The History Of The Enron Case Accounting Essay

From ‘one of the biggest house in the US ‘ to ‘one of the biggest bankruptcies of US ‘ ; this is the narrative of Enron corporation. A company which started off as an energy house, providing operations and services in the energy sector, Enron had evolved themselves as of the most advanced houses of all clip. ( Stein, 2000 ) But in 2001, the company fell caput over heels, hard plenty to ne’er retrieve back to life once more.

This essay aims at concluding the accounting and scrutinizing failures of Enron Corporation in localities of corporate administration, concern moralss and scrutinizing criterions. The wrong-doing of Enron are put under the microscope to deduce the lessons to be learnt by future directors. Furthermore, the essay concentrates on happening the reply to the inquiry that many persons have asked since the humiliation of Enron ; ‘What happened at Enron in the US ten old ages ago could ne’er go on once more? ‘

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The instance of Enron is a peculiarly of import one of pupils as it highlights the fraud that was pulled off by Enron and that it was surprising they got off with it for that long of a period. The cardinal designers were Chairman Ken Lay, CEO Jeff Skilling & A ; CFO Andrew Fastow. ( Chazan, 2002 ) The history they created will everlastingly be remembered as one of the biggest fiscal misrepresentations by a company.

The Enron Case

In the current fiscal universe, there exist four major scrutinizing houses that are titled as the ‘big four ‘ ( i.e. PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & A ; Young and KPMG ) ( Anonymous, 2012 ) .But before 2001, there was another auditing giant which was a portion of this list doing it the ‘big five ‘ . This company went by the name Arthur Anderson. But in 2001, Arthur Anderson deliberately relinquished its auditing licence due to being found guilty against condemnable charges in the traffics with Enron Corporation ( Doost, 2003 ) . Economists have tracked down the fiscal misconducts of Enron back to the 90s ( Eichenwald and Brick, 2002 ) . A company that started off as a natural gas supplying company with visions to spread out more than merely shrieking gas by the president Kennet Lay, Enron was built in 1985. Over the old ages, it grew into a natural gas and energy supplier of operations and services ( Anonymous, 2002 ) . Further enlargements came when the new CEO Jeffery Skillings was appointed, who was said to be an highly intelligent and airy adult male. It was Jeffery Skillings who expanded into a company which dealt in the demand and supply of many different trade goods apart from merely energy. One of these trade goods was broadband ( Anonymous, 2002 ) . Hence, Enron was no more merely a regular sweeping energy company, instead a outstanding fiscal figure in the US market.

Enron besides dealt with many different derived functions like hereafters, forwards, barters and options. Enron created an highly complex construction and model about itself, which it functioned in. This made it really hard for foreigners to maintain a path of the companies activates, every bit good as its fiscal statements. In an article published in Fortune magazine by McLean ( 2001 ) , Enron has been called a ‘black box ‘ due to the secretivenesss and confidentialities of operations. In world, Enron was making so much more than anyone could hold of all time imagned. Enron had managed to acquire away with so much of fruad, for such a long clip that its about commendable. Using techniques like making partnerships with companies that did non be and off balance sheet studies, Enron was able to maintain debts off their balance sheets while borrowing at a big rate. Enron was able to value itself on the market at highly high degrees with demoing great sums of growing, when in world it was a ticking timebomb ( Baker and Hayes, 2005 ) . This helped them pull off a truly high recognition evaluation and hence, Enron was an attractive portion for investors. Many of the analysis would name the Enron portion a ‘buy ‘ without cognizing in item where precisely was all the money coming from. But in 2001, within a affair of hebdomads Enron went belly-up. ( Ackman, 2002 ) This was extremely dry as non long before this major catastrophe, Enron ‘s assets were valued at approximately $ 60 billion dollars. Many reforms were made after the enron dirt and it besides embarked the creative activity of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for accounting ordinances. ( Dewing, 2003 ) Economist say one of the major ground of this catastrophe was the deficiency of disclousre and hapless scrutinizing Torahs in the state. Enron was merely corrupt and wanted to gain more manipulating histories.

Corporate Administration in the fiscal universe ( Post-Enron )

After the Enron dirt, many empirical surveies were published to stress the of import of administration within a company every bit good as governmental execution of corporate administration regulations and ordinances. Corporate administration is a subject of topic that still remains problematic but it can be described as “ the regulations, ordinances and patterns by which we hold directors and proprietors accountable and responsible for whatever public presentation society expects ” ( Haspeslagh, 2010 ) . Many different surveies were published on corporate administration and some besides dealt with the Enron failure. Some of them were Greenbury Report ( 1995 ) , Hampel Report ( 1998 ) , Turnbell Report ( 1999 & A ; 2005 ) , Higgs ( 2003 ) and Smith Report ( 2003 ) .

One of the biggest post-Enron reforms was the debut of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which includes many issues like scrutinizing criterions, disclousre and corporate administration. It was after the Enron incident that authorities realised that answerability is extremely necessary within a company. In the Enron instance, CEO Jeff Skillings denied holding cognition of any of the incorrect or illegal patterns of Enron. ( Anonymous, 2002 ) Rules were so created which held main executives accountable for the operations of a house. This Act besides concentrated on the opportunitst behavior of directors. A major bureau job which is born in the rule agent theoretical account, is the fact that directors act merely in their ain involvement. This was clear seen in Enron ‘s instance where directors falsified the full company value to gain immense fillips. This was non done in the best interet of the stockholders ( Bozec and Dia, 2012 ) .The opportunitst behavior and informational dissymmetry are the major bureau job that effectual administration can work out.

After the debut of the SOX act, companies found it much more comfy to transport out their operations in the UK instead than the US. Rules were made much stronger and the punishments on interrupting them besides were rough. The originator behind the thought of acquiring rid of debt in Enron by making partnership with companies that did non be was their CFO Andrew Fastow. He was charged with 10 old ages of imprisonment for the fiscal offense he had conducted. ( Di Meglio, 2012 ) Hence, corporate duty was enhanced with the fact that accountable persons could be put behind bars.

After Enron, many other dirts followed ( i.e. WorldCom etc ) but experts have non been able to clearly specify the strength of corporate administration after Enron. One chief ground can be the fiscal crisis of 2008 which has different features than that of the Enron dirt, but on a whole was a immense corporate administration failure. Therefore, the statement that companies improved on administration to avoid another Enron dirt will ever be faced by agnosticism.

Ethical Considerations ( Post-Enron )

Harmonizing to Charles Holme, ( 2008 ) , concern moralss is merely moral rules which help in geting at determinations of values for an organisation. “ What happened at Enron was non a failure of ordinances and jurisprudence. It was a failure of corporate civilization, a failure of values, a failure of bosom ” ( Pomeranz, 2004 ) . One of the chief grounds of the Enron prostration was because of the deficiency of ethical concern criterions.

In a journal article by Pflugrath, Martinov-Bennie & A ; Chen ( 2007 ) , it was stated that the presence of a codification of moralss has a positive impact on the quality of the judgements made by professional comptrollers and hearers. For many old ages, Enron overstated their incomes in order to have fillips for a few executives at the cost of their employees and stockholders. On books they showed hyperbolic net incomes and lessening in debts. It was mis-stated that they had net incomes of $ 1billion for the past few old ages. It is of ethical issue that true company statements should be put frontward to all stockholders and employees. The hearers overlooked the fact that Enron patterns were in fact unethical. Securities and Exchange commission discovered about the false fiscal statements provided by Enron and requested the hearer ‘s to demo the relevant certification and audit files. At this point, Mr Duncan the audit spouse in charge destroyed 1000s of pages of records and certification in relation to the fraud. ( Doost, 2003 ) This proved to be an unethical pattern by the Auditor.

An ethical issue that could hold been taken into consideration by Enron is to ne’er disregard concerns. Several employees at Enron including some high ranked executives tried to warn the CEO Kenneth Lay of the accounting issues. One of their claims was taken into consideration, but no action was taken. Another employee was removed from his occupation and the last 1 was promised an probe which ne’er happened. Hence, to avoid another Enron event of failure, concern moralss in planetary markets need betterment. Many educational professional classs have besides included concern moralss as an of import acquisition component for future directors.

Changes in Auditing Standards

Arthur Andersen was a portion of the “ Large Five ” – the top five accounting houses in the universe. Now it ‘s called the “ Large Four ” and it includes Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & A ; Young and KPMG ( Susan E. Squires 2003 ) . Arthur Andersen was responsible for the auditing of Enron Corporation. When Enron dirt took topographic point in October 2001, Arthur Andersen was found guilty of the fraud. ( Gary M. Cunningham 2006 )

Harmonizing to Faudziah Hanim Fadzil, Hasnah Haron, Muhamad Jantan, ( 2005 ) , internal auditing has undergone alterations which allow it to do greater parts to the organisation. It ‘s performed in diverse legal and cultural environments. The direction is most responsible for internal auditing. Internal hearers have to follow with the ‘Standards for Professional Practice of Internal Auditors ‘ ( Faudziah Hanim Fadzil 2005 )

When trading at Enron grew, assets shifted from fixed assets to trade goods. For this, Enron did non hold a incorporate scheme. The hearers were non prepared for this transmutation and were n’t able to acknowledge the farther hazards.

Enron blamed Arthur Andersen for using irresponsible auditing patterns in its audits because of struggles of involvements. Arthur Andersen earned $ 25 billion in audit fees and $ 27 million in confer withing fees. They were questioned if they were looking to have entirely fees or they lacked in expertness in reexamining Enron ‘s grosss.

Enron ‘s audit commission did non hold the proficient cognition to oppugn the hearers on the accounting intervention. The scrutinizing commission was accused of leting struggles of involvement as they did non carry through their responsibilities of supervising the company ‘s accounting patterns.

Changes in scrutinizing criterions have taken topographic point, and something that happened to this company should ne’er go on once more to any other companies


A company that was believed to be ‘too large to fall ‘ and was besides considered extremely advanced and strong. Enron went for ‘one of the biggest companies ‘ to ‘one of biggest failures ‘ . It is undeniable that there were no alibis from the board that can be accepted ( Anonymous, 2002 ) . Enron got involved in so many hazardous investings and take to maintain its cardinal information to them on the alibi of ‘competition protect ‘ . ( McLean, 2001 ) In add-on, the debut of conjectural hereafter value ( HFV ) by Jeff Skillings, which is simply a projected value and no warrant of the hereafter, Enron valued itself so high on the market that it about became inevitable to fall apart.

Enron ignored many facets of modern concern affairs like corporate administration, moralss and scrutinizing criterions. This essay focuses on these cardinal elements and helps understand that with the alterations made after the Enron debacle, is it possible that another catastrophe like this be possible or non. Along with the steps taken after the Enron instance and the planetary fiscal crisis every bit good, houses and authorities have become more cognizant of the demand of ordinances and Torahs to maintain companies within safe bounds to protect themselves and the sector they are a portion of and to guarantee that similar errors are non to be repeated.

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