Big Bath

DEFINITION of 'Big Bath'

The strategy of manipulating a company's income statement to make poor results look even worse. The big bath is often implemented in a bad year to enhance artificially next year's earnings. The big rise in earnings might result in a larger bonus for executives. New CEOs sometimes use the big bath so they can blame the company's poor performance on the previous CEO and take credit for the next year's improvements.

BREAKING DOWN 'Big Bath'

For example, if a CEO concludes that the minimum earnings targets can't be made in a given year, he/she will have an incentive to move earnings from the present to the future since the CEO's compensation doesn't change regardless if he/she misses the targets by a little or a lot. By shifting profits forward - by prepaying expenses, taking write-offs and/or delaying the realization of revenues - the CEO increases the chances of getting a large bonus the following year.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Accountant

    A professional who performs accounting functions such as audits ...
  2. Voodoo Accounting

    Creative rather than conservative accounting practices. Voodoo ...
  3. Cookie Jar Accounting

    A disingenuous accounting practice in which periods of good financial ...
  4. Cook The Books

    A buzzword describing fraudulent activities performed by corporations ...
  5. Beneish Model

    A mathematical model that uses financial ratios and eight variables ...
  6. Write-Off

    A reduction in the value of an asset or earnings by the amount ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Top 8 Ways Companies Cook The Books

    Find out more about the fraudulent accounting methods some companies use to fool investors.
  2. Fundamental Analysis

    The One-Time Expense Warning

    These income statement red flags may not spell a company's downfall. Learn why here.
  3. Options & Futures

    Find Investment Quality In The Income Statement

    Use these key attributes to uncover top-level investments.
  4. Retirement

    Common Clues Of Financial Statement Manipulation

    Search for the "bloody" fingerprints in accounting crimes.
  5. Options & Futures

    Advanced Financial Statement Analysis

    Learn what it means to do your homework on a company's performance and reporting practices before investing.
  6. Economics

    Understanding Cost-Volume Profit Analysis

    Business managers use cost-volume profit analysis to gauge the profitability of their company’s products or services.
  7. Fundamental Analysis

    5 Basic Financial Ratios And What They Reveal

    Understanding financial ratios can help investors pick strong stocks and build wealth. Here are five to know.
  8. Investing Basics

    How to Analyze a Company's Inventory

    Discover how to analyze a company's inventory by understanding different types of inventory and doing a quantitative and qualitative assessment of inventory.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Understanding Chipotle's Financials (CMG)

    Learn about Chipotle Mexican Grill and its financial statements, including metrics such as comparable sales, operating margin and returns.
  10. Investing Basics

    How To Decode A Company’s Earnings Reports

    Earnings reports tell investors how a publicly-traded company is performing, but aren’t always easy to decipher.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What items are considered liquid assets?

    A liquid asset is cash on hand or an asset that can be readily converted to cash. An asset that can readily be converted ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the formula for calculating EBITDA?

    When analyzing financial fitness, corporate accountants and investors alike closely examine a company's financial statements ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How can working capital affect a company's finances?

    Working capital, or total current assets minus total current liabilities, can affect a company's longer-term investment effectiveness ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are working capital costs?

    Working capital costs (WCC) refer to the costs of maintaining daily operations at an organization. These costs take into ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I read and analyze an income statement?

    The income statement, also known as the profit and loss (P&L) statement, is the financial statement that depicts the ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Who actually declares a dividend?

    It is a company's board of directors who actually declares a dividend. The declaration date is the first of four important ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  2. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  3. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  4. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  5. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
Trading Center