"Dell, Inc.: Financial Restatements"

Feb 24th, 2015
HelloWorld
Category:
Accounting
Price: $15 USD

Question description

Beazer homes was the sixth largest U.S. home builder during the 1998-2006 housing boom.  Like other major home builders, Beazer’s market value grew by a factor of 8-10 during that period.  However, the new home market slowed in 2006 and then collapsed in 2007.

The SEC alleged that Michael T. Rand, Beazer’s chief accounting officer, understated Beazer’s reported profits in every quarter but one from 2000 through 2005 by understating Beazer’s “land inventory” account and by overstating its “cost to complete” reserve.  The SEC further alleged that during each of the four quarters in 2006, and in the first quarter of 2007, Mr. Rand increased Beazer’s reported profits by increasing the “land inventory” account, decreasing the “cost to complete” reserve, and fraudulently recording sale-and-leaseback transactions for model homes.

The case provides an excellent overview of the U.S. housing boom and collapse.  It can be used prior to New Century Financial Corp (Chapter 3), which covers the collapse of a sub-prime and Alt A mortgage lender.  The case is also excellent for covering the practical issues of accrual accounting in uncertain environments.

The SEC charges imply that it is relatively simple to estimate the value of the firm’s “land inventory” and “cost to complete” accounts.  When a home builder acquires land for a new housing development, some land is set aside for streets and sidewalks, some for parks or lakes, and some for open space near busy roads.  The builder then subdivides the remaining land into lots it hopes to sell.  Lots near a park or lake are more desirable, while lots near the entrance to a subdivision are typically less desirable.  Someone assigned a cost of the land to individual lots, and that assignment process is clearly arbitrary.  In addition, as the property becomes more or less desirable, the remaining land becomes more or less valuable than when the firm first estimated the value of each lot.  The SEC’s complaint made the valuation process seem far more objective than it is in practice.

The cost-to-complete reserve covers the cost to complete sold homes.  That includes, for example, cracked driveways or basement floors, leaking faucets, roofs, or windows, or faulty painting or landscaping.  The average cost per home might be $5,000 or $10,000, depending on the home cost and the history of the development.  After 6-12 months, the allowance for a particular home might be reduced to zero as the warranty expired or as the likelihood of claims declined.  The SEC complaint made that valuation process seem far more objective than it is in practice, particularly for a rapidly growing firm that almost certainly was relying on less experienced managers and workers, and less experienced accountants.

The case also covers a sale-and-leaseback transaction.  Those accounting rules are complex, so again, it might not be clear that Mr. Rand engaged in fraud.

Finally, the cumulative alleged profit understatement for 2000-2005 was about $72 million for a firm that had about $2 billion of operating profits.  In addition, during nine quarters from 2007-2009, Beazer recorded about $1 billion of impairment charges.  Given the implicit subjectivity in those nine impairment charges, it seems highly likely that the “land inventory” and “cost to complete” accounts were also highly subjective numbers.

I use this case to consider the subjectivity of various accrual accounts.  I also use it to consider who would make the accrual calculations.  Beazer constructed housing developments throughout the nation.  Michael T. Rand almost certainly was not personally responsible for preparing accrual estimates at the operating level.

For each of the accounting issues discussed in the body of Case 9:

  • Discuss whether it seems likely that Dell recorded the transaction improperly to manipulate results or whether it was more likely an honest mistake (e.g., Dell did not know about the rule; the implementation relied on judgment and the investigators had the benefit of hindsight; or the sheer volume of low-value orders Dell ships each day makes it very difficult to properly implement these detailed rules).
  • Discuss whether the error addressed in Part 1 of this discussion is material and should have been disclosed. Review the accounting changes and internal control procedures that Dell proposed, and evaluate those changes in terms of their probable costs and benefits

Please make sure that the bullet point and solution is together and that the solution is at least a paragraph long


Tutor Answer

(Top Tutor) Daniel C.
(997)
School: University of Virginia
PREMIUM TUTOR

Studypool has helped 1,244,100 students

8 Reviews


Summary
Quality
Communication
On Time
Value
Five Star Tutor
Dec 8th, 2016
" Outstanding Job!!!! "
kpcutie
Nov 24th, 2016
" Excellent job "
Joemoe
Nov 15th, 2016
" <3 it, thanks for saving me time. "
Hemapathy
Nov 11th, 2016
" all I can say is wow very fast work, great work thanks "
pmallory
Nov 2nd, 2016
" Totally impressed with results!! :-) "
kevin12622
Oct 19th, 2016
" Goes above and beyond expectations ! "
kiln82
Oct 10th, 2016
" awesome work thanks "
likeplum4
Sep 27th, 2016
" Excellent work as usual "
Ask your homework questions. Receive quality answers!

Type your question here (or upload an image)

1831 tutors are online

Brown University





1271 Tutors

California Institute of Technology




2131 Tutors

Carnegie Mellon University




982 Tutors

Columbia University





1256 Tutors

Dartmouth University





2113 Tutors

Emory University





2279 Tutors

Harvard University





599 Tutors

Massachusetts Institute of Technology



2319 Tutors

New York University





1645 Tutors

Notre Dam University





1911 Tutors

Oklahoma University





2122 Tutors

Pennsylvania State University





932 Tutors

Princeton University





1211 Tutors

Stanford University





983 Tutors

University of California





1282 Tutors

Oxford University





123 Tutors

Yale University





2325 Tutors