Managers have more leeway than you seem to think. 1. Write downs can be delayed. That can help profits. 2. Sometimes inventory should be liquidated at a slight loss but liquidation is delayed... again increasing profits. 3. Hiring can be delayed... helping profits in the short run. 4. Maintenance can be delayed, again helping profits in the short run. 5.Overtime can be curtailed. Sometimes helping profits. 6. Bonuses can be reduced, again helping short term profits. 7. Sales meetings can be "economized" increasing short term profits. etc. Some of these activities are performed when you wish to "dress up EBITDA"/earnings (not fraud) prior to sale. Been there, seen that.