Growth Companies:

Is the Growth Real?


Accounting Training Module:
Growth Companies

We saw it during the Dot-Com Bubble and before the Great Financial Crisis.

Growth companies sold investors on hyper-growth prospects.

Will this time be different?

It may be different companies and sectors, but the accounting tricks are similar and the outcomes are already reminiscent.

We'll help you separate the companies with long-term growth staying power from the ones that are using tricks to fool investors.

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100% of attendees of this module have said they would recommend it to a colleague.


Growth Companies: Is the Growth Real?

In this training, attendees will develop a framework to evaluate growth companies, whether the companies are growing organically or by acquisition. 

We'll cover:

•  Accounting over incentives: How companies allocate promotions, refunds, and discounts affects the topline, which is especially important for stocks trading on revenue multiples.
•  Acquisition accounting: Investors need to pay attention to: 
   •  Deferred Revenue Waterfalls: As the song goes: Don't go chasing waterfalls. But what happens when an acquisition's waterfall distorts organic growth?
   •  Goodwill Impairment: Acquirors must annually test acquired goodwill for impairment. However, some assumptions might seem unrealistic.
   •  Net to Gross Adjustments: When a company converts an acquisition from net to gross revenue, it creates another pitfall for investors.
•  Capitalized Costs: Some companies capitalize costs to inflate reported EBITDA while others don't, making comparability complicated.
•  Know your KPIs: Companies will point to non-GAAP KPIs as a sign of progress. But without diving into the comparability and measurement methods, investors might get fooled.
•  Renewal rate/Churn: Growth companies love disclosing high retention rates. But what lurks behind the measure?
•  Merchant disclosures: This is yet another popular disclosure. We look at where merchant disclosures shine and where they don't.

Time commitment: 2 hours

Companies discussed

•   Airbnb Inc. (NASDAQ: ABNB)
•   Constellation Software Inc. (TSX: CSU)
•   Descartes Systems Group Inc. (TSX: DSG) (Nasdaq: DSGX)
•   Lightspeed Commerce Inc. (NYSE, TSX: LSPD)
•   Lyft, Inc. (Nasdaq: LYFT)
•   Nuvei Corp. (Nasdaq, TSX: NVEI)
•   OpenText (Nasdaq, TSX: OTEX)
•   Shopify Inc. (NYSE, TSX: SHOP)
•   Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER)

We will wrap up our presentation by looking at some signs of trouble at Lightspeed before the crash, both on an accounting/disclosure and business level.


All Veritas training courses meet mandatory professional development requirements for CPA and CFA designations.



Training subsidies may also be available to certain groups that supports and develops highly skilled personnel. Contact us to find out more. 


Why Take Veritas Training

When the story falls apart, it falls apart fast. Time and time again, we see that the warning signs were always there. And yet, somehow, the market responds with great surprise when the reality of underlying business challenges and deteriorating fundamentals eventually surface.

Over the past twenty years, we have trained regulators, portfolio managers, enforcement officers, business professionals, bank lending professionals, legal professionals, investment advisors, accountants, university students and individual investors.

The objective of our training is to help you make better business and investment decisions.

We use real-life examples and walk participants through actual financial statements to teach you how to proactively identify warning signs in the accounting and assess their potential impact on reported results and shareholders.

Participants benefit from our experience in identifying blow-ups often long before they occur.

Training Testimonials

100% of participants have told us they would take another Veritas course. 

Here is what they said:

"I love their passion and how they dig into the details." 

"Anthony and Dimitry are very engaging and they make accounting interesting!"

"Become an expert in finding out the bombs."

"A great tool for what to look out for."

"It helps study certain aspects of financial history that are sure to repeat themselves."

"I now feel more comfortable screening for, recognizing and calling out red flags."

"Good for key takeaways you can apply to your investment process without being too time-consuming."

"Great information to have when speaking to management."



Dimitry Khmelnitsky

Vice President
Head of Accounting & Special Situations

Dimitry is Head of the Accounting & Special Situations Group, focusing on organizations that pose a financial risk. He is also Head of Training, helping our clients and their analysts on analyzing complex accounting issues. Dimitry was the #3 ranked Special Situations analyst for Canadian stocks in 2020, as voted on by Canadian, U.S. and European investors, according to Brendan Wood International. He was #1 ranked in 2019 and #3 in 2018.


Anthony Scilipoti

FCPA, FCA, CPA (Illinois)
Veritas President & CEO

Anthony and his partners founded Veritas Investment Research in 2000. He is a Fellow Chartered Public Accountant, a Fellow Chartered Accountant, a Certified Public Accountant (Illinois) and a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He is a licenced portfolio manager. Anthony also serves as a member of the Ontario Securities Commission's Continuous Disclosure Advisory Committee since 2006. In 2019, Anthony was appointed to the Board of the Capital Markets Advisory Committee of the International Accounting Standards Board. He is a former member of the Canadian Accounting Standards Board, the CICA's Emerging Issues Committee, and was the Chair of CPA Canada's Users Advisory Committee.Anthony began teaching in 1997 as a part-time accounting instructor at York University's Schulich School of Business in the MBA and BBA Programs. He was nominated for the Teaching Excellence Award in 1997 and 2003. Several of Anthony's cases have been published in Cases in Financial Accounting: A Principles Based Approach, First Edition, 2006. 

More customized and group training options

We can tailor courses for groups and organizations. We can discuss specific sectors or companies of interest, and adapt our curriculum around your organization’s specific investment or business needs.

Training modules

1. Reading Financial Statements like a Forensic Accountant
2. Avoiding the Bombs
3. Secrets of Free Cash Flow
4. Acquisition Accounting: Explosive Growth or Ticking Time Bomb?
5. Understanding Stock Option Accounting
6. Understanding & Using Non-GAAP Metrics
7. New Accounting Standards: IFRS 9, 15 & 16 - An Investor’s Approach
8. Staying Vigilant: Lessons from COVID-19 Accounting Distortions and Past Blowups (Wirecard and Carillion)

Each module varies from 1.0 to 4.0 hours