Mark to Market Controversy vs The Laws of Finance

Mark to Market Controversy vs The Laws of Finance

A large part of the mark to market controversy revolves around the fact that mark to market accounting is in direct violation of a fundamental law of finance.

Mark to Market Controversy vs The Laws of Finance

It has long been accepted that when financing assets you should match the term of the debt with the life of the underlying asset. In other words, long term assets should be financed with long term debt and short term assets should be financed with a short term liability.

Mark to Market

Mark to market accounting ignores the liquidity of the underlying asset. In fact, in many respects it converts the characteristics of long term assets into short term assets.
Assume that I am going to finance a house. The house should last at least forty years, consequently, I place a thirty year mortgage on it. Unless I sell the house during the thirty years then I should pay off the mortgage. No problem; everybody wins!
However, what if I were to place a short term debt on a long term asset? I would stand a very good chance of losing my investment in a down economy. The same situation holds true for a lender who makes a long term loan secured by a short term asset.
But a house is a long term asset you say! What is a long term asset? A long term asset is an asset whose expected life is greater than one year. In the case of a mortgage it is a loan whose maturity is greater than one year. The problem with mark to market accounting is that you must treat that asset as if it were sold every day. In effect converting the long term asset into the characteristics of a short term asset.
From the banks perspective you now have a long term asset (ie: mortgage) secured by a short term asset (ie: house). The total opposite of what we are taught in the laws of finance.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that mark to market accounting distorts the true economics of the transaction versus reflecting it. Mark to market accounting has to go before the banking community can recover.
Download your free External Analysis whitepaper that guides you through overcoming obstacles and preparing how your company is going to react to external factors.
mark to market controversy
[box]Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra
Access your Projections Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan to get ahead of your cash flow.
Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?
Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs[/box]
mark to market controversy
See also:
Accounting Income vs Economic Income
Deferrals Definition
Cost Control vs Cost Reduction


The Struggles of Private Company Accounting

Hiring the right accountant  When I meet a business owner operating at a successful $10 million in revenue, they often mention, “My CPA”… I immediately know that CEO/Entrepreneur is referring to their Tax CPA.  That is because one thing that all Entrepreneurs have in common is that they must file a tax return.  So, from

Read More »


Friend of the firm, Birgit Kamps, recently had Strategic CFO President, Dan Corredor, as a guest on her podcast, CEO Blindspots. CEO BLINDSPOTS HOST: Birgit Kamps. She was speaking five languages by the age of 10, and lived in five countries with her Dutch parents prior to becoming an American citizen. Birgit’s professional experience includes starting

Read More »

SHRM calls ICHRA the 401K for Group Health Benefits

Fed-up with group health insurance? ICHRA is the new way to offer great health benefits and avoid ACA penalties, SHRM calls it the 401K for group health benefits.  In 2020 the Department of Labor, HHS and IRS changed the rules for employer health benefits. They changed the Affordable Care Act mandates and penalties for every

Read More »


Financial Leadership Workshop

MARCH 28TH-31ST 2022



Strategic CFO™ Financial Leadership Workshop
The Art of the CFO®


September 12-15th 2022