When Fortune magazine published its listing of the 500 largest U.S. companies this year, it listed Enron as No. 5 based on nine-month revenue figures. Next to Enron's name were a question mark, exclamation point and a cross-reference to a separate article about the Revenue Games People (like Enron) Play. "No question about it," the article concludes, "the creativity of corporate accounting knows no bounds."
But corporate accountants didn't catch the brunt of the magazine's criticism. Auditors did. A special back-page "Bing" column in the Fortune 500 issue features an unflattering ten-stanza poem entitled, The Auditor. The poem is illustrated by a caricature of a man with a receding hairline who is wearing a green eyeshade and has his tie caught in a shredding machine.
Below is an excerpt from the columnist's poetic description of the auditor:
He had a toupee on his forehead, a fat brown tie at his throat,
Tan slacks of polyester, set off by a blue sport coat,
A StarTAC in a holster, a BlackBerry on his thigh,
As he strode you could hear him beeping – beeping – beeping
With every pocket beeping, and a twinkle in his eye.
The writer, Stanley Bing, is said to be a real executive at a real Fortune 500 company he'd rather not name. Although his cell phone number is unpublished, Fortune was kind enough to include his email address for anyone who wishes to send him fanmail. He can be reached at Stanleybing@aol.com. It seems unlikely that he will be receiving many kudos from accountants and auditors. But read his poem for yourself and let us know your reaction.