Matching Items (2)
- Creators: Casas-Arce, Pablo
- Creators: Department of Finance
- Creators: Larscheid, Elizabeth
- Member of: Barrett, The Honors College Thesis/Creative Project Collection
This thesis seeks to examine a nascent topic pertinent to the future of investment reporting to participants in global capital markets: cryptocurrency reporting. In the age of investor freedom, low to zero brokerage fees, and digital ‘do-it-yourself’ investing, many investors and investing platforms have adopted the use of digital currencies. Since its inception in 2009, cryptocurrency has been surrounded by controversy, which impacted financial institutions holding it, companies using it in transactions, and investors trading it. With cryptocurrency’s inherent volatility and relatively little accounting guidance, these stakeholders have faced difficulty in making capital allocation decisions, properly recording their holdings and transactions, and learning how to engage in activities involving cryptocurrency. Moreover, cryptocurrency has caught the attention of market regulators due to these same factors.
Our project directly addresses this topic and explores the accounting implications of using cryptocurrency based on currently available authoritative and non-authoritative guidance. We further examine the need for authoritative reporting guidance, the regulatory bodies responsible for prescribing reporting guidance, and potential recommendations for future accounting standards. We begin by defining cryptocurrency and distinguishing it from other digital assets in Section 2. In Section 3, we discuss the risks presented by digital currencies and their inherent volatility. In Section 4, we describe the ways in which businesses currently use, treat, and interact with cryptocurrency from both transactional and accounting perspectives. In Section 5, we review, consolidate, and present the current guidance on digital currencies from the Big 4 accounting firms. In Section 6, we investigate the cryptocurrency disclosures of five large public US companies through an analysis of their annual reports. In Section 7, we research the FASB and SEC and their standard-setting processes to determine which organization is best suited to provide guidance on cryptocurrency reporting. As part of this task, we consider the role of these two regulatory agencies, their views and attitudes toward cryptocurrencies, and their jurisdictions over this area of financial reporting. This examination involves regulatory and public policy research, to understand the standard-setting process within the applicable regulatory body. Finally, in Section 8, we directly engage in the standard-setting process by drafting a comment letter to the FASB which includes the results of our research, the necessity (or lack thereof) for authoritative reporting guidance, and key issues that the Board should consider.
Executive compensation is broken into two parts: one fixed and one variable. The fixed component of executive compensation is the annual salary and the variable components are performance-based incentives. Clawback provisions of executive compensation are designed to require executives to return performance-based, variable compensation that was erroneously awarded in the year of a misstatement. This research shows the need for the use of a new clawback provision that combines aspects of the two currently in regulation. In our current federal regulation, there are two clawback provisions in play: Section 304 of Sarbanes-Oxley and section 954 of The Dodd\u2014Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This paper argues for the use of an optimal clawback provision that combines aspects of both the current SOX provision and the Dodd-Frank provision, by integrating the principles of loss aversion and narcissism. These two factors are important to consider when designing a clawback provision, as it is generally accepted that average individuals are loss averse and executives are becoming increasingly narcissistic. Therefore, when attempting to mitigate the risk of a leader keeping erroneously awarded executive compensation, the decision making factors of narcissism and loss aversion must be taken into account. Additionally, this paper predicts how compensation structures will shift post-implementation. Through a survey analyzing the level of both loss- aversion and narcissism in respondents, the research question justifies the principle that people are loss averse and that a subset of the population show narcissistic tendencies. Both loss aversion and narcissism drove the results to suggest there are benefits to both clawback provisions and that a new provision that combines elements of both is most beneficial in mitigating the risk of executives receiving erroneously awarded compensation. I concluded the most optimal clawback provision is mandatory for all public companies (Dodd-Frank), targets all executives (Dodd-Frank), and requires the recuperation of the entire bonus, not just that which was in excess of what should have been received (SOX).