2018 Financial Restatements Review

The annual Audit Analytics report on financial restatement trends is now available. This report provides a detailed analysis and comparison of trends in financial restatements over an eighteen-year period.

When looking at restatements, we categorize them by two levels: reissuance restatements and revision restatements. Reissuance restatements, sometimes referred to as “Big R” restatements, address a material error that calls for the reissuance of a past financial statement. Alternatively, revision restatements, or “little r” restatements, deal with immaterial misstatements, or adjustments made in the normal course of business. Because revision restatements are less severe, they are generally not looked at as a sign of poor reporting. However, some would argue that the disclosure of revision restatements shows a level of transparency and honesty by the filer.

Some key highlights from this year’s report include:

  • After 12 years of decline, the number of reissuance restatements increased slightly in 2018.
  • Around 70% of restatements disclosed were revision restatements.
  • Total restatements dropped for four consecutive years to an 18-year low.
  • There were 171 restatements filed by accelerated filers, and 229 restatements disclosed by non-accelerated filers.
  • The average number of days restated decreased.
  • In order to gauge the severity of restatements, we turn to impact on net income. About 54% of the restatements disclosed by publicly traded companies had no impact on earnings.

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For more information on financial restatements, please contact us.