Description: Ten to twelve percent of Canadians are not filing their annual T-1 tax returns. And perhaps even more surprising comes the news that the government actually owes money to many of them. Prosper Canada is seeking to build financial literacy among lower-income Canadians, encouraging them to file their returns to claim cash for various programs administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Carleton University academics Jennifer Robson and Saul Schwartz estimate that Canadians left $1.7 billion “on the table” by failing to file in 2015.
Date: December 16, 2022
1) Do you know anyone who hasn’t filed a tax return? (Note the article says the many who fail to file are “male, young and single.”)
2) What do you think could be done to encourage these taxpayers to claim the benefits they deserve?
3) Page 9-15 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making mentions the CRA in another context. What important point does this page tell us about the CRA?
Description: Elon Musk unloaded another large chunk of his Tesla stock this past week, driving the share price down 16% in a week. Of course, this does not leave investors in a very good mood, and one major investor is calling for Musk to step down as CEO of Tesla. Musk has sold close to $40 billion in Tesla shares in little over a year, largely it would seem to fund his purchase of Twitter.
Date: December 16, 2022
1) Do you see any Tesla’s on your university campus? Are you interested in owning one?
2) What impact do you think that Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter has had on the Tesla brand?
3) The story tells us that “Tesla ended the week with a market capitalization of less than $500 billion for the first time since November 2020.” Consult Page 11-7 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making to determine how market capitalization is calculated.
Description: According to a recent Leger survey, younger Canadians are more pessimistic about the Canadian economy than they were last year at this time. This seems to be reflected in a willingness to hang tight in their current employment versus pursuing a new job. In looking at their personal finances, 22 percent of the respondents felt they were in good shape financially, with another 47 per cent in the middle – or normal – category. Twenty-eight percent regarded their situation as poor.
Date: December 4, 2022
1) What do you you and your friends at university think about the next year, economically speaking?
2) How do you rate your personal financial situation: good, normal, or poor?
3) Page 1-2 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses a number of prominent Canadian accountants and their career directions. Do you think accountancy offers positive career choices in today’s economy?
Description: Well, you have to give marks for ingenuity, even though the results are unpleasant. Thieves have figured out a new scam in which they adhere a barcode for a card they already own to the back of a card sitting among the gift cards at a retailer. So you may think you are picking up a $50 Amazon card to give a friend but, in reality, the card racks up $50 on the fraudster’s PlayStation card. The best advice to protect yourself seems to be to check the back of your gift cards for any signs of tampering prior to purchase, and, ensure that the type of card you think you are buying shows up on both the cashier’s screen and your sales receipt.
Date: December 9, 2022
1) Were you surprised by this latest scam?
2) What strategies could retailers implement to prevent this type of fraud?
3) In Chapter 7 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we read about the fraud triangle. How could you apply the three sides of the fraud triangle to this situation?
Description: The auditor general of Ontario has found that the provincial real estate regulator – RECO – is falling down on its job of protecting buyers and sellers. In her value-for-money audit of RECO, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk found various problems with the organization, including a lack of follow-up on consumer complaints and faulty processes around inspections of real estate brokers. RECO has received close to 12,000 complaints over the last few years. Lysyk determined that RECO’s system had no categorization or description for 55 percent of the complaints received.
Date: December 8, 2022
1) Do you know of anyone who has launched a complaint about a real estate transaction?
2) Have you ever considered a career as a value-for-money auditor?
3) Chapter 8 of Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting deals with long-term assets. What is an exception to the accounting treatment for land in comparison to other real-estate assets?
Description: It may seem a bit strange, but cassettes are now showing up again in music stores. With artists such as Taylor Swift and The Weekend including this retro-form as a medium of distribution for their new offerings, there’s definitely some shelf space opening up for a format once thought to be obsolete. Part of the challenge with cassettes is finding the right gear to play them on.
Date: December 4, 2022
1) Do you or any of your university classmates own a cassette player and listen to music on cassette?
2) What do you think is behind the return of the cassette?
3) Page 5-17 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making mentions Best Buy, a major electronics retailer. Do a bit of research to see if Best Buy stocks any cassette players. If you were a decision-maker at Best Buy would you advise the company to pursue the cassette market?
Description: If you ordered from Pizza Hut in Vancouver, it could be that your eats were delivered by Angie, Hugo or Raja: three delivery robots. The robots were part of a two-week pilot project at only one location, but customers expressed a high satisfaction rate of 95%. In case you are wondering if someone could hijack the hot pizza on its way down the sidewalk, rest easy. The customer is given a unique code that unlocks the device once it arrives at the home.
Date: December 4, 2022
1) Would you be interested in having a robot deliver your food order?
2) Do you think the rise of delivery robots will impact union organizing attempts in the food sector?
3) PepsiCo is mentioned a number of times in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making. In 1977 Pizza Hut was acquired by Pepsi. Does Pepsi still own Pizza Hut today?
Description: After shopping around for potential buyers, Suncor has decided to keep, rather than sell, fuel retailer Petro-Canada. Suncor had been seeking a cash purchase price in the range of $3.8 billion to $5.7 billion. Though Petro-Canada has the largest market share in its class in Canada, no buyer was interested in paying the price.
Date: November 29, 2022
1) Which retail gas supplier seems to be the market leader in your university town?
2) Why do you think Suncor was unable to find a buyer?
3) On page 9-47 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we see problem E9.13 in which we are asked to determine which company is Suncor by analyzing the three ratios provided. Which one of the two companies do you think is Suncor?
Description: How financial literate do you feel you are? November was financial literacy month in Canada and some high schools in Canada are adding this important life-skill area to the curriculum. With the economic pressures facing Canadians, and the clear correlation between financial health and mental health, some observers are calling for mandatory financial literacy courses in our high schools.
Date: November 30, 2022
1) How financially literate are you and your classmates?
2) Do you believe financial literacy should be a mandatory subject for high school students?
3) The inset box “How Sharp Are Your Decision-Making Skills?” on page 1-17 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting : Tools for Business Decision-Making deals with the importance financial information in making decisions. What type of information do you consider in evaluating your choices in post-secondary education?
Description: Cyclesmith, a Halifax bike shop, has been paying all of its 31 full-time employees a “living wage” of at least $23.50 an hour. Andrew Feenstra, the owner of the business, implemented this policy in September 2021, and he has noted its positive impact on employees who no longer have to live paycheque to paycheque. The additional cost of about $250,000 per year is worth it according to Feenstra as it helps with recruitment and retention.
Date: November 24, 2022
1) Would a living wage help you in your studies, similar to the story of Kieran Sharpe of Cyclesmith?
2) What do you think are some of the benefits and costs of paying employees a living wage?
3) Chapter 2 of Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses the concept of direct and indirect labour. If you were an accountant at Cyclesmith, how might you make a distinction between costs of direct labour and indirect labour?