Fair Value's Affect on Accounting's Ability to Predict Future Cash Flows: A Glance Back and a Look at the Potential Impact of Reaching the Goal
As the FASB implements accounting standards with fair value accounting components, discussions have centered around relevance and reliability of the reported values. Discussions primarily focus on potentially increased relevance weighed against issues of reliability rather than considering the potential impact on the predictive objective of accounting. The current study instead frames the issue based on financial reporting objectives as stated in SFAC No. 1. We show that, even with recent standard's fair value requirements, correlations between current accounting numbers and current market data have not improved through time, nor have correlations between current accounting numbers and future cash flows improved. Most importantly, we find that correlations between market data (in essence, fair values) and future cash flows are significantly lower than correlations between current accounting and future cash flows. That is, achieving fair value accounting would reduce the predictive ability of financial reporting for future cash flows.
fair value accounting, predictive ability of accounting, objectives of financial reporting
SMU Cox: Accounting (Topic)