1Dayarayan Auditing & Financial Services Firm Fraud & CorruptionByDr. Ali AmaniMember of Supreme Court of Iranian Association of Certified Public Accountants (IACPA)IICA,IMA,AAA,CFE,IIA,BAA,EAA,CAAADr. Gholamhossein DavaniMember of High council of Iranian Association of Certifeid Public Accountants (IACPA )Dayarayan Auditing & Financial Services Firm
2Forgive me for being over impertinent, Taghi Your honor,Just now sitting at the patio with your honorable sibling and having a bite of board with her honor, I was informed that your honor has prattled and reappointed price Movasegholdoleh, governor of Qom, formerly deposed due to bribery and buying off.I had him sent to Tehran under guard, so that your Majesty will understand that one can not rule a country on his aunt’ prescriptions.Forgive me for being over impertinent,Taghi“Amir Kabir’s (Current Pre minister) letter to King Naseraldin Shah”
3If men were angels, no government would be necessary If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 51, 1788
4Just as one can not let go of the taste of honey or poison on the tip of his tongue, a governmental agent dealing with governmental budget, can not avoid tasting at least a little of the King’s wealth.“Kaochila ertashsetra,”Indian edifications, first decade Annone Domini
5Fraud:Any illegal act characterized by deceit, concealment, or violations of trust to obtain money, property, services, avoid payment; or secure personal or business advantage (IIA)
6Definition of FraudA generic term, embracing all multifarious means which human ingenuity can devise, and which are resorted to by one individual to get advantage over another by false suggestions or by suppression of truth, and includes all surprise, trick, cunning, dissembling, and any unfair way by which another is cheated.“Johnson v. McDonald, 39 P2d 150”
7In the broadest sense, a fraud is a deception made for personal gain, although it has a more specific legal meaning, the exact details varying between jurisdictions. Many hoaxes are fraudulent, although those not made for personal gain are not best described in this way. Not all frauds are hoaxes - electoral fraud, for example. Fraud permeates many areas of life, including art, archaeology and science. In the broad legal sense a fraud is any crime or civil wrong for gain that utilises some deception practiced on the victim as its principal method.
8In criminal law, fraud is the crime or offense of deliberately deceiving another in order to damage them — usually, to obtain property or services from him or her unjustly. Fraud can be accomplished through the aid of forged objects. In the criminal law of common law jurisdictions it may be called "theft by deception," "larceny by trick," "larceny by fraud and deception" or something similar. Fraud can be committed through many methods, including mail, wire, phone, and the internet (see computer crime and internet fraud.)
9Acts which may constitute criminal fraud include: bait and switchconfidence tricks such as the fraud, Spanish Prisoner, and the shell gamefalse advertisingidentity theftfalse billingforgery of documents or signaturestaking money which is under your control, but not yours (embezzlement)health fraud, selling of products of spurious use, such as quack medicinescreation of false companies or "long firms"false insurance claimsbankruptcy fraud, is a US federal crime that can lead to criminal prosecution under the charge of theft of the goods or servicesinvestment frauds, such as Ponzi schemessecurities frauds such as pump and dump
10Fraud means:Inducing a course of action by deceit or other dishonest conductInvolves acts or omissions or the making of false statementsCan be orally or in writingObject – to obtain a benefit or evade a liability
11Fraud:The term fraud may be defined as intentional misrepresentation of financial information by one or more individuals among management, employees or third parties. Fraud may involve: Falsification or alteration of accounting records or other documents Misappropriation of assets or theft; Suppression or omission of the effects of transactions from records or documents. Recording of transactions without substances. Intentional misapplication of accounting policies or Willful misrepresentations of transactions or of the entity's state of affairs.
12Nature of the Frauds (Source:Coso report) Cumulative amounts of frauds were relatively large in light of the relatively small sizes of the companies involved. The average financial statement misstatement or misappropriation of assets was $25 million and the median was $4.1 million. While the average company had assets totaling $533 million, the median company had total assets of only $16 million.Most frauds were not isolated to a single fiscal period. Most frauds overlapped at least two fiscal periods, frequently involving both quarterly and annual financial statements. The average fraud period extended over 23.7 months, with the median fraud period extending 21 months. Only 14 percent of the sample companies engaged in a fraud involving fewer than 12 months.Typical financial statement fraud techniques involved the overstatement of revenues and assets. Over half the frauds involved overstating revenues by recording revenues prematurely or fictitiously. Many of those revenue frauds only affected transactions recorded right at period end (i.e., quarter end or year end). About half the frauds also involved overstating assets by understating allowances for receivables, overstating the value of inventory, property, plant and equipment and other tangible assets, and recording assets that did not exist.
13Fraud and abuse covers various issues including: Conflicts of interests e.g. a corrupt relationship can involve an employee setting up a company, the company supplies goods and services to the organization, the employee does not tell the organization about itBreach of trust e.g. leaking of confidential or sensitive informationEmployee malpractice e.g. excessive use of the telephone for private calls, abuseCriminal offence
14corruption noun 1 [U] illegal, immoral or dishonest behavior, especially by people in positions of powercorrupt verb [T] to make someone or something become dishonest or immoral:n.) The act of changing, or of being changed, for the worse; departure from what is pure, simple, or correct; as, a corruption of style; corruption in language.(n.) The act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle; the state of being corrupted or debased; loss of purity or integrity; depravity; wickedness; impurity; bribery.(n.) The product of corruption; putrid matter.(n.) The act of corrupting or making putrid, or state of being corrupt or putrid; decomposition or disorganization, in the process of putrefaction; putrefaction; deterioration.
15The following comments by the participants support this finding: corruption as ‘doing something beyond the existing rules regulation intending personal or group interest or doing something illegally for personal or group interest. Respondents think that terrorism, theft, snatching, robbery, bribing are the different forms of corruption. Vote rigging, use of muscles power in election, trafficking of children and women, rape, cheating, abduction- these are the another form of corruption.Respondents also comment that corruption can be economic, social as well as political.The following comments by the participants support this finding:doing something illegally is corruptiondoing something violating existing set of rules regulations and law is corruptiondoing something beyond principles is corruptiondoing something for the personal interest violating the prevailing system and social values is corruptionvote rigging is a corruptiondispute of land is corruption(terrorism), bribing, theft is corruptionbribing, nepotism in the case of employment is corruptionunconsciousness is one sort of corruptiondrug abuse, drug smuggling is a corruptionfor the sack of own interest, all the economical, social injustice is corruptionnegligence of duty is corruptionmisuse of political power is corruption
16Corruption is defined in section 83 of the Criminal Code (WA) and is taken to mean any public officer who, without lawful authority or a reasonable excuse:acts upon any knowledge or information obtained by reason of his or her office or employment;acts in any matter, in the performance or discharge of the functions of his or her office or employment, in relation to which he or she has, directly or indirectly, any pecuniary interest; oracts corruptly in the performance or discharge of the functions of his or her office; oremployment, so as to gain a benefit, whether pecuniary or otherwise, for himself or herself or any person, or so as to cause a detriment, whether pecuniary or otherwise, to any person, is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for 3 years.
17Money Laundering:Money laundering is the process by which criminals attempt to conceal the true origin and ownership of their criminal activities. If undertaken successfully, it also allows them to maintain control over those proceeds and ultimately to provide a legitimate cover for their source of funds. Their dirty funds appear clean. It is generally linked with money required to finance cross border drug trafficking, arms deal or tax evasion or other similar crimes.
18THEORIES OF FRAUD: A number of theoretical models have been constructed in the past in an attempt to explain why people commit fraud. Some of the key characteristics of recent models include the following:A perceived opportunity such as the absence of or circumvention of controls that enable fraud to be prevented or detected. An offender with a motivation to steal money, whether through cupidity, living beyond one's means, the existence of debts some times associated with drug or gambling addiction, presence of a financial crisis or various work related pressures. The presence of a rationalization for acting illegally, such as belief that the victim can afford the loss, that the funds stolen will be repaid or that the money will be used for a good purpose by the offender; and finally. The absence of a capable guardian, whether through proper business administration, lack of fraud prevention resources or the absence of an effective police service or regulatory authority.
19History of FraudConsidering the enormous impact, relatively little research has been done on the subject of occupational fraud and abuse. Much of the current literature is based on the early works of Edwin H. Sutherland ( ), a criminologist at Indiana University. Sutherland coined the term “Wite-Collar” crime in 1939.Sutherland believed that crime was a learned activity at a time when most experts believed that crime was genetically based.
20WHITE COLLAR CRIMEIn 1995, Albanese explained white-collar crime as: “Planned or organized illegal acts of deception or fraud, usually accomplished during the course of legitimate occupational activity, committed by an individual or corporate entity.” It is clear from these two definitions that a certain form of behavior is required for white-collar offences, which distinguishes it from conventional crimes like robbery and assault. For practical reasons, it is proposed that the definition of white-collar crime be as follows: “White-collar crime is the unlawful, intentional commitment of deceit, deception, concealment, manipulation, breach of trust, subterfuge or any other similar trickery, by an individual, syndicate or organization, normally after meticulous planning, with out the use of physical violence which causes actual economic prejudice or potential economic prejudice to another.”
21White-collar crime is distinguished from other conventional crimes like robbery by way of the following general characteristics:Unlike robbery which involves the use of force, white-collar offences are characterized by careful planning and deception, usually without the use of violence;Some form of premeditation and fraudulent activity is typical;There is usually an element of concealed misappropriation or deception;The white-collar offence is often of a complicated nature which makes it difficult to prosecute; the crime normally has low visibility in order to obscure its existence;There is usually a diffusion of responsibility for the crime;Diffusion of victimization is also a characteristic of theses types of crimesThere does not seem to be a true “victim” when a person defrauds the company he works for;Although the element of fraud is usually found in most white-collar schemes, these offences can go much further including corruption, forgery, theft and complicated statutory offences like money laundering of which deceit is usually an element; − White-collar offences are often demarcated as “rational crimes”;A white-collar criminal’s occupation or working conditions often provides opportunities that may be exploited.
22Some reasons why fraud happens include: failure to look for itinternal audit cover and fraud risk management skills not always adequatepoor data integrity and securityinappropriate authority levelsrecruitment of dishonest employeesabuse of separation of duties
24Types of Fraud Fraudulent financial reporting Misappropriation of assets
25TYPES OF FRAUDFrauds can be categorized by the type of victim involved. The most common groups of victims encountered by investigators include:InvestorsCreditorsBusinessesBanks or other financial institutionsCentral or local governmentFraud by manipulating financial markets
26Stock FraudA crime in which securities investing or trading laws have been violated. Stock fraud encompasses many things including stocks, bonds, commodities and other investments. Stock fraud is illegal and can be described as deceptive practices in the stock and commodity markets. Stock fraud occurs when investors are enticed to buy securities based upon false statements or records. Stock fraud includes providing false information on a companies financial statement, profit and loss statements, SEC filings, lying to an auditor, stock manipulation schemes, insider trading, and embezzlement. Stock fraud is otherwise known as securities fraud.
28Brief History of Financial Fraud 1907 to 1919 Charles Ponzi, inventor of the pyramid or "Ponzi" scheme, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for larceny and fraud. He had raised $15 million before he was caught.
291929 International Power's stock price dropped 78% in one day when it was revealed that they "cooked the books". The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was created in response to the rampant fraud of the go-go 1920's which were exposed in the 1929 stock market crash.
301932 Ivar Kreuger was caught switching assets and liabilities and making up assets. He raised $500 million before he was caught. In March 1932 he shot himself in Paris.
311937 Phillip Musica (aka Frank Donald Coster) was caught with $10 million of inventory and $9 million of accounts receivable that didn't exist.
321963 Anthony (Tino) De Angelis of Allied Crude Vegetable Oil Refining Co. used bottles of water, not oil, as collateral for $175 million in loans Equity Funding Corporation's net worth of $143.4 million was discovered to be negative $42.1 million. The company had been recording fictitious income since1965. Stanley Goldblum and 22 other people were sentenced for fraud Wedtech (Welbilt Electronic Die Co) was caught using the percentage of completion method to record revenue that didn't exist, bribing government officials, lying on government proposals and contracts, and falsifying invoices. The scandal involved Congress and the Reagan administration. Auditors sued for $105 million in damages.
331987 Lincoln Savings and Loan costs taxpayers $2 1987 Lincoln Savings and Loan costs taxpayers $2.5 billion for fraud schemes that involved members of Congress. Charles Keating recorded profits on junk bonds and real estate loans that they knew were worthless, and he his family received $34 million in salary and sales of American Continental Corporation stock before the scheme crashed. Savings and Loan scandals cost taxpayers an estimated $500 billion during the 1980's MiniScribe Corporation, a disk drive manufacturer, fooled their auditors for 2 years by filling their inventory boxes with bricks. The auditing company, Coopers & Lybrand, had to pay $100 million in an out-of-court settlement.
341991 The Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI), known today as "The Bank of Crooks and Criminals International", was used to launder money by drug smugglers and embezzling dictators throughout the world. When the bank was finally shut down, in July 1991, it was found to have stolen, lost, or swindled $20 billion Maxwell Communications president Robert Maxwell resorted to looting when his publishing empire started to collapse, taking $1.4 billion including $800 million from the employee pension fund alone. He was found dead on November 5, When Cendant was created from the 1997 merger of HFS and CUC, HFS management discovered that CUC (Comp-U-Card) had been cooking the books, by reporting false membership sales, since at least They were charged with fraud on April 16, The company had to pay billions to defrauded investors, and the auditor, Ernst & Whinny, paid $335 million in an out-of-court settlement Micro Strategy had their share price collapse from $333 to $86 when they announced their financial reports would be restated to show huge losses. Investors had pushed the price up based on the hype from one of the tech industry's most flamboyant CEO's, Michael Saylor, along with bogus financial statements. The share price was $3 one year later Enron, WorldCom.
35BETTER AUDITS, LESS FRAUD As financial and economic pressures tighten for corporate executives, it is more important than ever for auditors to develop sound fraud-detection audit techniques. The audit deficiencies alleged by the SEC between 1987 and 1997 are, in our view, issues the profession and individual firms can effectively address. The recommendations included in this article may help firms reduce the chance of undetected material financial statement fraud as they strive to continually improve fraud risk assessment tools. The audit deficiencies the SEC identified also have important implications for standard setters as they seek to strengthen professional standards related to the auditor’s fraud detection responsibilities.
36The result was the following new set of skills needed by accountants Better technology skillsBetter analytical skills—to understand complex transactions (derivatives, reserves, leverage, etc.)Better communication skills – to participate in decision-making teamsBetter interviewing skillsBetter skills working in teamsA better global understandingBetter understanding of fraudWhat gave accountants an advantage in the past is no longer nearly as valuable!
37Competencies/Skills Learned Risk analysisControls and control environmentBetter auditing skillsKnowledge of the legal systemAvailability of information (public, private, databases, etc.)Problem-solving abilityToday’s winners are those who have access to the best information a fraud course teaches how to access information
38For better Audits educators must: Need to teach Ethics moreNeed to teach students about fraud—offer a “fraud” courseNeed to teach students how to thinkWe have taught them how to copy, not thinkWe have asked them to memorize, not thinkWe have done what is easiest for us and easiest for our students
39First and foremost is the urgent need for change: External and internal auditors must train thoroughly in fraud-detection procedures and attitudes.The university education of the next generation of auditors should reflect the new emphasis on fraud deterrence, detection, and investigation.The formal standards governing audit processes and objectives should evolve without delay to an updated and more rigorous approach to fraud detection.Executives and directors must become fully aware of the threat of fraud and do all they can to institute measures to deter it, ranging from robustly enforced codes of ethics to internal controls that make fraud less likely and easier to detect.
40The six key drivers of audit quality (identified in Audit Quality) are: Leadership, including tone at the top and audit firm strategy;People of competence, quality and integrity;Client Relationships, including effective management of client portfolios and working with individual clients;Working Practices and quality control procedures;Internal Monitoring by audit firms of leadership, people, client relationships and working practices; andExternal Monitoring under public oversight to encourage and assist firms to improve audit quality.
43Role of Internal & External auditors in fraud detection Internal Auditors’ Assessment of Fraud Implications for External AuditorsWarning Signs: Implications for External AuditorsExternal Auditors Can Partner with Internal AuditorsThe AICPA’s have issued SAS 99, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit, directs external auditors to ask a company’s internal audit personnel about the risk of fraud and any knowledge of actual or suspected fraud. The impetus for this directive comes from the important role internal auditors play in corporate governance. As recognized by the Treadway Commission Report in 1987, internal auditors are expected to assume an active role in preventing and detecting fraudulent financial reporting.
44Fraud ConditionsAccording to SAS 99, three fundamental conditions are generally present when fraudulent financial reporting occurs:1) incentive or pressure to perpetrate fraud,2) an opportunity to carry out the fraud,3) attitude or rationalization to justify the fraudulent action. Within each of the three fundamental conditions, there are a number of specific warning signs of fraud, including some factors directed toward corporate governance.
45Auditor’s Professional responsibility Certified auditors are required by Statement on Auditing Standards no. 99, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit, to assess the risk that financials are materially misstated.The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the revised International Standard on Auditing 240 The Auditor’s Responsibility to Consider Fraud in an Audit of Financial Statements proposed by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB).The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) issued comprehensive guidance notes for Chartered Accountants following the Money Laundering Regulations enactment in Regarding conventional frauds, ICAEW issued SAS on fraud and error and fixed up the responsibility of auditors
46In February 1997, the AICPA auditing standards board (ASB) will issue Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) no. 82, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit (product no ). The new standard articulates the independent auditor’s responsibility to plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance as to whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether caused by error or fraud, and provides expanded operational guidance in fulfilling that responsibility.Specifically, SAS no. 82Describes two types of fraud fraudulent financial reporting and misappropriation of assets.Requires the auditor to specifically assess the risk of material misstatement due to fraud. It provides categories of risk factors that should be considered and examples that might indicate the presence of fraud.Provides guidance on how the auditor responds to the results of the assessment and provides guidance on how this should be done and on how to evaluate test results.Requires the auditor to document identified risk factors and any related response.
47Three of these ISAs (UK and Ireland), which concern the areas of audit risk and fraud, include a number of requirements that are additional to those set out in the SASs theory replace. This Bulletin provided supplementary guidance for auditors of charities on these additional requirements, by replacing the sections of Practice Note (PN) 11 “The Audit of Charities in the United Kingdom (Revised)” Which cover:SAS 210: ‘Knowledge of the business’,SAS 300: ‘Accounting and internal control systems and audit risk assessments’; andSAS 110: ‘Fraud and error’.
48Its management’s responsibility: Iranian Auditor’s Responsibility to Consider Fraud & Error in an audit of Financial statements Accordance with Iran audit standards sec.24SAS Says:Its management’s responsibility:Setting the proper toneCreating and maintaining a culture of honesty and ethicsEstablishing appropriate controls
49Auditor's Responsibility under Generally Accepted Auditing Standards It is important for audit committees to understand what an audit is and what it is not. Usually, audit committees are most concerned about the system of internal control and that the financial statements are free of material misstatement. The auditor should make sure the audit committee understands the level of responsibility that the auditor assumes for the system of internal control and the financial statements under generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS). It is also important that the auditor make sure that the audit committee understands that an audit is designed to obtain reasonable rather than absolute assurance about the financial statements.
50The following statistics about fraud and white-collar crime are from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (US) report: Fraud and abuse costs US organizations more than $400 billion annually. The average organization loses more than $9 per day per employee to fraud and abuse. The average organizations lose about 6% of its total annual revenue to fraud and abuse committed by its own employees. The median loss caused by mails is about $185000; by females about $48000 and thus men commit nearly 75% of the offenses. Losses caused by managers are four times those caused by employees. Median losses caused by executives are 16 times those of their employees The highest median losses occur in the real estate financing sector. Occupational fraud and abuses fall into these main categories; asset misappropriation, fraudulent statements and bribery and corruption.
51Fraud effect in UKIt is estimated that fraud cost £13 billion in 2000 or £230 for every man, woman and child in Britain (figures exclusive of money laundering) (City of London Police, 2002; National Economic Research Associates for the Home office, 2000)False motor and household claims cost the insurance industry and policy holders £20 million per week (Association of British Insurers, April 2003)51% of British businesses have been the victims of fraud in the last two years (PricewaterhouseCoopers, July 2003)Benefit fraud costs £2 billion a year, £80 for every family in the country (Department of Work and Pensions, June 2003)Plastic card fraud alone cost £424.6 million in 2002 – 30% up on the year before (Association for Payment Clearing Services, April 2003)Card-not-present fraud is the largest type of card fraud in the UK. In 2003 losses were £116.4 million (Association for Payment Clearing Services, April 2004)Fraud wrecks ordinary lives by destroying jobs, savings and pensions. 16 investors took their own lives in the aftermath of the Barlow Clowes fraud (The Serious Fraud Office, 2002)
52Auditors under fireAndrew Ratcliffe Chairman of the ICAEW Audit and Assurance Faculty:“Auditors are not, and indeed should not be, held responsible for detecting all fraud, but we must play our part to improve the overall detection rate to help maintain public trust in published accounts following the recent spate of US accounting scandals.We are also concerned about companies that adopt aggressive accounting practices which might stop short of being clearly fraudulent. Faced with this risk, auditors will need to more actively search out aggressive accounting and help ensure that the right judgments are applied."
53Introduction to Fraud Detection There are more advanced techniques on this site, but this is the place to start to get some idea what techniques you can use for spotting funny numbers.Examine cash flow.Watch out for "capitalizing" of assets.Watch for "channel stuffing.Beware "Pro Forma.Look for routine write-offs.Understand the business.
54Computer hacking of information or property Corruption and bribery Frauds can also be categorized by the technique or activity used by the fraudster. These include:Advance fee fraudsBogus invoicesComputer hacking of information or propertyCorruption and briberyCounterfeiting, forgery, or copyright abuseCredit Card fraudFalse Accounting - manipulation of accounts and accounting recordsFraudulent bankruptcy - exploitation of cross-border corporate structuresInsurance fraudInternet online scams - auctions, credit card purchases, investment scamsInvestment fraudLong Firm fraudMisappropriation of assetsMoney launderingMortgage FraudPayroll fraudPrincipal agents - failure of systems to restrict key individualsPyramid schemesUnsolicited letter frauds.
55Fraud Detection: Basic Techniques Watch out for two or more businesses controlled by the same person.Revenue and expenses can be arbitrarily shifted between the two businesses. For example, if a person controls a retail business and a real estate business, he can shift revenue from the real estate business when the retail business has a bad year. Public corporations frequently share board members and executives with other corporations.
56Check their income tax expense and footnotes Check their income tax expense and footnotes. Fraudulent corporations have an incentive to make their profit number as big as possible for their annual and quarterly reports, but they have an incentive to make that number as small as possible for the IRS, because they have to pay income tax on it! So if the corporation is reporting large profits but is paying next to nothing on income tax, they might be lying either to you, or to the IRS. NOTE: Unfortunately, this doesn't prove fraud, as the tax code is so ridden with loopholes that multi-billion-dollar corporations like General Electric routinely get away with paying no income tax at all!
57Beware discontinuities that become “continuities” An extraordinary loss or gain should not become a regular feature of a business's income statement. If a business is having major lawsuits, abandoning product lines, or undergoing major restructuring, that's a sign that management is either up to something (fraud), or don't know what they are doing (poor management).
58Beware discontinuities that become opportunities to dump too many write-downs and losses. This is the "big bath" theory. The company may run losses for years, without reporting them, and then take a "big bath" and write down the losses all at once. If the company has done this is the past, they might do it again, and as an investor you don't want to get caught in the bath.
59Watch for high debtA company with too high debt is walking on the edge of a cliff. Any major problem, and they get pushed over. Note: Even an acid-test ratio .1-to-1 may not be enough if you're dealing with a type of business that depends heavily on short-term debt.
60Pay attention to the accounting methods Pay attention to the accounting methods. What method are they using to determineinventory,cost of goods sold, anddepreciation of assets.Are they using "mark-to-market" for accounting their sales revenue? (Enron was.) Companies do not have to report what their income would have looked like if they were using different accounting rules.
61Beware "free cash flow"Free cash flow has no officially defined meaning determined by any authoritative accounting rule-making body.
62Look for special gains and losses on the statement of stockholders' equity. The general format of the statement of stockholders' equity is to use a column for each class of stock (common stock, preferred stock, treasury stock, and so on), a column for retained earnings, and any other components of stockholders' equity. Special gains and losses should be reported on the income statement, underneath the net income line. They should not be here, on the statement of stockholders' equity.
63Look for "window dressing" on the balance sheet. This is where numbers are nudged from one account to another, without changing the total amount. For example, money could be moved from accounts receivable to cash, to make the cash balance look better.
64Watch out for profit smoothing A company that has large changes in revenue will usually use profit smoothing. This involves moving current income to the future. For example, suppose the company is a video game company, and they get massive revenue "spikes" when a game is released, but relatively low sales the rest of the time. The company will spread the money from the "spikes" out over the year, so that their revenue shows a steady increase from year to year. Using profit smoothing is legal, but can be abused.
65Look for sales skimming. This is when the owners pocket sales money without reporting it. One way to spot this is to look at the gross profit and operating profit ratios.
66Look for unnecessary dilution of stock. If a company is creating shares of stock for sale, but doesn't actually need the money, then they could be doing something sneaky. Watch out for managers that give themselves stock options (and create new shares in the process) and then have the company buy back the company stock off the market. By doing this, they increase their own share of ownership in the company, at the expense of everybody else (including you).
67Beware of LLC'sLimited Liability Corporations, or LLC's, can have extremely complicated ownership structures.
68Examine how indirect costs are allocated Examine how indirect costs are allocated. Indirect costs are costs that cannot be obviously attributed to specific products, organizational units, or activities. A book publisher's phone bill is a cost of doing business, but it can't be attributed to a particular book, or a particular step in the process of producing books. Allocation of indirect costs is ultimately arbitrary. Because it is arbitrary, it can be abused. For example, misclassification of manufacturing costs as operational costs will make the cost of producing a product look too low.
69Watch out for products sold "on approval" or with right of return Watch out for products sold "on approval" or with right of return. Revenues should only be booked after the sale is complete and the goods can no longer be returned.
70Examine how indirect costs are allocated Examine how indirect costs are allocated. Indirect costs are costs that cannot be obviously attributed to specific products, organizational units, or activities. A book publisher's phone bill is a cost of doing business, but it can't be attributed to a particular book, or a particular step in the process of producing books. Allocation of indirect costs is ultimately arbitrary. Because it is arbitrary, it can be abused. For example, misclassification of manufacturing costs as operational costs will make the cost of producing a product look too low.
71Watch out for products sold "on approval" or with right of return Watch out for products sold "on approval" or with right of return. Revenues should only be booked after the sale is complete and the goods can no longer be returned.
72Watch out for LIFO inventory. LIFO is usually the wrong accounting method for inventory, because:most businesses don't raise prices as soon as replacement costs increase, or base their sales price on the most recent purchase costs,the inventory cost value can get seriously out of date, especially if the business sells products that have long lives (an equipment manufacturer, for example),LIFO figures can be more easily manipulated by unscrupulous management.
73Make sure the company is using "Lower of Cost or Market" (LCM) to calculate their inventory. Lower of Cost or Market gives a more conservative inventory value. Some managers cheat and use LCM to report an unusually low inventory for cheating on income tax.
74Did the company change depreciation rules Did the company change depreciation rules? An unexplained change from accelerated depreciation to straight-line depreciation, or to mark-to-market depreciation should set off alarms. Companies can make funny money by playing with depreciation rules, either writing off too little (and boosting their balance sheet) or too much. If they write off too much, it makes their current financial results look bad, but gives them hidden cash reserves. They can use these reserves to boost future sales or offset future expenses.
75Compare profit ratios with past statements. Calculate the gross margin (profit as a percentage of sales) and see if it changes from quarter to quarter. Normally it will not change suddenly. There are many other ratios you can look at.
76Examine extraordinary losses. Often an extraordinary loss is not the result of a one-time event, but the cumulative result of years of bad accounting.
77See if earnings per share kept up with profit. If profit increased by a larger percentage than earnings per share, and there wasn't any stock split, or stock offering (with a clearly explained justification), then management is diluting the shares. While this doesn't necessarily mean fraud, it is a red flag that management doesn't care about shareholder interests.
78Compare profit increase with cash flow Compare profit increase with cash flow. These should increase in lockstep. Usually if cash flow is low (or negative) it's because all the profits are in accounts receivable and haven't been collected yet.
79Check that increases in assets and liabilities are consistent with the business's growth. If the company is reporting profits quarter after quarter, but total assets is shrinking, something is wrong. If most balance sheet items increase by a few percentage each year, but one item has a huge jumpPositive or negativeMake sure you know the reason why.
80Look for "other." Most balance sheets have a catch-all category called "Other assets." Likewise, most income statements have a catch-all category called "Other expenses." These "other" categories should be small and insignificant. If a significant amount of assets is in the "other" category, beware!
8110 STEP ANTIFRAUD PLAN (PWC) 1) Anticipate Questions and Manage Expectations.2) Assess existing antifraud programs and controls.3) Secure management and audit committee sponsorship.4) Assemble fraud expertise within internal auditing.5) Organize a fraud and reputation risk assessment.7) Evaluate and test the design and operating effectiveness of controls.8) Refine the audit plan to address residual risk and incorporate fraud auditing.9) Establish a standard process for responding to fraud allegations or suspicions.10) Remediate and prevent recurrence
82What did the auditor say? Just because the auditor says the books are clean doesn't mean they are, of course. You should never trust the auditor. But if the auditor did raise a red flag, take it very, very seriously! If the auditor's opinion is qualified by anything, you should be more skeptical of the entire financial statement -- not just the item that the auditor expressed concern about. If the auditor expresses concern about the company's ability to be a "going concern", the auditor is saying the business is about to be forced into bankruptcy.
83What Arthur Anderson Said Bauer, the chief auditor of Enron’s wholesale division,“I did not know the company was using reserves to meet earnings targets and would not have approved if he had known, the Chicago Tribune reports. “No one gave me this information,” Bauer said. “That’s earnings management; that’s never OK Enron had an obligation to me to provide all documents, all agreements, oral or written and they didn’t do that,”.AccountingWEB.com - Mar
84Is the auditor also doing consulting Is the auditor also doing consulting? Consulting may be referred to as "corporate finance," "eBusiness," "human capital," " legal services," "outsourcing," "risk management," "tax services", and so on. Doing audits and consulting is a deep conflict of interest, as the Enron scandal well demonstrates.
85Consequences of Fraud Lost confidence in capital markets Lawsuits—one company has over 3,000Firms going out of business—huge bankruptciesLost reputation and bad pressLonger and more expensive audits, special inquiriesFines & investigationsDamaged employees & reputationsLost retirement and pension funds—now down 45%Directors with personal liability, forced resignationsLosses from fraudSignificant legislative activity
89Role of Andersen in Enron Case Was paid $52 million in 2000, the majority for non-audit related consulting services.Failed to spot many of Enron’s lossesShould have assessed Enron management’s internal controls on derivatives trading—expressed approval of internal controls during 1998 through 2000Kept a whole floor of auditors assigned at Enron year aroundEnron was Andersen’s second largest clientProvided both external and internal auditsCFOs and controllers were former Andersen executivesAccused of document destruction—was criminally indictedWent out of businessMy partner friend “I had $4 million in my retirement account and I lost it all.” Some partners who transferred to other firms now have two equity loans and no retirement savings.
90Timeline of Arthur Anderson events 1996 Arthur Andersen has an audit failure in Waste Management; Andersen paid a censure of $7 million.1997 Arthur Anderson has an audit failure in Sunbeam; Andersen paid $110 million to settle shareholder litigations.January 1997 Jeffery Schilling is named president and COO of Enron. Schilling implements his assets are bad intellectual assets are good campaign to “clean up” Enron’s financial statements. Begins using the LJM partnerships run by Andrew Fasted, Enron’s CFO.Early 2001 Jim Chinos takes note of Enron’s lack of money-making activities and begins to wonder about the LJM partnerships.February 2001 Skilling’s promotion to CEO takes effect, he replaced Charles Lay.June 2001 Enron executives sell shares as stocks slid 39% in the first quarter.August 2001 Schilling quits for personal reasons, and Charles Lay is named CEO again.Oct. 16, 2001 Enron reports a third quarter loss of $618 million. They cite the loss as being partially due to the LJM partnerships.Oct. 22, 2001 SEC starts an investigation into the LJM partnerships, and CFO Fasted leaves Enron.Nov. 8, 2001 Enron’s Net income back through 1997 is revalued by $586 million.Nov. 9, 2001 Synergy offers to buy Enron for $10 billion.Nov. 28, 2001 Synergy refuses to buy Enron.Dec. 2 ,2001 Enron Files for Bankruptcy.
91Largest Bankruptcy Filings (1980 to Present) from BankruptcyData.com CompanyAssets (Billions)When Filed1. World Com$103.9July 20022. Enron$63.4Dec. 20013. Conseco$61.4Dec. 20024. Texaco$35.9April 19875. Financial Corp of America$33.9Sept. 19886. Global Crossing$30.2Jan. 20027. PG&E$29.8April 20018. UAL$25.29. Adelphia$21.5June 200210. MCorp$20.2March 1989
92Fraud Trick Revenue Recognition One means of manipulating financial results is to record revenue before it has been earned. This historically has been accomplished by recording revenue early or recording transactions as sales that do not meet the criteria of sales. Some of the common revenue recognition schemes include:1. Recognizing revenue before a sale has actually occurred2. Keeping the books open at month’s end to record the first few days’ sales of the following month3. Shipping to the company’s warehouses but billing as sales4. Shipping goods to customers knowing they will be returned without providing appropriate return allowances5. Shipping and billing goods not wanted by the customer until a later date6. Shipping to accounts funded by the vendorSource : Deloitte &Touche LLP
93Misuse of EstimatesThe use of estimates is a normal occurrence in accounting and can include the following:1. Allowance for bad debts2. Allowance for inventory obsolescence3. Allowance for anticipated warranty claims or returned goods4. Estimates of percentage of completion of a project Be warned, however, that estimates are open to bad faith manipulation. By means of adjusting estimates, earnings can be increased or decreased by a simple journal entry.Source: Deloitte & Touch LLP
94Purchase ReservesIn cases where a business has been acquired, it is acceptable under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to set up a purchase reserve. For example, the reserve may be intended to cover costs identified with closing down part of the acquired company’s operations. Yet it is possible that the reserve can be deliberately overstated, with the intent of writing off current operating expenses against the reserve. This has the effect of understating expenses, thereby overstating income.Asset OverstatementEach asset has a basis of valuation. By changing the valuation basis, the asset can be overstated. For instance, inventory may normally be valued at average cost. By changing the valuation to most recent cost, in a market where prices are rising, the inventory value can be adjusted upward. In other instances, companies have counted inventory in one location, then have simply moved the inventory to another location where it is counted again, thereby overstating inventory value.Liability UnderstatementThe simplest means of understating liabilities is to not record them in a timely manner. Liabilities may be understated by recording a reduced accrual for vacation pay or bonuses.Capitalization of ExpensesThe bottom line can be manipulated by capitalizing expenses rather than recognizing them currently. Under GAAP, there are guidelines for determining when this is acceptable. On a legitimate basis, this may involve software development, costs associated with acquisition of capital assets and business start-ups. However, by capitalizing expenses inappropriately, the bottom line can be increased and the assets overstated.Source:Deloitte & Touch LLP
95Undertaking the financial investigation Given the complexity of financial accounting and reporting today, the investigation may need a multifaceted team. Consider the following non-legal capabilities:Forensic accountants are skilled in the reconstruction and analysis of accounting records and business transactions, as well as conducting detailed financial interviews. Knowing where to look and understanding what’s beneath the numbers is a skill gained through years of experience.Computer forensics practitioners may be necessary to gather and recover evidence that may have been stored on computer hard drives or on servers. It has become increasingly common that critical evidence is found in recovered data files that users thought had been erased from their hard drives or logs.Technology specialists may be required due to the complexity of the computer systems. Whether the issue is analyzing data from multiple systems at multiple locations, or retrieving millions of relevant records and then effectively analyzing them, it takes special expertise to design the solution that will be required. Industry specialists may also be needed to provide insights into unique practices and industry norms.Source: Deloitte & Touch LLP
961720South Sea Company1980Saving and Loan crisis1982Braniff International AirwaysLaker Airways1983De Lorean1987Zzzz BestFirst Jersey Securities1990Drexel Burnham Lambert1991BCCIEastern Air LinesPan Am1994Confederation Life1995Barings Bank1996Fokker1997Bre-X Minerals2000PixelonLernout & Hauspie2000Equitable Life2001Enron CorporationHIH InsuranceOne.TelAnsettSabenaTWAWebvan2002Arthur AndersonGlobal CrossingSwissairWorldCom2003Health SouthIG FarbenParmalat2005Red Letter DayJetsgo Corporation
97Who turn next ? SEC considers post-Big Four world SEC ponders life after Big FourE&Y fights for its futureDeloitte and Grant Thornton face £5bn Parmalat lawsuitKPMG sorry for sheltering taxes for rich AIG reveals secretive executive payGrant Thornton expels Italian firmLawyers question PwC over TycoPWC faces $100m lawsuit over audit workKPMG auditors to face SEC over AholdFormer KPMG partner agrees Xerox settlementKPMG pays the penalty for Xerox workDeloitte hit with record $50m charge on audit of US telecoms company AdelphiaDeloitte could face tax probe over MG Rover accountsShell auditors (PWC & KPMG) and former FD face lawsuitKPMG to Pay $456 Million for Criminal Violations
98Sources:Business Fraud (The Enron Problem), W.Stove Albert, Brigham Young UniversityFSA Presentation Fraud, W.Stove Albert, May 2003, Chicago, IlluniousFinancial Institution Fraud and Failure report Fiscal year 2003Journal of Accountancy online yearJournal of Accountancy online,AICPA address Fraud in audit committee guidanceIIA WebsiteAICPA WebsiteACFE WebsiteResearch of Dayarayan Auditing & Financial Services Firm about Fraud in Tehran Stock ExchangeWebsite of financial reporting council (FRC)Audit Risk & Fraud Supplementary guidance for auditors of occupational pension schemes, Bulletin May 2005Audit Risk & Fraud Supplementary guidance for auditors of charities, Bulletin Feb. 2005Audit Risk & Fraud Supplementary guidance for auditors of investment business, Bulletin April 2005The auditing practices board- BulletinFraud Examines Manual (ACFE) 2006, US editionSwitzerland The largest Money Laundering Centre in The World By:Dr Ali SahraeeanIran Audit Standard, sec. 24