The biggest news for the accounting industry this week is also the biggest news for CPAs in their 110-year history. In an unprecedented move, the Justice Department filed criminal obstruction of justice charges against Andersen, claiming that top management sanctioned and ordered massive destruction of documents related to the Enron scandal.

Andersen defiantly fought back, calling the indictment an "extraordinary abuse of government power" and claiming it recklessly endangers the firm's prospects of staying afloat. The firm also said it is not considering declaring bankruptcy, although industry observers believe the firm may ultimately be forced to do so.

Following the indictment, more big name companies dumped Andersen as their auditors, including Sara Lee Corp., Brunswick Corp. and Polaris Industries, the largest manufacturer of snowmobiles.

- Tracey Miller-Segarra

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access