Corporate Reporting of Other Comprehensive Income

Charles Mulford, Anna Babinets

Abstract


In this study, we examine the annual report filings of S&P 100 companies that report other comprehensive income/(loss) over the three-year period of 2013-2015. We seek to gain a deeper understanding of the components of other comprehensive income and to determine if there is a systematic tendency for companies to include more gains or losses in other comprehensive income. Further, we seek to determine which components of other comprehensive income show more unexpected losses than gains and what impact other comprehensive income gains and losses may have on future earnings.

We find a systematic tendency for firms to report more losses than gains in other comprehensive income, both in frequency and amount. This result is especially true for investment-related gains and losses, where managements have more discretion in the timing of gain and loss recognition.

In terms of their impact on future earnings, we find that 43 companies in the S&P 100 reclassified some component of accumulated other comprehensive income gains and losses to net income over the period 2013- 2015, highlighting the observation that other comprehensive income gains and losses are, in effect, future elements of net income. These results remind analysts and investors that net income does not tell the entire story of a firm’s financial performance. Beyond users of financial statements, regulators, such as the FASB and SEC, may want to reconsider whether items of other comprehensive income should be included in net income.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijafr.v8i2.13107

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