A study of financial restatements by public companies found variations in the amount of time it takes to issue revised financials after companies first identify a problem.
According to a study by Huron Consulting Group of 1,900 restatements announced between August 2004 and December 2006, the average time between the filing of a Form 8-K and the restated financials was seven weeks, while the median was three weeks.
About one out of every six restatements was filed within one day of the 8-K, while one-third of the restatements were filed within two weeks. However, about 20 percent of the companies reviewed took more than four months to complete the restatement process. That generally meant they missed the timely filing of a Form 10-Q or 10-K.
"There clearly is a direct relationship between the size of the restatement and how long it takes," said Jeff Szafran, managing director of Huron Consulting Group. "The fewer the accounting issues, the shorter it took. Those with five or more accounting issues took longer."
The most prevalent accounting issues were in the categories of equity and debt; capitalization and expense of assets; reserves, accruals or contingencies; revenue recognition; and taxes. The report provides recommendations on best practices for companies to follow when undergoing restatements. For more information, go to www.huronconsultinggroup.com.
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