You can learn a lot about a person by knowing what newspapers they regularly read, and even more, by the articles that they focus on. Well, here's your chance to psychoanalyze me. Last Thursday, as I do every workday, I was reading the New York Post and then the Wall Street Journal riding the subway in from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
These articles in the Post about the following subjects peaked my interest:
- Former New York Yankee relief pitcher Jeff Nelson was trying selling bone chips removed from his pitching elbow until eBay removed it from the site when they showed a bid of $23,600.
- Ex-NFLer, William "the Refrigerator" Perry, is fighting ex-NBA star Manute Bol and Olympian Olga Korkut is fighting "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" Danva Conger on television's "Celebrity Match 2."
- A California schoolboy was convicted of assault and battery for hitting a classmate in the eye with a spitball, and faces up to eight years in jail.
In the case of the Journal, they dealt with:
- An SEC inquiry into companies that use revenue boosting tricks such as illusory "swap trades" and round-trip trades that have no economic value
- An SEC probe of Computer Associates' accounting practices with a subpoena being issued to its auditor, Ernst and Young.
- Possible double booking on new sales at WorldCom.
- The actions of three different auditors (two Big Five firms and a regional firm) with regard to a company that allegedly was involved in a metal trading fraudulent scheme that cost international banks hundreds of millions of dollars.
- Ex-Andersen partner David Duncan's testimony at the Andersen criminal trial.
- Kmart acknowledgment that the SEC and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan were investigating its "accounting and other matters," and was reducing revenue by $18 million for two previously reported quarters.
On second thought, maybe the articles in the Post tell you a lot about me than the ones in the Journal. Those articles really indicate something else. They show the increased scrutiny that public companies' financial statements and their auditors are receiving. It was probably inevitable following the Enron debacle. But what is so disturbing is that in that one day, there were so many stories about alleged financial improprieties occurring under the watchful eyes of auditors.I am sure, and have been told by those in the know, that many an auditor is reviewing his or her immediate past audits to make sure all the "Ts'" are crossed and "Is" dotted.
I expect the above type of articles to continue for a while, but if it stays as heavy as it was last Thursday, I am afraid the accounting profession will be very uncomfortable with the resulting and inevitable regulatory reform.
Next week, I will tell you about my favorite articles from The National Enquirer
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