Volume 6, No. 10

 

On The Way In 1998, Part One: Comprehensive Income:  Two new standards will change the way financial statements look, beginning with the first quarter of 1998. One deals with the display of comprehensive income in financial statements; the other deals with the presentation of segment information. The FASB has issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 130, "Reporting Comprehensive Income", to be effective for most companies in the beginning of 1998. Once implemented, this standard will accomplish three things: it will give greater prominence to items that had been buried in stockholders' equity over the last seventeen years; it will pave the way for the FASB to issue a derivatives accounting standard; and finally, it will provide analysts with some food for thought. Companies are allowed greater flexibility in reporting comprehensive income under this standard, when compared to its exposure draft. Because of this flexibility, analysts may have to search for the required information once the reporting of comprehensive income is under way,. Regardless of where it is reported in the body of the financial statements, the different components of comprehensive income should generate questions for analysts - and most of them will relate to management's stewardship of assets.

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