Description: Inflation in Canada is emerging as a bit of a problem with August figures up 4.1% over last year’s numbers. A rise in this first “I” of inflation has prompted speculation that the Bank of Canada will have to respond by raising a second “I” – interest rates. Former Bank of Canada employee David Wolf, now with Fidelity Investments, believes the Bank’s move will be sooner than many others predict.
Date: September 29, 2021
1) How would a rise in interest rates impact you as a student?
2) Would your university be impacted by a rise in interest rates? (Hint: Track down your university’s financial statements online, determine if the institution has any outstanding debt, and read about the terms of this debt in the notes to the financial statements.)
3) In Chapter 4 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making we learn about entries for accruals. What accounts are impacted when a company makes an accrual for interest expense on a loan? What are the accurals for the bank loaning the money?
Description: Pension manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec – often simply referred to as the Caisse – plans to drop its investments in the oil business within the next year. Currently, this industry makes up about 1% of the Caisse’s approximately $400 billion in assets. The Caisse, like many other pension funds, has been pressured to use its financial might to influence the sustainability debate.
Date: September 28, 2021
1) What do you think has prompted investors to drop oil stocks from their portfolios?
2) Do you agree with the Caisse’s decision?
3) On page 9-47, problem E9.13, of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, we see three key ratios for two major companies, one a large retailer and the other in the petroleum business. Try to identify which company is which as per the requirements of this problem.
Description: In a move to slash e-waste – and perhaps help Apple customers with cleaning out their junk drawers – the European Union (EU) is seeking to regulate a single industry-wide charger for all smart phones. This poses a problem for Apple with its current Lightning charging ports versus the standard USB-C used by most other manufacturers. For about the last ten years, the EU has been trying to use moral suasion to influence the industry in this direction, but it has apparently reached the conclusion that legislation is now necessary to accomplish its goal.
Date: September 23, 2021
1) How many charger do you own for your electronic gear?
2) If this move goes ahead, do you think Canada should follow with similar legislation`?
3) In Chapter 6 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making we learn about costing inventory. If a retailer had an over-supply of suddenly “outlawed” chargers, how could this affect the valuation of inventory?
Description: Lululemon has won the right to be the exclusive clothing outfitter for our Canadian Olympic teams through to 2028. Bruce Winder, a Toronto based analyst, termed this move as a “game-changer” for Lululemon. The costs of the deal have not been disclosed, though Lululemon has pledged a proportion of associated sales will help fund athletes.
Date: September 23, 2021; updated September 24, 2021
1) Are you a fan of the Lululemon brand?
2) Do you think this is a good strategic move for Lululemon? What might be some criteria for measuring success?
3) Pages 6-1 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making contains a short vignette on Lululemon and its management of inventory. Can you and your classmates track down Lululemon’s most recent publicly available data for the ratio days in inventory?
Description: With Covid-19 cases rising in several provinces in the latest phase of the pandemic, governments, such as Ontario, have responded with requiring vaccine passports for customers dining in restaurants. Policing the passport is especially tough in food courts, where food is purchased from a variety of vendors but consumed in a common area not owned by any single one of these establishments. Some malls, such as giant Cadillac Fairview, owner of the Eaton Centre, are hiring extra security to perform the task. Of course, extra security means increased costs for someone.
Date: September 21, 2021
1) Are you a regular at the mall food courts? Why or why not?
2) If you were an accountant for a mall owner, what type of arrangement could you establish to track the additional costs associated with this extra security?
3) Page 9-3 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making discusses the four main classes of property, plant, and equipment. Which of these categories would a mall owner likely be using in its description of its property, plant, and equipment on its balance sheet?
Description: The Teamsters union is targeting Amazon’s operations in Canada, with an eye towards unionizing its nine Canadian locations. The Teamsters have already signed-up 40% of the workers at Amazon’s Edmonton facility, thereby reaching the threshold to conduct a facility-wide unionization vote. While the union promises higher wages and better benefits, Amazon counters that unionization will represent “the voices of a select few.”
Date: September 17, 2021
1) Are you a regular Amazon customer? Why or why not?
2) If you were an Amazon employee, would you sign a union card?
3) In chapter one of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making we learn about various users of financial statements, including unions. What type of things might a union learn by reviewing the Amazon financial statements?
Description: During` the first 18 months of the pandemic, demand for lumber skyrocketed, driving prices through the roof. Now prices are coming back to reality and those who delayed their projects are smiling. Two-by-fours were at $12.65 on June 1. Now you can pick one up for $3.95, essentially a pre-Covid value.
Date: September 15, 2021
1)Have you or your classmates been aware of the big rise in lumber costs during Covid times?
2) If you were an accountant for a building contractor, what strategies would you advise management to utilize to manage the risk of rising material prices during the Covid crisis?
3) Pages 6-20 to 6-22 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making discuss the concept of lower of cost and net realizable value. How might the change in lumber prices and this concept impact the financial statements of building supply retailers ?
Description: Sustainable investing is a hot topic, prompting growth in so-called sustainable funds. But since there is no one established definition of what sustainability means, investors and advisors are left with questions such as how much carbon is a company emitting. This has prompted a call from investors and fund developers for more hard data from industry.
Date: September 19, 2021
1) Is sustainability something you would be considering as part of your investment decisions?
2) Does your university have an investment club or course offering that allows students to make real trades? How does sustainability fit in with the decision-making process?
3) Chapter one of Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Apporoach discusses several types of audits or assurance engagements. Which one do you think might be especially applicable for the reporting issues covered in this article?
Description: The NFL is off and running for another season. And with this kickoff comes the news of just how much betting is going on out there. Legal bets on college and NFL football are likely to exceed $20 billion this year. With news like that, Draft Kings stock has been up 17% over the last three months.
Date: September 10, 2021
1) What’s the situation with sports betting among students on your campus? Is betting a common activity for football fans there?
2) What might be some of the key financial risks that a CFO of a company like Draft Kings would have to be concerned with?
3) Page 9-26 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making discusses the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. Is there any option for legal betting on CFL games?
Description: Statistics Canada says that the Canadian economy added 90,000 jobs in August. With an unemployment rate at 7.1%, this key economic measure is now at its lowest point since the pandemic began. The news is not all good, however, as fewer people are actually looking for employment, indicating that the Covid fears may be causing some hesitancy among the workforce.
Date: September 10, 2021
1) What’s your personal assessment of the job situation in your university town?
2) Regarding the hesitancy issue raised by economist Royce Mendes, what strategies do you think could be used to address it?
3) Wiley’s Audting: A Practical Approach often discusses the concept of audit risk. How might the changing face of employment statistics affect an auidtor’s assessment of audit risk for a client?