Auditing issues in Enron Essay Sample


Needed for the Houston office of Andersen. an audit spouse that understands the function of being a “public watchdog” with “ultimate commitment to the creditors and shareholders” . Arthur Anderson abandoned its functions as independent hearer by turning a blind oculus to improper accounting. including the failure to consolidate. failure of Enron to do $ 51million in proposed accommodations in 1997. and failure to adequately unwrap the nature of minutess with subordinates. Another illustration is Lord Wakeham joined Enron as a non-executive manager in 1994 and besides sat on Enron’s audit and conformity commission. In add-on. Andersen besides provides internal audit service to Enron. which in fact impact Andersen independency.

Sing to Enron prostration. the regulative environment in which the scrutinizing profession operates must be restructured. Harmonizing to Ramsay study. the audit independent supervisor board should be established to supervise audit firms’ processes. and proctor conformity with non-audit service fee revelation and the audit commission should supervise the auditor’s independency and effectivity.

True and just position

With respect to issues originating from SPE. Bird of preies were non hedges in the economic sense of reassigning hazard to a 3rd party. but instead a agency of absorbing losingss with a modesty of Enron portions contributed by the fudging entity. However. Anderson approved Enron non to consolidate Raptor because Raptor is defined as SPE that means Andersen had earnestly breached the true and just standard.

Enron avoid to set force per unit areas on balance sheet by agencies that publishing portions would travel to an affiliate and so travel to the populace. the hard currency of which would come back to Enron by paying off the note or related receivable. For illustration. Enron sold stock list or assets of some kind in 1999 to an attached entity and received a promise to pay for those assets from that affiliate.

In general. Arthur Andersen misunderstood the nature of hearer independency and true and just position is merely perceived to organize audit study in agreement with the accounting criterions.

2 Particular purpose entity

Harmonizing to construct of Special purpose entity. outside proprietors must do a ‘substantial’ investing ( usually 3 % of entire capital ) . and their investing must really be at hazard. Second. the outside proprietors must hold some control over the investing the entity. In conformity with FASB. SPE is non necessary to be consolidated. Therefore. Enron employed its advantage to reassign its hazard to SPE ( for illustration Chewco and Raptor ) by cut downing its liabilities or debts. which is favored by fiscal analyst and recognition bureaus.

In application the construct of SPE in Australian. SPE must be consolidated with its parent company. Harmonizing to AASB 1024. 23. those internal minutess including debts. investings and fiscal leasing. etc should be eliminated in full because those entities are comprised in Enron group.

Sing to SPE character. the application of SPE includes revenue enhancement advantage and cut down the cost of borrowing. However. Enron shift its hazard to another party and mask of Enron’s debt place.

3 Guarantees in Enron Case

The function warrants play in group construction

At the head of new concern ventures and engineering. Enron diversified into merchandising non-energy- related commodities- including new conditions derived functions. Its investings resulted in a complex group agreement with 100s of subordinate and other related entities. including Particular Purpose Entities. The warrants is a manner to assist the SPEs to “hedge” the market value of some of Enron’s investings. enabling it to reassign the losingss off of its books.

The function warrants play in prostration of Enron

Enron guaranteed 100s of 1000000s of dollars’ worth of the SPEs’ debt. It used its ain stock. stock in publically traded subordinates and rights to future portions of Enron stock to back up the SPEs’ value. It sometime would offer hard currency warrants.

In a typical dealing. for illustration. Enron would reassign its ain stock to an SPE’s value. The SPE. in bend. would fudge the value of a peculiar investing on Enron’s balance sheet. utilizing the transferred Enron stock as the rule beginning of payment. When Enron’s stock monetary value later fell. the SPE’s value besides fell. triping the Enron warrants. which warrant payments in bend seemingly further decreased Enron stock value. triping extra warrants.

Other warrants would finally knock about Enron. In the instance of Braveheart. CIBC World Markets made a $ 115. 2 million investing in return for a promise of about all of Enron’s net income from the venture for 10 old ages. What’s more. Enron agreed to refund CIBC its investing. if Braveheart failed to do money.

The function warrants play in distributions to creditors

Any clip an endeavor guarantees the liability of another in stuff sums. the endeavor must unwrap the nature and sum of the warrants in the notes to the fiscal statements. When Enron’s SPEs sought recognition. the loaners frequently required that Enron guarantee the debt. On several occasions. Enron guaranteed sums that assorted SPEs borrowed by assuring to pay hard currency or to publish extra common portions to refund the debt if the market monetary value of Enron’s common portions dropped under a set sum or if Enron’s bond evaluation fell below investing class. While the notes to Enron’s fiscal statements disclosed warrants of the liability of others. Enron did non advert that its possible liability on those warrants. which shared common debt refund triggers. totaled $ 4 billion.

From the analysis above. this warrants leave the creditors with the high hazard in the instance the Enron was in fiscal trouble. or the portion monetary value fell down.

The impact on Accounting

Following the death of Enron. the FASB on February. 13. 2002. decided to originate a separate undertaking on Accounting for Guarantees. In making this determination. the board noted that although warrants are normally found in state of affairs affecting the usage of SPE. they are besides found in non-SPE state of affairss. The Board directed the staff to fix an “interpretation” of bing regulation FAS 5. Accounting for Contingencies. to turn to revelation and accounting issues for a surety that issues a warrant of the liability of others or other signifiers of warrants to profit another entity.

In November 2002. the FASB released Interpretation No. 45. Guarantor’s Accounting and Disclosure Requirements for Guarantees. Including Indirect Guarantees of Indebtedness of Others ( FIN 45 ) . Under FIN 45. sureties must acknowledge all warrants issued or modified after December 31. 2002. as liabilities on their balance sheets at the origin of a warrant. MBA members have been concerned about the possible impact of FIN 45 on the accounting intervention of their warrants. peculiarly standard representations and guarantees in their loan sale understandings.

4 Powers Report v Enron instance

The Powers Report — the study of the Special Investigative Committee of Enron’s Board of Directors chaired by Dean Powers of the University of Texas Law School — describes a figure of issues leaded to the Enron prostration. most specifically the hard issues ensuing from related party minutess. In add-on. the Report besides addresses other underlying jobs. such as accounting patterns. corporate administration. direction inadvertence. public revelation issues and hearer independency.

Related Party Transactions

The most distressing facet of Enron’s prostration was the prevalence of important related party minutess affecting high-level officers of the company. The Report illustrates the double dangers of these minutess. First. the officers involved in these minutess are tempted to enrich themselves at the disbursal of the company. Second. the minutess may supply short-run accounting benefits to the company that would non be available in arms-length minutess with 3rd parties. Senior officers who are expected to supervise and command related party minutess may be motivated to disregard jobs because of the short-run fiscal benefits to the company or because they may see a dealing as just compensation to the affected employee.

Good corporate administration patterns attempt to turn to these dangers through revelation demands and independent manager reappraisal. In Enron’s instance. both of these failed because Enron’s attorneies and comptrollers. and its independent managers. did non exert the watchfulness necessary in visible radiation of the significance of the minutess. In peculiar. the Report criticized the Enron Board and Audit Committee for their deficiency of inadvertence. It farther criticized the Audit Committee for neglecting to obtain a better apprehension of the accounting and economic facets of the minutess.

Accounting Practices

Enron’s accounting patterns were characterized in the Report as “beyond aggressive” and were surely a major factor taking to its prostration. In connexion with an audit committee’s reappraisal of accounting patterns by and large. the Report besides demonstrates the demand to examine more deeply into unusual minutess that occur tardily in a coverage period and bring forth positive accounting consequences.

The Report criticized the Enron Audit Committee and the full Board for their failure to develop a more thorough apprehension of Enron’s off-balance sheet funding. peculiarly given the significance of these agreements to the company’s reported net incomes and the related party nature of these agreements.

Auditor Independence

Concerns over the independency of outside auditing houses arose good before the Enron dirt. The two chief concerns are ( I ) the proviso of non-audit related services by audit houses. and ( two ) the presence of former employees of the outside hearer on the internal accounting staff of the audit client. The Enron prostration farther inflamed the concerns over hearer independency. as Arthur Andersen provided important non-audit related services to Enron and legion former Andersen comptrollers worked as employees of Enron.

5 Audit Strategy

Enron’s complex construction was far off from people’s imaginativeness. This company was one time ranked at the seventh topographic point of top 500 in the universe. As for such a elephantine company. whose concern extended to several industries and continents in the universe. it was about impossible and really dearly-won to follow each dealing. Therefore. a transaction-based audit scheme did non suit for Enron. Such a scheme would hold a really high hazard. Meanwhile. in Enron’s concern. option and hereafter were used really often. and many other new fiscal instruments were developed and applied into its concern. Some of them were even hard for professional analysts to understand exhaustively. Although until now. no grounds has been found to turn out that Andersen involved in fraud behavior in Enron’s prostration. But. Andersen. as the hearer. should be responsible for the fiscal studies they audited.

A trim audit scheme should be carried out for Enron and other similar companies. The most effectual scheme is to concentrate on the nature of complexnesss. Based on their complex company construction. complex concern relationships. besides complex fiscal instruments. hearers may use different methods in different fortunes. Specialists can be employed by the audit houses to analyze the operations of the concern and to indicate out the weak points in the company’s construction. Nowadays. most companies do non merely run in one industry. hence. it is necessary to section their accounting pattern and audit into different parts harmonizing to the nature of the concern and use different audit processs on them. At the same clip. Minutess related to new fiscal instruments should be examined by professionals before they are recorded into fiscal studies. And the professionals should do certain they are recorded right.

6 Audit Hazard

Built-in hazard would hold been really high in Enron. Inherent hazard is the hazard existed in company itself. As we discussed supra. Enron’s complex construction would hold a high possibility that misstatements could happen. Its concern relationships would besides be an inducement that causes high built-in hazard. At the same clip. often use of fiscal instruments was the 3rd ground. For illustration. it was sometimes rather confounding what should be recorded as gross and what should be recognized as liabilities at a specific clip.

Control hazard was besides really high in Enron. Top direction was an of import function in planing and implementing internal control system. which can cut down control hazard. But. the fact was that. top direction was the donee of fraud behavior. Then. how could the internal control system operate efficaciously in this state of affairs?

High sensing hazard was besides found in Enron. Because of the high possibility of built-in hazard and control hazard. it was even harder for hearers to observe jobs in fiscal studies every bit good as in the companies’ construction and internal control system. This was what happened on Andersen. No grounds indicated it involved in the fraud. but at least it didn’t observe the fraud even it provided audit service for Enron since 16 old ages ago. Problems arose when there were no effectual audit processs. Besides. Andersen was paid 52 million US dollars by Enron. which had made it more heedlessly.

In decision. built-in hazard. control hazard and detect hazard would hold been really high in Enron. Harmonizing to the audit hazard expression. this would take to a fact that entire audit hazard was besides really high.


Frank Clarke. Graeme Dean. Kyle Oliver. ‘Corporate Collapse-Accounting. Regulatory and Ethical Failure’ Second Edition ( Cambridge University Press 2003 )

Gurdarshan S. Gill. Graham Cosserat. Philomena Leung. Paul Coram. ‘Modern Auditing & A ; Assurance Services’ John Wiley & A ; Sons Australia. Ltd

Tran M. ‘Enron Scandal’ 31 January 2002. Guardian Newspapers Limited

Carney D. ‘Enron: The Morticians Move in’ 21 January 2002 McGraw Hill Companies – Business Week

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