منعکس کردن شکل در طول ماده : در مورد شرکت Enron
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|285||2004||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8412 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 15, Issues 6–7, August–October 2004, Pages 767–785
The spectacular rise and fall of Enron Corp. offers a vivid illustration of how companies can use the legal form of transactions to obscure the economic substance underlying those transactions. The purpose of this paper is to examine Enron’s use of misleading accounting practices in relation to: (1) off-balance-sheet financing; (2) revenue recognition; and (3) financial statement disclosures. In these three areas of accounting concern, the paper examines the relevant US GAAP requirements and the ways that Enron used US GAAP to conceal the economic substance underlying those transactions. It is the argument of this paper that had the concept of substance over form been applied at Enron, investors and creditors would have been provided with a more realistic view of the company’s financial position and its results of operations, potentially avoiding what became the one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in US history.
In the wake of repeated revelations about misleading accounting practices at Enron Corp., WorldCom and other major American corporations, the US Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of (2002), which among other things mandated the Securities and Exchange Commission to study whether US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP) should be modified to focus on a principles-based rather than a rules-based approach to accounting standards setting (Financial Accounting Standards Committee, 2003, Largay, 2003, Nelson, 2002, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 2002 and Shipper, 2003). In the debates surrounding this issue it has been suggested that International Accounting Standards (IAS) emphasize a principles-based approach to accounting standards setting more than US GAAP, and that such an emphasis would have forestalled the accounting abuses that were perpetuated by Enron Corp. and others in recent years (SEC, 2003). This paper does not seek to enter the debate about principles versus rules-based accounting standards, except with regard to one particular point. As will be shown in this paper, it is reasonably clear that International Accounting Standards emphasize the concept of “substance over form” more extensively than US GAAP. It is the argument of this paper that a uniform application of the concept of substance over form would have provided investors and creditors with a more realistic view of the financial position and results of operations of Enron. We demonstrate this argument by examining Enron’s use of US GAAP to conceal economic substance in the areas of: (1) off-balance-sheet financing; (2) revenue recognition; and (3) financial statement disclosures. In discussing these three areas of accounting concern, we examine first the relevant US GAAP requirements and then discuss how Enron used these requirements to conceal the underlying substance of transactions. We conclude the paper with recommendations for an increased emphasis on substance over form, particularly in light of continuing revelations about accounting abuses that have plagued the US capital markets in recent years.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
It is often argued that capitalist enterprises issue financial statements in order to inform potential investors and creditors about their financial results and to attract capital at reasonable cost. To accurately reflect a company’s financial position and results of operations, accounting standards should be applied in a way that is faithful not only to the language of the standard, but consistent with the economic substance underlying the economic transactions of the entity. Seeking loopholes to find ways around the language of the standards obfuscates financial reporting and harms users of financial statements by creating information that is not a true reflection of economic reality. Some have argued that economic reality is either non-existent or too difficult to represent (Hines, 1988) and that, in any case, accounting is not up to the task. While there is merit in this viewpoint, we would argue that regardless of the difficulty of the task, users of financial statements prefer financial statements that are not misleading and that an emphasis on substance over form would approximate this goal in a more expeditious manner than the course currently charted under US GAAP.