Using the guidance discussed in class as well as materials within the textbook, consider the following scenarios and respond to the questions noted.
Northshore Stores: Scenario 1
Andrea Tabares was just hired as the assistant treasurer of Northshore Stores, a specialty chain store company that has nine retail stores concentrated in one metropolitan area. Among other things, the payment of all invoices is centralized in one of the departments Andrea will manage. Her primary responsibility is to maintain the company's high credit rating by paying all bills when due and to take advantage of all cash discounts.
William Parks, the former assistant treasurer, who has been promoted to treasurer, is training Andrea in her new duties. He instructs Andrea that she is to continue the practice of preparing all checks “net of discount” and dating the checks the last day of the discount period. “But,” William continues, “we always hold the checks at least 4 days beyond the discount period before mailing them. That way we get another 4 days of interest on our money. Most of our creditors need our business and don't complain. And, if they scream about our missing the discount period, we blame it on the mail room or the post office. We've only lost one discount out of every hundred we take that way. I think everybody does it. By the way, welcome to our team!”
1. What are the ethical considerations in this case?
2. What stakeholders are harmed or benefited?
3. Should Andrea continue the practice started by William? What alternatives does she have? What are the benefits and weaknesses of each alternative?
Eaton Company: Scenario 2
Eaton Company is a pesticide manufacturer. Its sales declined greatly this year due to the passage of legislation outlawing the sale of several of Eaton's chemical pesticides. During the coming year, Eaton will have environmentally safe and competitive replacement chemicals to replace these discontinued products. Sales in the next year are expected to greatly exceed those of any prior year. Therefore, the decline in this year's sales and profits appears to be a one-year aberration.
Even so, the company president believes that a large dip in the current year's profits could cause a significant drop in the market price of Eaton's stock and make it a takeover target. To avoid this possibility, he urges Mark Trane, controller, to accrue every possible revenue and to defer as many expenses as possible in making this period's year-end adjusting entries. The president says to Mark, “We need the revenues this year, and next year we can easily absorb expenses deferred from this year. We can't let our stock price be hammered down!” Mark didn't get around to recording the adjusting entries until January 17, but he dated the entries December 31 as if they were recorded then. Mark also made every effort to comply with the president's request.
4. Who are the stakeholders in this situation?
5. What are the ethical considerations of the president's request and Mark's dating the adjusting entries December 31?
6. Can Mark accrue revenues and defer expenses and still be ethical?
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