How to Become a GAAP Geek

Now open to public scrutiny, FASB’s codification tool is a one-stop shop for both accounting experts and newbies.

Business valuation… the wrong way

What is a company worth? The answer to this question can vary depending on who you ask and the purpose of the valuation. As a result, figures derived by an options trader, credit liquidator, and an acquiring firm will not only differ in amount but, more interestingly, in the methods used to reach them. While discounted cash flow methods are widely accepted as the most … [ Read more ]

Do International Financial Reporting Standards Live Up to Their Promise?

At a time when many barriers to global trade have fallen, countries all over the world are taking steps to harmonize their accounting standards and develop a truly global language of business. Under the lead of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), more than 100 countries have either implemented International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or plan to do so. Yet while proponents of accounting harmonization … [ Read more ]

Discretion Meets Disclosure

It has long been suspected that fear of competition spurs managers to hide better-than-average business unit profit performance. However, a new study instead finds evidence that fear of increased oversight leads managers to hide less-than-average business unit performance.


Recent studies raise an uncharitable question: Is nonprofit accounting off track?

Accounting Reform: The Costs and Benefits of Marking-to-Market

Accounting is often seen as a veil, a mere detail of measurement that does not affect the economic fundamentals of a firm. However, the intensity of the public debate surrounding accounting reforms in recent years suggests that there may be more at stake than obscure debates on measurement. Currently, attention is focused on the initiative of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the U.S. … [ Read more ]

Measuring the Value of Intellectual Property: An Interview with Baruch Lev

One of the world’s most recognized and respected authorities on intellectual capital offers his observations on how to manage and value one of the most challenging and dynamic issues facing business leaders today, intangible assets. Lev is a frequent witness in litigation involving intellectual capital, and a frequent and vocal critic of traditional accounting. He is also the leading exponent of a new, knowledge-based approach … [ Read more ]

A GAAP of Their Own

Private companies seeking a wholesale exemption from FASB’s accounting rules are likely to be disappointed.

Special Purpose Entities: Throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

Special Purpose Entities (SPEs) have a useful role in business financing when used appropriately. However, there must be transparency, and all parties must understand the risks.

Enhanced Business Reporting

Public dissatisfaction with the mismatch between industrial rules of disclosure and post-industrial realities has surged in the last decade and a half, especially recently in the wake of well-publicized corporate swindles. In response, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) convened a special committee on enhanced business reporting (EBR), asking it to develop a strategy that would “make better information available to investors, creditors … [ Read more ]

Valuation of Intellectual Property

How much is the Coca-Cola brand or trademark worth? $50 billion? $ 100 billion? In August 2003, in an article in BusinessWeek, Interbrand included it in their table of “The 100 Top Brands” at a value of $70.45 billion. How would you check whether you agreed with their assessment?

In this article, Caroline Woodward-of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Valuation & Strategy practice-offers some interesting answers to these, and other … [ Read more ]

Toting Up Stock Options

Public companies have been criticized for granting stock options to employees without adding chits to the corporate expense pile. As regulators and some shareholders argue for new rules, Stanford Business School researchers Jeremy Bulow and John Shoven try to follow the money-and the logic.

RCA at Clopay

An emerging cost method, Resource Consumption Accounting (RCA) produces more accurate results compared to traditional cost methods and provides more detailed information. But is dealing with more details worth it? Is the view worth the climb? Based on the results from a pilot application at Clopay Plastics Products Company, we think it is.

Weighted Averages Help Transfer Pricing

How should companies price goods that they ship between their own divisions or related companies?

Internationally, that quandary confronts the producers of nearly half of all U.S. imported goods, a third of all U.S. exports, and a huge proportion of global trade elsewhere. By definition these aren’t arms-length deals in an open marketplace, and they raise tough questions. What price, for instance, might Ford of Germany … [ Read more ]

The World’s Most Exciting Accountant

NYU Professor Baruch Lev finds vast value in intangible assets.

Rethinking Activity-Based Costing

Activity-based accounting looks great in the classroom, but too often fails in the field. In this Harvard Business Review excerpt, HBS professor Robert S. Kaplan along with Steven R. Anderson suggest a way around the obstacles.

Activity-Based Costing in the Info Age, Part I

Despite the fact that it is over 75 years old, most companies still use standard cost systems both to value inventory for financial statement purposes and for many other management purposes as well. While it has some advantages for financial statement purposes (simplicity, consistency, well understood by auditors), it is, at best, meaningless and, at worst, misleading as a tool to assist in making effective … [ Read more ]

Outdated Accounts

A survey of the UK investment community shows that today’s regulatory reporting model is failing to make visible some of the most basic building blocks of good financial reporting.

Report Names Practices that Lead to Environmental Accounting Fraud

A new report, “Fooling Investors and Fooling Themselves” identifies aggressive accounting and asset management tactics that can lead to environmental accounting fraud.

Can ABM Outstay Its Welcome?

Creating one valid enterprisewide ABC/M model, developing a database and continuously feeding the model with current data isn’t enough to gain ABC/M’s maximum benefits. Companies also have to get people to accept this cost management strategy.