I dreamed that a Sage invited me to Nebraska to play racketball with him. We dined at a McDonalds with Bill Gross and Abraham Briloff. Cherry Coke was served by a very attractive 28 year old woman who was recently appointed the chair of three big companies. Gross immediately said, "My batteries are fully charged and I'm ready to go for another 40 years." The Sage said, "I am ready to complete a super charged acquisition. My gun is loaded." "Apparently neither of us need Viagra. But we've both had our problems with our key men recently." Briloff gave both men a copy of his book "Unaccountable Accounting" and said "please don't fool around with the deferred liabilities on your balance sheet. The Scott and Fetzer acquisition should have been a lesson. The cash flow statement and the income statement show too much of a divergence". The woman led the blind Mr. Briloff to a waiting bus to the airport. I joined him without getting to play a game.

Vince Fulco writes:

On a related note, here's a nice little bit of research and tutorial for the fundamentally inclined.

The Misrepresentation of Earnings:

On earnings misrepresentation, CFOs believe that in any given period a remarkable 20% of firms intentionally distort earnings, even though they are adhering to generally accepted accounting principles. The economic magnitude of the misrepresentation is large, averaging about 10% of reported earnings. While most misrepresentation involves earnings overstatement, interestingly, one third of the firms that are misrepresenting performance are low-balling their earnings or reversing a prior intentional overstatement. Finally, CFOs provide a list of red flags that can be used to detect earnings misrepresentation.

Related paper: "Earnings Quality: Evidence from the Field"

Teaching Presentation Slides: "A Guide to Earnings Quality"



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