1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Broadly speaking, fraud may be defined as an intentional act to gain an advantage by an unfair or unlawful gain. It may include: (Rubin G. A., 2007) fraudulent financial accounting; misappropriation of assets (inside or outside the system, such as: embezzlement, payroll fraud and theft); revenue or assets acquired from illegal or unethical activities (excessive customer billing or fraudulent sales practices); costs for illicit purposes (commercial and public bribery as well as other improper payment systems); income received fraudulently or intentionally avoided costs (systems in which an entity commits fraud against its employees or to third parties, or when an entity intentionally avoided costs such as income taxes and sales taxes); fraud against the company (e.g. counterfeit producers knowingly violates intellectual property rights). The Department for Institutional Integrity, which investigates allegations of fraud and corruption within the World Bank Group and the Bank’s financed projects, specifies the actions that might be considered fraud or corruption in the banking system: (Banca Mondială, 2009) auction fraud, understandings among participants in the auction, fraud during the execution of the contract, audit avoidance, setting inappropriate prices and partnerships, miscalculation of costs and work, acceptance of gifts or bribes, soliciting or receiving bribes, incorrectly using the World Bank funds or its positions, fraud in the case of movements, theft and deception. Although all categories of fraud are major and worthy to be debated, only fraudulent financial accounting is handled in the following sections. (Rubin G. A., 2007) Fraud in financial accounting is based on conscious intent of the perpetrator (directors, auditors, employees, etc.) to wrongfully present the reality. But the intended act to wrongfully presenting the reality may be the cause of either fraudulent financial accounting either of undue assets reclaims. Therefore, “fraudulent reporting only refers to intentional misrepresentation, including omissions of amounts designed to mislead the users of the financial statements” can be translated as (Popa I., Man Al. Rus A., 2009): manipulation, forgery, counterfeit or alteration of records or supporting documentation, misstatements/omissions regarding events/transactions/information, intentional misapplication of accounting principles related to values/classification/manner of presentation/delivery of information, fictitious entries records (towards the end of the year) to manipulate operating results or achieve other objectives, improper adjustments of the assumptions and changing in judgments used to estimate account balances, omissions/advances/delays in recognition of events/transactions that occurred during the reporting period, concealment or nondisclosure of facts that could affect the amounts recorded in the financial statements, engaging in complex transactions designed to distort the entity's financial position or performance; changing the records or conditions of significant transactions. Opposed to fraudulent financial accounting, an undue asset reclaims concern (Popa I., Man Al. Rus A., 2009): revenue dilapidation (revenue coming from unwarranted claims / diverting income), theft of physical assets or intellectual property, payments to fictitious suppliers, without the entry of goods / services, use of assets in personal interest (including also personal loan guarantees), false records to cover the deficit. These abuses are often minor and are usually committed by employees, although sometimes, the managers themselves are involved in such activities.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The poor performance of shareholders funds across sectors ranging from financial sectors to manufacturing amongst other sector has been a cause for a major concern as much has been done to save the situation but to no avail, this has been majorly caused by the poor and sometimes fraudulent accounting practices obtainable in the business world today. The current fraudulent accounting practices has also contributed to the current economic recession as a lot of funds have been lossed by shareholders across sectors and this isn’t good for any developing economy as ours.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the impact of fraudulent accounting practices on shareholders fund. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1. To examine the level of fraudulent accounting practices obtainable in Nigeria.
2. To determine the importance of reducing fraudulent accounting practices on the economy of Nigeria.
3. To examine the relationship between fraudulent practices and shareholders’ funds in Nigeria.
4. To examine the ways of reducing fraudulent accounting practices in Nigeria.
5. To recommend ways of improving ethical accounting practices in Nigeria.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of fraudulent accounting practices obtainable in Nigeria?
2. What is the importance of reducing fraudulent accounting practices on the economy of Nigeria?
3. What is the relationship between fraudulent practices and shareholders’ funds in Nigeria?
4. What are the ways of reducing fraudulent accounting practices in Nigeria?
5. What are the ways of improving ethical accounting practices in Nigeria?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There is no significant relationship between fraudulent practices and shareholders fund.
H1: There is a significant relationship between fraudulent practices and shareholders fund.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would greatly benefit shareholders across all sectors of the economy as it would reduce the losses encountered by shareholders in Nigeria which would by extension improve the economy of the country. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further study on the subject matter.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study would be on the impact of fraudulent accounting practices on share holders fund in Nigeria using the first bank Nigeria plc as a case study.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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