Baruch Lev: “The End of Accounting”

From this week’s edition of Barron’s, I learned that NYU Stern School of Business accounting professor Baruch Lev has co-authored a book with Feng Gu, professor at University at Buffalo School of Management, entitled The End of Accounting and the Path Forward for Investors and Managers. That’s disappointing for me – because it’s going to…

SEC to Alibaba: “Open (your books) Sesame!”

Alibaba has disclosed that the SEC is looking into the commerce giant’s accounting. This excerpt from their 20-F doesn’t put a lot of details out there, but it’s enough to pique the curiosity: “Earlier this year, the SEC informed us that it was initiating an investigation into whether there have been any violations of the…

Valeant’s Lessons about Non-GAAP Reporting Pitfalls

Valeant Pharmaceuticals and non-GAAP reporting: two topics that the press can’t seem to get enough of. They’re the peanut butter and chocolate of the financial world for journalists. It would be almost negligent to not examine the lessons that Valeant might offer about the over-reliance on mongrel metrics. At the risk of beating a horse…

Tax Day Came Early This April

And it promises to stay a hot issue for a while. Arriving first was the news of leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that identified scores of politicians and celebrities with secret offshore accounts. The investigative types – Justice Department, the press, etc. – have barely had time to digest this. It’s a…

Non-GAAP Earnings: SEC Drumbeats Are Getting Louder

Non-GAAP earnings presentations have been flourishing for years. Why? Possible reasons: sometimes they’re actually useful; companies like showing them because they’re generally more upbeat than straight GAAP presentations; the SEC’s Regulation G provides a cozy, easily-complied-with safe harbor; a general belief by investors that accounting figures are not telling the right story, aggravated by managers…

GE’s New Idea: The Integrated Summary Report

Yesterday, GE released its first integrated summary report, intended to link “strategy, performance, board oversight, compensation and sustainability in a single document.” That’s a lofty goal for anything that’s called a “summary report.” It’s must-read material if you’re a GE investor, just because it might fill a hole in your knowledge about the company. Flipping…

FASB: Decluttering Pension & Other Benefits Reporting

Pension and other benefits accounting standards underwent many “upgrades” over the last twenty years. None of them, however, clarified the messy presentation of pension or other benefits costs. It’s the same seven-layer salad as always: service cost, interest cost, expected return on assets, amortization of gains or losses on asset and obligation revaluations, amortization of…

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