DEFINITION of 'Quasi-Reorganization'

A relatively obscure provision under U.S. GAAP which provides that under certain circumstances, a firm may eliminate a deficit in its retained earnings account by restating assets, liabilities and equity in a manner similar to a bankruptcy. A firm's stockholders must agree to allow the accounting change, which essentially resets the firm's books as though a new company had incurred the assets and liabilities of the old firm.

BREAKING DOWN 'Quasi-Reorganization'

Although the idea of quasi-reorganization has seen some renewed interest, the provision is still rarely applied in practice. The idea of quasi-reorganization holds appeal for some as the idea of a "fresh start" is more exciting to investors than slowly digging out from a large deficit of retained earnings. Some also argue that quasi-reorganization could be an effective method of more accurately resetting the accounting balances of a firm when a serious drop in asset values is not adequately reflected. Quasi-reorganization remains highly controversial, however, since it is not truly a change of economic reality, but rather a method to make books appear more favorable.