Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fudging of Accounts: Satyam's modus operandi & the IT industry

What exactly did Satyam Computers fudge in the books ?
  1. Overstated Revenue

  2. Overstated Profits

  3. Overstated Cash & Bank balance

  4. Understated liability

The above would require , at least, the following documents to be forged.

  1. Customer completion reports of projects or purchase agreements .

  2. Relevant Invoices raised by Satyam

  3. Bank statements

  4. Bank Guarantees submitted to customers.

Its logical that the to forge the above, Raju would require the support of some of the senior executives in his company in finance & operations . Additionally the scanner should also point to the banks with whom Satyam had accounts to find out Raju's 'friends' in the bank who was helping him with these figures & if there was a corresponding fudging in the accounts of the banks. PWC, the auditors of Satyam will find it hard to explain their non-involvement in this fraud and its but natural that their business should be wound up in the country as soon as possible.

Finally, is Satyam an isolated case in the IT industry? While poring through the figures (click on the attached picture for the details) of last two quarters of 4 major IT companies ( TCS,WIPRO,INFOSYS & SATYAM) it was interesting to observe that one other company besides Satyam showed exceptionally high growth in Y-Y net sales as well as net profits for quarters ending on Sep'08 & Jun'08 while for the others the figures were relatively nominal . Considering the fact that the IT industry would be facing some hardships on account of exchange rate volatility & recession in USA & Europe over last one year, these figures do appear out of the ordinary. This other company is Infosys. Hopefully SEBI would investigate their accounts and clear them to the satisfaction of general investors in India & abroad.

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