Business advisors: That is what auditors wanted to be before Enron and the collapse of Arthur Andersen. Auditors were routinely advising their clients on new business ventures and transactions on a real-time basis, including advice on the accounting for such transactions.The scenario would go something along the lines of the following: A registrant planning on closing on a transaction in the near term would want to make sure there weren't going to be any unintended accounting consequences. This allowed auditors to better understand the registrant's business, transactions and results, while allowing the registrant to avoid any last-minute adjustments or earnings restatements. It appeared to be the trend of the future - real-time auditing.

That is not the way things turned out, as we all know.

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