Volume 13, Nos. 16 & 17

 

Accounting Issues:  2004 In Review, 2005 In Preview  It's time for a look back and a look forward at the accounting issues affecting investors in the present. The FASB squeezed a few pronouncements off of its agenda, only to add plenty more than it will likely complete in its next twelve months. Investors need to care about accounting standards for several self-interested reasons. Reason one: while people joke about accounting and its importance, the fact of life is that it's the language of business and investing - and if you don't speak the language, you're at a disadvantage. Reason two: if there's an issue being visited by standard-setters (revisited, in some cases) it's because the current reporting doesn't do the job for investors - or it's been abused by accounting scoundrels. Reason three: as accounting standards move off of the drawing board and are woven into financial statements, companies adapt the structure of transactions to either conform to standards or to dodge them - and if you don't know what the standards are, you're in a weak position to interpret what's going on. It goes right back to accounting being the language of business and finance - so it pays to pay attention.

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