Volume 9, No. 7

 

Internet Accounting Issues:  20 Questions:  It's a shopworn theme, in both the media and in investment pitches: the Internet is changing the way the world does everything. And if you believe the promoters of Internet firms, "Old Economy" accounting rules simply don't capture the value being created in such firms, because they show that these firms can't produce results that stack up to "Old Economy metrics" - like profits. Better to change the world than produce profits. Despite their disdain for quaint notions of performance measurement like profits, Internet firms have tried to change the world of accounting as well as the rest of the world. Putting on the best face possible for investors, they have taken poetic license with accounting concepts that have been generally well understood and accepted for years but not codified in black-and-white accounting rules. That makes such concepts both pliable and playable - a situation noticed by the SEC. The chief accountant of the SEC has requested the FASB's Emerging Issues Task Force to develop some timely direction on twenty Internet themes noted by the Commission's staff. Here's the progress to date.

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