Description: It all comes down to the numbers. Supporters of Calgary’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics are quoting optimistic figures showing that $5 billion plus in costs for the Games will produce 5 times the benefits in economic impacts. On the other side are skeptics claiming the games will leave the three levels of government responsible for over $3 billion in costs. Moshe Lander of Concordia University notes that in this crunching of numbers he has not seen any figures comparing the planned spending on the Olympics to spending on other alternatives.
Date: September 16 , 2018
1) Were you aware of this initiative by Calgary? Would you like to see the 2026 Olympics return to Calgary?
2) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, talks about the objective of financial reporting to provide useful information to decision makers (see page 73). Who would be the financial statement users for a financial statement of an Olympic Games?
3) Search the website of the Auditor General of British Columbia and see if you can find any audits of the cost for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Description: Have you ever wondered if you were paying a bit too much for those tickets you’ve been buying from Ticketmaster? Well, joint undercover research by the CBC and the Toronto Star has revealed some disturbing news. It appears that Ticketmaster is permitting high volume scalpers to use its TradeDesk system. Scalpers can buy significant volumes of tickets and then upload them quickly to Ticketmaster for resale through the TradeDesk tool. This increases prices for the fans. Meanwhile, Ticketmaster earns a commission on both ends, helping its profitability.
Date: September 19 , 2018
1) Have you ever used Ticketmaster? What has been your experience?
2) Do you think that this practice employed by Ticketmaster is ethical?
3) If you were an executive at Ticketmaster, how would you create incentives for employees to behave ethically? (See page 8 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making for a discussion of incentives.)
Description: While Loblaws hit the news last week on the taxation front, another big Canadian grocer, Sobeys, made the news by predicting an increase in food prices. The reason: transportation costs and tariffs. An increase in minimum wages in some jurisdictions is also offered as another reason for rising prices.
Date: September 13 , 2018
1) How much do you budget for groceries each month if you are living off campus? Is this prospect of rising prices a concern?
2) The article talks about the earning per share of Sobeys in the most recent quarter. Check out chapter two of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, to see how this is calculated.
3) Where can you find information on how transportation costs (or freight costs) are factored into the cost of inventory in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making?
Description: The Volkswagen Beetle – often popularly known as the Bug – is on the endangered species list. Volkswagen announced last week that the final editions of the Beetle will probably roll off of the assembly line by next summer. CEO Hinrich Woebcken of Volkswagen USA did hold out a bit of hope for a revival though, noting “I would say ‘never say never,’”
Date: September 14, 2018
1) Did you ever drive or ride in the famous Bug? What opinion do you have of the vehicle?
2) If you were an executive at Volkswagen, what kind of accounting information would you want to make a decision to keep or cut the Beetle ?
3) What would be some of the other important strategic factors VW executives would need to consider in cutting a model like the Beetle?
Description: Loblaws, a major Canadian grocer, was hit with a massive $368 million tax bill in a case held before the Tax Court of Canada. The case was not directed against the grocery business, but rather at a Bahamian banking subsidiary of the grocery chain. Although Loblaws intends to appeal the decision, officials announced that they would record the costs of the major tax hit in the third quarter financial statements.
Date: September 10, 2018
1) What did you learn about tax strategy from reading this article?
2) If you are looking ahead to a career as an accountant, have you given any thought to specializing in tax planning?
3) In the article it notes that Loblaws will be able to pay the tax bill out of its own cash reserves. It will not have to borrow the money or change its dividend policy. Which chapter in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, would teach you something about dividend policy?
Description: The Canadian economy took a jobs hit in August. The unemployment rate climbed to 6 per cent with a net job loss of 51,600 on the month. Losses in the part-time sector seemed to be a big factor in the decline. Alberta moved up in jobs while Ontario slipped backwards. In New Brunswick, a province in the midst of an election campaign, one would suspect the incumbent government would not have been pleased to hear the news that it had lost 1,000 jobs.
Date: September 7, 2018
1) Did you have any first-person knowledge of this jobs decline in August? That is, did you or any of your workmates lose employment that month?
2) If you were a political leader in a province like New Brunswick that had lost jobs, how would you respond to this concern?
3) In chapter two of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making, we learn about various cost concepts. Would you classify wages for a manufacturer as variable costs, fixed costs, or mixed costs?
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?