ABSTRACT

In this case, two start-up companies in the same industry have identical economic transactions. Although both companies follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), each manager makes different choices and estimates when applying GAAP. By preparing the financial statements, calculating ratios, and comparing and contrasting the two companies, students see how choices and estimates made by management affect the financial statements. They also see the challenge faced by users of financial information when trying to interpret the financial statements and compare companies. Students really experience an “aha!” moment while analyzing this case. The case refutes their commonly held assumptions that accounting always has a right answer and that financial statements represent the truth.

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