In public companies there is more pressure by upper management and executives to "make the numbers." To meet earnings expectations, accounting departments will often go to great lengths to move items around, understate expenses or reallocate them, back into numbers as opposed to putting a true number down, and footnote reports to death, in fact negating much of what is reported.
The pressure is too great on public companies to perform to the expectations of shareholders as opposed to performing to the measurements of the industry and the ridiculous executive compensation is part of the problem. I've seen companies earn record profits year after year and bemoan the sorry state of the company's finances, leading to minimal increases for employees and huge bonuses and raises for executives.
This is the real reason companies have trouble attracting the best and the brightest. Compensation sucks and the only thing willing to be cut is compensation and benefits.
I'm not calling your Mom a criminal and I'm not sure of her function. Does she work in a public company as an accountant or as a CPA who audits public books? If she works in a public company, ask her how often they are asked to back into a desired number as oppoesd to reporting real numbers.