In the United States, twentieth–century accountants played a vital role in shaping the transparency of U.S. capital markets, counseling the Allies on financial matters in both world wars, advising Congress on the creation of the federal income tax, and inventing the concept of the gross national product.
Yet by 2003, the reputation of the public accountant was in tatters. How did the accounting profession in America squander its legacy of public service? What happened to the accountants that presidents, senators, and captains of industry turned to for advice? Why did auditors stop looking for fraud? How did this once revered profession find itself in this unlikely and humiliating state?
The First Accountants 21
The Birth of an American Profession 41
Accountants Earn a Public Trust 67
The Quest for Growth 99
Cracks in the Facade 123
The End of the Audit 159
The Fight of His Life 187
Enron and the Fall of Andersen 225
Accounting 101 255
The Future of Accounting 281