Volume 7, No. 7

 

Stock Options: Accounting Issues Related To A "Shadow Currency":  Much has been written lately about the effects of stock options. This is becoming an annual event: the investment world ignores the value of management-owned stock options for most of the year until the proxies arrive. The financial press then highlights the more swinish option awards of the past year, and raises concerns about the effect that stock options might have on anything from corporate governance to the health of the bull market. Not that there's anything wrong with that: investors ought to be concerned with employee transactions that dilute their interests, and these transactions make for interesting reading. When it comes to stock compensation disclosure in financial reports, the press rarely emphasizes the good deeds done by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. When it was jousting with corporate America over the treatment of stock options, the Board resoundingly lost the battle. Judging by the perennial interest in the subject, though, the war may be far from over - and the Board managed to bestow some decent tools to those analysts and investors who care to understand the problems related to "stealth compensation" provided by options. What follows is a guide to using the information provided by SFAS No. 123 and a survey of the SFAS No. 123 disclosures of the Dow Jones Composite Index of 65 companies.

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