Correcting Sight and Accounting at LCA-Vision Inc.
This case provides students with an opportunity to decide how to respond to an SEC inquiry and how to communicate adverse news. It does so in the context of accounting for separately priced extended warranties. LCA-Vision (LCA), a leading provider of LASIK vision-correction services, accounted for separately priced extended warranties incorrectly. Under US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), LCA was required to defer revenues associated with extended warranties. Instead, LCA recognized 93% of these revenues immediately, and deferred the 7% in accordance with the proportion of customers needing follow-up treatment. During the routine review process, the SEC posted a comment letter questioning this accounting treatment, which subsequently led to a restatement and shareholder litigation. Therefore, the case is an opportunity to examine how managers interact with regulatory bodies, communicate with investors, account for separately priced extended warranties, and correct erroneous filings via issuing a restatement. It is suitable for an audience of accounting students, or as an elective for general business students who have some exposure to accounting.