Volume 11, No. 13

 

Restructurings: Changes On Charges In The Works:  There seems to be a "flavor of the month" when it comes to accounting issues in the press. Right now, it's employee stock options accounting; a few short months ago, it was all about "special purpose entities." Rarely is one issue resolved by the time the telescope of the press is trained on another problem. Only about a year ago, the world was in a dither over "pro forma earnings" and the items that were excluded from GAAP-based net income in corporate representations of performance. The buzz around pro forma earnings has subsided somewhat, but the issues remain: companies - and analysts - often exclude "one-time events" like restructuring charges related to closure of facilities. While the world dithers now over employee stock options accounting, the FASB has quietly slipped a new standard into the realm of corporate reporting that might make it tougher for analysts and investors to justify excluding such charges from earnings in reviewing past performance.

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