Description: In an apparent response to the federal government’s Online News Act, Google has blocked some Canadians from their news feeds. Google has called this a test, noting the company runs thousands of tests like this in any given year. The Act will force platforms like Google and Facebook to begin compensating media publishers for stories these publishers produced. Traditional media see this as necessary given the volume of advertising revenue flowing to the web. Australia passed a similar legislation in 2021 despite a stare-down with Facebook, perhaps supporting Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s contention that Canadians won’t be intimidated.
Date: February 22, 2023
1) What percentage of your news do you get from Google or Facebook versus the traditional media?
2) Do you think Canada should have legislation requiring the tech giants to compensate the traditional media publishers who produce the news?
3) Page 14-12 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making notes that Google is one source of financial information for ratio analysis. What other sources are noted there?
Description: If you’re a Starbucks’ rewards points regular, you may have noticed that the company has raised the bar, now requiring twice as many points for some of the free treat options. Hot coffee, tea, and bakery selections that used to cost you 50 stars (or points) will now cost you double that amount. If you like to make your Starbucks coffee at home though, these changes will benefit you. The package of ground coffee or coffee beans that used to drain 400 stars from your account now will only cost you 300.
Date: February 10, 2023; updated February 13, 2023
1) How many of your classmates are Starbucks Rewards collectors? How do they react to this points change?
2) Why do you think Starbucks raised the bar on some items and lowered it on others?
3) On page 10-10 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making you will find a discussion of loyalty programs like those offered by Starbucks. How are they accounted for?
Description: Indigo Books and Music has a new website up and running following a recent cyberattack. But in this temporary site, Indigo says you can only “window-shop online.” You may browse, but if you find an item that interests you, you will need to go to an Indigo or Chapters store to purchase it. Indigo has not disclosed much in the way of detail about the incident. Sophos security expert Chester Wisniewski noted that it “doesn’t reflect well on brands when they’re not forthcoming about what’s going on.”
Date: February 17, 2023
1) Are you an Indigo customer? If so, what sort of communication have you received from the company?
2) If you were a senior financial officer at a company hit by a cybersecurity incident, what response would you advise your management colleagues to disclose to your customers?
3) Page 7-3 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making focuses on the five control activities in place at most companies. Which of these activities do you see as key to preventing security incidents like the one that hit Indigo?
Description: Air Canada posted a profit of $168 million in the most recent quarter that ended December 31. Even with the bad weather that made for a general rough patch over the Christmas travel period, Air Canada still managed to generate positive results. Revenue was 2% higher than for the same period in 2019, indicating the airline is bouncing back somewhat from the down-trend that dates to the beginning of the SARS-Cov-2 crisis.
Date: February 17, 2023
1) Have you flown since the pandemic started? How was your experience?
2) Do you think Canada has too many airlines?
3) Page 12-24 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making talks about an important performance measure for airlines such as Air Canada and WestJet. What is this measure and why do you think it is such a key metric in the industry?
Description: The Canadian division of retailer Bed Bath and Beyond is seeking protection under Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The US parent company has been experiencing financial problems of its own, declaring it cannot provide the type of support the Canadian operation requires. The company has around 400 full-time employees in Canada with another 1,000 or so part-timers who stand to be affected.
Date: February 10, 2023
1) How many of your classmates have shopped at Bed Bath and Beyond? What is their general impression of the business?
2) What do you think are some of the factors that caused Bed Bath and Beyond to fail?
3) Pages 2-8 and 2-9 of Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting discuss the going-concern concept. Why is this concept important in financial accounting?
Description: When Joe Biden took to the podium this past week for his State of the Union address, listeners could be excused for being surprised when they heard him declare war on junk fees. Biden is proposing legislation to ban those annoying fees on things like airline bookings and hotel rooms; those extra charges for things like a family assuring that all members can sit together on an airplane or hotels dropping a so-called resort fee on your bill. One problem with these junk fees is that they disguise the full or real price of the service you are purchasing. The White House argues this harms competitive markets.
Date: February 7, 2023
1) Have you or your classmates ever been hit by a junk fee? What was your reaction?
2) Does Canada have a similar junk fee problem? Have Canadian governments taken any action on this matter?
3) Illustration 9.1 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making provides a graphic showing a number of factors for a company to consider in establishing a price for its sales of goods and services. Which of these pricing factors do you think would come under discussion when a company adds a junk fee?
Description: Google has announced that it is laying off 12,000 workers worldwide. The impact is being felt in Canada, although the extent of job loss here was not immediately evident. Google joins other big tech companies in the layoff trend as Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta have handed out notices to employees in recent weeks. Sundar Pichai of Google’s parent company Meta said that though there had been hirings in last couple of years of growth, “we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”
Date: February 6, 2023
1) Have you ever been laid off? How did it transpire?
2) What might be some other strategies a company could use to reduce costs other than resorting to layoffs?
3) Page 1-2 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making mentions Sabrina Geremia, an accountant who became the managing director of Google Canada. What type of conversations would you think that she and other Google executives may have had when deciding on the extent of these layoffs?
Description: When it comes to wearing a favourite clothing brand, the phrase ‘Immediately stop’ gets your attention, doesn’t it? Health Canada has told Canadians to immediately stop wearing certain big brand name Helly Hansen hoodies and sweaters due to concerns over non-compliance with regulations regarding flammability. Roughly 130,000 garments have been subjected to this product recall. The good news is that there have been no reports to date of Canadians having any incidents related to this flammability issue.
Date: February 1, 2023
1) Do a quick survey of the items included in the recall using the link in the article. Is anyone in your accounting class an owner of the listed Helly Hansen apparel?
2) What might be some of the logistical decisions involved in organizing a product recall like this?
3) Chapter 5 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making deals with recording sales revenue and the related returns by customers. What are the two ways of accounting for sales returns described in the chapter?
Description: High food prices have been impacting Canadian consumers in this inflationary environment, and some are expressing their displeasure via social media in the wake of Loblaw lifting a prize freeze it had set back in the fall of 2022. Loblaw has responded through its own social media channels to defend its actions against consumers’ allegations of profiteering. University of Toronto marketing professor David Soberman believes that by responding, Loblaw is doing the right thing. He notes that “If you’re not going to tell people something that they like, at least respond to them because you’re showing respect for their concerns.”
Date: February 1, 2023
1) Were you taking advantage of this price freeze to help stock your cupboards? What about your classmates?
2) Do you agree with Loblaw’s strategy of responding to these complaints on social media? Why or why not?
3) Chapter 5 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making opens with a vignette describing merchandising operations at Loblaw. What are some of the cost savings Loblaw has achieved in its supply-chain management?
Description: Last Monday Nike Inc. announced it was suing Lululemon Athletica for an unspecified amount of damages. Nike’s claims allege four articles in Lululemon’s footwear lineup – Blissfeel, Chargefeel Low, Chargefeel Mid and Strongfeel – infringe on Nike patents. Last year Lululemon was on the other end of the legal argument when it settled a legal action against Peleton regarding Peleton’s supposed knock-offs of Lululemon’s branded clothing.
Date: January 30, 2023
1) Do you or anyone you know own any of these Lululemon products?
2) What sort of system do you think a company like Nike has for finding issues like this and then pursuing them through the courts?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses both intangible assets, like patents, and the distinction between capital and operating expenditures. Do you think the legal defense of a patent would be a capital or an operating expenditure?