Description: An analysis by CBC of 53 Canadian public companies shows that over half of them have paid out dividends to shareholders while collecting the federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The point of the CEWS was to help these and other companies to keep their staff working while facing the economic crush of the corona virus. McGill University accounting professor Preetika Joshi pointed out that in other countries, such as the Netherlands and Spain, businesses that accepted government financial help during the pandemic were forbidden from paying dividends.
Date: December 10, 2020
1) What is your reaction to this article?
2) Do you think Canada should have prevented companies receiving wage subsidies from paying dividends?
3) In Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we learn the Canada Business Corporations Act does require a company to meet two conditions before it can pay cash dividends (page 11-15). What are those conditions?
Description: The Disney+ streaming service has only been available in Canada for about a year, but the price is going up from $8.99 to $11.99 on Feb 23, 2021. It’s not as bad as it sounds though as Disney will be adding its Star service as one of the options included in the package. Star has a well-stocked catalogue of shows to pick from, giving consumers a parcel of programs for the extra $3.
Date: December 11, 2020
1) What’s your go-to streaming service?
2) Would this $3/month increase impact your decision to subscribe to Disney+?
3) On page 14-24 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we see an Accounting Matters text box discussing the relationship between Netflix’s Gross Profit and its share price. Conduct a search with some of your classmates to determine if there is a similar relationship for Disney+.
Description: Apparently there’s a bit of a run on really, really cold freezers. With the world looking to begin vaccinating populations against Covid-19, and the need to store Pfizer’s new vaccine in very cold temperatures, businesses like 360 Medical are looking to supply health care users. A freezer about the size of a dorm-room fridge will run you about $8,500, if you’re in the market that is.
Date: December 7, 2020
1) Do you know when students at your university will start receiving the vaccines?
2) Freezers are one thing required for distribution and administration of a vaccine. If you were managing a health centre where Canadians are going to be vaccinated, what are some other assets you would need to have in place for such a program?
3) Early on in Wiley’s Managerial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we learn about the concept of supply chain management (pages 14,19 ). What does this article about these unique freezers teach us about supply chain management?
Description: This may never have been seen in Canada before: a mortgage rate below 1%. CanWise Financial’s President, James Laird, stated that the 0.99% figure HSBC placed on offer is “definitely eye catching.” And that may just be the point. Samantha Brookes, the CEO of Mortgages of Canada observed that “banks are being aggressive in trying to keep their numbers up”
Date: December 6, 2020
1) Does that 0.99% rate grab your attention?
2) Do you see this as a unique marketing strategy?
3) On page 10-15 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making, you find an “Accounting Matters” text box with an interesting discussion of personal mortgages and debt rates of Canadians. What is your personal debt to income percentage?
Description: Exxon, the giant oil company, seems ready to write down between $17 billion and $20 billion in assets. With collapsing oil prices, Exxon’s natural gas deposits in the Americas are over-valued. About 10 years ago Exxon acquired XTO Energy for about $35 billion, and with it, XTO’s gas fields. In the rear-view mirror, one might second guess this decision.
Date: December 1, 2020
1) How do you wrap your mind around a write-down of $20 billion?
2) What have other energy producers been doing with their asset values in the time of the Corona virus?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making discusses depreciation, including depreciation for natural resources. What is depreciation called when you are dealing with natural resources?
Description: Job gains announced last week were three times higher than expected. Statistics Canada was way off on its call of quarterly results for Gross Domestic Product. If Covid-19 hadn’t already thrown enough curve balls already, now you can include the notion that the economic results are even confusing the economists. The deputy chief economist at CIBC, Benjamin Tal, noted “My head is spinning, too. . . . we’ve never seen anything like this.”
Date: December 5, 2020
1) Have you been confused about the economic news too? What did you learn from reading this article?
2) Have you been discussing any of these factors in your classes as part of your studies?
3) In Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach we learn a number of important things to consider in planning an audit. Chapter 3, (page 3-10 ), tells us “when gaining an understanding of a client, an auditor assesses how economy-level factors affect the client.” How might audit planning be affected in the midst of the pandemic?
Description: Rogers Communications has contradicted some initial reporting that the Rogers Centre – the building originally called the Skydome – is not going to be torn down; well, at least not for now. Earlier on Friday the Globe and Mail reported the building would be razed. The notion was that Rogers and Brookfield Capital Management would construct a smaller stadium, leaving land for retail, office, and residential space, as well as additional parkland. The Centre, with its famous retractable roof, has perhaps been best known as the home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Date: November 27, 2020
1) Have you ever visited the Rogers Centre? What event did you attend?
2) What do you think of this plan to build a new stadium with a grass field and to develop a number of other facilities?
3) Chapter 9 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making talks about accounting for property, plant, and equipment, including the subject of depreciating capital assets. Do some research to determine if you can find out how many years the Rogers Centre is being depreciated over. Is the building nearing the end of its estimated useful life?
Description: The Canada Revenue Agency – the CRA – is sending warning letters to 213,000 Canadians telling them that they may have been paid overpaid by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program. Those who have been paid too much will not have to pay the surplus back immediately, thanks to a government moratorium on CRA collections during the pandemic. The CRA stressed in the warning letters, however, that those in receipt of over-payments may want to clear the matter up before December 31. Otherwise, the surplus amount will be considered taxable in 2020.
Date: November 18, 2020
1) Do you know anyone who received the CERB? Were they aware that the CERB would be subject to taxation?
2) What do you think may be the main causes for these over-payments?
3) One of the subjects in Chapter 10 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making is the handling of employer deductions for various payroll liabilities. Do a little research to determine whether or not income tax was deducted from the CERB payments, just like it would be from an employee’s pay cheque.
Description: It’s an appealing prospect for a new graduate: having a mentor to help guide you in important decisions for your career. IBM’s talent acquisition manager Bridget King spoke recently about her tips for making these relationships successful ones. She offers four points on how to proceed with your mentor, including being curious.
Date: November 26, 2020
1) As you look towards graduation, have you thought about the idea of a mentor? What qualities would you be looking for?
2) Does your university offer career preparation advice? Does this include advice on finding a mentor?
3) Chapter 1 of Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making talks about a number of famous Canadian accountants such as Senator Elizabeth Marshall, Sabrina Geremia of Google Canada, and Joe Resnick, an agent for a number of NHL players. Do some reseaerch on one of these names or others on page 1-2 to see what they have accomplished in their careers.
Description: One thing the Corona virus seems to have done in Canada is that it created a building boom with Canadians assembling IKEA desks to beat the band. During the pandemic, Canadians purchased 631,800 desks, presumably to help them work at home during this time. This outfitting of home offices has been a welcome boost for the Swedish firm as overall sales are down 8.7 percent. To IKEA’s credit though, they have not laid off a single employee.
Date: November 19, 2020
1) Are you familiar with IKEA furniture? Do you have any in your living quarters?
2) Have you ever assembled IKEA furniture? How did your project go?
3) Chapter 7 in Wiley’s Financial Accounting: Tools for Business Decision-Making we read of a variety of strategies for cash management. If you were an accountant working for IKEA, what strategies would you advise the company to use during this time of sales decline?