Description: The major banks in Canada have raised their interest rates following the Bank of Canada’s third recent increase in its lending rate to 1.25%. With positive economic growth and healthy employment levels, the Bank of Canada believed it was a suitable time to raise rates. Lurking in the background, however, is the possibility of failure in the NAFTA trade talks. One economist, Avery Shenfeld, noted that the possibility of NAFTA going south “hints that the view out the front window isn’t quite as sunny.”
Date: January 17, 2018
1) Using the calculator attached to the CBC article, or a spreadsheet template of your own, determine how a 0.25% rise in the rates might impact payments on your student loans.
2) Have you been following any of the news around NAFTA? What do you think will happen?
3) What happens to bond prices when interest rates are rising?
Description: Last week saw lots of buzz in Vegas as tech-fanciers and manufacturers hit town for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Technology product editor Todd Haselton wrote that it appears to him that the focus of the show has been evolving. No longer do attendees see electronics – perhaps a new laptop or smartphone – that are just about to hit the market. Rather, he notes, the show has been shifting from an emphasis on stuff that people can buy and more towards ideas and “proof of concept.”
Date: January 12, 2018
1) Have you or any of your classmates ever attended the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas? If so, describe the experience.
2) From a strategic marketing point of view, why do you think we may have seen this change in emphasis at the Consumer Electronics Show?
3) If you were an accountant working for one of the companies displaying goods at the Consumer Electronics Show, what account would you charge your organization’s expenses for the show to? For example, would it be marketing? Could it be considered as research?
Description: The deficit is still here. And Canada’s Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, says it will be for the foreseeable future. Morneau is projecting a deficit of slightly less than $20 billion for the Canadian government for the 2017-18 fiscal year. He is forecasting the deficit will continue to decline over the next several years, despite Canada’s demographic and economic growth challenges.
Date: January 12, 2018
1) What would you consider to be the “bottom line” on the Government of Canada’s financial statements? Hint: Consult Chapter 10 of Wiley’s Advanced Accounting.
2) What do you think of this fiscal strategy of several years of planned deficits?
3) What do you think of the strategy of building a $1.5 billion risk adjustment into the budget, allowing for such things as bad news from the NAFTA discussions?
Description: Well, apparently the Colonel will now take Bitcoin in Canada for KFC’s new Bitcoin Bucket. On January 11 KFC tweeted “Sure, we don’t know exactly what Bitcoins are, or how they work, but that shouldn’t come between you and some finger lickin’ good chicken.” It’s a rather amusing story to accompany all the media attention around the recent bubble-like rise of the alternate currency Bitcoin.
Date: January 12, 2018
1) Have you ever purchased any Bitcoin? What did you use it for?
2) What forces do you think are driving the recent rise in the value of Bitcoin?
3) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making has an interesting “Accounting Matters” discussion on page 367. Read the section and discuss with your classmates whether or not Bitcoin is cash.
Description: Well, I got an interesting letter the other day. I once owned a Nissan, so when a letter came in from Nissan Canada Finance, I thought, “here we go again; they’re telling me what a great time it would be to see my local Nissan dealer again and finance another car.” But when I opened the letter and started reading, I was surprised to see that Nissan Canada Finance suffered a data breach and that customers’ personal information could have been compromised. Ouch!
Date: January 5, 2018
1) Over the last few months we have seen a number of prominent data breaches. Have you ever been notified that this has happened to you? What did you do?
2) Chapter 11 of Wiley’s Core Concepts of Accounting Information Systems: Canadian Edition, discusses the ethical challenges companies face in handling data. How do you think you would respond if you were an executive at Nissan Canada Finance and you found out that your customers’ data may have been compromised?
3) Have you ever considered a career in as accountant who helps organizations address IT security issues?
Description: On January 1, 2018 Ontario raised the minimum wage to $14 per hour from the old floor of $11.60. CBC has found that at a number of locations in Ontario, Tim Horton’s franchise owners have responded to the increased costs by a variety of cost-cutting measures, including cutting paid coffee breaks for employees and cutting benefits. The cost-cutting did not appear to be restricted to Tim’s alone. For instance, one auto dealership reportedly is switching its casual drivers to the role of independent contractors who will now be compensated on a per trip basis versus through an hourly wage.
Date: January 5, 2018
1) Are you a student from Ontario? Will the increase in minimum wage impact you in your summer job?
2) How do you think an increase in the minimum wage impacts an economy?
3) Do you think there is a cost of negative publicity associated with a story like this? In other words, will some customers choose another coffee spot and avoid the Tim Horton’s restaurants that have cut breaks and benefits?
Description: The merger of Potash Corp and Agrium Inc is complete and the new company, Nutrien Ltd, started trading its shares this week. The new mega-enterprise stated the merger was to help it compete in face of declining prices in the potash business. But some Saskatchewan politicians fear that the merger might mean that good head office jobs may flee the province as the newly structured fertilizer producer moves forward.
Date: January 3, 2018
1) Wiley’s Advanced Accounting: Updated Canadian Edition (Fayerman), discusses various types of business combinations and inter corporate investments. How do you think Potash Corp and Agrium’s combination would fit with the framework Fayerman writes about?
2) What do you think of this merger as a strategic move to deal with declining potash prices?
3) What type of accounting information might Nutrien Ltd. need in order to determine where it will locate its business functions?
Description: On December 6, many gathered in Halifax for a special ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. On December 6, 1917, two ships collided in Halifax harbour. One of them, heavily loaded with munitions, caught fire and soon exploded, leveling neighborhoods, killing approximately 2,000 people, and injuring many more. Professor Jack Rozdilsky of York University says the Explosion provides an important reminder of the nature of risk in our society.
Date: December 6, 2017
1) Did you watch or read anything this past week about the Halifax Explosion?
2) How could accounting information help us learn to prevent accidents?
3) How can auditors and accountants help organizations in assessing their risks?
Description: December 9 was International Anti-Corruption Day. The United Nations website tells us that each year $1 trillion is paid in bribes around the globe while thieves make off with $2.6 trillion stolen through various corrupt methods. These figures far outstrip the amount of development aid targeted to nations.
Date: December 9, 2017
1) Were you surprised by the extent of the corruption worldwide?
2) Click on the what you can do link and discuss with your class what measures are effective. http://www.anticorruptionday.org/actagainstcorruption/en/about-the-campaign/what-can-you-do.html
3) On page 13 of Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach, you can read about the emerging area called Corporate Social Responsibility assurance. Do you believe that if this area of practice became more common it might help reduce corruption?
Description: Well, having about 90% of your compensation based on bonus incentives for reaching performance targets might seem a bit risky. But don’t feel too bad for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. His new five year contract could pay him up to $200 million. The NFL owners have been concerned about recent declines in television viewership and want to ensure Goodell focuses on growing the sport’s $14 billion in revenue.
Date: December 6, 2017
1) Why do you think the NFL television ratings are declining? How will this impact the league’s revenues?
2) If you were structuring a contract for an executive of a sports league, how would you set it up? How much would you put in base salary? How would you structure the bonus targets?
3) On page 359 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can see a reference to the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. Try to find out the total revenues of the CFL to see how this figure compares to the NFL’s $14 billion.