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Most important points in case according to me as a case viewer: Arthur Andersen which is over a span of nearly 90 years, would become one of the "Big five" largest accounting firms in the United States. The accounting firm seen as the symbol of trust, integrity and ethic. Many accounting firms viewed it as a successful model that should be emulated, so that the competition pressure increasing sharply. Andersen failed to withstand the pressure. Thus, it leaded to a negative influence on Andersen's corporate culture, which enabled Andersen to be more interested in its own revenue growth through ethical and legal misconducts, such as accounting irregularities and fraud. Andersen’s consulting business consisted of about 11,000 consultants and brought in global revenues of nearly $2 billion. Arthur Andersen, as a whole, employed more than 85,000 people worldwide. The court later ordered Arthur Andersen to change its name to Andersen Worldwide in order to better represent its new global brand of accounting services. In January 2001, Andersen named Joseph Berardino as the new CEO of the U.S. audit practice. His first task was to navigate the smaller company through a number of lawsuits that had developed in prior years. The company paid $110 million in May 2001 to settle claims brought by Sunbeam shareholders for accounting irregularities and $100 million to settle with Waste Management shareholders over similar charges a month later. In the meantime, news that Enron had overstated earnings became public,
. a number of them Andersen clients. It operated like a bank. began when its audits failed to address serious accounting errors that eventually led to a class-action lawsuit by Sunbeam investors and the ouster of CEO Albert Dunlap in 1998. SUNBEAM Andersen’s troubles over Sunbeam Corp. was founded in 1948 to raise and manage endowments for church work in Arizona.” Over the following yea r. reports surfaced that Andersen had been warned of possible fraudulent activity. paying interest on deposits that were used mostly to invest in Arizona real estate. which allowed the foundation to perpetuate the fraud. The investor lawsuit against Andersen accused the auditing firm of issuing false and misleading approvals of BFA’s financial statements. and the firm eventually agreed to pay $217 million to settle the shareholder lawsuit in May 2002. were forced to restate earnings. many companies. which Andersen served as auditor. BFA invested heavily in real estate. a more speculative investment strategy than other Baptist foundations in the state traditionally used. BFA. listing debts of about $640 million against assets of about $240 million. lost $570 million of donor funds. an agency of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. BAPTIST FOUNDATION OF ARIZONA The Baptist Foundation of Arizona (BFA).sending shock waves through the financial markets. During nearly two years of investigation. The foundation petitioned for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1999. Profits from investments were supposed to be used to fund the churches’ ministries and numerous charitable causes.
the company’s senior management aided and abetted others’ violations of antifraud. . In August 2002. and an injunction was obtained against the firm. ENRON In October 2001. and others. The result of these cases was that Andersen paid some $220 million to Waste Management shareholders and $7 million to the SEC. Within a month. a federal judge approved a $141 million settlement in the case. Oster. reporting.4 billion of overstated earnings at Waste Management.000 employees were laid off. The company agreed to stop auditing public companies by August 31. Enron was forced to restate five years’ worth of financial statements that Andersen had signed off on. After the dust settled. Sunbeam is the maker of such home appliance brands as Mr. Four Andersen partners were sanctioned. WASTE MANAGEMENT Andersen also found itself in court over questionable accounting practices with regard to $1. Coffee. resulting in a loss to investors of more than $6 billion. Enron had filed for bankruptcy the first accounting firm ever to be convicted of a felony. accounting for $586 million in losses. one of Andersen’s biggest clients. 2002. Powermate. essentially shutting down the business.5 billion and about 11. the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it was launching an investigation into the accounting of Enron. Waste Management shareholders lost about $20. and record keeping provisions of federal securities laws. Mixmaster.
CORPORATE CULTURE AND ETHICAL RAMIFICATIONS One of the reasons for this confusion in its corporate culture may have been that numerous inexperienced business consultants and untrained auditors were sent to client sites. This is an act that has little moral value from the perspective of virtue ethics. Another factor may have been its partners’ limited involvement in the process of issu ing opinions. From the deontological ethical perspective Andersen had the duty to report frauds committed by its clients. This is failed to do. which enabled Andersen to be more interested in its own revenue growth through ethical and legal misconducts. which were largely ignorant of company policies. finally closed its doors after 90 years of business. 1 Describe the legal and ethical issues surrounding Andersen’s auditing of companies accused of accounting improprieties The legal issues that surrounded Andersen's audition were that there was conflict of interest and there was lack of independence on the part of Andersen strayed away from accepted policies and stuck in a string of accounting scandals. it leaded to a negative influence on Andersen's corporate culture. QUESTIONS Q. such as accounting irregularities and fraud. such as accounting irregularities and fraud. . it leaded to a negative influence on Andersen's corporate culture. which enabled Andersen to be more interested in its own revenue growth through ethical and legal misconducts. Andersen took up lucrative management consultancy projects for the clients of whom it was the auditor.
Andersen blamed WorldCom for the scandal. How can the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act help minimize the likelihood of auditors failing to identify accounting irregularities? The provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley Act help minimize the likelihood of auditor failing to identify accounting irregularities are the requirement that the auditor should be independent. Q 2. Audit teams had great discretion in terms of issuing financials and restatements. During this time. WorldCom. There is also evidence that Andersen had limited oversight over its audit teams and that such visibility was impaired by a relative lack of checks and balances that could have identified when audit teams had strayed from accepted policies. It actively contributed to obstruction of justice. insisting that the expense irregularities had not been disclosed to its auditors and that it had complied with SEC standards in its auditing of WorldCom. however. an Andersen client. Further. What evidence is there that Andersen’s corporate culture contributed to its downfall? The evidence that Andersen's corporate culture contributed to its downfall is supported by the fact that Andersen took up lucrative management consultancy contracts from Enron. pointed the finger of blame not only at its former managers but also at Andersen for failing to find the accounting irregularities. which had replaced Andersen in May 2002. Alaska Air Group. which resulted in an increase in shareholder equity of $31 million. the requirement that auditors comment on the internal control of . Deloitte and Touche. Arthur Andersen shredded documents related to Enron. Alaska Air made the restatement on the recommendation of its new auditor. Q 3. restated its 2001 results. when Enron cam under investigation from the Federal authorities. In addition. This incident shows that Andersen had a culture that contributed to its downfall.
provides whistleblower protection legislative and regulatory reform may be occurring too quickly in response to intense public and political pressure. In response. The act lays down the quality of auditing required. They also helped spur a new focus on business ethics. Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 Rotate partners assigned to client. Makes it a felony to impede federal investigation. Each of these provisions helps minimize the likelihood of auditors failing to identify accounting irregularities.the firm should be reported. the quality of control. driven largely by public demands for greater corporate transparency and accountability. Further. so fresh eyes see work papers. and independence standards and rules. Vivek Raina Date:1 April 2013 Submitted By: Prabhu Pareek . there are severe penalties imposed on those auditors that give false statements. Submitted To: Prof.
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