Andrew Schmitt, in the comments to a previous post, mentioned the predilection of semiconductor firms to smooth out their earnings numbers, often through illicit means. You often hear about companies "smoothing" out or "engineering" their numbers, though there's not a lot of discussion about what this actually means, or what the consequence of this.
The book Rebirth of American Industry, which basically argues that our system of accounting creates perverse to actual industry had a great section walking through the process a widget maker (ACME widgets, not Facebook ones) goes through to make the number. It's an ugly process that involves all kind of waste, overproduction, moving goods into a different basket, etc. Unfortunately, I've lent out my copy at the moment, so I can't copy an excerpt. The point is, it's counterproductive and it has long-term negative consequences, because it leads to a build up of inventory and plant mismanagement. I recall after reading it feeling a little bit of a chill thinking about the analogy would be in the financial world -- the furious end-of-the-quarter machinations to hit the number and what they looked like.