Financial statements – Are you comparing melons to kumquats?
Abstract: It may be tempting to compare two (or more) borrowers in the same industry. But blind comparisons can be misleading. Privately held firms often view earnings differently than public companies do, and S and C corporations differ in how they’re taxed and how they pay shareholder-managers. Cash vs. accrual accounting, along with discretionary accounting methods, also can affect financial reporting. A sidebar to this article explains that, while lenders might benchmark a borrower’s performance against industry averages, benchmarking data sources may use slightly different formulas.