Emili Gironella, full academician of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED) and renowned auditor, has concluded with María del Carmen Barcons, professor of Financial Economics and Accounting at the University of Barcelona, the study “El ebitda. ¿Indicador útil o inútil?” (The EBITDA. Useful or useless indicator?) with the publication of its third and last part in the number 4 of the Revista Técnica Contable y Financiera. An article in which they are especially critical of the flexibility of the accounting criteria.
After insisting that the ebitda is an unofficial indicator not regulated for the International Financial Reporting Standards despite being widely used by financial analysts and large companies and having become a habitual concept of economic information, the two specialists warn in this delivery about the concepts that are taken into account in its calculation. In particular, they insist on an adjusted EBITDA calculation that takes into account salary remunerations outside the market as hidden dividends, differentiating assets acquired under leasing or renting, financial expenses and income, non-recurring costs, expenses for repair or maintenance and development.
“In determining the amount of adjusted EBITDA should also consider the possible financial engineering to which some companies resort when they intend to sell themselves -said Gironella and Barcons-. The selling company may be tempted, for example, to defer or transfer to the future certain expenses and to anticipate certain income in order to reflect the highest possible amount of EBITDA, a fact that must be the subject of an adequate examination by the analyst”.
The academicians lament the great flexibility that accounting regulations have when interpreting and applying certain records in some operations, a fact that conditions the calculation or determination of EBITDA, a matter of international scope. “We hope that at some point a rigorous debate will open on whether accounting information is really useful for business management or is a mere reflection of data with open criteria”, they say.
“With the modifications introduced by the 2007 General Accounting Plan, there are increasingly more subjective criteria for preparing accounting information and excessive recourse to valuation through estimates that we no longer know how to rate them, and which, in our opinion, move away it is necessary to have more useful information and to reserve the accounting information for third parties, and proof of this is that the bank itself has been requesting management information for the companies that request it for years. financing, far beyond the accounting”, they point out.