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Machine Learning to the Rescue

lev2

My previous blog post (“Beware! Estimates Dominate Financial Reports,” October 13, 2018) alerted you the hidden secret of accounting: Most balance sheet and income statement items are based on managerial subjective estimates and projections (like depreciation, asset write-offs, bad debts, expected gain on pension assets, etc.). The financial data that many investors are using literally “float on […]

Beware! Estimates Dominate Financial Reports

lev1

Estimates Are Hazardous to Your Wealth. Everyone knows that accounting is boring (not when I teach it, though), but, at least, people think it’s factual. No fake news. After all, accounting comes from counting―counting money, units of inventory, etc. All facts. Nothing further from the truth. Except for a few items on the balance sheet, like cash […]

Who Reads Financial Reports? Nobody!

lev

For several years I have argued, based on comprehensive statistical evidence, that corporate financial reports―quarterly and annual statements―have lost most of their relevance and usefulness to investors. Corporate earnings, in particular, are no longer a reliable measure of enterprise value change, nor are they indicators of future performance and growth. In fact, as I have […]

Customer Franchise, the Most Valuable Asset: Here is How to Value It

“Subscribers Are the New, New Thing in Business” declared The Economist (April 11, 2018). The magazine says that “Subscription models are seen by many investors and executives as the holy grail, because they promise a recurring stream of revenue…. The attractions of subscription businesses are obvious. Firms can predict the future better and build deeper relationships with […]

The Unbearable Lightness of Earnings

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Baruch Lev is the Philip Bardes Professor of Accounting and Finance at the Stern School of Business, NYU. This article first appeared at the Lev End Of Accounting Blog and is shared here with his permission. Today’s Wall Street Journal published an article that caught my attention: “Next Up: The Forgotten Earnings Season.” The article opens: “Only once before have […]