Case Study – Arthur Andersen

When accountants Arthur Andersen were implicated in the collapse of Enron it shook the accountancy world. After all, accountants are paid to be neutral and rigorous, but Arthur Andersen were complicit in fraud. 
Here is a review of Barbara Toffler’s new book on the fall of Arthur Andersen.

The author concludes:

“I agree with Toffler that the auditing scandals were probably partially caused by the culture found within accounting firms, and her suggestions to change the accounting world seem reasonable. However, she doesn’t consider that the accounting culture is a product of our culture at large and improving our culture at large can also help. Toffler neglects to discuss the idea of personal responsibility. We aren’t just robots who will do whatever a culture programs us to do. Additionally, personal responsibility is something that our culture can improve. For example, more ethics and philosophy education can help teach us how to be more ethical, reasonable, and self-reliant.”

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