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Going concern rules produce puzzling disclosure scenario

Tammy Whitehouse | March 24, 2017

Companies and their auditors are following different rules in determining when each might be compelled to warn investors that there’s reason to doubt a company’s ability to remain in business as a going concern, leading to disclosures like that from Sears recently that has left capital market players scratching their heads.

Auditors have long had the unhappy duty of making the going concern call, but the Financial Accounting Standards Board has put the onus on management to take the first step in warning investors. After much back-and-forth over how to write a standard that preparers and auditors could live with,...

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