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…

FASB: Let’s Make Governmental Assistance Visible to Investors

Financial assistance from governments to companies may be a widespread phenomenon, but investors don’t usually consider it- until it’s brought to their attention. Perhaps the most lucid example of governmental assistance was the Troubled Asset Relief Program – TARP. Yet financial assistance from governments may abound. For example, a municipality may grant tax relief to…

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