01 julho 2019

Mudança na frequência das Demonstrações Contábeis

Há discussões nos EUA pelo fim da divulgação trimestral de demonstrações contábeis:

The United States is in the middle of that rarest of events: a public conversation on accounting standards. Since 1970, public companies in the US have been required to report quarterly. The Securities and Exchange Commission is now considering changing that frequency to biannual reporting, and in December 2018 issued a request for public comment on the matter.

Admittedly, the issue isn’t exactly igniting the passions of the masses, but the implications of these discussions could significantly affect the US economy. For the first time in many years, policy makers are seriously reconsidering the rules on corporate financial reporting. The SEC is examining how to change the system to lighten the burdens on corporations, and to reduce what it calls the “overly short-term focus by managers” of listed companies.

My research suggests there would be great benefits to the US ending mandatory quarterly reporting. It would help to kick-start innovation among US companies, for one. That should be of particular interest to the SEC, which stated in its request that it is interested in how the current system “may affect corporate decision making and strategic thinking.”

The SEC’s study follows comments from President Donald Trump last year that US companies should be required to report only every six months rather than quarterly. Some would like to go further: moving from quarterly to annual reports would lead executives to focus more on the long run, according to about one-third of prominent economists polled by Chicago Booth’s Initiative on Global Markets. (See “Should companies report annually instead of quarterly?” Published online, February 2019.)

Lessening the frequency of reporting would certainly be popular with corporations. As Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, and Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, observed in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal last year, “quarterly earnings guidance often leads to an unhealthy focus on short-term profits at the expense of long-term strategy, growth and sustainability.”


But because the markets have such a quarter-to-quarter focus, more market discipline is only one side of the coin. In economic terms, market discipline ensures price efficiency (prices consistent with risk). However, there is a catch: such price efficiency may come at the cost of economic efficiency (increasing the size of the pie).

The really important cost of quarterly reporting is that companies underinvest in innovation, reducing economic efficiency. If we force companies to disclose frequently, they worry about their next earnings numbers. And if they miss expectations, they’re punished by the market.


Less-frequent reporting would also give companies less of an incentive to go private and more of an incentive to go public. This would enable them to share risk with a broader pool of investors, and not just with big institutions and hedge funds.

Changing the frequency of reporting also provides the opportunity to ask whether one size should fit all. The SEC wisely suggests that companies could be given flexibility over the frequency of their reporting. We have an opportunity to run a grand experiment in accounting. Some companies could continue to report quarterly, some could move to biannual reporting, and others to alternative time periods, such as every four months. This would enable us to truly measure the costs and benefits.

Semiannual reporting might not help big established companies, but it could help the most innovative companies in our economy by encouraging them to allocate more capital to risky, innovative projects. This could provide a big boost for the long-term health of the US economy.

Fonte: aqui

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