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            會計英語 Unit nine

            Source: 恒星英語學習網  Onion  2009-07-29  我要投稿   論壇   Favorite  
            [00:00.00]Unit 9   Comparative  accountin
            [00:03.45]Text 9.1  What are brands wort
            [00:08.25]Accountants are divided over the treatment of intangible assets because they cannot make up their minds what balance sheets are for.
            [00:15.57]Are they supposed to give a brave man's estimate of what a company is worth?
            [00:19.49]Or are they to show (as they tend to in Britain) a cautious man's calculation of how much of a company's costs have not yet been written off against revenues?
            [00:29.39]To some extent it is up to companies to make up their auditors' minds for them.
            [00:34.53]Price Waterhouse is auditor to both Reckitt & Colman and Rowntree.
            [00:39.13]Yet unlike Reckitt & Colman,Rowntree has never included in its annual report any valuation of its famous brands,
            [00:46.79]such as Kit Kat,Polo,After Eight and Smarties.
            [00:51.04]When Nestle offered to pay over £1 billion for something that did not appear in Rowntree's accounts,
            [00:56.87]it confirmed many laymen's view that accountants must be asses.
            [01:01.88]Since Nestle's policy is also to write off trademarks and goodwill immediately against reserves,
            [01:07.79]the value of Rowntree's brands has once again disappeared into an accounting black hole.
            [01:13.04]Lowly status of marketing
            [01:15.36]The fact that few British companies have pushed their accountants to value their brands could have something to do with the lowly status of marketing in the corporate hierarchy.
            [01:25.05]It may not be a coincidence that Jean-Claude Larreche is a non-executive director of Reckitt & Colman.
            [01:32.42]Mr Larreche is professor of marketing at Insead,the international business school outside Paris.
            [01:39.63]No marketing director can be happy to see the fruits of his efforts totally ignored in his company's balance sheet.
            [01:45.77]Mr Larreche may also have been influenced by France's example.
            [01:50.29]Companies there keep intangible assets on their balance sheet.
            [01:54.49]Unfortunately this does not mean that they are any more consistent than the British.
            [01:59.56]In France the issue is not valuation but depreciation.
            [02:04.19]In general,intangibles protected by a legal right(such as trademarks and,peculiarly,leasehold rights to property)are not depreciated,whereas goodwill and others are.
            [02:16.78]A recent EC draft directive suggests goodwill be written off over five years.
            [02:22.60]In practice,France has a host of exceptions.
            [02:26.00]In 1984 Printemps,the department-store group,began to write off some FFr50 million of property rights,
            [02:36.45]mostly related to its main store on Paris's Boulevard Haussmann.
            [02:40.91]In its 1987 accounts Pernod Ricard wrote off FFr289 million of goodwill.
            [02:49.14]That,said the company,was all the goodwill arising from mergers before December 31,1987.
            [02:56.40]Such practice was in accordance with the recommendations of the French National Council on Accounting Standards'.
            [03:02.49]The FFr245 million of intangible assets remaining on the company's balance sheet at the end of 1987 related almost entirely to trademarks.
            [03:13.44]On the other hand,Rhone-Poulenc had almost FFr4 billion of goodwill on its end-1987 balance sheet.
            [03:22.50]Its policy is to amortise goodwill over not more than 40 years.
            [03:27.73]The problem of how to account for intangible assets will not go away.
            [03:32.24]Indeed,it can only become more of a problem.
            [03:35.46]Not only because companies are more conscious of the value of brands(and more prepared to pay huge sums to buy them),
            [03:42.69]but also because Europe's economies are increasingly becoming service economies.
            [03:47.87]Service firms have few assets other than intangible ones.
            [03:51.94]If their balance sheets continue to take no account of their most significant asset,then what use are they?
            [03:59.20]It would be nice to think that accountants across Europe will find a common solution for the treatment of intangible assets.
            [04:05.86]If they do,they will themselves have shown considerable goodwill to consumers of their accounts.
            [04:12.68]Text 9.2   Germans draw line at two sets of accoun
            [04:18.95]UK accounts at least pay lip-service to the notion that accounts should provide a 'true and fair' representation fo what is happening at the compan
            [04:27.62]but German accounting does not aim to give outsiders such as analysts or investors a 'true' or merely 'fair' picture of a company's financial conditio
            [04:37.76]If this make it difficult for international fund managers to make informed investment decisions about German companie
            [04:44.32]it also denies German companies access to the world's largest capital marke
            [04:49.57]The fact that not a single German company has a full listing in the US is directly due to German accountin
            [04:56.23]Last year, a number of Germany's largest companies-including Daimler-Benz, Bayer, Hoechst and BAS
            [05:04.20]and a number of largee banks -approached the Securities & Exchange Commission in the US with a view to obtaining a listing in the U
            [05:11.85]The talks came to nothin
            [05:13.94]The main obstacle was the SEC's requirement that the German companies-like all companies listed in the US-should comply with the generally accepted accounting  principles(US GAAP) in the U
            [05:27.24]The German companies refused to give way, and the SEC would not compromise ; hence an impass
            [05:33.92]The issue has rumbled on since the
            [05:36.67]Last month the Federation of German Stock Exchanges said it was likely the European Commission would enter into direct negotiations with the SEC on behalf of all European countrie
            [05:47.43]The EC may well take up the 'reciprocity 'argument used by the German companies last yea
            [05:53.54]that a company which had complied with German listing requirements ought to qualify automatically for a listing in the US,without having to comply with US GAAP.
            [06:03.44]Since German listing requirements are much Lesson strenuous,US companies have no difficulty gaining a quote there.
            [06:10.34]Apart from the general principle that German companies give away very little financial informatio
            [06:15.51]the main practical difference between Teutonic accounting and the Anglo-American variety is that German accounting invariably understates both assets and profit
            [06:25.49]as compared to figures presented under UK rules or US GAA
            [06:31.13]An exercise conducted last year by Mr Gary Schieneman ,an analyst for Smith New Court in New Yor
            [06:37.77]showed that shareholders'equity at Mannesmann -a large German engineering company - at the end of 1989 would have been at least 40 percent higher if presented under US GAA
            [06:50.78]while net profits would have been 50 percent and 36 per cent higher in 1988 and 1989 respectivel
            [06:58.61]In another study, Mr Schieneman showed how the Voldswagen car company's 1989 profits would grow form DM1.04bn under German rules,to DM1.5bn under UK rules and DM1.9bn under US rule
            [07:14.68]In the answer to the question 'what did Volkswagen really in 1989
            [07:18.91]Schieneman was forced to conclude that it depended entirely on your accounting perspectiv
            [07:24.21]What was true for the 1989 figures ,applies equally to those produced by large German companies in 1990 and 1991,says Schienema
            [07:33.36]The differences between the German and the UK and the US versions of the figures are in part due to German conservatism on specific issues such as accounting for goodwill and depreciatio
            [07:45.11]but there are also more fundamental factors at wor
            [07:48.11]Mrs Heidrun Haase of Deutsche Bank Research in Frankfurt identifies some of the underlying causes of the differences between German and Anglo-American accountin
            [07:57.18]German law insists that the interests of creditors take precedence over those of shareholder
            [08:03.42]The so-called Glaubigerchutzprinzip,in which this principe is enshuined, means that companies are under legal pressure to understate reported profits and asset
            [08:13.37]There is no distinction between tax accounts and published accounts,as there is in the UK or the US:
            [08:20.06]the Massgeblichkeitrinzip ordains that in order to get a deduction for tax purposes it must be booked in the published account
            [08:28.11]Thus there is a cash incentive for German companies to keep reported profits as low as possible ,because lower profits mean lower tax bill
            [08:36.91]The structure of the German capital market does not bring pressure on companies to ramp up their reported profit
            [08:43.42]Only about 650 German companies are listed on the stock market,and of these the vast majority are controlled by banks or families with long-term investment horizon
            [08:54.13]These shareholders have access to the management accounts, which tell the full story denied to those who must rely on published figure
            [09:01.68]Despite recent developments such as the Continental-Pirelli saga and Krupp's takeover of Hoesch
            [09:08.08]there is no vigorous market for corporate control in Germany and managers do not have to present spectacular profits growth to fend off takeove
            [09:17.06]A further unspoken reason why German companies do not want to present US- style figures is that it would weaken their hand in negotiations with union
            [09:26.33]Germany's labour costs are already higher than anywhere else in Europe and the fear is that they could get higher if the unions saw the profits restated upwards under US or UK GAA
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