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Alphabet Soup

Penelope Wise
17 August, 2008

If I was to say to you IASB or FASB? EBITDA or EBITDAX? you'd know I was talking about accounting standards and reporting profits, wouldn't you? Yes, of course. But could you tell me what accounting standards were used in calculating the EPS of those shares you bought last week?

Pleased to see then that IASB (the European brand) and FASB (the US brand) are finally getting their act together and moving towards a harmonized system of profits reporting. They're a long way off still, but at least they're trying.

Actually isn't it ridiculous that the regulators are so far behind the markets? You can buy ETFs which cobble together shares from umpteen different exchanges all over the world, and there will be as many different ways of calculating their profits as there are shares. How can you know what you're buying?

Take goodwill, for instance. There are hardly two countries in the world which use the same rules for deducting it. And IP the same. This is what makes the politicization of the CCTB (Common Corporate Tax Base) in Europe so absurd and so anti-consumer.

The whole direction of investment markets is towards disintermediation, empowering and informing the investor. Yet 'they' can't get past squabbling over their silly red lines.

When will they grow up?


About the Author

Penelope Wise

Penny Wise but not Pound Foolish! But remember: I am not offering investment advice. My comments are just for your general information; I do not recommend investments, and you should take professional advice before entering any investment contract.


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