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The Accounting Fraud At Worldcom Essay

1384 words - 6 pages

From the time of WorldCom’s inception there always seemed to be a tradition in management as if the company was only 100 or so employees. There was a “good old boys” mentality among the limited few running the company and if you were outside that circle then were told only what they wanted you to hear. An unspoken rule among employees was to do what you were told without questions or risk the consequences. One example of this situation occurred when senior management member Gene Morse told an employee “If you show those damn numbers to the f****ing auditors, I’ll throw you out the window” (Kaplan, R.S., & Kiron, D., 2007, p. 3).WorldCom showed no concern regarding an employee’s need and obligation to voice concerns on matters related to their job function. “Employees felt they did not have an independent outlet for expressing concerns about company policies or behavior” (Kaplan et al., 2007, p. 3). This treatment created a climate of fear among employees and reinforced the management team’s ability to keep knowledge and decision making within their grasp.
Transparency and full-disclosure were non-existent to both employees and investors. Employees were told to “spend whatever was necessary to bring revenue in the door, even if it meant that the long term cost…outweighed short-term gains” (Kaplan et al., 2007, p. 4) which created a costly underutilized network backbone. Checks and balances were ever established to ensure that money was being invested in the best interest of the company and its shareholders. As time went on these decisions would result in complete failures on all levels and would assist in creating scandal worth millions of dollars. At one time WorldCom stock was calculated to “once be worth $180 billion” and as the scandal unraveled the stock “became nearly worthless” (Kaplan et al., 2007, p. 1).
Auditing
A “managers’ primary responsibility is to operate the business in the best interests of the stockholders” (Robbins, S. P., & Coulter, M. K., 2012, p. 152), although it seems none of WorldCom’s executive management team seemed to feel this way. Many steps could have been taken to prevent the collapse of the WorldCom empire, but only a few key managers held the power and none were willing to take action. One control that did not exist in WorldCom’s culture was allowing both internal and external auditors access to all necessary documents and statements. Without full disclosure of these items no one could see how many risks the company was taking by making fraudulent entries against their books. Also the external audit team, Arthur Anderson, held WorldCom as one of its best customers which was a major conflict of interest. This relationship lead to many fundamental mistakes from Anderson not keeping pressure on WorldCom and getting all vital information that would prove how poorly the company was being run. Had they been operating transparently, auditors and employees would have seen the accounting deception and...

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