How well does the average person understand financial statement manipulation? Sometimes the numbers are gimmicked up because of odd nonsensical transactions, ala Lehman Brothers. Sometimes the numbers are out and out fictionalized. Sometimes investor attention is simply distracted away.
Bob Jensen passed along a post over at the AECM listserv, in which he used a few Barbie dolls to make a point. Sprucing it up just a bit, here’s the story. [Disclaimer: I do not support the “culture of thinness” promoted by Barbie Dolls.]
Lehman Brothers Balance Sheet “Before”
Lehman Brothers Balance Sheet “After”
SEC’s Mary Schapiro Called to the Rescue
Switching the subject, just a bit. Over the years, Mattel (producer of Barbie dolls) has used child actors to promote its toys. Recently, it used two of the cutest to present a disclaimer that precedes an interactive edition of its annual report. I can’t embed the video (as much as I’d like to), so click on the following link and press the start button. In my opinion, this is inappropriate. Financial reporting is serious business for serious people. It shouldn’t be made light of. And, after watching this “kid” disclaimer, I think the viewer is happy enough to cut Mattel some slack for whatever follows.
My apologies to the copyright owners of these images. I’ve borrowed without permission. If you come across this page, would you grant me permission to use these images?
Debit and credit – – David Albrecht