Description: It’s a headline that sounds like a joke: the Beer Store is losing money. But the retailer owned by the big breweries has lost about $50 million in the last year. Part of the problem is the pandemic, with tavern closures shutting down the sales of kegs. The availability of beer at grocers has also hurt sales at the Beer Store.
Date: April 8, 2021
1) Are you studying at a university in Ontario? Where do most of the students on campus purchase their beer?
2) Assume you have an executive role at the Beer Store. What are some strategies you might recommend to turn this situation around?
3) Page 173 of Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting discusses how Cineplex Digital Solutions has provided digital signs, social media and mobile ads for clients like the Beer Store. How might the Beer Store measure the success of this initiative?
Description: With housing prices sky-high in some urban areas, communal living of a sort is making a comeback. Author Diana Lind argues these points in her work Brave New Home: Our Future in Smarter, Simpler, Happier Housing. Lind notes that the notion of having our own space is relatively recent. With shrinking households, sharing living space and building community may be an appealing option.
Date: April 8, 2021
1) What do you think of the concepts explored in the article? Are there students at your university who might already be living in the type of accommodations discussed in this article?
2) As you look ahead to graduation, could you see yourself having an interest in some type of shared arrangement to help control costs and to share responsibilities?
3) Pages 7-25 through 7-27 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, provide a number of important principles for cash management. Thinking back to question 2, which of these principles might you adopt as you structure your personal finances post-graduation?
Description: The CEO of Royal Bank, Dave McKay, is advising the government to take it easy on more stimulus spending. Even though the Covid-19 pandemic has meant tough times for many, bringing on federal spending like the CERB, other Canadians have bumped up their savings over the last year. Personal savings stand at roughly $180 billion higher than normal, and with vaccinations promising a return to something like normal, McKay sees Canadian’s savings as big fuel for the the economy. Government help may be unwanted and unneeded.
Date: April 8, 2021
1) How have your own personal finances been impacted by the pandemic?
2) Have you or your classmates been able to save money due to the closures in the economy?
3) Page 3 of Wiley’s Understanding Financial Accounting discusses the complexity of financial accounting for the Government of Canada. Take a look online at the latest Public Accounts of the Government of Canada (the financial statement) and discuss with your classmates how the statements may change for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2021. In short, how has Covid-19 changed the results? https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/recgen/cpc-pac/2020/pdf/2020-vol1-eng.pdf
Description: The nesting phenomenon – people renovating homes during the Covid-19 pandemic – has bumped up both lumber demand and prices. And, of course, this has driven up the cost of building a new home. The cost of thousand board feet of 2×4 has increased from $550 pre-Covid to over $1,400 this spring. Ouch!
Date: April 2, 2021
1) Do you know anyone who is building a home this summer? Have their plans been impacted by the rising prices of construction materials?
2) Can you think of any strategies builders might use to help control costs?
3) Chapter 10 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, deals with the subject of property taxes on pages 10-5 and 10-6. Considering this story on building costs, as well as other things going on in the Canadian economy in this last year, what are the likely effects of Covid-19 on property taxes?
Description: Ten years ago a think-tank known as the Carbon Tracker Initiative concluded that the amount of fossil-fuel reserves held by corporations was about five times greater than the amount scientists had concluded the planet could reasonably absorb. The finding, in a sense, paved the path to the divestiture movement. In these last ten years, investors have dumped approximately $15 trillion in fossil-fuel investments. A recent report from the giant firm Blackrock indicates that dumping these investments has not hurt returns, indicating that the momentum for this divesting trend may well continue.
Date: April 3, 2021
1) Has your university divested of fossil fuels from its endowments and other investments?
2) Do you support the trend towards divestment? Have you participated in the movement on campus?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, deals with the issue of asset impairment (see 9-16). At what point do you think the resource producers will have to consider writing down their reserves of carbon-producing resources?
Description: It’s a big ask by Britain, but some politicians are claiming that tobacco companies should be forced to pay for the cleanup of cigarette butts. Discarded cigarettes have been calculated to form close to 70% of litter counted in surveys. The annual cost of the cleaning them up is estimated at 40 million British pounds.
Date: March 30, 2021
1) Do you see many cigarette butts in your community? Do you think they would be 70% of the litter you see as they are in Britain?
2) What do you think would be the most effective way to promote and encourage litter cleanup efforts?
3) Chapter 1 of Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach contains a section discussing corporate social responsibility assurance. Do you think the issue of how manufacturers deal with impacts of waste/litter/etc that come from their products would fit under this umbrella?
Description: NFTs: have you heard of these nonfungible tokens? Art student Jonathan Wolfe certainly has. He sold one of his digital paintings recently for 24.43 units of Ethereum, a cryptocurrency, bring him over $50,000 Canadian. All told, Wolfe has generated over $1 million for sales of NFTs since last fall, all for artwork he used to post for all to see on Instagram.
Date: March 25, 2021
1) Have you ever heard of NFTs before? What do you think of this concept?
2) Does your university have an art program? Have any of the students been marketing their work as NFTs?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, deals with long-lived assets. How would a company account for any holdings of NFTs?
Description: Despite the global corona virus pandemic, Canadian clothier Canada Goose has been flying high. With traditional retail establishments in reduced operations, Canada Goose has taken advantage of digital commerce. With three of its eight Canadian factories unionized, CEO Dani Reiss has also spoken out against the notion that the maker of luxury jackets is experiencing some labour unrest.
Date: March 24, 2021
1) Do you see many Canada Goose jackets on your campus? Are you a fan?
2) What is your opinion of the company’s approach to managing the issues around potential unionization of the Winnipeg factory?
3) Page 5-6 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, has an inset “Accounting Matters” box discussing challenges of managing inventory at Canada Goose. What is your opinion of the company’s decision to expand its lines to include fleece and footwear to help deal with some of the issues it faces?
Description: It’s a big boat stuck in a relatively small space. The Ever Given, a huge vessel with a length stretching over 70% of the height measurement of the CN Tower, has been stuck in the Suez Canal since March 23. This has been causing headaches for many as the Ever Given has shut down traffic through this major passage. With 10 % of global commerce passing through that narrow opening, supply chain disruptions are a concern.
Date: March 25, 2021
1) Have gasoline prices in your area been impacted yet by the blockage of the Suez Canal?
2) Of the various methods being considered to move the massive ship, which do you think sound the most promising?
3) Chapter 10 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, contains a section discussing provisions and contingent liabilities (see 10-9 and 10-10). How might the owners of the Ever Given account for any lawsuits which emerge from this supply chain disruption?
Description: Many would probably say that the pandemic has been a terrible time for business. But a number of entrepreneurs have confounded the conventional wisdom by starting businesses in Canada during these tough times. For instance, Mike Livingstone saw losing his job as an executive in the transportation business as a chance for him to finally start his dream bakery. Meanwhile, two Nova Scotians saw the pandemic shutdown as a unique opportunity to open Chanoey’s Pasta, a predominantly takeout restaurant in Dartmouth.
Date: March 17, 2021; updated March 18, 2021
1) Do you or any of your classmates know anyone who has started a business during the pandemic?
2) Why do you think some people are able to see new business opportunities while the rest of the world is shutting down?
3) Pages 1-5 through 1-7 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, discuss the three major forms of business organization. Which of these do you think is the most likely form entrepreneurs would choose during the pandemic?