Is mark-to-market accounting really the root of all evil?


Investors tempted to sing "ding dong, mark-to-market accounting is dead" should probably hold their tongues. Some prominent experts argue that today's changes to the controversial valuation rule are no cause for celebration.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) folded like the Cowardly Lion under pressure from Wall Street and members of Congress who argued that the mark-to-market rule is responsible for exacerbating the current financial crisis. The main complaint was that the rule forced financial institutions to take huge write-downs to reflect the decline in the book value of their assets. But some experts, including Jack Ciesielski of The Analyst's Accounting Observer, say this is nonsense.