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The following is a list of small-cap stocks with conservative accounting practices, according to the ratings developed by forensic accounting firm Audit Integrity.

Audit Integrity was founded in 2002 to develop risk management tools based on a statistical analysis of corporate integrity. The Accounting and Governance Risk (AGR) rating is a forensic measure of the transparency and reliability of a corporation’s financial reporting and governance practices. The closer the score is to 100, the more conservative the company's accounting practices, according to Audit Integrity.

All the companies in this list have high AGR scores above 80, i.e. more conservative and transparent accounting practices than most other firms. In addition, all of these stocks have market caps below $300M.

We last wrote about this screen on November 19, 2010. On that day, the screen produced 19 companies (excluding Nymagic, which has been acquired since then). Since then, 12 out of 19 companies mentioned in that article have outperformed the S&P 500 index (a success rate of 63.16%). The screen averaged a return of 9.17% vs. an index return of 5.98%. Click here to access a full breakdown of the screen's past performance.

Short float values sourced from Finviz, AGR ratings sourced from Audit Integrity.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in market cap for the top six names mentioned below. Note: The numbers on top of items represent the forward P/E ratio, if available.

The list has been sorted by the AGR score.

1. Active Power Inc. (NASDAQ:ACPW): Electric Utilities Industry. Market cap of $194.49M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 100. Short float at 0.52%, which implies a short ratio of 0.7 days. The stock has gained 101.65% over the last year.

2. Occam Networks Inc. (OCNW): Networking & Communication Devices Industry. Market cap of $181.13M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 100. Short float at 4.07%, which implies a short ratio of 5.12 days. The stock has gained 50.18% over the last year.

3. Southwest Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:OKSB): Regional Bank. Market cap of $253.95M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 99. Short float at 3%, which implies a short ratio of 5.99 days. The stock has gained 96.55% over the last year.

4. Financial Institutions Inc. (NASDAQ:FISI): Regional Bank. Market cap of $211.71M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 97. Short float at 2.65%, which implies a short ratio of 11.58 days. The stock has gained 78.36% over the last year.

5. Global Traffic Network Inc. (GNET-OLD): Information & Delivery Services Industry. Market cap of $184.33M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 97. Short float at 0.3%, which implies a short ratio of 0.72 days. The stock has gained 121.78% over the last year.

6. Westell Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:WSTL): Communication Equipment Industry. Market cap of $239.48M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 97. Short float at 0.53%, which implies a short ratio of 0.7 days. The stock has gained 162.96% over the last year.

7. Mercer Insurance Group Inc. (NASDAQ:MIGP): Property & Casualty Insurance Industry. Market cap of $181.4M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 96. Short float at 0.57%, which implies a short ratio of 1.22 days. The stock has gained 63.16% over the last year.

8. Richardson Electronics Ltd. (NASDAQ:RELL): Electronics Wholesale Industry. Market cap of $226.91M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 95. Short float at 3.31%, which implies a short ratio of 4.81 days. The stock has gained 70.77% over the last year.

9. Senomyx Inc. (NASDAQ:SNMX): Food Wholesale Industry. Market cap of $274.56M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 94. Short float at 4.31%, which implies a short ratio of 10.52 days. The stock has gained 68.1% over the last year.

10. Valence Technology Inc. (VLNC): Industrial Electrical Equipment Industry. Market cap of $232.82M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 94. Short float at 10.86%, which implies a short ratio of 6.35 days. The stock has gained 75% over the last year.

11. Fisher Communications Inc. (FSCI): Broadcasting Industry. Market cap of $214.56M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 92. Short float at 1.85%, which implies a short ratio of 8.41 days. The stock has gained 50.59% over the last year.

12. ePlus Inc. (NASDAQ:PLUS): Business Software & Services Industry. Market cap of $204.52M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 92. Short float at 2.46%, which implies a short ratio of 9.23 days. The stock has gained 50.61% over the last year.

13. Cost Plus Inc. (NASDAQ:CPWM): Department Stores Industry. Market cap of $223.55M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting practices, with an AGR score of 91. Short float at 8.55%, which implies a short ratio of 3.64 days. The stock has gained 932.65% over the last year.

14. First Merchants Corp. (NASDAQ:FRME): Regional Banks. Market cap of $234.22M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 91. Short float at 2.98%, which implies a short ratio of 11.39 days. The stock has gained 66.85% over the last year.

15. Quality Distribution Inc. (NASDAQ:QLTY): Trucking Industry. Market cap of $208.38M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 91. Short float at 2.03%, which implies a short ratio of 3.6 days. The stock has gained 136.83% over the last year.

16. Solta Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ:SLTM): Medical Appliances & Equipment Industry. Market cap of $181.09M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 90. Short float at 2.46%, which implies a short ratio of 7.73 days. The stock has gained 46.86% over the last year.

17. Allot Communications Ltd. (NASDAQ:ALLT): Technical & System Software Industry. Market cap of $286.08M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 89. Short float at 0.18%, which implies a short ratio of 0.09 days. The stock has gained 178.12% over the last year.

18. Susser Holdings Corporation (NYSE:SUSS): Grocery Stores Industry. Market cap of $231.76M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 89. Short float at 1.29%, which implies a short ratio of 3.55 days. The stock has gained 46.54% over the last year.

19. ArQule Inc. (NASDAQ:ARQL): Biotechnology Industry. Market cap of $280.49M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 88. Short float at 3.75%, which implies a short ratio of 7.85 days. The stock has gained 69.11% over the last year.

20. Citizens & Northern Corp. (NASDAQ:CZNC): Regional Bank. Market cap of $188.66M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 88. Short float at 3.44%, which implies a short ratio of 17.74 days. The stock has gained 70.96% over the last year.

21. QuickLogic Corp. (NASDAQ:QUIK): Semiconductor Industry. Market cap of $223.18M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 88. Short float at 5.24%, which implies a short ratio of 4.04 days. The stock has gained 189.2% over the last year.

22. Arctic Cat Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAT): Recreational Vehicles Industry. Market cap of $256.13M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 87. Short float at 5.4%, which implies a short ratio of 6.43 days. The stock has gained 62.99% over the last year.

23. Caliper Life Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:CALP): Scientific & Technical Instruments Industry. Market cap of $282.63M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 87. Short float at 3.19%, which implies a short ratio of 6.06 days. The stock has gained 112.08% over the last year.

24. Integrated Silicon Solution Inc. (NASDAQ:ISSI): Semiconductor Industry. Market cap of $231.M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Conservative accounting risk, with an AGR score of 87. Short float at 3.31%, which implies a short ratio of 1.74 days. The stock has gained 53.05% over the last year.

25. Evolution Petroleum Corp. (NYSEMKT:EPM): Independent Oil & Gas Industry. Market cap of $186.66M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Average accounting risk, with an AGR score of 85. Short float at 2.46%, which implies a short ratio of 6.38 days. The stock has gained 50.44% over the last year.

26. Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:BAGL): Restaurants Industry. Market cap of $242.57M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Average accounting risk, with an AGR score of 84. Short float at 1.11%, which implies a short ratio of 5.5 days. The stock has gained 49.29% over the last year.

27. Furmanite Corporation (NYSE:FRM): Technical Services Industry. Market cap of $262.76M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Average accounting risk, with an AGR score of 84. Short float at 2.78%, which implies a short ratio of 10.83 days. The stock has gained 92.72% over the last year.

28. Lionbridge Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:LIOX): Internet Software & Services Industry. Market cap of $218.11M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Average accounting risk, with an AGR score of 82. Short float at 3.24%, which implies a short ratio of 4.38 days. The stock has gained 49.79% over the last year.

29. Cardiovascular Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSII): Medical Appliances & Equipment Industry. Market cap of $208.36M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Average accounting risk, with an AGR score of 81. Short float at 0.65%, which implies a short ratio of 1 days. The stock has gained 206.7% over the last year.

30. Astronics Corp. (NASDAQ:ATRO): Aerospace/Defense Products & Services Industry. Market cap of $250.53M. According to Audit Integrity, the company has Average accounting risk, with an AGR score of 80. Short float at 4.05%, which implies a short ratio of 13.82 days. The stock has gained 161.42% over the last year.

Source: 30 Small Cap Stocks With Conservative Accounting Practices