Altering Financial Case Study: Chesapeake Energy Company

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Altering Financial Statements Major companies with extensive operations such as Chesapeake Energy have several areas in which their financial statements can be altered intentionally. This can be due to issues such as motivation of employees, opportunities that may arise, and rationalizations individuals make for such actions. One area in which individuals may alter such financial information relates to understating expenses to boost profits. There are several reasons to commit such fraud and report overstated profits. Staff members may be under pressure by higher level management by standards set in the beginning of the year, in addition, bonuses and compensation packages may solely depend on profits for the year. One way Chesapeake Energy can accomplish such fraud is by capitalizing expenses over a period of time instead of expensing them during the year. This will impact not only the net…show more content…
Oil and gas companies use LIFO, much like the rest of the business world, to gain the tax benefit that LIFO provides. However, LIFO allows Chesapeake to record the cost of inventory at the most recent price paid- even though some of the inventory was purchased when oil was selling at a much lower price. Profits would then be understated for that particular year since LIFO would yield a higher cost of goods sold. Although it is legal to use LIFO as an accounting method for inventory Chesapeake could change the estimates and assumptions used to calculate LIFO balances and the LIFO reserve. Further changes to LIFO balances can exacerbate the effect that LIFO has on the income statement. Inventory manipulation, used to either understate or overstate profits, would give Chesapeake the ability to smooth earnings and build cookie jar reserves. Such activities deceive investors and hide the true financial position of the

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