The North Face Inc Accounting Essay

Fiscal comptrollers and independent hearers normally face disputing proficient and ethical quandary while transporting out their professional duties. This instance profiles an accounting and fiscal coverage fraud orchestrated by the main fiscal officer ( CFO ) of a major public company and his subsidiaries. The CFO, who was a CPA, took utmost steps to hide the fraud from his company ‘s audit commission and independent hearers. Despite those steps, the independent hearers identified leery entries in the company ‘s accounting records that were a consequence of the CFO ‘s deceitful strategy but did non properly investigate those points. Shortly before the fraud was publically revealed, a spouse of the company ‘s audit house instructed his subsidiaries to change anterior twelvemonth audit workpapers for the client to hide improper determinations made by himself and his house.


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Hap Klopp founded North Face in the mid-1960s to supply a ready beginning of hike and bivouacing cogwheel.

In 1970, North Face began planing and fabricating its ain line of merchandises after opening a little mill in nearby Berkeley.

In 1980, North Face began patronizing mountain-climbing expeditions across the Earth. And North Face became the lone provider in the United States to offer a comprehensive aggregation of high-performance overclothes, skiwear, kiping bags, battalions and collapsible shelters.


Gross saless Growth vs. Quality Control

By the mid-1980s, North Face ‘s bowed down fabrication installations could non fulfill the steadily turning demand for the company ‘s ware or keep the high quality production criterions established by direction.

New Era

In July 1996, a new direction squad took North Face populace, naming the company ‘s common stock on the NASDAQ exchange.

The direction squad established a end of making one-year gross revenues of $ 1 billion by 2003.

Subsequently when the existent grosss and net incomes of North Face failed to run into direction ‘s outlooks, the company ‘s main fiscal officer ( CFO ) and frailty president of gross revenues booked a series of deceitful gross revenues minutess.

Barter for Success at North Face

In December 1997, North Face ‘s CFO Christopher Crawford negotiated a $ 7.8 million “ sale ” of extra stock list to a swap company in exchange for trade credits.

Crawford knew that the important accounting literature by and large precluded the acknowledgment of gross on such minutess.

Crawford, nevertheless, structured the dealing to acknowledge a net income on the trade credits.

An Oral “ Side Agreement ”

Crawford required the swap company to pay a part of the trade credits in hard currency.

To farther befog the true nature of the big swap dealing, Crawford split it into two parts.

1. On December 29,1997, a $ 5.15 million sale recorded ( $ 3.51 million in hard currency & A ; $ 1.64 million trade recognition )

2. On January 8, 1998, the staying $ 2.65 million part of the swap dealing was booked.


In the 3rd and 4th quarters of financial 1998, Todd Katz, North Face ‘s frailty president of gross revenues, arranged two big gross revenues to blow up the company ‘s grosss, minutess that were really cargos instead than consummated gross revenues.

The first of these minutess involved $ 9.3 million of ware “ sold ” to a little, apparel jobber in Texas.

Katz negotiated a similar $ 2.6 million dealing with a little California jobber a few months subsequently.

Erasing the Past

Richard Fiedelman served for several old ages as the “ consultative ” spouse for the North Face audit battle and during early 1998 served for a brief clip as the audit battle spouse.

During the 1997 audit, the Deloitte audit battle spouse proposed an accommodation to change by reversal the part of the $ 7.8 million swap dealing recorded in December 1997 because he realized that the net income could non be recognized on a swap dealing when the marketer is paid entirely in “ trade credits. ”

The Deloitte audit spouse “ passed ” on the proposed accommodation since it did non hold a material consequence on North Face ‘s 1997 fiscal statements.

While oversing the reappraisal of North Face ‘s fiscal statements for the first one-fourth of 1998, Fiedelman allowed the company to improperly acknowledge net income on a part of the $ 7.8 million barter dealing booked in January 1998 for which North Face was paid entirely in trade credits.

During the planning stage of the 1998 audit, Fiedelman convinced the new audit battle spouse that the anterior twelvemonth workpapers were incorrect and that the old audit spouse had non concluded that it was non allowable for North Face to acknowledge net income on the 1997 part of the swap dealing that involved purely trade credits.

As a consequence of Fiedelman ‘s counsel, the new audit spouse did non suggest an accommodation to change by reversal the January 1998 part of the swap dealing that had been approved by Fiedelman.

Fiedelman ‘s subsidiaries altered the 1997 workpapers to alter the decision expressed by the 1997 audit battle spouse that North Face was non entitled to enter net income on a gross revenues dealing in which it was paid wholly in trade credits.


The SEC sanctioned North Face ‘s CFO, the company ‘s vice-president of gross revenues, and Richard Fiedelman for their functions in the North Face fraud.


1. Should hearers take a firm stand that their clients accept all proposed audit accommodations, even those that have an “ immaterial ” consequence on the given set of fiscal statements? Defend your reply.


Clients are non prone to following hearer ‘s proposed audit accommodations, which forces hearers to somehow find on an aggregative footing the impact that proposed and/or passed audit accommodations have on a client ‘s fiscal statements. The most common ground for a client non to do a proposed audit accommodation is that the client disagrees with the demand for the given accommodation.

We do n’t desire to see that audit engagements finally become a tug-of-war between client direction and hearers over proposed audit accommodations.

2. Should hearers take expressed steps to forestall their clients from detecting or going cognizant of the materiality thresholds used on single audit battles? Would it be executable for hearers to hide this information from their audit clients?

Yes. To the greatest extent possible, hearers should non supply clients with entree to the critical parametric quantities or aspects of audit battles, including materiality bounds. Harmonizing to this instance, the CFO used the materiality to overthrow the unity of the full audit battle.

It is frequently non executable to hide information such as materiality bounds from client forces.

For illustration, hearers ever have client forces “ pull ” paperss, prepare assorted agendas to which audit processs will be applied, and execute other of import audit-related undertakings. In finishing these undertakings, client forces can frequently find the hearer ‘s purpose and/or the range or materiality bound of a given audit trial. Likewise, clients have entree to the professional auditing literature and professional publications that discuss the general guidelines that hearers use in doing of import strategic determinations during the class of an audit, including the choice of materiality bounds for single histories or fiscal statement points.

3. Identify the general rules or guidelines that dictate when companies are entitled to enter gross. How were these rules or guidelines violated by the $ 7.8 million swap dealing and the two cargo gross revenues discussed in this instance?

Harmonizing to FASB 605 Revenue Recognition

Grosss and additions are realized when merchandises ( goods or services ) , ware, or other assets are exchanged for hard currency or claims to hard currency. Grosss are considered to hold been earned when the entity has well accomplished what it must make to be entitled to the benefits represented by the grosss.

By and large, barter minutess in which a company receives trade credits in exchange for ware should be recorded at the just value of the wares given up since the ultimate realizability or economic value of the trade credits is typically non determinable at the clip of the exchange. So, even though the “ exchange ” component of the gross acknowledgment rule is satisfied by such a dealing, the “ realized ” component is non needfully satisfied, intending that any net income on the dealing should be deferred. In the instance at manus, there was clearly some inquiry as to the just value of the extra ware that was being “ sold ” to the swap company. A conservative intervention of the dealing might hold dictated that a loss or writedown of the ware was really the most appropriate accounting intervention for the dealing.

FASB 605-15-25 Gross saless of Merchandise when Right of Return Exists prohibits a marketer from acknowledging gross ( or net income, of class ) when the given client can return the merchandise and the ultimate payment to be received by the marketer hinges on the client reselling the merchandise. Both characteristics of the gross acknowledgment regulation were violated by the determination of North Face to enter the big cargo gross revenues: there was non a true exchange since the two clients did non pay for the ware and the given minutess were non finalized until the clients resold the ware, intending that the “ realized ” demand of the gross acknowledgment regulation had non been satisfied.

4. Identify and briefly explain each of the chief aims that hearers hope to carry through by fixing audit workpapers. How were these aims undermined by Deloitte ‘s determination to change North Face ‘s 1997 workpapers?

Harmonizing to AICPA AU Section 339. 03, audit certification serves chiefly to:

a. Supply the chief support for the hearer ‘s study, including the representation sing observation of the criterions of fieldwork, which is inexplicit in the mention to by and large accepted auditing criterions.

B. Help the hearer in the behavior and supervising of the audit.

Both of these aims were undercut by the determination of the Deloitte hearers to change North Face ‘s 1997 audit workpapers.

First, by modifying the 1997 workpapers and non documenting the given alterations in those workpapers, the Deloitte hearers destroyed audit grounds, grounds that demonstrated that the 1997 audit squad had decently investigated the important literature relevant to barter minutess and proposed an audit accommodation consistent with the demands of that literature.

Second, the change of the 1997 workpapers affected the determinations made on the 1998 audit. That is, the hearers during the 1998 audit relied on the evident determinations made during the 1997 audit and therefore reached an improper determination on the accounting intervention that would be appropriate for the swap dealing recorded by North Face in January 1998.

5. North Face ‘s direction squads were criticized for strategic bloopers that they made over the class of the company ‘s history. Do hearers hold a duty to measure the quality of the key determinations made by client executives? Defend your reply.


Major strategic bloopers by client direction can make an environment in which client executives and their cardinal subsidiaries have a strong inducement to falsify their entity ‘s accounting records and fiscal statements. More by and large, the overall quality of top direction ‘s determinations affects the “ built-in hazard ” nowadays during a given audit.

Event though measuring the quality of cardinal determinations made by client executives is non frequently seen as an expressed audit process within an audit plan, hearers need to be cognizant that the competency of top direction and the wide-ranging deductions of that competency to all aspects of an audit.


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