Accounting Fraud at WorldCom LDDS began operations in 1984 offering services to local retail and commercial customers in the southern states. It was initially a loss making enterprise, and thus hired Bernie J. (Bernie) Ebbers to run things. It took him less than a year to make the company profitable. By the end of 1993, LDDS was the fourth largest long distance carrier in the United States. After a shareholder vote in May 1995, the company officially came to be known as WorldCom. WorldCom culture was dominated by a strong chief executive officer (Bernie J. Bernie) Ebbers), who was given virtually unfettered discretion to commit vast amounts of shareholder resources and determine corporate direction without even the slightest scrutiny or meaningful deliberation or analysis by senior management or the board of directors and legal function was less influential and less welcome than in a healthy corporate environment. Top hierarchy granted compensation and bonus beyond the company guidelines to a select group of individuals based on their loyalty to them.
The company’s human resource virtually never objected to such special awards. Inaddition, there was no outlet for employees to express their concerns. The room four improvement and corrective measures was obsolete, the consequence of all these culture irregularities were the factor to the big disaster for the company. According to Ebber, in 1997,”our goal is to be the NO. 1 stock on Wall Street. ”Revenue growth was a key to increasing the company’s market value. Ebbers was obsessed with revenue growth and insisted on a 42% E/R ratio.
He encouraged managers to push for revenue, even if it meant that long term costs would outweigh the short term gains. As business operations declined post the 1st quarter in 2000, CFO Sullivan used accounting tactics to achieve targeted performance, accounting principles require companies to estimate expected payments from line costs and match them with revenues in the income statement,. Throughout 1999 and 2000, Sullivan told staff to release accruals which too high compared to the relative cash payments, without considered “Matching Principe”.
Over a 7 quarter period between 1999 and 2000, WorldCom released $3. 3 billion worth of accruals. Sullivan directed the making of accounting entries that had no basis in generally accepted accounting principles in order to create the false appearance that WorldCom had achieved those revenue targets. As an accountant, one should be familiar with the standards and rules of the position, accept personal responsibilities for the foreseeable consequence of actions, and realize the long-term effect of such behavior on the accounting industry and the citizens.
At all times, an accountant should conduct themselves with integrity, dignity, and respect for the position held in society. Whistleblowers frequently face reprisal, sometimes at the hands of the organization or group which they have accused, sometimes from related organizations, and sometimes under law. | As Terance Miethe explains in his book, Whistle blowing at Work, many people see the whistleblower as a “snitch,” or a “a lowlife who betrays a sacred trust largely for personal gain. ” In the flip side, whistleblowers are seen as “saviors” who ultimately helped create important changes in organizations.
This approach to whistleblowers as guardians of public accountability is often taken by consumer advocates. I would not consider blowing the whistle. I would rather distance myself after informing my immediate supervisor if any wrong practice or misconduct similar to the WorldCom Fraud is happening in my environment. Public confidence in the accounting profession has been changed by corporate scandals, which created a crisis that affected the reputation and credibility of accounting professionals.
The unethical decisions made by accountants can prove detrimental to the public who rely on information from the financial statements to make decisions. Users of financial statements rely on the information purported by an enterprise to exhibit certain qualitative characteristics that are both relevant and reliable. The impact of unethical decisions of both corporate leaders and accounting firms involving financial reporting by U. S. orporations has necessitated a new governmental regulation under SOX Act of 2002. President Bush signed this Act into law (Public Law 107-204) on July 30, 2002. The Act resulted in major changes to compliance practices of large U. S. and non-U. S. companies, whose securities are listed or traded on U. S. stock exchanges, requiring executives, boards of directors and external auditors to undertake measures to implement greater accountability, responsibility and transparency of financial reporting.
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