07-24-2012, 09:38 PM
A recently published paper (attached) shows that 20% of companies make false earnings reports. These reports are used as a key indicator of a company's and its stock's value. If the info in these reports is inaccurate, then investors are being defrauded.
Quote:Earnings Quality: Evidence from the Field
We provide new insights into earnings quality from a survey of 169 CFOs of public companies and in-depth interviews of 12 CFOs and two standard setters. Our key findings include (i) high-quality earnings are sustainable and are backed by actual cash flows; they also reflect consistent reporting choices over time and avoid long-term estimates; (ii) about 50% of earnings quality is driven by innate factors; (iii) about 20% of firms manage earnings to misrepresent economic performance, and for such firms 10% of EPS is typically managed; (iv) CFOs believe that earnings manipulation is hard to unravel from the outside but suggest a number of red flags to identify managed earnings; and (v) CFOs disagree with the direction the FASB is headed on a number of issues including the sheer number of promulgated rules, the top-down approach to rule making, the curtailed reporting discretion, the de-emphasis of the matching principle, and the over-emphasis on fair value accounting.