You are the assistant controller in charge of general ledger accounting at Riverside Bottling Company. Your company has a large loan from an insurance company. The loan agreement requires that the company’s cash account balance be maintained at $200,000 or more, as reported monthly.
At June 30 the cash balance is $80,000, which you report to Gena Schmitt, the financial vice president. Gena excitedly instructs you to keep the cash receipts book open for one additional day for purposes of the June 30 report to the insurance company. Gena says, “If we don’t get that cash balance over $200,000, we’ll default on our loan agreement. They could close us down; put us all out of our jobs!” Gena continues, “I talked to Oconto Distributors (one of Riverside’s largest customers) this morning. They said they sent us a check for $150,000 yesterday. We should receive it tomorrow. If we include just that one check in our cash balance, we’ll be in the clear. It’s in the mail!”
- Who will suffer negative effects if you do not comply with Gena Schmitt’s instructions? Who will suffer if you do comply?
If you do not comply then the business will be forced to close down and all employees will be out of work. If you do comply and are caught, you could definitely be fired and possibly jailed for cooking the books. Maybe Gena Schmitt will be fired as well but there is no guarantee of that in the real world. You are the one who engaged in falsification of records not her--she only suggested it. Sometimes that is enough to bring someone up on charges but not always.
- What are the ethical considerations in this case?
Ethical considerations: your personal and professional honesty, integrity, professionalism, reliability
- What alternatives do you have?
Large accounts usually have a person or group of persons assigned to their account. You can contact your handler at the bank and explain your situation and request a grace period. If your account is in good standing then they may grant it to you. Re-read your loan agreement, you may have a grace period to get the money in the bank.