Unformatted text preview: CASE OF STUDY HARNISCHFEGER CORPORATION 1. Identify all the accounting policy change and accounting estimates that Harnischfeger made during 1984. Estimate, as accurately as possible, the effect of these on the company’s 1984 reported profits The Harnischfeger Corporation had made the following changes in the accounting policy during the year 1983 and 1984. • Inclusion or recognition in the corporation net sales changed its sale calculation, e.g; the incorporation of products purchased from Kobe Steel, Ltd. These products were sold by the company and aggregated to the sales $28 million. (In previously years it was included only the gross margin on Kobe-originated equipment). (not affect the income because they put tis number in sale an cost of sales) • Included in the fiscal year of 1984 (November 1983) the financial a statement of certain foreign subsidiaries increasing the sale by $5.4 million (tast this information • Changed in the depreciation methods on assets to a straight-line policy method from a principally...
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1. Identify all the accounting policy changes and accounting estimates that Harnischfeger made during 1984. Estimate, as accurate as possible, the effect of these on the company’s 1984 reported profits.
Accounting policy changes made on core business activities:
• Harnischfeger included net sales figure from Kobe Steel Ltd. Previously, only net gross margin generated from transactions with Kobe Steel Ltd was included.
This change resulted in a net sales figure increase of $28 million.
• Harnischfeger incorporated certain foreign subsidiaries’ financial statements with fiscal year ending 31st July.
The adjustment resulted in a net sales figure increase of $5.4 million for the year ended on 31st Oct.
• Harnischfeger liquidated its inventory under LIFO method for 1984 fiscal year.
The liquidation resulted in an increase in net income by $2.4 million.
• Harnischfeger had a discretionary change of its estimate on Allowance for Doubtful Debts. The ratio for doubtful debt provision has changed from 9.12% to 6.30% from 1983 to 1984.
If the rate from 1983 had been applied, the company would have reported an extra amount of $2.63 million doubtful debts.
Accounting changes made on non-core business activities:
• Harnischfeger adopted straight-line method for financial reporting purposes and abandoned previously used accelerated method for its US operating plants. As result of the change in depreciation policy, they reviewed on depreciation lives on certain PPE in US.
This change resulted in an increase of net income by $11.0 million attributed to the change of depreciation method and $3.2 million resulted from the change on depreciation lives. The increase in total represented 93.5% of the net income.
• Harnischfeger implemented some changed on its pension policy.
The adjustment resulted in a gain in net income by $3.93 million for fiscal year 1984, which represented 25.9% of the net income.
2. What do you think are the motives of Harnischfeger’s management in making the changes in its financial reporting policies? Do you think investors will see through these changes?
The motives of Harnischfeger’s management in changing its financial reporting policies are:
1. Meet the earnings expectation from the analysts to enhance confidence from its investors as well as from its customers, suppliers and employees. This also helps the firm to regain its business reputation and strengthen its public image.