Ethics and Corporate Responsibility: Accounting Fraud Essay

The cardinal issued described in the suit against Xerox Corporation is that Xerox had overstated its grosss during the past four old ages by about $ 2 billion. The deceitful strategy had misled investors about Xerox ‘s net incomes to smooth its repute on Wall Street and to hike the company ‘s stock monetary value.

These accounting fraud instances show us that moralss is a existent issue, a really current issue and it is one that needs to be addressed. Unethical behavior is common and grounds exist for such behavior. Recent accounting dirts affecting high-profile companies such as Xerox Corp have called into inquiry accounting patterns and undermined public assurance in the profession. These ethical dirts in the ‘real universe ‘ suggested a market economic system being out of control and raised demands for more stringent and effectual authorities ordinance. Such misrepresentation by direction shackles the ability of the users of fiscal statements from deriving accurate concern information for decision-making and leaves their involvements unprotected.

2.CASE Discussion

a ) What are the ethical issues confronted in these instances?

The term moralss refer to a system or codification of behavior based on moral responsibilities and duty that indicate how we should act ; it deals with the ability to separate right from incorrect and the committedness to make what is right. Unethical behavior in the corporate universe is political and concern dirts, which arise with the revelation of misbehaviors by sure executives of big public corporations. Such misbehaviors typically involve complex methods for misapplying or corrupting financess, exaggerating grosss, understating disbursals, exaggerating the value of corporate assets or underreporting the being of liabilities, sometimes with the cooperation of functionaries in other corporations or affiliates.

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For Xerox Corp. it has been victimizing investors since 1997 boulder clay 2000. In a strategy directed and approved by its senior direction, Xerox falsely portrayed itself as a concern run intoing its competitory challenges and increasing its net incomes every one-fourth. Xerox wittingly or recklessly increased grosss and net incomes by speed uping the acknowledgment of grosss through largely non-GAAP accounting actions, overstated its net incomes by utilizing so called “ cooky jar ” militias and involvement income from revenue enhancement refunds, cloaked loans as plus gross revenues and manipulated its accounting in misdemeanor of by and large accepted accounting rules ( GAAP ) . All of them should hold been disclosed to investors in a timely mode because, singly and jointly, they constituted a important going from Xerox ‘s past accounting patterns and misled investors about the quality of the net incomes being reported.

Besides that, senior Xerox direction reaped over $ 5 billion in performance-based compensation and over $ 30 million in net incomes from the sale of stock.

The patterns summarized above constitute an improper strategy by Xerox to victimize investors through unrevealed accounting patterns and other stuff minutess, some of which the company knew or should hold known profaned GAAP. Xerox failed to state investors that these actions were the ground Xerox met or exceeded consensus net incomes estimations one-fourth after one-fourth.

B ) The possible grounds or factors that may do the unethical actions in the instances.

The ethical issues faced by Xerox corp can be explained from a personal, organisational and systematic degree and it possible grounds why they commit unethical actions.

Personal Degree

Possible grounds: Individual moral failures and greed

Personal degree calls for the character rating of the chief persons that participated in the assorted fraud as for Xerox Corp Former Chairman and CEO, Paul Allaire, Former Chief

Fiscal Officer, Barry Romeril and KPMG spouse, Michael Conway, in a statement

reported that they are the chief individual whom in charged by the SEC manner back twelvemonth ‘s of

1999. The values and ethical behaviors of these persons have continuously been called

into inquiry. Many of the charges directed towards these persons are a clear indicant

of geting personal involvement.

It is non that the senior executives did non have any moralss developing earlier on but it is their ain single moral failures and greed that led to the deformation of fiscal statements. They did non see the societal deductions of their unscrupulous determination on their company and besides all parties with involvements in the company. What concern these executives are their ain individualised involvements particularly in wealth maximization.

Organizational Level

Possible grounds: The demand to follow orders from foremans and force per unit area from top

direction on their comptrollers to do the Numberss add up.

An unethical patterns by the Top direction to guarantee that the comptroller of the

Corporation to do up the fiscal statement coverage to reflect the corporation fiscal

place was on a good place no affair what it cost every bit long as they can pull strings the

intervention of accounting patterns.

This might be the grounds for the comptroller in that organisational tied up ( unable to

perform as an independent parties ) with the mislead accounting patterns in order to follow

the bid of the superior direction.

As in Nicor Energy ‘s overstated unbilled gross by about $ 4.5 million for 2001

was a collusion between Johnson ( senior-most fiscal officer ) and Stoffer ( NE ‘s

President & A ; CEO ) in blow uping the unbilled gross figure.

Stoffer besides directed a reversal of a part of the incurred disbursal of 2001 into 2002

to run into year-end net incomes marks.

Besides that, Johnson who was responsible for puting the degree of the bad debt modesty

was under pressured by Stoffer to intentionally minimize the bad debts modesty.

Systematic Degree

Possible Reasons: Cosy relationship the houses have with their corporate clients

and Enormous force per unit area from Wall Street investors to maintain up

short term net incomes.

As been spell out, many external factors have contributed to the confront of this unethical

issues. Such possible factors from the external forces are Corporations frequently hire comptrollers and other forces from their hearer and comptrollers and much of the force per unit area brought to bear on comptrollers ; stems from the cozy relationships the houses have with corporate clients.

As for Xerox ‘s hearers, KPMG kept soundless when it found out about the accounting disagreements in Xerox so that they can keep their relationship and concerns with Xerox.

There was no watchdog ( legal and construction ) at Xerox. KPMG ‘s bark sounded no warning to investors ; its bite was toothless.

Beside the possible causes that might take them to perpetrate in these unethical actions perchance

might be due to the investing clime of 1990s added abuses to hurts. Cited back, twelvemonth

of 1990s, Companies that failed to run into Wall Street ‘s net incomes estimations by even a penny

frequently were punished by important diminutions in stock monetary value. In add-on, compensation of

Xerox senior direction squad depended significantly on their ability to run into increasing

gross and gaining mark.

degree Celsius ) .Who were the stakeholders ( single or groups ) that are affected by the unethical

actions? How are they affected by the fraud or unethical actions?

Stakeholders are those groups “ who can impact or [ are ] affected by the accomplishment of the house ‘s aims. ” Stakeholders in a company may include stockholders, managers, direction, providers, authorities, employees and besides the community. The unethical actions in Xerox Corp have affected the stakeholders in a manner or so.


Stockholders are constantly the first victims of top direction fraud. When intelligence of fraud by a steadfast becomes public cognition, it instantly reduces the stock market value of the companies involved. Bondholders and other creditors of the house can besides stop up bearing the negative effects of direction fraud.

After intelligence of the fiscal fraud at Xerox Corp. is released, Xerox ‘s stock has been worsening aggressively and is now merchandising at about $ 7. Stockholders can no longer presume that direction is moving within the jurisprudence or with their best involvements in head. Stockholders now require greater openness on the portion of their senior directors.


Fraud besides depresses the overall moral clime in a society. It can take to a general deficiency of religion in the unity of senior directors, eroding in the assurance in the free market system, including its political establishments, procedures, and leaders, and a general growing of cynicism in a society. The failure of accounting houses to observe managerial fraud has besides led to less faith in audited fiscal statements. Worse still, many believe that the accounting houses have compromised their ain unity because of the enticement of moneymaking confer withing contracts from houses they were scrutinizing. In Xerox ‘s instance, their hearer, KPMG complied with direction at Xerox to let the accounting abnormalities to go on.


Employees of companies whose top directors engage in fraud frequently are hit the hardest, even when they are incognizant of their executives ‘ illegal activities. Fraud can do employees to lose their occupations, their retirement nest eggs ( which frequently are tied up in company stock ) and their reputes. Frequently, the really fact that employees have worked for a deceitful company taints their sketchs to the point that some find it hard to happen occupations elsewhere. The negative impact of Xerox ‘s fraud was that Xerox has laid off thousand of workers in the past two old ages and may do farther retrenchments in the hereafter.

vitamin D ) Discussion on the administration and control issues originating from the companies ‘


The extremely seeable accounting dirt in Xerox Corp showed us one important affair ; the corporate administration and internal controls is failed in the corporations. The worst incidences of fraud are normally committed by insiders, among whom those executives figure conspicuously who are assigned to pull off and command their organisations. Corporations are now looking at how they can do their several boards of managers more effectual. Xerox Corp, has made a good advancement on corporate administration and control issues originating from the company ‘s experience.

They have adopted rigorous new guidelines on what constitutes manager independency. Using this definition, 75 % of their managers are independent.

Proactively incorporate Sarbanes-Oxley Act and proposed NYSE regulations into their administration procedures.

Revised and strengthened the charters for their Board of Directors ‘ commissions.

Hold regular executive Sessionss of outside managers without Xerox direction nowadays.

Launched a monolithic attempt to beef up internal controls, train their people and proclaim a clear and strong Code of Conduct.

Established an Ethics Help line for their employees and have taken other steps all aimed at doing Xerox a function theoretical account in ethical behavior.

Bear in head that, no Torahs or policies will of all time be sufficient to stop all corporate misbehaviors. We are confident, nevertheless, that genuinely independent and speculative boards of managers will supply the best precaution against corporate errors. such Audit Committees must be independent and vigorous, Fiscal Information is inherently judgmental, give Sarbanes-Oxley a opportunity to work, inordinate executive compensation can be tamed by the Compensation Committee and managers must be selected and appraised by Independent Nominating Committee.


Fraud had amendss the reputes of the persons and houses involved. Disclosures of top direction fraud have caused the populace to oppugn the ability of boards of managers to supervise senior executives and protect stockholders ‘ wealth. As for Xerox Corp, in order excessively minimise the injury caused by the unethical actions by the executives, foremost Law and ordinances are, and will stay, the most influential external drivers of corporate moralss, but statute law is no replacement for the presence of leaders who support and model ethical behavior. The individual most of import ethical leading behavior is maintaining promise, followed by promoting unfastened communicating, maintaining employees informed and back uping employees who uphold ethical criterions. Corporate leaders need to pass on ethical values throughout the organisation, but they must make more than speak the talk in order to set up and prolong an ethical civilization. As for specific plans and patterns, a corporate codification of behavior is viewed as being most of import to forestall or minimise accounting frauds. Such a codification must reflect and reenforce the values and rules of an organisation. Besides that, moralss developing for all members of the organisation, corporate societal duty plans, ombudsman services and assist lines can be done to battle unethical behavior. In drumhead, employees need to hold a codification to put the moralss foundation, developing to assist people genuinely understand it, and plans that permit them to ask about and describe ethical misdemeanors. A comprehensive Whistleblowers Act to supply wide-ranging protection for whistle blowers in all sectors excessively can assist promote whistle blowing.