Description: With more and more banking transactions being handled on line, Canadian banks are looking to close branches after years of growth up to about 2014. The Globe and Mail newspaper reported “dozens” of branches would be closing. Approximately 55 % of Canadians say they do their banking on the internet.
Date: January 11, 2017
1) What was the last transaction you carried out at a physical bank branch?
2) As a student perhaps staying far away from home, what part does a bank play in your financial life?
3) What are some of the challenges banks might face from the so-called Fintech sector?
Description: Ford Motor Company has changed gears on its plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico. In the face of incoming U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to invoke a border tax, the auto builder decided to rethink its position. Canadians may be wondering about what all this means for the automakers’ plans to invest in assets in our country.
Date: January 3, 2017; updated January 4, 2017
1) What might be some of the impacts of these proposed border taxes on companies shifting jobs out of the United States? Will other companies follow the Ford gear change?
2) If you were in charge of implementing such a tax, how would you structure it?
3) As an accountant, how would you provide advice on capital budgeting decisions in the face of a possible border tax?
Description: This year represents the 150th anniversary of confederation for Canada. And both the previous Conservative administration and the current Liberal government have been piling up the cash to help the celebration along. All told, $500 million has been budgeted to commemorate the anniversary in various forms. Meanwhile, the Department of Finance is predicting the federal government will not return to surpluses until the 2050s.
Date: January 6, 2017
1) Were you aware that this was Canada’s 150th birthday?
2) What do you think of the plan to essentially borrow $500 million to celebrate the sesquicentennial while forecasting deficits for years to come?
3) How would the Government of Canada account for this $500 million in spending in its financial statements?
Description: It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that CEOs are well compensated. But did you realize that shortly before noon hour on January 3, the second work day of the year, the CEOs at the top rung in Canada will have earned more than the average Canadian worker will earn for all of 2017? That’s a bit of an improvement for the CEO class who took until a little after noon on day 2 to reach the average worker’s annual pay last year. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives developed the report that uses the clock analogy to show the growing income inequality in Canada.
Date: January 3, 2017
1) What do you think of this clock analogy to illustrate the point of income inequality? What are some other techniques accountants can use to make numbers more understandable?
2) The article discussed how the current Trudeau government has backed down on its intention to increase the tax rate on stock options which often form a significant portion of CEO compensation. What is the difference in tax treatment of salary versus stock options ?
3) What are some lessons from accounting theory about constructing executive pay packages?
Description: It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to most of us: digital advertising is continuing to profit while print is in trouble. But television advertising is also seeing its numbers slipping. TV execs are placing some hope in the arrival of “addressable TV” where each home would receive ads based on its profile.
Date: December 8, 2016
1) Do you think television has a chance of surviving the digital advertising onslaught with this addressable TV option?
2) Do you think that the advertisers’ efforts to make Google and Facebook more transparent in sharing data will be successful?
3) What surprised you about the list of the ten biggest advertisers in Canada?
Description: This past Thursday one of the world’s biggest steel manufacturers, ThyssenKrupp, revealed that earlier this year it had been hit by cyberattacks. The hackers, from somewhere in Southeast Asia, stole valuable trade secrets from ThyssenKrupp. The company delayed informing the media about the attack until new security features were put in place.
Date: December 8, 2016
1) What are some steps users can take to prevent unauthorized access to data?
2) If were an auditor at a company that had suffered a major data theft like this, how might it affect the way you would plan your audit?
3) Where can you read about internal controls to prevent unauthorized access to data in Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach?
Description: It has happened to a lot of us, nodding off in the library in the midst of studying for our exams. Students at Edinburgh University have another option now though rather than resting their heads on a desk or finding a comfortable chair in the reading room. Students at the university voted to install four sleep pods in the library to help them deal with stresses and strains of student life.
Date: December 8, 2016
1) What are your favourite stress release tips for exam time?
2) Would you give a sleep pod a try if this was a choice at your university library?
3) What did you think about the cost of the pods?
Description: December 1, 2001: It has been 15 years since that infamous date in financial history when Enron filed for creditor protection under US bankruptcy provisions. Enron’s failure had huge impacts on the accounting profession with the collapse of one of the largest auditing firms, Arthur Andersen. And the Enron collapsed generated additional accountability provisions via the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation that followed.
Date: December 1, 2016
1) If you are an accounting student, what do you know about the Enron scandal?
2) If you are an accounting instructor, do you discuss the Enron experience in your classes? Are students familiar with Enron 15 years after its collapse?
3) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision Making has an ethics case in the BYP section of each chapter. Select one and discuss it in your class.
Description: Doctors are warning that specialists may flee this country for the United States in the face of changing Canadian tax regulations. Canada’s March 2016 budget promised changes that would block certain partnerships and corporations from accessing the small business tax rate. Physicians initially thought that the government had simply swept their group up into the changes due to an oversight. But repeated appeals to Finance Minister Bill Morneau have not resulted in changes.
Date: December 1, 2016;
1) Do you think that tax changes will drive Canadian specialists to relocate to the United States? What other factors might influence a decision to move?
2) How does a partnership divide its income between members?
3) If you were an advisor to the Minister of Finance, what would be some relevant factors you would bring to his attention to assist in his decision?
Description: In his latest report the Auditor General of Canada expressed frustration with what the Government of Canada has done – or not done – with his previous recommendations. Half way through his ten year term, Michael Ferguson said that when his auditors go back to audit a program for a second time, they often find the problems discussed in the previous audit are still extant. One department mentioned in the report was Revenue Canada where Mr. Ferguson pointed to the long delays in processing objections from taxpayers.
Date: November 29, 2016;
1) What do you think needs to change to help government departments make the improvements Mr. Ferguson in recommending?
2) What is the process a taxpayer needs to use in filing an objection?
3) Where in Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach can you learn about operational audits?