Bridge over ocean
1 July 2004 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 60, Issue 4

Stock Options and the Lying Liars Who Don't Want to Expense Them

  1. Clifford S. Asness

The debate about whether stock options should be expensed at the time they are issued is really no debate at all. Although legitimate issues exist about how to carry out this endeavor (what model to use, what time period to expense them over, how and when to tax them), there is simply no strong argument against expensing—and very powerful arguments in its favor. This article reviews many of the arguments against expensing and the slam-dunk case for it. A great many attacks on expensing have been undertaken, but they systematically fall short of the mark, with some of them intellectually dishonest to a degree not normally observed in dialogue among serious people.

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