Description: Writing in the “Globe and Mail” this past week, Kira Vermond warns young readers to not jump for a bank account simply because it offers you some upfront cash or some free electronic device. Instead, Vermond argues for students to do a careful search to see which accounts offer the best overall package of features. Other tips include “save, save, save,” and master your credit cards.
Date: January 25, 2021
1) What type of banking arrangement do you have?
2) What is your biggest take-away from this article?
3) In Chapter 7 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, we learn about the importance of bank reconciliation. Do you regularly reconcile your personal bank account?
Description: In the early part of this Corona virus pandemic, car sales tumbled: No surprise. But then came a different sort of surprise, and the year ended with good news for the auto makers. Despite a 75% crash in the early days of the shutdown, car markets did very well for the year as a whole. One brand even recorded higher sales than in 2019.
Date: January 20 2021
1) Do you know anyone who purchased a car during this past year? What factors influenced the decision?
2) What do you find the most surprising about this article?
3) In Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting, page 317 tells us about Magna International, an auto parts manufacturer with the second highest revenues among Canadian companies. Do some research to see how Magna’s revenues fared in 2020.
Description: The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled Subway can proceed with its $210 million legal action against the CBC. In a broadcast aired in 2017, CBC’s “Marketplace” stated that genetic tests performed at Trent University concluded that close to 50% of the DNA in Subway’s chicken sandwiches was actually soy DNA. Subway has countered the tests were flawed and that CBC’s actions have harmed the business.
Date: January 19, 2021
1) Had you heard about this controversy?
2) Are you a regular Subway customer? Does this story impact your habits?
3) In Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, the section starting at the bottom of page 10-9 deals with provisions and contingent liabilities. What issues would a company consider in determining how to disclose a major lawsuit in its financial statements?
Description: The trial ballon is coming down. Alphabet’s Loon project of delivering the internet to far-flung areas via technology carried by massive balloons is ending. In the end, the costs were too high and the project was judged as unsustainable.
Date: January 21, 2021
1) Were you aware of the Loon project or of any other Google “moonshots?”
2) Have you ever had a “moonshot” idea you would like to try? If you are in the classroom – virtually or otherwise – turn this into a bit of a discussion.
3) In Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, Illustration 9.13 and the accompanying section tells us something about how companies deal with assets that are no longer worth what they cost. What do we call this type of loss in accounting terms?
Description: In a provocative headline a CBC story asked “COVID-19 changed how we work. Will it stick?” Out of lock-down necessity, Canada’s economy has seen a high number of work-at-home first-timers over these last several months. Some love it; some don’t. The article concludes quite fittingly “Getting everyone to stay home was relatively simple. Finding a way to get them back to the office will be a much more complicated affair.”
Date: January 16, 2021
1) Have you been working and/or studying at home during the Covid-19 crisis?
2) What do you like about work or study at home? What do you miss about the classroom or the workplace?
3) In Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, Illustration 1-1 tells us about some of the questions internal users in an organization ask about financial information. Place yourself in the shoes of a human resources decision maker in a post-pandemic business. What sort of financial questions might you ask as you plan for a return of employees to the workplace?
Description: Fitbit is now part of the Alphabet/Google empire. This deal first hit the news in the autumn of 2019, but it had to clear a long probe into how Fitbit users’ data might be used to groom custom advertising. This acquisition certainly gives Google a big presence in wearable devices, and a Google executive claims the acquisition is just that: about devices and not about data.
Date: January 14, 2021
1) Do you wear a Fitbit or another similar device? Why?
2) Do you have any concerns over how your device data may be used?
3) Page 2-19 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses Google’s price-earnings ratio and how it is related to future expectations of earnings. Do a bit of research to see how this acquisition of Fitbit may have impacted Google’s price-earnings ratio.
Description: Business has been booming at Amazon, but that’s not all good news for the Amazon employees. Tim Bray, a vice-president in the organization left Amazon this past spring, noting that while white-collar employees have excellent work conditions, things are not so nice on the warehouse floor. Workers have been concerned about a lack of information on Covid-19 cases, and they feel a conflict between rushing to fill orders while maintaining social distancing. For its part, Amazon says it has spent about $45 million to put measures in place to combat Covid in its Canadian facilities.
Date: January 11, 2021
1) Do you know anyone who has worked at an Amazon warehouse? Have they shared any stories of their working conditions?
2) Are you an Amazon customer?
3) In Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach we learn a four-part framework for dealing with ethical dilemas (see page 2-6). Assume you are a financial executive at Amazon. How would you apply this framework to deal with the employees’ concerns?
Description: Canada’s economy lost over 60,000 jobs in December. This was the first drop in employment Canada experienced since April, a month when the early days of the Covid crisis hit especially hard. The service sector – not surprisingly given the various public health restrictions – took the largest hit.
Date: January 8, 2021
1) Do you know anyone who lost their job in December?
2) How do you think the current Covid-19 trends may impact on your plans for a job after school ends in April or May? How about your classmates?
3) In Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach we learn various things an auditor must consider in planning an audit approach (in particular, see Chapter 3). What would auditors have to factor into their analysis this year as they look at economic conditions like higher unemployment?
Description: It doesn’t pay to not pay your taxes; at least not in this case. A Halifax hotelier and restaurant owner has been fined $113,223, the same amount as the sales tax he withheld from paying the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The businessman, Pantelis Panagiotis Giannoulis, will also have to repay the taxes he failed to remit to the CRA, of course, along with any interest and penalties.
Date: January 6, 2021
1) Do you think this fine will act as a deterrent to others?
2) Besides fines, what strategies can the government employ to help ensure compliance with its requirements to file taxes owing?
3) In Chapter 10 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we learn about how companies should account for sales taxes, like the GST. What are the standard journal entries a company should use to collect and remit sales taxes?
Description: Elon Musk has now moved past Jeff Bezos for the number one spot on a list of the richest people in the world. With shares of Tesla climbing towards $800 each, Musk benefited enough to push him into the number one spot. Tesla’s sky-high valuation comes despite the fact that it manufactures far fewer cars than the mainline auto companies.
Date: January 7, 2021
1) How many names in this top ten list were you familiar with?
2) Do you see any trends or similarities in this list of names? For example, are some from the same industry?
3) In the article we read that Tesla is worth more than several of the top auto makers combined. How is this figure of market capitalization calculated? (See page 11-7 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making).