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Following the Money
George Benston Michael Bromwich Robert E. Litan Alfred Wagenhofer
Price: $ 39.95

A few years ago, Americans held out their systems of corporate governance and financial disclosure as models to be emulated by the rest of the world. But in late 2001 U.S. policymakers and corporate leaders found themselves facing the largest corporate accounting scandals in American history. The spectacular collapses of Enron and Worldcom¿as well as the discovery of accounting irregularities at other large U.S. companies¿seemed to call into question the efficacy of the entire system of corporate governance in the United States.

In response, Congress quickly enacted a comprehensive package of reform measures in what has come to be known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ followed by making fundamental changes to their listing requirements. The private sector acted as well. Accounting firms¿watching in horror as one of their largest, Arthur Andersen, collapsed after a criminal conviction for document shredding¿tightened their auditing procedures. Stock analysts and ratings agencies, hit hard by a series of disclosures about their failings, changed their practices as well.

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