Bigger Than Enron
On June 15, a Houston jury convicted Arthur Andersen -- the 89-year-old accounting firm once known as the gold standard of integrity in auditing -- for obstruction of justice in the government's investigation of Enron, Andersen's biggest client. With the demise of Andersen, the American business landscape was forever altered. But something else was altered as well: the scandal surrounding Enron and Andersen, together with the wave of other major accounting scandals that have come to light in recent months, has dealt America's markets an unsettling psychological blow. If we can't trust the auditors, investors wonder, whom can we trust?
The meteoric rise and stunning collapse of Enron caused many to question why the corporate oversight system that was supposed to protect investors failed to sound any alarms about the company's dubious finances. But Enron and Arthur Andersen turn out to be merely the tip of the iceberg. In the 1990s, more than 700 U.S. companies were forced to correct misleading financial statements as a result of accounting failures, lapses, or outright fraud. Together with Enron -- the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history -- these failures have cost investors an estimated $200 billion. What went wrong?
In "Bigger Than Enron," FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith shines a spotlight on how the corporate watchdogs -- the bankers, lawyers, regulators, politicians, and above all, the accountants -- failed to prevent Enron and other scandals from happening. Through interviews with current and former SEC officials (including SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt and his predecessor, Arthur Levitt), Arthur Andersen executives (including former Andersen CEO Joseph Berardino), members of Congress (including Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut), investor advocates, and others, the report explores how the system of controls was eroded by conflicts of interest, as well as by congressional intervention that blocked efforts at protecting investors
Transcript - Bigger than Enron - Opening (Links to an external site.)
Transcript - Bigger than Enron - Waste Management (Links to an external site.)
Transcript - Bigger than Enron - The Sunbeam Story (Links to an external site.)
Clip from the Movie "Courageous"
If you watch the movie Courageous you may remember the character Javier Marinez. When Javier is introduced in the movie he has just gotten laid off from his job. He has a family. He wants and needs to provide for them. Javier has some disappointments in looking for work. He prays earnestly for a job and by what seems to be pure coincidence he finds some temporary work. He does an outstanding job and is recommended for a full-time job and begins working in a factory. Javier had been doing a good job and after a month he is called into the plant manager's office. Watch and see what happens.
Courageous clip (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site)
Courageous clip transcript (Links to an external site.)
Tone at the Top
The connection between fraud and the â€œtone at the topâ€ of an organization has received international attention over the last few years. Tone at the top refers to the ethical atmosphere that is created in the workplace by the organization's leadership. Whatever tone management sets will have a trickle-down effect on employees of the company. If the tone set by managers upholds ethics and integrity, employees will be more inclined to uphold those same values. However, if upper management appears unconcerned with ethics and focuses solely on the bottom line, employees will be more prone to commit fraud because they feel that ethical conduct is not a focus or priority within the organization. Employees pay close attention to the behavior and actions of their bosses, and they follow their lead. In short, employees will do what they witness their bosses doing.
|Due By (Pacific Time)
||05/13/2015 12:00 am