NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2013

Instructor Details

Bildersee, John


See below

See below


Course Meetings

TR, 11:00am to 12:15pm

KMC 3-70

Final Exam:   See below

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY Stern School of Business

Financial Reporting and Disclosure                                                                                                 Spring 2013




Professor John S. Bildersee                                                                                      Email:jbilders@stern.nyu.edu


Class web site: Blackboard


TextFinancial Reporting and Analysis by Revsine, Collins, Johnson and Mittelstaedt,Fifth Edition.


Course Content:This course concentrates on issues that affect the nature and quality of financial reporting.  Selected topics introduced previously are developed in more depth from a management perspective.  Additional topics are also developed.  Accounting choices and financial instruments are major themes across many of the topics.  The primary focus is on the impacts of choices, estimation and problem solving.  Some analysis is included.


A few course-related questions:


What are the revenue accounting issues associated with the HP-Autonomy debacle?

How do joint products (e.g. sale with service support) contribute to revenues and expenses?

When can inventory be reported at its sales value rather than its accumulated cost?

How do retailers estimate their costs?

How does factoring improve a company’s cash flow and balance sheet?

How does a company’s intent affect its reporting of investments?

Can an asset have a negative salvage value?

What is the impact of lease reporting on operating cash flows?

Is estimation of off-balance sheet liabilities meaningful?

Why do profitable companies have tax valuation allowances (for losses) and how do they deal with uncertain tax positions?

Can pension estimates be manipulated and what is the impact on the financial statements?

What are the financial and tax impacts for the company and its investors of paying management in options rather than cash?


Attendance:Attendance and completion of homework are essential.  You should attend every class to get a good understanding of the course materials. 


Exams:There are two midterms and a final.  Exams are open book and open notes.  There are no make-up exams.  If you cannot take an exam when scheduled you are expected to take it early.  The exams will be given on the stated dates.  The topics may change if the course falls behind schedule.


Quizzes:There will be several 15 minute quizzes.  Quizzes are open book and open notes.  Quizzes cannot be rescheduled.  There are no make-up quizzes.  Quizzes are scheduled for the first class following a given chapter and will focus on that chapter.  The dates of the quizzes may change if our experience deviates from this schedule.  Quizzes are 6% of the grade, but can become up to 18% of the grade if your quiz average exceeds your score on your poorest exam.


Cases:Handing in a short (½ - 1 page) TYPED case writeup is required.  One paragraph should describe the issues and considerations associated with the case.  A second and/or a third paragraph should include your opinions about the issues and ‘real world’ issues that might further impact your opinion.  See the grade guide below.


Suggested exercises:These exercises focus on the primary topics in the course and may help you prepare for the quizzes.  They do NOT have to be handed in.  Try to work the exercises in your own way and, if you are stuck, try to understand the answer that is on Blackboard or ask questions in class.


Extra credit - classroom performance:Readings and classroom exercises should be reviewed before class. You are expected to be able to contribute to discussions about the exercises as well as other classroom discussions..  Positive contributions include questions and well-intended responses irrespective of their accuracy.


Support materials:Visit Blackboard early and often.  It has announcements, class notes, slide shows, spreadsheets, sample exams and miscellaneous articles.  Many of the relevant materials will be provided as handouts.


Default policies:Policies not outlined here will be covered by the Stern default policies document attached to this syllabus.


You are expected to follow the undergraduate code of conduct and the graduate honor code throughout the semester.


Tentative Schedule:



Classroom Discussion

Suggested Exercises

Overview/Revenue Recognition



Revenue Recognition

2* (60-71), 3

E3-2, E3-3


Revenue Recognition


E3-7, E3-12, P3-6

Case-Velocity Cellular



E9-8, E9-9

E3-20, P3-5,(Quiz-Chp 3)


9 (inc App. B & C)




9 (inc App. B & C)

E9-13, C9-2



8*(from 421 to end)

E8-6, P8-8

E9-10, E9-14, E9-17, E9-19 (Quiz Chp 9)


8*(from 421 to end)

E8-14, P8-11, P8-13


FI-Minority (Noncontrolling) Investments

16 (939-950) (inc App A)

E16-2, E16-3

E8-13, E8-15, (Quiz-Chp 8)

FI-Noncontrolling& Majority (Controlling) Investments

16 (939-950) & 16 (958-961)

E16-4, E16-5


FI-Majority investments

16 (958-961)

E16-7, E16-9

Case-Fair Value Hierarchy


11 (through 631)

E11-6, E11-8

E16-1, E16-10

Midterm Exam

(Revenue recognition through investments)


11 (through 631 & 649 -652)

E11-3, E11-9, E11-12, P11-7, P11-11



12(inc Appendix)

E12-3, E12-4, E12-12

E11-11, P11-1



E12-1, E12-6, E12-7, E12-15





Case-Bear Minimum



E14-1, E14-2

E12-2, E12-5, E12-8,(Quiz-Chp 12)

FI –Pensions/Review


E14-7, E14-11, P14-7


Midterm Exam

(Liabilities through leases)





E14-8, E14-13, E14-14

Case-Rump Organization




E14-6, E14-9, E14-12, E14-20, P14-3



E13-6, E13-13

(Quiz-Chp 14)





Owners’ equity and EPS

15 (873-895, 908-913)

E15-12, E15-13, E15-14

E13-1, E13-2, E13-15(Quiz-Chp 13)

Executive Compensation

15 (895-908)


E15-15, P15-4





Final Exam

(Pensions through executive compensation)


*It is assumed that you are familiar with the materials in the appendices to chapters 2 and 8.


Tentative Grading:



Test 1


      28 points

Test 2


      28 points

Test 3


      28 points



        6 points



        6 points



        4 points

  Classroom participation

     Extra credit


Selected Topics:




Joint Products



Percent of Completion



Installment Sales






LIFO-FIFO (multiyear)






Dollar Value LIFO



Retail Methods






SPEs (Special Purpose Entities)






Troubled Debt Restructuring


Minority investments

Fair Value Hierarchy



Available for sale securities



Trading securities



Equity method


Majority Investments












Temporary deferrals


Permanent deferrals


Tax loss carrybacks and carryforwards


Tax valuation allowance


Uncertain Tax Positions


Pension trust fund


Projected obligations


Service costs




Accruals vs. Fair & Present Value

Owners’ equity

Treasury stock


Simple EPS


Diluted EPS


Security conversions


Executive compensation



Case guide outline:

Cases must be typed.  Written material will not be accepted or reviewed.  The amount of credit will be guided by this summary.  Be concise; assume you are summarizing the relevant issues for management.  Use at least 1½ line spacing, normal page borders and size 11 font.






Statement of the Issues and driving Forces

Partial recognition of the factors

Identification of the factors

Thorough identification of the factors and their impacts

Opinion Based on the Above

Failure to link factors to your opinion

Partial integration of the identified factors into your opinion

Full integration of the factors into your opinion


Course Pre-Requisites

See syllabus


Course Outline

See syllabus


Required Course Materials

See syllabus


Assessment Components

See syllabus


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



See syllabus



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

See syllabus


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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