The Structural Origins of Conflicts of Interest in the Accounting Profession

Business Ethics Quarterly 14 (3):377-398 (2004)
Abstract
This paper describes the professional ethical context behind the failure of Arthur Andersen’s audit of Enron. It is argued that the evolution of extreme industrial concentration in the accounting profession, and the subsequent unrestrained diversification of the “Big Five” accounting firms were the sources of multiple conflicts of interest that were unresolved by the time of the Enron debacle. In the post-Enron era, the problems of commercial conflicts of interest and of highly concentrated power in the profession remain important issues
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