There's discussion about dealers using a standard financial statement versus using a different financial statement for each manufacturer.

There's also talk that some dealer groups will be adopting one manufacturer financial statement for all its dealers.

Below are of my comments on the issue, based on being on the business for more than 25 years, writing and teaching about how to read dealer financial statements, writing and teaching how to analyze a dealer's financial statements, and working both for a dealer and as the outside CPA for a large number of new vehicle dealers and owning interests in dealerships.

There are basically two financial statement formats used by all manufactures: the General Motors (GM) format and the Ford (FD) format. The import dealer financial statement format is similar to the GM format.

The Chrysler dealer financial statement format is similar to the FD format. Based in these two formats, the following comments are on differences between the two versions of manufacturers' financial statements.

I've decided that the overall preferred financial statement is the one for Ford dealerships.

Here's why:

I strongly believe the Ford financial statement is much easier to read and is far superior from an analysis perspective.

Those individuals who prefer the GM financial statement over Ford's do so because they are used to, and, therefore, more comfortable with the GM statement.

The GM financial statement lacks a large amount of information as compared to the Ford statement.

Individuals who are equally familiar with the two statements and chart of account will always chose the Ford statement over GM's.

CPA Carl Woodward, specializing in auto retailing accounting, is with Woodward & Associates, Bloomington, IL.