In the aftermath of the many high-profile scandals and court trials that have made their way to the front pages or nightly news lead-ins over the past several years, it was never a question of who would write the first book detailing these sordid affairs, but a matter of how many tomes would be rushed into print.
The debacle formerly known as Andersen-Enron is no different.
Thus far our humble offices in New York have more or less become a repository for the literary bumper crop chronicling what is inarguably one of the greatest accounting scandals to date.
We have received pre-released copies, uncorrected proofs, offers from publicists and agents to interview authors, invitations to book parties and requests – no, make that emotional pleas -- to have said books reviewed.
To be sure, Accountants Media Group (our publishing umbrella) receives books on a regular basis. But for the most part they’re boilerplate guides and bound volumes of technical material. Occasionally something gets delivered on the order of effective management techniques or conducting successful employee reviews.
Not exactly alluring page-turners and, quite honestly, not worth skipping The Sopranos, Six Feet Under or The Shield to read.
But admittedly, this new, and I’m sure brief, detour is sorta fun.
Our publication, which has been steadily delivering quality coverage and insight to the profession for 16 years, has suddenly been “discovered” by the mainstream as a legitimate vehicle for literary promotion.
And to date, I’ve finished reading two of the post-Andersen efforts -- “Final Accounting: Ambition, Greed and the Fall of Arthur Andersen,” by former Andersen consultant and management professor Barbara Ley Toffler -- and “Unaccountable: How the Accounting Profession Forfeited a Public Trust,” by Mike Brewster a former director of communications at Big Four firm KPMG.
Professor Toffler’s offers an insider’s view of what is was like to work at Andersen -- the culture, the mission, and sadly, the arrogance that pervaded that once gold standard of auditing firms.
Brewster’s book offers more of a historical perspective on the profession and serves up anecdotal evidence of hundreds of missed signals, auditing wink-winks and help from staunch pro-business politicians that impeded the Securities and Exchange Commission’s battle to separate auditing and consulting services.
Although my career as a book reviewer is about 10 minutes old, I best return to serving our publication’s mission statement as the business newspaper for the tax and accounting community.
But it’s been great.
Anybody need an agent?
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