Peeling away financial reporting issues one layer at a time

Walter Schuetze: 1932 – 2017

I marvel at how much mere happenstance can play in a career.  I might not have become a teacher, or gone to graduate school but for one meeting with an administrator when I was [Read More...]

Rays of Sunlight to Shine on Audits — and Auditability

Yesterday was a very good day for investors! The SEC finally approved PCAOB rules that will make a lot more information public about what actually went down during [Read More...]

A Perspective on “Professional Skepticism” — Part 2 of 2

(Part 1 is here.)

I have found that a useful way to home in on the drivers of audit quality is to regard an audit as two distinct engagements: (1) verifying facts, [Read More...]

A Perspective on “Professional Skepticism” (Part 1 of 2)

I was recently invited to make a presentation to a conference of auditors. The leadership asked me to address “professional skepticism,” one of those difficult-to-nail-down ideas, yet a recent point of emphasis in PCAOB inspections.

The [Read More...]

Re-introducing Principles to Financial Accounting

A long time ago —  in 2004, to be exact — the FASB and IASB announced that they would jointly develop a common “conceptual framework.” They divided the work into eight phases.  It took them [Read More...]

“Going Public” is More than a Memoir by an SEC Staffer — Which is Unfortunate

There is more to the securities laws and their administration by the SEC than just the ’33 and ’34 Acts.  The Investment [Read More...]

Double-Entry Accounting in Modern Times

My Shareholder Oriented Financial Accounting (S-OFA) Standards will require that debits equal credits.

Duh.  But if I am truly going to start with a clean sheet of paper, then I am compelled [Read More...]

Non-Voting Shares are in Vogue: Do (Lousy) Accounting Rules Play a Part?

I’m starting a company and I want you to invest.  I will put up $100 of my money for $10 million of yours.  I will own 100 shares of voting stock, and you will [Read More...]

The Asset Impairment Song and Dance (Part 2 of 2)

My latest post was about general problems with asset “impairment” accounting —  its absurdity, high cost and dubious information value.  And I haven’t even begun to hone in on the wurst part: goodwill impairment.

It is [Read More...]

The Asset “Impairment“ Song and Dance (Part 1 of 2)

Two recent news items have made this an opportune time for a post — actually, two posts —  about the accounting for the “impairment” of an asset.

The SEC is considering whether Exxon violated the [Read More...]

Introducing ‘Shareholder-Oriented Financial Accounting’

Last December, I announced that I have started to write a book that would propose a very different basis for financial accounting by public companies.  I’m calling it ‘Shareholder-Oriented Financial Accounting’ (S-OFA), and this [Read More...]

Revenue by (Logical) Deduction

It seems there is always good reason to write a post about revenue recognition.  I can even envisage an entire blog on  the FASB’s new standard (ASC 606). It could go on for years without [Read More...]

Could Wells Fargo be the Next Big MD&A Enforcement Action?

The question occurred to me after reading Francine McKenna’s coverage of Senate hearing testimony by Wells Fargo’s CEO about the nearly 2 million unauthorized credit card and savings account openings.  I don’t know if the [Read More...]

More Not to Like about Deferred Taxes: The Foreign Earnings Loophole

A seasoned accountant and regular reader of my blog wrote that, until my last post, he had seen little discussion of the potential to manage the effective tax rate upwards. He has, however, [Read More...]

Of What Use is Deferred Tax Expense to Financial Analysts?

Interperiod tax allocation has been required since the 1950s, soon after Congress permitted tax deductions based on accelerated depreciation of long-lived assets.  History indicates that the accounting standard setters who pushed for [Read More...]