The Enron failure and bankruptcy in early 2001 has become a symbol of corporate unethical behavior. It also cast a very dark shadow over the accounting industry, since Arthur Andersen, the largest accounting firm in the world at the time, was the company’s auditing firm. Arthur Andersen was implicated in the illegal activities being carried on by Enron, since they failed to disclose accounting irregularities to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since ethical behavior is one of the foundations of the accounting industry, I believe that it is important for students to understand what happened and why it happened in the Enron case.
A movie was directed by Alex Gibney called “Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room.” It chronicles the rise and fall of Enron, who was responsible for it, and the shock waves that were sent throughout the world when the company collapsed. A DVD of the movie is available through the PCC library and in various places on the Internet (do a Google search on the movie title) and I would like all of you to see it and report on what you learn from it. Please focus on the impact of the case as it relates to the accounting industry, your feelings about the important topic of business ethics, and what has happened to the industry as a result of the Enron debacle.
Your paper should be between 500 and 1,000 words in length. Please cite any references you use. The paper should be submitted using good writing standards. One note of caution: You will see that this assignment is not due until Nov. 4. However, I would suggest you complete this assignment early, so that you can assure yourself ample time to watch the movie. I am aware that the DVD is available on the Internet to view for free, so if you want to search around and find it and watch it that way, that’s fine. Please be aware of copyright issues and avoid any infringement of them. Also, the movie is rated R for some nudity and coarse language. If this is a sensitive issue with you, please contact me so we can discuss some alternatives.
Please answer the following questions to make up the content of your paper:
What was the effect of the Enron scandal upon the accounting industry?
What was the effect of the scandal upon business in general?
What were your impressions of the movie and the scandal?