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According to Axios and a new report out by Harvard, a growing number of U.S. employers are requiring bachelor’s degrees for jobs that have long been performed by workers without them. This is contributing to a rise in income inequality through “degree inflation.”

Questions:
1. Why does this matter?
2. What are the costs of the shifts and who is hurt by degree inflation?
3. What can government do about this?
4. How will it affect people you know?

Source:
Matthews, C. (2017). “Degree inflation” may be pushing workers out of the middle class. Axios, Oct. 25 (Retrievable online at https://www.axios.com/degree-inflation-trend-american-jobs-2500840612.html?utm_medium=linkshare&utm_campaign=organic)

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According to Reuters, Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, announced the premier of Amazon Key – a lock and camera system that users control remotely to let delivery associates slip goods into their houses.

Questions:
1. What will be the cost?
2. How do you maintain privacy?
3. What is Wal-Mart testing that is a similar offering?
4. Would you buy-in to this service? Why or why not?

Source:
Dastin, J. (2017) Amazon to sell smart locks so it can slip packages into your home. Reuters, Oct. 25 (Retrievable online at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-key/amazon-to-sell-smart-locks-so-it-can-slip-packages-into-your-home-idUSKBN1CU1G2)

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The call has gone out for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate possible insider trading of shares of student loan company Navient Corporation.

Questions:
1. Who has asked the SEC to do this?
2. Why do the Senators suspect this?
3. What are the implications of the details surrounding the trades?

Source:
Nasiripour, S. (2017). Elizabeth Warren Calls for SEC Insider Probe of Navient Trades. Bloomberg.com, Oct. 23 (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-23/elizabeth-warren-joins-call-for-sec-probe-of-navient-trades)

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General Electric Co.’s stock has tumbled the most it has seen in six years. This is due to a deteriorating outlook stoked by fears that the company will cut its dividend for only the second time since the Great Depression.

Questions:
1.What is causing the drop, according to Jeff Windau, an analyst at Edward Jones?
2. On October 20, what did GE cut its forecasted earnings from and to? What had analysts estimated prior to this announcement?
3. What is in weak demand for some of GE’s signature businesses?

Source:
Black, T. and B. Case. (2017) GE Plunges the Most in Six Years. Bloomberg.com (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-23/ge-sinks-most-in-six-years-as-wall-street-sees-dividend-in-peril)

Posted by & filed under Accounting Principles, All Articles, Cost Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Uncategorized.

First, we had individual offices, that morphed into cubicles and open floor plans. And now we have a “palette of places,” according to the New York Times.

Questions:
1. What is the reasoning behind these new desk places?
2. How could these be tweaked as needs change?
3. Where are the most aggressive makeovers happening?
4. Since these spaces are not about looks, what is hoped that they will be about?

Source:
Lohr, S. (2017). Don’t Get Too Comfortable at That Desk. The New York Times, Oct. 6 (Retrievable at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/business/the-office-gets-remade-again.html?src=me)

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According to Bloomberg, for Netlix, Inc., the third-quarter customer gains and a positive outlook for investors is all about new subscribers.

Questions:
1. What is Netflix doing to attract new subscribers?
2. What is the company’s target price for its stock?
3. How many new subscribers are they projecting?
4. What makes big increases in customers hard to capture?

Source:
Golum, R. (2017). Netflix’s Outlook After Price Hike Will Test Its Stock Rally. Bloomberg, Oct. 16 (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-16/netflix-s-customer-outlook-after-price-hike-to-test-stock-rally).

Posted by & filed under Accounting Information Systems, Accounting Principles, Advanced Accounting, All Articles, Auditing, Cost Accounting, Ethical Dilemma, Financial Accounting, Intermediate Accounting, International Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Uncategorized.

According to Bloomberg, even though Hong Kong’s stock market hit record highs this month, the turnover is too low. Now the exchange operator is considering asking the government to remove or reduce a tax on stock transactions.

Questions:
1. What is the current stamp duty on both sides of the trade and what does that mean?
2. Do the U.S. and China impose similar levies on trades?
3. Why are penny stocks a drag on the Hong Kong market?
4. Why might removing the stamp duty attract traders that can resolve Hong Kong’s penny stock drag?

Source:
Ren, S. (2017). Hong Kong Should Abandon its Duty. Bloomberg, Oct. 16 (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2017-10-16/hong-kong-should-abandon-its-duty)

Posted by & filed under Accounting Information Systems, Accounting Principles, Advanced Accounting, Auditing, Cost Accounting, Ethical Dilemma, Financial Accounting, Intermediate Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Uncategorized.

According to Bloomberg.com, General Electric (GE) Co.’s last quarter earnings were 28 cents a share. They were also 13 cents a share, 19 cents a share and 15 cents a share — all at the same time. How can this be?

Questions:
1. What do the numbers include or exclude?
2. What are the new CEO and CFO asking to provide in GE’s balance sheet?
3. What has happened to GE’s stock, in part, due to this lack of transparency?
4. In your opinion, what is a good reason why GE’s numbers are any more complex than any other company’s numbers?

Source:
Clough, R. (2017) Everyone’s Fed Up With GE’s Confusing Accounting. Bloomberg, Oct. 16 (Retrievable online at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-16/ge-s-profit-reports-are-unfathomable-investors-notice-sec-too)

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According to the New York Times, Disney has decided to commit to a legacy move by doubling down on the concept of streaming. At its side will be a little-known company known as Bam Tech.

Questions:
1. Describe Bam Tech’s record of service and why it is so attractive to Disney.
2. From a strategic point of view, what is happening to Disney’s current offerings?
3. What are Bam Tech’s roots of development?
4. What is the Disney ownership arrangement?

Source:

Barnes, B. and J. Koblin. (2017). Disney’s Big Bet on Streaming Relies on Little-Known Tech Company.The New York Times, Oct.8 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/08/business/media/bamtech-disney-streaming.html)

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According to Reuters, Qualcomm, a U.S. smartphone chipmaker, has offered concessions in an attempt to allay EU antitrust concerns over its $38-billion bid for NXP Semiconductors, the largest ever in the semiconductor industry.

Questions:
1. What are Qualcomm’s chips used for?
2. What is the EU Commission’s greatest concern about this merger?
3. What was the August 17 action about?

Source:
Staff. (2017). Qualcomm offers EU concessions over $38 billion NXP takeover bid. Reuters, Oct. 9 (Retrievable online at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-sec-cyber-exclusive/exclusive-secs-corporate-filing-system-vulnerable-to-denial-of-service-attacks-memo-idUSKBN1CB0AL)