Unaccountable: How the Accounting Profession Forfeited a Public Trust / Edition 1

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Overview

The most recent round of accounting scandals has shaken our economyand tarnished the reputation of a once-respected profession. Theinherent conflicts within the flawed U.S. auditingsystem–where auditors are paid by the companies they audit andfinancial reports are now viewed as having little more veracitythan press releases–have stunned a public that once believedauditors were their eyes and ears inside the country’s biggestcorporations. Now, renewed public interest has prompted thegovernment and investors to once again ask: Where were theauditors?

In Unaccountable: How the Accounting Profession Forfeited aPublic Trust, former communications director for KPMG and businessjournalist Mike Brewster explores the fascinating transformation ofCPAs from independent voices on behalf of the shareholder to closeallies of Corporate America. This vivid snapshot of thetwenty-first-century accounting firm clearly examines theimplications of this shift for investors, the industry, and theoverall economy. Brewster’s exploration of the key issuesfacing accounting traces the profession from its birth in theMiddle East, to its rise as one of the most universally respectedin the Western world, to the calamitous scandals of the past twoyears, to the fall of Andersen and passage of the Sarbanes-Oxleylaw.

Shaped by the author’s own experiences in the industry,primary research of accounting documents going back hundreds ofyears, and exclusive interviews with the Big 5’s majorplayers, advocates, and detractors, Unaccountable questions thepractices of the nation’s leading accounting firms, including. . .

  • Their history of providing consulting services to the samefirms they audit
  • Their push in the 1990s to open investment banking and lawpractices
  • Their push for double-digit growth with no regard to theramifications of this growth on their public mandate
  • Their resistance to change, even in the face of overwhelmingpublic criticism

. . . and discusses the recent reforms that might lead to betteraccounting practices and more reliable financial reporting.

From the first accountants to the future of accounting,Unaccountable offers an up-close and personal view of theaccounting industry. Unaccountable turns up the heat on an alreadybeleaguered profession, but also shows how the best and brightestwithin the profession can still save the day by implementingmuch-needed reforms.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471423621
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/4/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,340,776
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

MIKE BREWSTER is the coauthor of King of Capital: Sandy Weill and the Making of Citigroup, also published by Wiley, and a former sportswriter in upstate New York. Formerly the editor of LeadersOnline, Brewster spent seven years as the communications director at KPMG. He is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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Table of Contents

My Introduction to Accounting.

Chapter 1: The First Accountants.

Chapter 2: The Birth of an American Profession.

Chapter 3: Accountants Earn a Public Trust.

Chapter 4: The Quest for Growth.

Chapter 5: Cracks in the Facade.

Chapter 6: The End of the Audit.

Chapter 7: The Fight of His Life.

Chapter 8: Enron and the Fall of Andersen.

Chapter 9: Accounting 101.

Chapter 10: The Future of Accounting.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index.

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