Description: Things are changing in personal taxation for Canadians in 2020 and these changes will show up in various deductions on your paycheque stub. Finance Minister Bill Morneau had told Canadians to expect significant tax cuts to help the middle class. But financial planner Janet Gray says she would not count on people noticing any change. For those in the middle class, tax reductions are less than $10 per bi-weekly paycheque. Add on slight changes in both EI and CPP, and many Canadians may not see a difference.
Date: December 31, 2019
1) Are you working part-time as you attend classes?
2) Do you examine your pay stubs closely or do you just take a look at the net amount going to your bank account by e-transfer?
3) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, has a section dealing with payroll deductions in Chapter 10. What are the journal entries for paying employees and then remitting the payroll deductions to the government?
Description: Things are looking up at popular Canadian “athleisure” vendor Lululemon. The Vancouver based retailer recorded net income of over $125 million in the third quarter, up about $30 million from the same period last year. The company is expanding its repertoire of products, moving into the self-care line of shampoo and body lotions. In addition, Lululemon wants to expand the in-store experience, drawing customers to its sites by offering classes and food items.
Date: December 12, 2019
1) Are you a fan of Lululemon? How many Lululemon products do you own?
2) What do you think of this move into new products and experiences as a strategic effort?
3) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, has an interesting vignette at the start of one of its chapters about Lululemon. Find this item and see if you can see what strategic misstep Lululemon may have made a few years ago. Has the company bounced back?
Description: Other companies may be handing out their quarterly dividends, but not Westjet; at least not this quarter. Though the board had declared a dividend of 14 cents a share at an October meeting, the company is now bypassing the cash payment that was scheduled for December 31. Westjet has been purchased by Onex, and the deal is to close December 18, before the payment date. Onex intends to take the company private by de-listing the shares on the TSX.
Date: December 11, 2019
1) How would you respond to this move if you were a Westjet shareholder?
2) What does taking the company private do for Onex? Why do you think that Onex is making this move?
3) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, discusses the three important dates around dividends in Chapter 11. What are those three dates?
Description: November was a bad month for Canadian employment with Canada losing over 70,000 jobs, while our neighbour to the south added over a quarter million. For Canada, this was our worst result in ten years. Financial Post Columnist Jack Mintz offers “that propping up consumer demand by running deficits and distributive tax policies is not the answer to improving our stagnant growth”
Date: December 12, 2019
1) What do you think of Professor Mintz’s opinions on what is wrong with the Canadian economy?
2) Have you been keeping up with news of trends in our economy this term? If so, how do you accomplish this?
3) Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach, talks about the importance of \understanding the client’s business as part of the planning process (see chapter 3. How would an auditor take into account these type of broad economic issues like employment increases or decreases in identifying areas of risk for an audit?
Description: With many out doing their Christmas shopping, fears of personal debt are often around the corner. The Toronto Star offered four tips to keep you out of trouble. Number one is decide what to spend, then cut that number in half.
Date: December 2, 2019
1) Have you developed a budget for your Christmas gift spending?
2) Which of the four tips do you find the most useful?
3) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, shows us in the Accounting Matters inset box on page 535 that household debt in Canada was at 163% of household income when the text was published. Check the web to see if you can find if the rate has gone up or down since then.
Description: Oh no – food prices are heading up. A family of four is predicted to have to spend an additional $500 on their food purchases in 2020. Unpredictable weather is the culprit, creating uncertainty in food production for farmers in Canada and elsewhere.
Date: December 5, 2019
1) How much do you budget for food as part of your student costs?
2) What do you think this price uncertainty will do to the Canadian economy?
3) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, has an appendix containing a specimen set of financial statements for Sobeys Inc., a major Canadian food retailer. What lines of the financial statements are most likely to be impacted by the rising prices in 2020?
Description: Popular Ottawa-area coffee chain Bridgehead has been purchased by Second Cup for close to $10 million. Bridgehead has a history of supporting fair trade in the coffee business. The intent is that Bridgehead will be able to keep its own identity under the new ownership, allowing the brand to expand outside of the Ottawa region.
Date: December 5, 2019
1) Have you ever been to Bridgehead for a coffee? What did you like about it?
2) Why do you think Second Cup acquired Bridgehead?
3) What method would Second Cup use to account for this investment? (See page 654 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making for a hint).
Description: Sardine giant Connors Brothers in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, has entered corporate restructuring under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Production at the plant continues, good news for suppliers and the up to 800 employees. This is the last plant in North America that still processes the tiny sardines.
Date: November 29, 2019
1) Why do you think the fish plant would own the municipal water supply?
2) Look online for information on Canada’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. What does a court-supervised restructuring mean?
3) On page 737 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can read about another large seafood company, Clearwater Seafoods Incorporated. This section notes that although Clearwater reported a large loss in 2015, it generated significant cash flow from operations. Can you explain how this could happen?
Description: Imported directly from the United States: that appears to be one way to describe the increasing popularity of retail sales in Canada on the day after the American Thanksgiving. This Black Friday trend is replacing Boxing Day as the landmark retail event for Canadian consumers. Meanwhile, other citizens in a number of cities worldwide were holding protests against the consumerism they see evident in Black Friday. France is talking of banning Black Friday in order to cut back on waste. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-nov-29-2019-1.5378009/we-can-t-shop-our-way-out-of-this-why-all-those-black-friday-deals-are-costly-for-the-environment-1.5378014
Date: November 29 , 2019
1) Where were you on Black Friday?
2) If you were an executive at a retailer, how would you handle the conflict between generating revenue versus sustainability in answering the Black Friday question?
3) Pages 10-11 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making explains the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility. How could the triple bottom line help companies address sustainability while maintaining profitability?
Description: It may not be a surprise: complaints against telecom companies in Canada have hit record levels. The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) said complaints were up 35 per cent for the year ended July 31. Bell Canada was at the top – or should that be the bottom? – with 30% of the complaints.
Date: November 28, 2019
1) What do you think of your phone service provider? Do you have complaints?
2) What could an accountant do to attach a cost to these customer complaints?
3) On page 8 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making you can read how Bell Canada uses complex systems to both control and evaluate its managers. How might these customer complaints fit into the control and evaluation process?