Description: It’s a pretty thin line separating about half of Canadians from financial pain. CTV Winnipeg reported that close to half of Canadians are within $200 of insolvency when the end of the month rolls around. About 40% of Canadians foresee that they will be going deeper into debt this year to cover off their cost of living.
Date: January 21 , 2019
1) When a student has $200 left at the end of the month, that’s probably lots of cash. What do you think of the $200 figure as a barrier for a family ?
2) When you look ahead to an accounting career, do you see yourself working in the area of personal financial planning?
3) Last week this column looked at the principles of managing cash as per pages 381-2 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making. One of those principles is to prepare a cash budget. How can preparing a cash budget help you avoid going into more debt to cover off living expenses?
Description: It certainly was an eye opener! As reported in the Ryerson University student newspaper called the Eyeopener, the student union appears to have $250,000 in credit card charges that need some explaining. That’s a lot of money for student leaders to be charging. A number of students began asking questions, with one commenting that a failure by the students’ union to issue quarterly financial statements caused concern. Meanwhile, the president of the student union said the accounts will be reconciled by a February 1 deadline.
Date: January 25 , 2019
Source: cbc.ca via msn.com
1) Do you attend Ryerson, or know anyone who attends there? What is the latest discussion around campus on this matter?
2) What type of governance weaknesses might be exposed by this story?
3) In Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach you can read about the fraud triangle. Do you see how any of the three sides of the triangle may have been at work in this case?
Description: The National Post headline called it a “bad day for McBully.” But you might also say, it was a good day for the little big guy, Ireland’s Supermac burger chain. Owner Pat McDonagh claims his restaurant’s Supermac burger name is lifted from a nickname he carried when he played Gaelic football years ago. The European trade authorities appear to have agreed with Pat against Ronald McDonald and Big Mac in this trademark tiff.
Date: January 15 , 2019
1) Who do you agree with in this trademark battle?
2) Why do companies work so hard to protect a trademark?
3) Where can you find trademarks discussed in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making ?
Description: Jim Hackett, CEO of the Ford Motor Corporation, is trying to get Wall Street to listen. Hackett wants analysts to consider his “thoughtful” approach to moving the car maker forward, rather than concentrating so much on the fact that Ford missed its target for Earnings per Share with its 2018 results. The appeal does not seem to have worked as the market bid down Ford shares by over 6% one day last week.
Date: January 16 , 2019
1) Have you driven a Ford lately? What do you think of their products?
\2) Why are the analysts so focused on results meeting the shorter-term targets like Earnings per Share?
3) What do you do to calculate Earnings per Share? See Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making for information on how to proceed.
Description: The popular theory is that Canadians are starting their savings plan for retirement too late, and thus they are not putting enough in the bank for the days when they will no longer be working. A new survey is showing though that procrastination may not be the biggest problem people have in trying to tuck enough away to retire on. Big life shocks – like disability or divorce – seem to play a prominent role in derailing retirement success.
Date: January 16 , 2019
1) Do think Canadians are saving enough for the future?
2) What do you think can be done to “nudge” people to save more?
3) Which of the principles of managing cash as per pages 381-2 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making might be used to help Canadians better manage their savings plans?
Description: A phone that folds. Lots of talk about 5G, for those who claim they need even more speed. An electric-powered Harley that connects to the cloud. Audio technology that attempts to simulate the concert experience. And, of course, lots and lots of those trendy virtual assistants. These are a few of the highlights of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Date: January 9, 2019
1) Do you or your classmates know anyone who has visited the CES in Las Vegas? What was the best memory?
2) If you were the controller of a company with representatives attending the CES, what account would you recommend for the travel expenses to be charged to?
3) What is the difference between research costs and development costs? Check out chapter nine of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.
Description: It seemed at one time that the internet might offer greater freedom and democracy to the population of China. But the growing threat of China’s hacks and espionage are causing us to rethink those views. A recent paper describes the 2015 attack on GitHub’s giant stores of computer code. This attack has been called the “Great Cannon”, a companion to the “Great Firewall.” Whereas China’s “Great Firewall” is designed to control information flowing into the country, the “Great Cannon” appears oriented towards controlling what gets out of the huge nation.
Date: January 10, 2019
1) Does this story about the Great Cannon and the Great Firewall concern you?
2) What can companies do to address this type of security risk?
3) In what phase of the audit would the auditors assess the risks associated with possible attacks like this. See Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach.
Description: Malaysia is building mountains of our plastic waste since China ceased accepting it from the west in January 2018. For over 25 years, China had accepted roughly 50% of the western world’s plastic waste, turning it into products to be sent back to us. Meanwhile, Canada’s two largest grocery chains, Loblaws and Sobeys, seem to be far behind grocery stores in Britain in reducing all that plastic consumer waste. By 2050, some have estimted the weight of plastic in the ocean will exceed the weight of fish.
Date: January 11 , 2019
1) What do think Canadian grocers could due to reduce the amount of plastics we take home with their products?
2) Why do you think retailers choose plastic over other types of packaging?
3) Which type of audit discussed in Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach might a grocer use to report its performance in reducing plastic waste?
Description: Somewhat of a rare move you might call it; Apple has predicted a downward trend in its sales volume due largely to declining demand in China. Apple’s bad news comes amid a brewing trade dispute between China and the United States, the world’s two largest economic powers. The markets did not like this bellwether news, sending Apple stock and the markets downwards. Meanwhile, Canadian markets benefitted from a 47 cent rise in oil prices.
Date: January 3 , 2019
1) Are you an Apple user? If so, what appeals to you about their products?
2) What type of year are you predicting for the Canadian economy?
3) Why do you think Apple has stopped disclosing the number of units sold?
Description: In the grand battle of the City of New York versus Airbnb, the online rental agency wins this round. This means that Airbnb and other online rental agencies will not have to provide the City with details of renter addresses and names. The City is concerned that Airbnb and similar agencies can drive up rents and change neighbourhoods. In many cases it is illegal to rent an apartment in New York for less than 30 days.
Date: January 3, 2019
1)Have you used Airbnb or a similar service? What was your experience?
2) Do you agree with the City of New York’s position that short-term rental services like this will drive up rents and change neighbourhoods?
3) Where would you anticipate seeing a lawsuit discussed in Airbnb’s financial statements? For information on this question, check out chapter ten of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making.