
Date: February 13, 2017
1) What is your opinion on Westjet’s expansion in Quebec as a strategic move?
2) If you were a management accountant at Westjet, what might be some of the cost information you would be analyzing to help with this strategic move?
3) What can you learn about Westjet’s approach to its fleet of aircraft in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making?
Description: A lawyer friend of mine – who also happens to be a chartered accountant – has told me that roughly every 20 years or so, it seems that the Supreme Court of Canada deals with a case on auditor liability. Well, the 20 years must be up as on February 15, 2017, the Supreme Court is set to hear case 36875 – Deloitte & Touche v. Livent Inc., Through its Special Receiver and Manager Roman Doroniuk. Deloitte has been found liable at a previous trial for over $80 million in damages. The Court’s decision could revisit an earlier 1997 ruling on the Hercules Management case that seemed to vastly reduce the scope of auditor liability.
Date: January 31, 2017;
1) In addition to the Globe and Mail link, search for the Supreme Court of Canada’s website to check out the information on this case. (http://scc-csc.ca/case-dossier/info/sum-som-eng.aspx?cas=36875)
2) Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach discusses the Hercules Management decision. What are some of the main points from this case regarding auditor liability?
3) What decision do you think the Court will make?
Description: This week the Globe and Mail reported that the Minister of Finance did not include information on government expectations regarding future deficits in his November 1st financial updates. Instead, the information projecting decades of future deficits was released to the public somewhat quietly, two days before Christmas. While deficits are expected to continue for some time, the federal government does expect the federal debt to decline as a share of GDP.
Date: February 10, 2017
1) If you were the Finance Minister, when do you think you would have released this information?
2) What would have been the downside to releasing such information earlier?
3) What risk would the government run by not releasing this information in its November update?
Description: Perhaps it should not surprise us when government departments fail to implement a recommendation from the auditor general. But this one seems to defy imagination. In 2011, the federal auditor general informed the government that a consultant hired to manage First Nation finances had been part of an alleged fraud the previous year. Yet the First Nations employing the consultant were not informed until 2016.
Date: February 10, 2017;
1) How do you think this situation occurred?
2) Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach discusses the so-called Fraud Triangle. Do you see any parts of the fraud triangle as having played a role in this failure?
3) As a citizen and taxpayer, what do you think can be done to improve these communication issues?
Description: Snapchat is looking to raise up to $4 billion in an initial public offering (IPO). Snapchat lost over $500 million in 2016 and $382 million the previous year. Yet, the company is expected to have a market value of up to $25 billion.
Date: February 2, 2017;
1) Are you a regular user of Snapchat? How do you think it stacks up against competitors like Facebook and Twitter?
2) Which chapter of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making teaches accounting students about IPOs?
3) Snapchat seems to be losing all kinds of money, but it has an incredible market value. What do you think accounts for this situation?