While the number of financial restatements has leveled off in recent years, there was an increase in restatements by large public companies known as accelerated filers for the fourth year in a row.
A new report from the research firm Audit Analytics found that in 2010, 171 accelerated filers disclosed restatements, followed by 211 in 2011, 284 in 2012, 290 in 2013 and 309 in 2014. Accelerated filers have a public float of $75 million or more.
During 2014, revision restatements (that is, restatements revealed in a periodic report without a prior 8-K, Item 4.02 disclosure that past financials can no longer be relied upon) represented approximately 76.4 percent of the restatements disclosed by 10-K filers. This percentage represents the highest percentage calculated since the disclosure requirement came into effect August 2004.
Last year, Audit Analytics found that the average income adjustment per restatement by publicly traded companies (on Amex, NASDAQ or the NYSE) was about 1.9 million dollars, the lowest during the last eight years reviewed.
In 2014, approximately 59.1 percent (or 272 out of 460) of the restatements disclosed by publicly traded companies on Amex, NASDAQ or NYSE had no impact on earnings, the highest during the last eight years reviewed.
The average number of days restated (that is, the restatement period) was 496 days during 2014, the second lowest figure calculated since 2001 and the lowest during the last thirteen years.
In addition to quantifying the number of restatement disclosures, Audit Analytics also weighed the severity of the restatements filed last year and found that their impact remained generally low. In 2014, the average number of issues implicated in a restatement was 1.65 issues per restatement, which is slightly larger than the prior five years, but much lower than the 2.42 issues per restatement in 2005.
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