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Enron Case

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Global Perspectives on Accounting Education Volume 3, 2006, 27-48

ENRON AND ARTHUR ANDERSEN: THE CASE OF THE CROOKED E AND THE FALLEN A
Gary M. Cunningham Visiting Professor Department of Business Administration Åbo Akademi University Turku, Finland Jean E. Harris Accounting Department Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg Campus School of Business Administration Middletown, Pennsylvania USA ABSTRACT Outside the US, the failures of Enron and Arthur Andersen remain puzzles. How could the accounting and audit failures associated with Enron and Arthur Andersen happen in the US where auditing is sophisticated, accounting principles are strong, and disclosure is emphasized? This is a teaching case for persons outside the US to review the financial reporting and auditing issues related to Enron and to explain the regulation of accounting and auditing in the US. It has broad implications for corporate governance and accounting regulation in other countries as well. n the years after the Enron Corporation declared bankruptcy in 2001 and Arthur Andersen failed in 2002, people are still asking, especially those outside the US, how could this happen? What went wrong? The US has a well-developed set of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that requires extensive disclosures in audited financial statements, and a well-established federal agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that monitors financial reporting. This case is written for accounting students and others, who are outside the US, to explore the financial reporting and auditing issues related to the debacles at Enron and Andersen and to explain the financial reporting environment in the US. The case is presented in four parts. Part I presents general information about Enron and Andersen. In Part II, the government and legal system

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