View Full Version : "accounting problems"

02-04-2002, 02:38 PM
What is up with these fears of accounting problems?

If you want to see real "accounting problems," go to Amazon.com, where they've never made any money.

In truth, nobody cares what the numbers are, so long as they believe in the model.

All people seem to be saying is "Hmmmmm, maybe you shouldn't have put it like that, now that we see maybe these long-term assumptions aren't going to pan out after all."

Analysts could have been given any set of numbers, and they still would have seen what they wanted to see. They'd have said "This is how they reported it. But this is how we should look at it, given how much money this can be expected to generate over the long run!"

You can report X earnings, and they'll pay 60 times earnings, or you can report 2X earnings, and they'll pay 30 times earnings, so what?

And it doesn't matter if X is xero. When it comes right down to it, people thought Enron was kinda cool, and everything on the balance sheet was supposed to rise in value and take care of itself.


02-04-2002, 10:42 PM
I couldn't agree more. Amazon was the poster child for accounting tricks and pro-forma reporting. I have a feeling though they won't be doing that as much now that they have pretty much gotten to GAAP break-even. In the past I would have said how stupid it was to buy AMZN, but right now its beat down so much and they are finally executing and showing some management skill to the point where I might actually recommend the stock as long as it stays at an affordable range. Once they stop screwing around with weird selling ideas that make no sense and stick to what can sell easily on the net, they will become a very profitable company because their merchandising skill is far beyond that of even Wal-Mart right now.

As for the market itself, today was just getting ridiculous. All these analysts are into a "I'm going to spot the next Enron" mode and anything they sniff up becomes a 30% sell-off. How silly. It has gotten to the point where two things matter, how much of a smoking gun people think they can find and how much they think Moodys and S&P like you. That is determining the stock price of Williams right now and Tyco is just about there. More companies will come up. Once again, I can't stress how certain I am that this is leading to a great buying opportunity, its just the stock buying public needs some other issue to focus on before they forget this one. To put it simply, there are maybe 5-10 companies that have true accounting issues that could cause material changes to future cash flows, but there are thousands that play minor tricks to improve numbers that make no or inmaterial differences to future cash flows. This whole issue is really probably a proxy excuse for selling as the market has seen quite a rally in the last few months considering no concrete proof is there that a big growth-spurt is about to begin.