Companies that report a pro forma income statement or balance sheet usually do so because, they say, the unusual events being excluded really were unusual, so the GAAP financial reports required by law are misleading to investors and potential investors. The crisis that happened this last quarter is not going to recur in future quarters, so the pro forma results can be used by investors to forecast what a "regular" quarter might portend in the future.
Critics note that pro forma numbers always look more profitable than GAAP numbers, and state that many companies intentionally use pro forma results in order to mislead investors into believing the company is in much better financial shape than it is; that there is no defined meaning or accounting standard for "pro forma" and that it is therefore impossible to make an "apples to apples" comparison between companies with pro forma results in the way that GAAP accounting allows; and that most "unusual events" reported as such are part of the ordinary course of business and should be reported as such. Most companies in most capitalist countries restructure themselves often, for example, so, it is argued, it is dishonest to claim that restructuring charges are unusual, one-time events that investors should not anticipate in the future.
There was a boom in the reporting of pro forma results starting in the late 1990s, with many dot-com companies using the technique to recast their losses as profits, or at least to show smaller losses than the GAAP accounting showed. The SEC requires publically traded companies in the United States to report GAAP-based financial results, and has cautioned companies that using pro forma results to obscure GAAP results would be considered fraud if used to mislead investors.