In the financial results section of its latest earnings release, the maker of electric cars provided its GAAP figures before presenting its non-GAAP results for its revenue, gross margin and net loss.
The differences are substantial. Using conventional accounting, Tesla lost $293 million. On the basis of its adjusted figures, it lost barely half as much, or $150 million. That was after stripping away the cost of stock-based compensation and non-cash interest expenses related to convertible notes and other borrowing.
In terms of earnings, however, Tesla’s adjusted income missed analysts’ estimates by even more than its GAAP result. Its adjusted loss of $1.06 per share missed analysts’ estimates by 77 percent. Its GAAP loss of $2.09 was 39 percent below Wall Street expectations.
SEC officials have called for companies to prominently display standard performance numbers under GAAP. Those figures are calculated the same way for companies across industries and can be an important tool for comparing investments.
Tesla, a perennial media fixation led by the technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, was already in the spotlight for its financial reporting after reports last month that the SEC was investigating whether it withheld material information about a fatal crash in Florida.