Enron Case Study
When Sharron Watkins, the former UP of Corporate Development offered to show the problems in counting decisions, Ken Lay, the Chair of the Board refused and said “He rather not see it”. 2. Regulatory Agencies, SEC and BAS Enron was able to hide their losses behind their ESP.
or Special Purpose Entities by omitting an Spec’s assets and liabilities from its consolidated financial statements and both SEC and BAS failed to provide formal guidelines for companies to follow in ESP. accounting and reporting.
As a result of the minimal legal and accounting guidelines for Esp., Enron along with other companies was able to divert huge amounts of their liabilities and asses to off-balance sheet entities. 3. Management and Accounting team of Enron Both management and accounting team Of Enron manipulated the revenue recognition principle by making vague assumptions that inflated the profits booked on Enron’s commodity contracts. There attempt was to keep the stock prices high by showing inflated financial statements in order to receive high credit ratings and increased lender cash flow into the company. 4.
Anderson Accounting Firm The Anderson firm, an independent audit firm failed to provide a more transparent financial statements of Enron. Anderson firm audited the many for 1 5 years where its auditors failed to perform their duties and professional standards of accounting. In fact, Anderson made efforts to restructure Enron’s ESP. to continue to qualify as unconsolidated entities once they became aware of Enron’s rapidly deteriorating financial condition. Anderson firm was more interested in retaining Enron as their client to provide consulting services hence creating a conflict of interest.
Lists three type of consulting services that audit firm have provided to their audit client in recent years. For each item, indicate the specific threats, if any, that the reversion of the given services can pose for an audit firm independence. Auditors independence is considered a cornerstone in the accounting profession since they are entrusted by the general public to provide true picture of a company’s financial position. It is believed that non-audit services provided by audit firms impair auditors independence to fairly attest the financial statements produced by the client company.
Consulting and audit a same firm causes conflict of interest. Anderson firm earned approximately $52 million in fees from Enron in 2000, less than half of which was directly elated to the auditing, rest were for non-audit services. Audit firm may provide many types of consulting services such as: 1. Tax consulting services 2. Accounting system design services 3. Bookkeeping or other related services 4. Financial advice services, including internal audit consulting service. In this highly competitive market, non-audit services have taken precedence over the traditional accounting and auditing services.
Even if an audit firm is fairly attesting financial statements and provides honest opinion of a company, its stakeholders and other users may still presume otherwise due o the recent accounting debacles such as Enron and Anderson firm. The additional non-audit services may prove to be a threat to the audit firm’s independence. By providing financial advice services for Enron’s accounting procedures, Anderson provided them an opportunity to manipulate the reporting and treatment of the Esp..
Bookkeeping and following correct accounting procedures are very important components of preparing financial statements. Manipulations of these data are likely to show up when it is audited accurately, and with precision. When the same company repaper and audits the financial statements, it can create conflict of interest just like in this case, where the creators of accounting procedures I. E the management and Anderson team fabricated the financial statements by using complex accounting procedures and loopholes that users could not understand.
Any other consulting services such as tax advisory also creates a threat to the independence of the auditing firm, where manipulations are more likely to happen which can hurt the creditability of the audited statements and the auditor’s opinion about the company. For purpose of this question, assume that the excerpts from the Power Report shown in Exhibit 3 provide accurate description of Andersen’s involvement in Enron accounting and financial reporting decisions. Given this assumption, do you believe that Andersen’s involvement in those decisions violated any professional auditing standards?
If so, lists those standards and briefly explain your rationale. Arthur Anderson, once known as one of the top accounting firms in nation, was ridiculed and criticized for their questionable accounting and auditing procedures of their client Enron, which ultimately lead to its demise. Their faulty accounting practices shattered investor confidence in auditors throughout the country and made way to Serbians-Solely Act of 2002 and the creation of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PEPCO) to oversee the rule-making process for independent audit function.
Anderson provided external auditing, internal auditing and consulting services to Enron. They violated several of their professional and ethical standards by accepting large suns in fees and perhaps by looking the other way to the faulty accounting practices contemplated by Enron’s management ND giving them an unqualified audit opinion on the financial statements. Andersen earned around $52 million from Enron during 2000, but only $25 million was payment in reference to the 2000 audit. With such an involvement in non-audit services they were not independent of the company, violating the most important standard of auditing.
They put their own interest before the interest of the users of their audited financial statements and opinion. From the excerpts it can be concluded that they were deeply involved in the accounting and structuring of the Esp., where they were more interested in electing millions of dollars in fees and failed to provide objective accounting judgment that should have prevented these transactions from going forward. Andersen failed to bring to the attention of Enron internal Audit and Compliance Committee about the serious reservations brought on internally about the related-party transactions, I. . Esp., which clearly shows the violation of professional auditing standards. Anderson firm should have supervised the auditing services provided by its auditors to maintain independence. This lacks of planning and supervision made Anderson to be highly involved in client accounting and financial porting decisions. Anderson had concerns about the disclosures of the related third-party transactions in the financial statement footnotes and instead of pointing those out to the Audit and Compliance Committee they vouched on its accuracy and issued an unqualified opinion on the financial.