Posted: May 25th, 2022
Accounting Fraud at CIT Computer Leasing Group, Inc.” by Michelman et al. The security of the data in this organization as identified in this article is extremely suspect, primarily because it relates to the honesty and integrity of the individuals working for CIT Computer Leasing Group, Inc. From an Accounting Information Systems standpoint, the internal controls were relatively simple. Moreover, they actually appeared to be intrinsically linked to operations — partially due to the fact that a large part of the business of the aforementioned company relates to returned leases to computer equipment. If the individual responsible for the accounting of these computers that are supposed to be returned to the organization does not report them accurately, he can override virtually all controls due to his inaccuracies which he can later on utilize to his own financial benefit. Thus, because this system involves company assets that are outside of the control of CIT, it is difficult to effect any of the company’s internal accounting controls which are all predicated on accurate accounting of leased computers that are returned to it. Were someone to contact the lessee of computers prior to the end of the lease and implement a separate deal in which those computers were returned to that individual, and not to the company, it is virtually impossible for the company to get an accurate account of the computers that actually were returned and which could get resold.
The way that the internal controls process was supposed to work required the lessee to return the computer assets to an authorized remarketer (Michelman 575), which in turn contacted CIT and reported the receipt of the equipment. Financial data as to the sale of this equipment was delivered to CIT from the remarketer. Again, however, only the financial data was delivered, and not the amount of the computers. Because resellers could sell computers at different prices, there effectively is no way that CIT could keep track of the number of the computers without relying on information from third parties.
However, this ignorance on the part of CIT and its requirement of trusting others to account for its computers and the price that was earned from the resale of returned leases can be readily rectified with more contemporary It mechanisms. There are a number of different aspects of big data including sensor data and the real time monitoring of equipment assets — such as that facilitated by the industrial internet and the internet of things, that could provide effective monitoring of computers to determine how many were returned and to wear. Were CIT to deploy some of these technologies, it could greatly assist in its previously-proved flawed AIS process. Such a control could not account for the price and the accounting inconsistencies that the company was vulnerable to, but it could solve the basic inventory problem which resulted in egregious accounting errors. Thus, with the current controls in place, it does not appear as though the risk associated with CIT’s accounting issues can be controlled. There would need to be a way to obtain the sale information of the returned-leased computers directly from the reseller, and there currently is not such a way.
The ethical issues pertaining to the use of the technology deployed by CIT are multifold, simply because the organization is relying on third party input for its accounting. Thus, its associates are tasked with telling the truth about this information, as are the CIT employees who receive it. Providing accuracy in such matters is a basic ethical principle of accounting which should not be transgressed.
Michelman, Jeffrey, Gorman, Victoria, Trompeter, Gregory. “Accounting Fraud at CIT Computer Leasing Group, Inc.” Issues in Accounting Education. Vol. 26, no.3, pp. 569-591. 2011. Print.
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