Saturday, March 28, 2009

FASB Throws Dirt in Grave of Investing

Publicly traded companies produce financial statements. Accountants want those to accurately reflect the state of the company.

When assets grew, everyone liked "mark to market" accounting. The leverage boys borrowed more on an ever increasing asset base. However that leverage knife cuts deep when the underlying asset goes down.

FASB modified mark to market accounting under pressure from Congress. They threatened to write professional standards for the accounting profession. I'd like to know what CPA Mike Conaway thought about it. His West Texas Republican peer threatened, "Don't make us tell you what to do. Just do it. Just get it done." Randy wasn't alone. Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, D-N.Y. added, "If you don't act, we will."

Guess who raised the flag of concern? Arthur Levitt, Senior Adviser for The Carlyle Group and ex-SEC Commissioner. He's concerned about politics impacting professional standards. I'll put it more bluntly. America goes down a dangerous path when ignorant or tainted politicians write professional standards.

FASB should've fixed the off balance sheet problem, the one imploding companies overnight with investors clueless as to why. Credit and other derivative accounting is completely misleading. Forward looking contracts need addressing.

As a result of FASB's action and inaction, the public has little confidence in many balance sheets. Wall Street greed and leverage killed investing. Congress held a gun to FASB's head, as the accounting board threw dirt into the burial plot.