This column is approximately the 250th that has appeared under the title of "The Spirit of Accounting." Paul Miller has been around for all of them, and Paul Bahnson for the latest 150. As we were looking ahead to what to write about next, we looked back to the first few columns we published to see whether their messages might still be relevant for today.It turns out that they were, and we thought it would be insightful to reprint this one that first appeared in September 2000. One of the issues being debated at that time was the question of whether non-audit fees could compromise auditor independence. In those days, Enron was considered to be an amazing company, instead of the economic disaster that we now know was going to happen in 2001.

We provided a different take on that issue, and we think the questions raised in the column still need to be addressed. We hope you will agree.

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