“No problem can be solved until it is reduced to some simple form.  The changing of a vague difficulty into a specific, concrete form is a very essential element in thinking.”

 ― J.P. Morgan  

By David Johnson | @TurnaroundDavid

  • The Accounting Rules That Bankrupt Cities (The Atlantic): The roots of the distress that local governments now find themselves in are varied, but one in particular warrants more attention that it has received to date: accounting.  In the U.S., cash basis accounting, which private companies have long been barred from using, is skewing the financial picture of municipalities large and small, and in many cases obscuring the depth of the challenges facing cities as they seek to address both annual budget shortfalls and long-term issues such as retiree pension and healthcare liabilities.
  • Junk-Bond Losses Pile Up as Traders Flee Any Whiff of Bad News (Bloomberg): As the debt markets switch to a “risk off” orientation, the prices of high yield bonds have plummeted, imposing punishing losses on junk bond traders.   
  • Historic Abyssinian Development Corporation Struggles with Financial Mess (Nonprofit Quarterly): A storied history, a social mission that resonates to the present day, a charismatic leader, and an enviable real estate portfolio have not been sufficient to shield Abyssinian Development Corporation from the weight of its strategic missteps in recent years.  Those in the nonprofit community are hopeful that the storied organization’s many advantages will be more than enough to allow time for a successful turnaround.
  • Bulging stockpiles are holding back the US economy (Quartz): Growing inventories relative to sales have many market watchers concerned that the U.S. economy could be in for a slowdown, as companies look to defer new orders as they work off existing inventory.      
  • Why J. Crew Is Unraveling (Bloomberg): The planned victory lap of J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler is not going as planned.  With sales down and its debt having dropped by 49 percent so far this year, J. Crew is struggling to regain its footing, and plans for a triumphant IPO now appear to have been shelved.