It's been over a year since the events at Enron and WorldCom changed the face of the accounting profession for now - but surely not forever.
Herewith, a list of 5 things accountants should be grateful for this holiday season.
- The loyalty of their clients - When the chips were down, and they often seemed ready to disappear this past year, clients steadfastly stood behind their own CPAs, refusing to tar their trusted advisors with the same brush used by the government and media on the rest of the profession.
- The ouster of SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt - Sometimes someone you think is a true friend can turn into the enemy. From the outset, Pitt was too closely aligned with the profession to give the capital markets and investors any confidence in his ability to crack down on accounting shenanigans. Then fate intervened via Enron and WorldCom and his own political ineptitude, sealing his fate. Good riddance.
- The Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It’s going to be painful to comply, but its passage has forced the profession to take a long, hard look at how firms operate, which is a good thing. And if it helps restore public confidence in the profession in the long run, it will be worth all the pain.
- The shaky economy. For the first time in years, enrollment in accounting courses at colleges nationwide is going up, and fear of what the future may hold surely played a part. In times of economic uncertainty, students return to career paths where they’re assured of jobs following graduation, and the increased interest in accounting will hopefully help ease the nationwide staffing woes and lead to a new crop of bright and talented tax and accounting professionals to further the legacy of a crucial profession.
- The "X" factor of the accounting scandals. It’s a helluva way to change an image, but CPAs are no longer viewed as mousy men crunching numbers over a calculator in a back room. The public now knows that accountants are key players in public corporations and can wield enormous power.
Happy Thanksgiving , and a wonderful holiday season to all.
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