Description: Did you know that November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada? This year marks the tenth anniversary. The Financial and Consumer Agency of Canada is co-sponsoring a November 19 event with the Canadian Bankers’ Association called It’s your money – Make it count!. The event is targeted towards students, so check it out at https://live.webcastcanada.ca/webcast/registration/be14267d-a885-418c-8645-128eb3be7dd6. This has been a stressful year on the finances of many Canadians, so the advice on managing personal cash flow is timely.
Date: November 6, 2020
1) Did you know there was even such a thing as Financial Literacy Month? How is your own financial literacy?
2) What section of the newsletter did you find the most interesting? Why?
3) Early on (page 1-2) in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we learn about a number of Canadian accountants with careers in diverse areas. Have you ever thought about a career in promoting financial literacy?
Description: Grocery chains have been among the winners during the pandemic. With more people working at home, and restaurants either operating under restrictions or not operating at all, grocers are growing their sales. Loblaws has decided to bump up its dividends to shareholders given that profits were up in the most recent quarter. Left on the sidelines are the Loblaw in-store employees who have lost their $2/hour bonus from the early “hero” days of Covid-19. Loblaws, along with two other major grocery chains, Empire and Metro, all cut these bonuses for front-line staff on the same day.
Date: November 12, 2020
1) What is your reaction to this story?
2) Why do you think Loblaws would make this move given the possible reputational risks?
3) Chapter 11 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses how to evaluate dividend performance. What ratios might the shareholders of Loblaws be using to evaluate this latest dividend increase?
Description: The Corona virus is just one of the things shaping the economy. Another factor is the sale of businesses by older entrepreneurs as they transition towards retirement. Jon Shell, a co-founder of SaveSmallBusiness.ca, argues that Canada should join Britain and the United States to create employee ownership trusts, a strategy to transfer businesses to employees and keep them in the communities they did so well in for so many years.
Date: November 12, 2020
1) Were you familiar with the concept of employee ownership trusts?
2) What do you think our nation could do to encourage ongoing local ownership of companies?
3) Chapter 11 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making begins with the story of the Leon family and how the company transitioned following the death of its founder. Do a bit of online reseaerch to determine whether or not the Leon family is still involved in the ownership today.
Description: The Toronto rental market is featuring an interesting switch in demand patterns. Younger renters were often prepared to put up with cramped apartments and high rents to live close to the action in the downtown. But with Covid-19 shutting down so much of the city’s social life in restaurants and bars, renters are heading for bigger (and cheaper) spaces outside the city’s core. As the article says, when you’re working at home all the time, you may not care to sleep in your office.
Date: November 8, 2020
1) Do you know anyone who has made a shift from a city center to outside the downtown in recent months? What impacted their decision?
2) Do you think that there will be a return of renters to the downtown when the Covid challenges subside?
3) Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making provides a five-step model for recognizing revenue under IFRS (see pages 4-6 and 4-7). Discuss with your classmates how a rental company would apply the five steps in recognizing revenue from apartment tenants.
Description: An opinion piece in the Globe and Mail this past week offered that cutting student debt may be an excellent policy alternative for generating entrepreneurship in Canada. Over the past few decades, government support for higher education has declined. Combine this with higher tuition and it means students are graduating with higher debt loads. It’s difficult to start a business after graduation if you’re burdened with student debt.
Date: November 4, 2020
1) Are you going to be carrying a student loan when you graduate? How will it impact your decisions?
2) What do you think? Will addressing student debt promote entrepreneurship and economic growth?
3) The story of True Buch Kombucha featured in the opening of Chapter Three in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses the entrepreneurial adventures of Conrad and Louisa Ferrel. What is one important lesson future entrepreneurs can learn from these experiences?
Description: I guess those robots can’t really replace all the humans after all! Walmart has decided to fire its inventory robots. Real, live human beings can gather information on inventory as they stock items in the stores, allowing them to do at least as good of a job as the mechanical workers. Walmart’s CEO wondered as well what customers might think about encountering robots in the stores.
Date: November 3, 2020
1) Have you ever had to work with a robot or run into one while shopping in a store?
2) What is one of the big lessons we can learn from this decision by Walmart?
3) The “Accounting Matters” text box on page 6-5 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, discusses another technological innovation Walmart has made with inventory management. What is this innovation? What does it do?
Description: A paint store where the owner gets in trouble for taking a day off. A fitness equipment company with sales booming rather than tanking. A gym owner switching to online training. These – and four more – are stories of Canadian business owners dealing with Covid challenges since March. The seven were profiled by CBC in a recent post, and their accounts are providing a variety of lessons in commerce.
Date: October 31, 2020
1) Which of these stories was your favourite? Why?
2) What is one of the big lessons you can learn from how these business owners dealt with unexpected challenges?
3) The story talks about the Vittorio Oliverio and his mortgage brokerage business, Centum Professional Mortgage Group. What competitive advantage does Centum appear to have over some of the large Canadian banks – like Scotiabank and RBC – featured in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making?
Description: Dalhousie University professor Sylvain Charlebois argues its time that the big Canadian grocery chains sign-on to an industry code of conduct. He offers this opinion in the light of a move by all the big grocers except Sobeys to place new fees on their suppliers who want access to their store shelves. Charlebois goes so far as to call these fees “bully tactics,” and he sees them as weakening food manufacturers and pushing the independent grocery stores onto the survival list.
Date: October 29, 2020
1) Were you aware about these fees charged to suppliers by the big grocery chains?
2) If you were an accountant at one of these suppliers, how would you advise your employer to respond to this latest move?
3) In chapter one of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, we read about the importance of high standards of ethical behaviour for accountants. Do you think this decision to charge these fees is ethical?
Description: TD Bank is putting smiles on the faces of many of its employees with the news that 90,000 or so of them will be receiving a $500 bonus. This reward is to thank the employees for their extra efforts during the pandemic. TD’s CEO said “I am incredibly proud of your efforts to support our customers, communities and each other under the most trying circumstances.”
Date: October 30, 2020
1) How do you think you would feel if you received this bonus?
2) If you are planning a career as an accountant, does the banking industry interest you?
3) On page 2-32 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you can read question 20, comparing the price-earnings ratios of TD Bank and CIBC. Answer the question regarding the company that investors seem to favour. Look up current data for these two banks on the web to see if the situation is still the same.
Description: The federal government might well be asking the question “where are they?” when it comes to large Canadian companies seeking government assistance in this Corona world. In order to assist in the economic troubles associated with the virus, the government created the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) . But so far only about a dozen companies have even bothered to apply, with a minuscule total of two companies having actually received the loans.
Date: October 15, 2020
1) Are you surprised by the low uptake on the LEEFF? Why do you think the participation is so low?
2) If you were an accountant working for this program, what recommendations would you make to help improve the results?
3) The story tells us that Air Canada did not respond to The Star‘s request for a response on this story. On page 4-18 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, we can read about how Air Canada accounts for cash it receives from ticket sales prior to the time of the actual flight. What do you think might be going on with this number on the financial statements during the Covid times?