Quality of Earnings Definition

Define Quality of Earnings In Simple Terms

Quality of earnings refers to the percentage of earnings that comes from increased sales or lowered costs as opposed to one-time anomalies or income manipulation.

In general, earnings that are counted conservatively using GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) guidelines are considered more reliable than those arrived at through aggressive accounting that attempts to artificially inflate earnings to look more substantial than they actually are.

Quality of Earnings Meaning In Finance

Analysts looking to determine a company’s quality of earnings start with the income statement.

They look for discrepancies between the operational cash flow and stated net income.

For example, if a company reports an increase in income but a decrease in operational cash flow, it means the gain in income came from something other than improved performance and could be misleading to investors.

Likewise, analysts also look for how many nonrecurring sources of income and expenses a company reports.

Too many of either could indicate that the current stated net income is not representative of long-term performance and risk.

Quality of Earnings Definition FAQs

Quality of earnings refers to the percentage of earnings that comes from increased sales or lowered costs as opposed to one-time anomalies or income manipulation.
Analysts looking to determine a company’s quality of earnings start with the income statement. They look for discrepancies between the operational cash flow and stated net income.
Analysts look for discrepancies between the operational cash flow and stated net income. For example, if a company reports an increase in income but a decrease in operational cash flow, it means the gain in income came from something other than improved performance and could be misleading to investors.
In general, earnings that are counted conservatively using GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) guidelines are considered more reliable than those arrived at through aggressive accounting that attempts to artificially inflate earnings to look more substantial than they actually are.