Arthur Andersen conviction overturned

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Arthur Andersen, the accounting giant which collapsed following a conviction for obstructing the course of justice in the wake of the Enron collapse, had its conviction overturned yesterday in the US Supreme Court. The presiding judge ruled that the judge in the original trial had given the jury "flawed instructions."

Andersen's conviction of "corruptly persuading employees to destroy documents" relating to the audit of the energy company Enron lost the firm its licence to audit. The previously 90,000 strong organisation swiftly collapsed, ushering in a new obsession with corporate governance and compliance, embodied most demandingly in the Sarbanes Oxley Act.

According to press reports, chief justice William Rehnquist said in a written opinion that the jury had been told "that even if Ander...

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By Anonymous
03rd Jun 2005 14:51

trust your dentist

I went to see my dentist today and this is how our conversation went:

Dentist: "I am over the moon that Athur Anderson's conviction has been overtuned"

Me: "Why?".

Dentist: "Unlike PWC, E&Y, Delloitte and KPMG, Authur Andersen has at least invented something that we dentist have been campaigning for for years"

Me: "What is that?"

Dentist: "Tripple entry bookkeeping"

Me: "I have never heard of tripple entry bookkeeping. What do you mean?"

Dentist: "Debit, Credit and Shred. Shredding documents is very important in a cash business such as mine. I could reduce my tax bill by half by simply shredding my appointments diary after I have done the debits and credits in my books. I hope the accounting standards get changed pretty fast to reflect this."

Me: "I couldn't agree more".

A visit to the dentist is never a pleasant one but on this occasion I came out of the surgery with a smile in my face.


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03rd Jun 2005 06:25

Auditing paper "RE"write?
If law cases got overturned, then doesn't this means the need to REwrite the auditing paper?

So goes to say, what we wrote earlier is now wrong. What?

Extraordinary or Exceptional?

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01st Jun 2005 14:26

Anderson - crooks or just stupid?
The Anderson case is yet another example of weak administration failing to grasp the reality. Even today there is more of the same. Interpublic Group is restating its accounts for 2001-3, has failed to file for 2004 and Q1 2005. It still has PwC as auditors despite the fact it is aware of material control problems. This is a company quoted on NYSE, turns over $6.8 billion and has net $300mill in debt. It cannot say for sure whether it's in profit or not, doesn't know if its receivables are OK - which stand at a staggering 284 days turnover - if finally certidied. PwC gave it a clean bill of health for 2003. And, it has retained more or less the same management all the way through this debacle.

Making a living as an auditor may not be the licence to print money it once was but if you have a system of audit then you must have regulation and with it consequences for stepping out of line. That should apply with equal measure to audit companies of any size.

America's problem is a long standing issue of form over substance - rules are made and are seen as there to be worked around.

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01st Jun 2005 15:35

CV (Resume?)
I am going to replace 1969-1972 on my CV with Wormwood Scrubs or The Mawdsley Hospital. Sadly I can no longer copy it to Chicago. I knew no good would come of "improving your visibility in the business community" or "using alcohol wisely" or calling stock "inventory".I have these awful recurring dreams in which I resit and fail all my exams; now they're coming true. I never have to show a CV to a client (they're not buying a camel)but I sympathise with those who do have to show them to creeps with negative IQs who love to read them. To them it will be a serious lapse of judgment to have even been in the firm, however personally blameless.I have another dream in which I set psychometric tests for these creeps which never come to an end.

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By Anonymous
02nd Jun 2005 08:34

Rough Justice?
Its not April 1st on June 1st now by any chance? Conspiracy theories will abound forever because of this. Only in America. So all those 'talking heads' who leapt in to criticize in general international terms the profession because of an American problem now owe an apology...?

I'm thinking, Richard Murphy, Prem Sikka and Austin Mitchell here specifically. Take a bow chaps! Why the deafening silence?

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