Current issue: Scandals in auditing
Accounting scandals are political or business scandals which arise with the disclosure of financial misdeeds by trusted executives of corporations or governments. These days, not too often, these scandals are splashed as headlines across media. Why? Because there are complex groups of stakeholders who might be seriously affected by the scandals. Enron scam was the most remarkable scandal in 20 centuries by their institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud. The scandal also brought into question the accounting practices and activities of many corporations in the United States. The scandal also affected the greater business world by causing the dissolution of the Arthur Andersen accounting company. This report will reveal the whole story of Enron scam and auditors role from the situation in more depth. It will also include the current situation of those responsible for the fraud.
2. Background of U.S in 1990s
The 1990s of U.S were a time of prosperity and this prosperity period is originated from growth in IT corporates and in accordance with increase in productivity as technology develops with IT. In the mid- to late-90s, society’s expectations of what the Internet could offer were unrealistic. Many investors foolishly ignored the fundamental rules of investing in the stock market and instead, investors and entrepreneurs became preoccupied with new ideas that were not yet proven to have market potential. Furthermore, they ignored the blatant signs that the bubble was about to burst. (IT Bubble in 90s) There are two main reasons for the bubble; with investors` optimistic expectation, there were a lot of ‘Window dressing’ in accounting. As Enron collapsed, the growth of the tech sector proved to be illusory, and bubble started to sober.
3. Enron- who are they?
Enron Corporation is an energy trading, communications company which was formed in 1985 based in Houston, Texas. Enron marketed electricity and natural gas, delivered energy and other physical commodities. Company branched into many non-energy-related fields as well, including such areas as high-speed Internet bandwidth, and financial and risk management with 21,000 employees at mid-2001. The company reported revenues of $101 billion in 2000. It has stakes in nearly 30,000 miles of gas pipeline, owns or has access to a 15,000mile fiber optic network and has a stake in electricity generating operations around the world. 4. Enron- what they did?
The Enron fraud case is extremely complex. There are several main characters who are spearheading the Enron scam. One of them was Jeff Skillng. Jeff Skillng, who was a consultant in Mckinsey, took charge in consulting Enron. He found problems and also potentiality of Enron and he proposed the idea of “gas bank” to Enron, which is a system that is combining financial system and gas supply and demand system, and taking the margin from the two system(as bank does). This was an ideal idea in theory and Enron asked him to take charge for this business, and later he became the president of Enron's trading operations. Also, he convinced federal regulators to permit Enron to use an accounting method known as "mark to market." Using this method allowed Enron to count projected earnings from long-term energy contracts as current income. This was money that might not be collected for many years. It is thought that this technique was used to inflate revenue numbers by manipulating projections for future revenue. The problem is that it doesn`t match realised profit and real cash flow. especially, Enron`s main trading was long term future contract which is hard to make valuation for the future. Use of these techniques made it difficult to see how Enron was really making money. The numbers were on the books so the stock prices remained high, but Enron wasn't paying high taxes. When the telecom industry suffered its first downturn, Enron...
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