It was one o'clock in the morning, and Ann Schneider sat at her desk sipping her fourth cup of coffee. Ann's assignment was to analyze three company annual reports from different countries with the task of determining the most successful one. Assuming it was going to be easy, Ann waited until the night before it was due to begin the assignment. But there she sat, staring blankly at the annual reports.
Ann's problem was a lack of consistency in the annual reports. The three companies' reporting practices and policies differed, and even some of the same terms had different meanings. After spending an hour flipping through the annual reports and accomplishing little, Ann decided that her best bet was to restate the foreign financial statements to her domestic GAAP and then do a financial analysis. She figured that bringing the companies to a common accounting base would provide for her comparison across companies.
1) Do you agree with Ann's method of comparing foreign companies with one another?
2) What are some factors that must be considered when conducting cross-country comparisons among companies?
3) If you had Ann's assignment, what might you do to identify the most attractive company?