Survey Says: Readers Weigh in on the Andersen Verdict

June 20, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Some see it as a logical extension of a series of missteps - Waste Management, Sunbeam, Enron. Others as a travesty of justice. And then there are those who fully expected that tales of shredding would be the final straw, not a lawyer's memo. Still, last weekend a jury effectively shut the doors at Arthur Andersen, finding it guilty of obstruction of justice.

This week, we asked readers to tell us what they thought of the decision – and it was clear that we tapped into a subject of much interest. 

None of the five options we presented garnered a majority, but the most popular response termed the Andersen result a “wake up call” for the accounting profession (38%).  One reader went a bit further (as did several others), noting it was “not only a wake up call for the accounting profession, but for every profession that wants to somewhat police itself on the front end.”   Another said, “Enron and Anderson were both burned at the stake because “a few in the know, refused to say no.”

Next most popular, cited by roughly 20%, was simply that the verdict was “correct,” and nearly 15% said it was “long overdue.”  One who said it was overdue noted, “…It would probably be more effective if a few CEOs were actually held responsible for a change and lined up against a wall and shot.”

“All of the Big firms have received
wake up calls before and after the
Enron disaster. Problem is, they
kept hitting the snooze button.”

About 10% agreed with the reader who said, “The reason was correct, because Andersen always had a reputation of being a very aggressive (& sometimes arrogant) accounting firm.   Wrong result, because the DOJ only gave the jury a few options based on the way they pursued and litigated the case.   Let’s put 20,000 “innocent” people on trial for the actions of 10.    This was a crusade against a firm, without regards to the people who would ultimately pay for the misdeeds of a few.”   Another cautioned, “Don’t blame it all on the accountants.  The lawyers at Anderson were deeply involved in the obstruction of Justice.”
 
However, some 17% said the result was “wacko.”  As one reader noted, “I think it is a travesty that AA is brought down for what they did.  Yes, they screwed up.  Yes, there should be some punishment, financial and possibly criminal for the guilty parties…but to destroy the entire company…come on.  That is total overkill.  Enron is the culprit.  The exec’s that received millions prior to its collapse are the ones that should pay.  They are the ones to be made examples so other execs get the message that honesty and fiduciary responsibility really are part of the job description.”
 
Will we be better off?  No, according to the reader who worried, “The Andersen outcome will only serve to encourage counsel (a generally cautious bunch anyway) to further qualify and make more unusable the things they put in writing to their clients.”
 
And this week’s Editor’s Choice“All of the Big firms have received wake up calls before and after the Enron disaster. Problem is, they kept hitting the snooze button.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!  There are some particularly good reader VERBATIMS this week. Check them out.

The question was: Was the Andersen verdict:
(a) wacko,
(b) correct,
(c) right result, wrong reason,
(d) long overdue,
(e) a wake up call for the accounting profession?


THE VERBATIMS

It is interesting to note that Mr. Wooden's comments come directly before such an unwise act.  The financial world looked to AA to be the independent third party looking out for the investor's interest AA turned out to be the orchestrator of their betrayal.
I vote A, B,D,and E


( e) Not only a wake up call for the accounting profession, but for every profession that wants to somewhat police itself on the front end.  The AMA and other similar groups who are afforded an opportunity to serve the general population, set standards for that service, and benefit handsomely from their efforts, must understand that they will be held to a higher standard of integrity.  To abuse that privilege necessarily results in a more severe penalty on the back end. 

T he Andersen verdict was very simply correct.  In my experience with auditing/accounting firms, they have been thorough, accurate and knowledgeable.  Albeit my experience has been from the point of view of one being audited as part of a general audit and responding to client auditors for request for information and not as a client of an auditor.  However, I have a great deal of respect for their work and I do not believe that the Andersen situation is symptomatic of a flaw with the entire industry.

Enron and Anderson were both burned at the stake because "a few in the know, refused to say no"
Business professionals who value their credentials take note!

The Enron decision was definitely E a wake up call for the accounting profession. Ironically I was taking an accounting class when the scandal broke and boy did we learn about ethics and how not complying with GAAP can really hurt many companies and innocent people - employees.

My answer is d (long overdue).  If you break the law you need to pay the price.  It's about time the big boys, who think they are above the law, gets knocked down a few pegs.

My vote is "e" - a wake up call for the accounting profession.  There are far too many accounting professionals who see rules as challenges to get around, and thereby put their companies in danger.  And the auditors who are supposed to keep everything on track have gone from looking the other way to actually coming up with their own ideas about how to get around the rules.  I'm glad to be part of the benefits profession, where adherence to
ERISA and IRS regs is taken more seriously (not to say we don't have our share of opportunists, but the majority, I think, try to follow the rules). Let's get back to the point where a company's balance sheet truly reflects the health of the company, and not the creativity of the accounting and tax professionals working on its behalf.

All of the Big firms have received wake up calls before and after the Enron disaster. Problem is, they kept hitting the snooze button.



The accounting industry failed to adequately self-regulate. Unfortunately, applying govt. regulation will not ensure that auditors will not continue to succumb to the schemes of greedy corporate CEOs and CFOs.

Also, govt. regulation of the accounting industry will ultimately become a high cost that is passed on to American society.

PS - I am a CPA in private industry. I have worked in public accounting in both large and small firms.

The question was: Was the Andersen verdict:
(a) wacko,
(b) correct,
(c) right result, wrong reason,
(d) long overdue,
(e) a wake up call for the accounting profession?


I think the verdict was a good choice.  As a CPA, I believe the partners on the Enron account were greedy and unethical.  Our profession is self-regulating - CPA's are honor bound to follow a code of ethics.  We are trusted by the public, mainly due to our independence and unbiased opinions.  Andersen deliberately, and with a profit motive, stepped over that line independence.  They have tarnished the reputation of CPA's and accounting in general.  CPA's now have almost as many jokes about them as the ambulance chasing, blood sucking lawyers.


I believe the Andersen ruling is definitely a wake up call for the profession.  The ruling was probably technically correct, but the crime doesn't seem that the punishment.  More victims (innocent former and current Andersen employees) have been created by the legal prosecution of this case.  Victims of the Enron debacle (employees and shareholders) will also most likely receive less because of this result.  Was justice truly served?  I don't believe so.

Too much pressure on accountants with consulting breathing down their backs. Total conflict of interest. I bet Accenture is happy not to be a part of Arthur Anderson.

Survey response.

(b) correct
(d) long overdue,
(e) a wake up call for the accounting profession?  Also for senior management, investors and regulators.

Still, what happened at Anderson was a long time coming and some of the loss in professional standards comes from clients who are getting what they look for and pay for when they choose their auditors.


I think it is a travesty that AA is brought down for what they did.  Yes, they screwed up.  Yes, there should be some punishment, financial and possibly criminal for the guilty parties...but to the destroy the entire company...come on.  That is total overkill.  Enron is the culprit.  The exec's that received millions prior to its collapse are the ones that should pay.  They are the ones to be made examples so other execs get the message that honesty and fiduciary responsibility really are part of the job description.

I believe that the decision was correct.  You have an established code of conduct and/or ethics in a profession and when you don't practice them, the penalty should be severe.  If that is left unpunished, then the resulting practices become chaos versus standards.  I do feel sorry for those good Anderson employees whose followed the rules and have to suffer the consequences.  However, as a experienced HR professional, my experience tells me that talent always raise to the top.  So while it may take them (the good folks) some time to find employment, they will be better off.

Completely "Wacko" and absurd that a single incident, involving a single client, would destroy an entire accounting firm.  (But what genius inside of Arthur Anderson agreed to "cooperate" with the government and waive the right to attorney/client privilege?). 

D on't blame it all on the accountants.  The lawyers at Anderson were deeply involved in the obstruction of Justice.

I would select b, half of c, d and e.  It's about time the accounting profession received the same attention and scrutiny as the legal profession, especially the trial bar, and the medical profession.  The key word here is "profession."  Professionals in all fields serving the public have an ethical obligation to uphold and practice their profession according to established standards.  The ethical and practice standards were established to protect the professional AND the professionals' clients, the public. Actuaries, beware! (Just kidding - sort of.) 

As a member of one of the listed professions, it has been my experience that most professionals take very seriously the oath to which they have pledged to protect the profession and the clients we serve.  Unfortunately, in every profession there are those who choose because of greed or other motives to "forget" their mission.  Hence, my choice of half of C:  right result, but I don't necessarily agree that it was for the wrong reason.

The question was: Was the Andersen verdict:
(a) wacko,
(b) correct,
(c) right result, wrong reason,
(d) long overdue,
(e) a wake up call for the accounting profession?


OK - I just can't resist this one. I feel the Andersen verdict was (b) correct, (d) long overdue, and (e) a wake up call for the accounting profession (and all organizations who feel they are above the law and should not be held accountable for their unethical and unlawful actions).


I will choose (c) right result wrong reason.  It's hard to believe that a firm with thousands of employees is going down for what one employee wrote in a single email.  That doesn't really sound like firm policy to me but nonetheless, Anderson's structure allowed the local office to much authority.

The verdict was long overdue and should constitute a wakeup call to the accounting profession.  It would probably be more effective if a few CEOs were actually held responsible for a change and lined up against a wall and shot.

I think that the lawyer's memo verified that Anderson knew that it was at risk.  If I were a juror, I would have found the memo to be compelling evidence too.

(f) Right reason, wrong result.  The reason was correct, because Andersen always had a reputation of being a very aggressive (& sometimes arrogant) accounting firm.   Wrong result, because the DOJ only gave the jury a few options based on the way they pursued and litigated the case.  Let's put 20,000 "innocent" people on trial for the actions of 10.    This was a crusade against a firm, without regards to the people who would ultimately pay for the misdeeds of a few.

The Andersen verdict was totally irresponsible.  The verdict essentially destroyed a company and the lives of their employees for the actions of a very few. 

Wacko!!  Andersen with thousands of great employees are left out in the cold while the Enron schemers and crooks will walk off with millions.  Enron still is in business while Andersen loses everything.  The Accounting profession did need a wake-up call but this could have happened to any one of many large accounting firms.

Government prosecutors should have settled with Andersen and focused their efforts on the Big Fish - Enron management.

Andersen Employee - 1970-82


A is the correct answer, with a qualifying comment.  The accounting industry has known for years the perils of the auditing/consulting conundrum.  The Andersen case just illustrated the consequences of putting off reforms in this area.  In my opinion, the real harm is to legal counsel and the clients who rely on them for advice and guidance.  The Andersen outcome will only serve to encourage counsel (a generally cautious bunch anyway) to further qualify and make more unusable the things they put in writing to their clients. 

Answers B, D & E all apply...can you spell ethics boys and girls?

I am a peon in the great financial world, and a Spin Doctor (public relations professional) to boot (two strikes against my opinion I guess). Still, I have followed the Arthur Anderson story with interest.  My husband's best friend, and best man at our wedding, spent years with Arthur Anderson before starting his own firm, so my opinion of the firm began as a good one.

Then I took over a PR position, at a firm, where my predecessor was a past Arthur Anderson employee.   I lived, day to day, in the shadow of Arthur Anderson. 

As a PR person, she could do no wrong...because she had been with Arthur Anderson.  I did a yeoman's task of PR, but, a' lack, I had never worked for "Arthur Anderson."  I could never aspire to the salary they had paid her...because, she had worked for Arthur Anderson. She was a good PR person. She did many things right.  She had also missed some opportunities and been lackadaisical in obvious areas.  But, in management's eyes, she walked on water.  I doubled the amount of exposure for the firm, but, alas, I still was inadequate . . . oh, that I could have just worked for "Arthur Anderson."  (That last line should be read with great sarcasm).

How many employees, in corporate America today have high salaries and management in awe of them because the once worked for Arthur Anderson. Even in the wake of a few misdeeds, I would bet that the name Arthur Anderson on a resume will continue to carry incredible weight in the corporate world. Management will continue to pay them more and expect less from them than the rest of us.

So, what does it matter if the verdict as good or bad?  Hey those people worked for Arthur Anderson!

The question was: Was the Andersen verdict:
(a) wacko,
(b) correct,
(c) right result, wrong reason,
(d) long overdue,
(e) a wake up call for the accounting profession?


A-E plus.  As far as I know it was only one person that is taking the brunt of the criminal charge of obstruction of justice.  I believe his name is Duncan.  They should have significantly more people from Arthur Anderson brought up on criminal charges and they should already be behind bars since they should have a speedy trial.  In addition, it is ironic that someone at Arthur Anderson is convicted prior to anyone from Enron.  It appears to be a wake up call to the accounting profession but it is like when the alarm clock goes off in the morning and you still don't feel like getting up you slam the snooze button until it rings again nine minutes later or until the next company gets caught misrepresenting their financials.
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Take your pick!  Mine is E.

Accountants have always given the impression they have the highest standards.
We all know every profession has some bad eggs...and eventually one will break!
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(d) Long overdue.  However, only the symptom has been treated in this case.  Let's see if the actual cause of the disease will be addressed.

We seem to have forgotten why businesses exist.  ENRON (and its auditors) made decisions based solely on what they could get away with, not on providing a service to customers.  As most of us learned in our youth, trouble was inevitable.

Unfortunately the perpetrators aren't the only ones to pay.  Other employees and retired Anderson partners (who left a company that was in good condition and being managed responsibly) will pay a significant price for the malfeasance of a bunch of "well to do ne'er do wells."
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To quote the WSJ, "In reality, Andersen's criminal trial was more about its legacy than it's fate.  Andersen has been disintegrating since the government unsealed it indictment March 14."

Although you asked about the verdict, it's the effect of the indictment that's so incredible.  That clearly will be a wake-up call to SOME in the accounting profession, whereas others will just hit the snooze alarm.
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While I am very sympathetic to AA's non-partner employees, I hope this serves as a wake-up call to the entire profession.  With the possible exception of stock analysts, auditors have provided less real value for cost-paid than any other profession in history.
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I would not say the Anderson verdict was "wacko" but you have to wonder what the Justice Department was thinking when they indicted the firm, knowing that it would put them out of business, thereby lessening competition within the accounting industry further.  Now we will get the same "bad" audit at a higher price!  Unless there is reform in what is considered "generally accepted accounting principles", some independence at the "oversight/lobbying" organization - the AICPA, and the elimination of conflicts of interest from audit firms, there will be no change. I think Arthur Levitt was on the right path when he was SEC chairman.  Pitt is in bed with all of the above so it does not bode well for meaningful reform.  

I also believe that dishonest/fraudulent executives need to be jailed - put them in Guantanemo Bay with the Al Queda terrorists!

Putting accounting firms out of business is not solving the problem.
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I'd vote for options D and E.

I'd use the word "tragic" only in its Greek drama sense in that I see the seeds of the unraveling at Andersen (and no doubt elsewhere, but not as evident yet) in corporate America's unwillingness to pay a sufficiently high auditing fee to assure that the highest standards and competency can be compensated and the Big 8 (oops 5 or whatever) firms responding by seeking client revenues and allocating compensation within the firm in ways which obviously are counter to objectivity in the auditing process.

Oh, for a Hippocratic Oath for the profession. And then teeth to enforce a backbone. (Sorry for the mixed metaphors.)

The question was: Was the Andersen verdict:
(a) wacko,
(b) correct,
(c) right result, wrong reason,
(d) long overdue,
(e) a wake up call for the accounting profession?



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The verdict was (a) wacko and should be appealed on grounds of incorrect last-minute jury instructions from an incompetent judge. The prosecution should then not challenge the appeal and go after the real criminals.
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As an elected trustee of a $ 30,000,000,000 public pension plan, I feel that this was a correct result.  Investors rely on managers and analysts who must rely on financial report audits.  The industry is very "incestuous" as it is.  An outsider's only protections are transparency and unbiased auditing.  The public small investors (who put in most of the money in total) may not be as sophisticated individually, but they can smell a rat quicker than many insiders.  I do regret the effect this had on the honest employees of Anderson, Enron, etc.
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CPA's wake up!!    The only thing CPA's have to sell is their opinion.  If they can't be trusted to be fair and impartial, they will loose the confidence of the investing, banking and regulating public.  If that happens, there will be no need for Accountants, just bookkeepers.
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E - Not only a wake up call for the accounting profession, but for every profession that wants to somewhat police itself on the front end.  The AMA and other similar groups who are afforded an opportunity to serve the general population, set standards for that service, and benefit handsomely from their efforts, must understand that they will be held to a higher standard of integrity.  To abuse that privilege necessarily results in a more severe penalty on the back end. 
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If individuals at Arthur Andersen performed criminal acts, they should be subject to the corrective action of our criminal law.  Same situation for managers at Enron or attorneys in its law firms.  However, destroying the entities Arthur Andersen, Enron or the law firms serves no positive purpose for the people of this country.  This seems somewhat politically motivated to cover up that some part of the failure rest with U. S. agencies, such as the SEC, who left the barn door open and now have sent their sheriff to shoot "all of the farmers".
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" G O O D    M O U R N I N G  "
That's my response. We should all feel upset about the apparent lack of accountability, ethics, independence and greed that seem to have permeated the profession.
 
We should all be in mourning because corporate America and its auditing profession have lost credibility.
 
Maybe it's the wakeup call we need. We are in mourning for Corporate America ..... and especially the unique tradition and esteem that once was held by the public accounting profession. As an alumnus of a former Big Eight accounting firm (there used to be eight ... and they used to only do audits back then), I am in mourning.
I was proud to call myself a public accountant 25 years ago. Now many of my colleagues are in mourning ...... but maybe it will be GOOD MOURNING.
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Wake-up call for business in general. It's hard not to see what happened at Enron in light of what happened at Tyco, ImClone, GlobalCrossing, et cetera. Somewhere along the way corporate titans decided it was ok to get whatever they liked - procedure, law, shareholders and plain old common sense be damned. And at times the avarice reached comical levels: Barron's likened Kozlowski's acceptance of his $75K director's fee to you or me crawling under the couch for a dropped penny. Kind of sad, especially when that insistence on crawling after pennies will likely land him in the clink.

The question was: Was the Andersen verdict:
(a) wacko,
(b) correct,
(c) right result, wrong reason,
(d) long overdue,
(e) a wake up call for the accounting profession?


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Thanks for the interesting question, Nevin. I would answer (c), (d) & (e), and also add (f)for "failure" of the accounting profession's response to this disgrace.

What has been the reaction of the accounting associations and lobbyists to Andersen/Enron and the endless stream of daily auditing scandals, accounting restatements and resulting destruction of investor shareholder value?

Why, they have pulled out all the stops, called in their markers and lobbied the dickens out of Congress, SRO's, the regulatory agencies, federal and state, against any meaningful accounting reform whatever. Last week, the Washington lobbyists were crowing they had "won" the battle against accounting reform in Congress.  But yesterday, to the shock and amazement of the AICPA and kindred anti-reformists, the Sarbanes Bill rose like Lazarus from the Senate Banking Committee where they thought it had been buried.  Senator Phil Gramm, accounting lobby stalwart and Enron loyalist to the end, has promised to carry on the fight against passage of the Sarbane-Corzine-Dodd reform bill.

Meanwhile, the SEC tomorrow (Thurs) will announce its accounting reform proposals, which will go far beyond anything the accounting industry's lobbyists had ever thought would emanate from a Pitt Commission.

With the market shedding shareholder value by the tens of billions each day as a result of poor corporate governance, conflicted auditors, and corrupted analysts, it seems Washington and the Street at last have seen Andersen/Enron for what it is-- merely representative of a gross systemic failure of the nation's capitalist system in the '90s, for which US investors, pension funds, and would-be retirees are now paying the price, and will continue to pay dearly for years to come.

We would expect the Big 4 and national accounting associations to respond to the Andersen tragedy by doing all they could to restore the profession's lost reputation for independence and integrity.  Instead, they've dedicated themselves to picking Andersen's bones and blocking reform in an obscene food fight that disgusts.

The accounting leadership's failure to recognize their professional responsibilities here, or even to grasp the full outrage of the investor class, just doesn't add-up.  They're just not getting it.
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The verdict was wacko.  The results have yet to be weighed in the minds of men and women.  Corporations by their nature lack souls, spirits, or a will or ability to act.  Each and every characteristic reflected by a corporation is the essence of the characters of human beings making decisions and conducting the affairs of the corporation in the name of the corporation.  While it is impossible for a corporation to "err", the human beings that made the decisions should be held accountable.  In the event the organization was controlled by corrupt individuals and could not continue to operate without the individuals making the decisions, the organization would collapse from its own weight.  Yes, Virginia, the verdict was wacko but I will not criticize the result.  CPA firms by their nature market integrity.  If integrity was lacking, the firm was a fraud, has no reason to be and should be shut down.
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I think the Anderson verdict is (e) a wake-up call to all accounting firms.  As my husband is a casualty of the Enron collapse, I am glad to see that Anderson is being held accountable (no pun intended) for their oversight and/or blessing of questionable practices.  Although I feel badly for the innocent employees caught in the middle, most of them will be re-hired by the other accounting firms that are quietly picking up Anderson's clients.

The question was: Was the Andersen verdict:
(a) wacko,
(b) correct,
(c) right result, wrong reason,
(d) long overdue,
(e) a wake up call for the accounting profession?


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(c), (d) and (e)

(c) -- The people involved were not supervised when they were new employees, learning "the ropes". Obviously they thought this process and the manner in which they handled Enron (and how many other clients????) were okay. All the former supervisors, current supervisors, training programs and incentive programs contributed to this result.

(d) -- Overdue? Yeah, I'll say, how long can American businesses take the ostrich stance of burying their heads in the ground and ignoring ethical missteps?

(e) -- Get with it, this is NOT the only accounting company to stretch the law and misuse the law, and this is NOT the only corporate beneficiary of accountants' misapplication of the rules. Clean up your own shops, America, and let the ripples infect all other businesses such that EVERYONE follows ALL THE RULES ALL THE TIME.
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I think it's definitely a wake up call for the accounting industry.  And very sad that so many lives will be affected by the acts of a few dozen people.  The wake up call also goes out to investment advisors who are kept on a short leash by these large companies....giving their clients "buy" or "hold" recommendations while they know the companies they're recommending are dissolving. 

The verdict simply says:  "Either maintain your independence and objectivity....or die."  
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d & e - Long overdue and a wake-up call for the entire accounting profession.  When I worked for a law firm several years ago that used illegal accounting practices, they demanded I follow their instructions.  Their CPA was pacing back and forth in the office as I grilled the partner as to what "exactly" he was asking me to do.  The CPA went along with it so as not to lose the client, and I eventually lost the job because I wouldn't play by their rules.  If the CPA had disagreed with them, they would have found a different one who would go along with their game.  I'm a firm believer in karma - what goes around comes around.  Arthur Anderson's accounting practices destroyed a lot of lives, now their own lives have come crashing down around them.  They have no one to blame but themselves.  It's called the law of cause and effect. 
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A long overdue wake up call to accounting firms (E).  One often got the impression that this group thought it was untouchable.
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I think the Andersen verdict is a wake up call not only for the accounting profession but for every organization that has chosen to organize as a partnership or that relies on its integrity and good name to obtain and retain business.

In the Andersen case, the prosecution threw as many issues up against the wall as they could to see what would stick.  The Andersen defense team managed to wash away the larger issues of Duncan's credibility and if the shredding was justified.  But, the judge's desire for a verdict and the jury's desire to be home for father's day weekend (among other things) caused them to pick on the changes that Andersen's corporate lawyer.  Granted they were obstruction of justice and should have resulted in a guilty verdict.  But, a lawyer brought down one of the five biggest accounting firms in the nation!  The prosecution was very proud of themselves and pick up momentum and in reality, they were just lucky that one of their issues stuck no matter how small.

The wake up call for the corporate world is, you can be brought down in only a matter of months if just one employee acts inappropriately and nobody is willing to stop her.  No matter how good your partners are, it can all come crashing down because of one bad decision or one bad operator.  Suddenly the partnership structure is a very shaky one.
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I heard some Anderson employees boo-hooing over the court case and as usual a big company like Anderson just doesn't get it. Separate this from the whole Enron debacle and what you have left is a company that failed to respond appropriately to an inquiry by its governing body.  Too bad! Arrogance is not above the law when there is wrong doing at the bottom of it.
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The verdict was a wake up call for the accounting profession.  It is a reminder that auditors and not to be in bed with the client.  Some many working people are not willing to take responsibility for hard decisions, they just over look items that should be challenged.  Also the story details how the senior executive management of companies get the Auditing firms to bend to there way of thinking by having individuals replaced in key positions. 
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Sounds like a wake up call for the accounting profession, but where is the line drawn?  If Andersen turned in their view of the situation and the client (Enron) chose to ignore it, who is truly in the wrong?  Andersen could only do as much as the client would let them...in the end Enron "employed" Andersen and had the final say.  The real question should be, do accounting firms have the right to turn in law breaking clients that won't report things the way they advise??
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Answer (e) It's wake up call to everyone who runs a company or works at a company that relies on trust.  When trust is eroded, who knows how deep the collapse is.  This just shows the collapse can be total!
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The Anderson verdict was a wake up call for the accounting profession.  Anderson got caught, but I would wager that other accounting firms are guilty of similar action. 
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The whole indictment was wacky, much less the guilty verdict. There are problems in the accounting industry, and to be honest, in just about every consulting field. Destroying a firm like Andersen without addressing any of those issues was a waste of time and hurt a lot of people that didn't have anything to do with those or any other audits. The scramble for clients and personnel from Andersen is creating a lot of turmoil. Audit prices will jump to cover increased CYA work (and less competition). I just don't see anything positive that came out of the whole mess.

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