Non-performing assets are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they often trigger episodes of financial crises. On the other, once a crisis erupts, market participants must have confidence in banks’ reported asset quality metrics in order to regain faith in the financial system. This column shows that accounting standards and prudential frameworks to identify and measure non-performing assets vary widely across countries. This presents a challenge for comparing credit risk across banks and countries, for which the column proposes a range of policy options.