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Made up profit numbers

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CEOs and their flaks have long tried to direct us hacks towards the numbers on the results statement they think we should be reporting, rather than the ones that are actually significant.

This trend is getting worse, I think because of the tech boom.

So the companies insist that operating profit, or even worse EBITDA, are more significant than the real number — pre-tax profit.

Some flaks even have the nerve to complain once the piece appears – we are barracked for being old-fashioned, for “not getting it”.

Operating profit and EBITDA can be perfectly interesting indicators of how a company is getting on. But mostly they are the equivalent of me declaring how much my disposable income is if I just leave out the mortgage, the gas bill and the council tax.

I think hacks are mostly resisting the trendy accounting push. We could try harder. And the flaks could put a sock in it.


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