“Learning to sing from Beyoncé” is the way one student explains how it feels to learn about personal finance from the co-founder of a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. The former banker and trader takes time to teach students from Harlem about personal finance. His theme is personal responsibility and he believes that the biggest obstacle facing these students is access to knowledge. So, he’s taken matters into his own hands by meeting with a group of sophomore, junior, and senior students from a local high school.
They meet once a week after school to learn about mortgages and investing. But perhaps the most important thing they’re learning is that it’s OK, and even desirable, to ask questions.
Their experiences are giving them to confidence to make good decisions, to ask questions, and to seek additional knowledge. Their success will ultimately be measured by their financial happiness and the control they’re able to exert over their financial futures.
1. Name three areas of personal finance (credit cards, mortgages, investing, etc.) you’d like to know more about. What can you do to expand your knowledge in these areas?
2. Have you ever considered volunteering your time to help others in your community? Has this article changed your mind?
3. The students in the video share what they’re learning with their parents. How can you share what you’re learning in college with your parents? What have your parents taught you about personal finance?
“White collar crime” is commonly defined as a crime committed by a respectable person, usually with an education and a higher standing in society, in the performance of his or her occupation or area of expertise. It is frequently considered a victimless crime as no one is physically injured in the execution of the crime. If an individual defrauds a bank or an insurance company out of funds, who is hurt? Robert and Kathy Lang Albright, victims of a temporary bookkeeper who embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from their business, learned that many people are hurt. Because of the crime, they were forced to let 20 people go from their small company that manufactures faux plants for hotels, offices, and other businesses. Embezzlers, explains Kathy Albright, are “financial assassins”.
1. Who are the victims of the alleged fraud committed against Atrium Foliage?
2. What elements of trust and action allowed the alleged crime to persist through the duration of eighteen months?
3. The alleged theft through embezzlement exceeded $850,000 and the lawsuit for forgery and fraud is for at least $95,577. How is this difference explainable or justifiable?
A working knowledge of accounting is helpful for almost any career endeavor. In real estate, for example, brokers must have a thorough understanding of the numbers involved in the decision-making process. Real estate brokers traditionally determine whether a buyer can make payments to a bank, identify tax benefits of a purchase, and even determine whether cash flow from an industrial property justifies a purchase price. The accounting expertise of real estate brokers is now finding relevance in new frontiers like Second Life, an online virtual community. In Second Life, real estate entrepreneurs are applying their accounting knowledge when they rent real estate “sim” islands to other Second Life avatars. With their understanding of accounting, entrepreneurs are making real-world profits and finding financial success in a non-traditional market.
1. What ethical concerns might a seller of “sim” real estate consider?
2. Are the real estate stakeholders of a “sim” transaction the same as the stakeholders in the real world?
A new report by Ceres, a leading coalition of investors, environmental and public interest organizations in North America, stresses that companies must make immediate envrionmental improvements to remain competitive in the 21st century global economy. Sustainable performance, not short-term environmental initiatives, will position companies to plan and innovate in an increasingly resource-contstrained economy. Included in the report is a roadmap for integrating sustainability into the “DNA of business – from the boardroom, to copy rooms, and across entire supply chains”. Also detailed in the report are examples of how PepsiCo, IBM, General Mills, and other corporations are aligning their practices with four key chapters of the Ceres Roadmap – governance, stakeholder engagement, disclosure, and performance.
1. How might an organization report its environmental intiatives to the public?
2. The Ceres report proposes tying carbon emmission goals to executive compensation. Can you think of any other environmental incentives a company might adopt to remain competitive in a “green economy”?
Good news for accounting graduates! A nationwide survey of 3,500 accounting, finance, and human resource executives indicated that, in 2010, the majority of accounting and financial businesses that were impacted by the economic crisis are likely to hire accounting and financial candidates in 2010. About half of the survey respondents said they anticipated hiring support, staff, and management-level employees. Another interesting finding of the survey was that over one third of respondents were in favor International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
1. If large, public-sized companies are moving toward adoption of IFRS, what implication does IFRS have on SMEs (small and medium-sized entities)?
2. What steps might you take to become more familiar with IFRS? Investigate the web to find resources that will continually provide you with the most recent IFRS updates.
Paul McKunes, owner of M & M Equipment Services, in Ashland, Massachussets, pleaded guilty on January 15, 2010, to falsifying payroll records at his business so he could pay less in workers’ compensation insurance and taxes. According to records, McKunes owed the state’s Unemployment Assistance program $21,180 in unpaid assessments and failed to withhold more than $38,322 in state income taxes. Although McKunes was sentenced to 18 months in jail, the sentence was suspended for five years with supervised probation, so that he could continue to operate his business.
1. Assume that McKunes’ actual annual payroll was approximately $2.0 million for the first year and increased by 3% for each for the next two years of the fraud. If annual federal income tax withholding was 10%, state income taxes 5%, FICA and Medicare was 8.0% (rounded), Federal unemployment was 6.2% with a credit for amounts paid to the state unemployment of 3%, what actual journal entries should McKune have made for each of the three years?
2. Based on the fraud, spreading underpaid amounts evenly across the three years, what journal entries might he have fraudulently prepared?
3. Based on your calculations in (1) and (2), what percentage of the payroll did he misappropriate?
First, Jack Dorsey co-founded Twitter in 2006 and now he wants to change the way we exchange money. Dorsey is leading a startup company called Square that is a tiny credit card terminal that plugs into an iPhone (and soon it will work on Google Android software), allowing small vendors and even individuals to complete credit card transactions from any location. As Tole Hart, an analyst for the Gartner Inc. research firm put it: “It democratizes the receipt of credit card payments.”
1. Assume that the new Square service will cost $15 per month and credit card fees will be 2.5% of sales. If you are a street vendor selling t-shirts for $20 each (at a cost to you of $7 each) and sell 340 t-shirts (with credit card transactions only) during the month, what journal entry would you make to record the monthly sales?
2. What type of internal controls might concern you about this new technology? Explain.
3. What potential for fraud do you anticipate? Explain.
Kraft Foods, Inc. Chief Executive Officer, Irene Rosenfeld, is walking a tight wire in negotiations to buy Cadbury Plc. She is trying to please Cadbury investors, but is receiving criticism by Kraft investors, like Warren Buffet, who says the takeover is diminishing its merit by paying too much stock for the deal. The current cash-stock offer of 11-billion pounds (or $17.9 billion) values the U.K. chocolate manufacturer at 771 pence, while the January 18, 2010 price was 808 pence. In an early January announcement, Kraft said it would use the proceeds from a $3.7 billion sale of pizza brands DiGiorno and Tombstone to Nestle SA as a 60 pence cash boost to its current 300 pence cash component of the Cadbury bid.
1. Based on the total cash-stock offer, what is the exchange rate of pounds to dollars?
2. How many pence are currently in a pound?
3. If Kraft stock is trading for $29.58 in New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 15 and the current offer for Cadbury is 300 pence in cash and 0.2589 Kraft share, what is the offer in U.S. dollars?
4. If Kraft boosts their offer to 360 pence in cash plus the same amount of stock, what is the offer in U.S. dollars? What percent change is there between the current and the proposed offer?
Verizon made good on its pledge to help Haiti immediately after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck the island on January 12, 2010. Verizon Wireless said its $2.98 million transfer within two days of the disaster to the Red Cross “bypasses the normal process used to get donations paid to charities.” Unfortunately, with other companies, such donations can take up to three months before the pledges are received along with monthly billings and are later delivered to the not-for-profit organizations.
1. What type of journal entry or entries should Verizon make to reflect this advance to the Red Cross, prior to receiving the donations along with monthly bills?
2. Assume that of this $2.98 million, Verizon is unable to collect $80,000 in pledges. What entry or entries should the company record and what is their recourse?
3. Assume that Verizon continued to collect an additional $6.4 million in this campaign, but has to close its books prior to sending the money to the Red Cross. How should the company show this amount on it financial statements?
4. Since there is no charge for customers who text in this pledge program, how do you think the texting charges are accounted for?
Both Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines are raising their checked-baggage fees. According to this article the winners may be package-delivery companies and airlines without such fees. Unfortunately, it is hard to verify the exact numbers through shipping companies, but officials from both Southwest Air Lines and JetBlue Air Lines admit that their lack of checked-baggage fees have bolstered their bottom lines.
Where do you think the checked luggage fees are reported in its financial statements?
2. During the third quarter of 2009, Southwest Airlines reported $2,550 million in passenger revenues and JetBlue Airlines reported $764 million for the same period. Assuming that their “no checked-bag fees” are responsible for the increased traffic gains reported in November (12% and 7%, respectively) and continue to attract travelers at the same rate throughout the fourth quarter, what additional revenue will the two companies achieve in the fourth quarter?
3. Assuming that the average traveler checking bags pays a fee of $35, how many travelers on U.S. airlines paid for checked bags in the third quarter (see the total in the article)?