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The End of Accounting and the Path Forward for Investors and Managers by Feng Gu, Baruch Lev

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Chapter 1Corporate Reporting Then and Now: A Century of “Progress”

Spot the Differences

The year is 1903. Theodore Roosevelt is in his third year of presidency, the Ford Motor Co. produces its first car—the Model A (available, as Henry Ford said, in any color as long as it's black)—and the first World Series is played: Boston Americans (soon the Boston Red Sox) versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. No surprise, Boston wins with Cy Young pitching. Alas, there is no television to watch the game, nor is there air transportation, or shopping malls. Not even the Internet—no Facebook or Twitter. But steel is produced, and the largest steel producer in the world—United States Steel Corporation (US Steel)—publishes its first annual report to shareholders. The main components of this report, the balance sheet and the income (profit or loss) statement for the previous year, 1902, are recast below, alongside with—fast-forward 110 years—their 2012 counterparts. (The original 1902 US Steel statements are reproduced in the Appendix.)

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