Former Enron Accountant Writes Tell-All Book

She was Time magazine’s co-Person of the Year and the inspiration for Congress inserting whistle-blowing protections into the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Now, Sherron Watkins, the former vice president at Enron, tells her story in the book, Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, co-written with Mimi Swartz, executive editor of Texas Monthly magazine.

Power Failure joins the already more than 60 books that have been written about Enron, the Houston-based energy-trading company that filed for bankruptcy in December 2001. Watkins says she wrote the book so that outsiders would understand why employees loved working at Enron even if they weren’t always comfortable about what was going on at the company. The book interweaves Watkins’ story with those of the usual list of Enron characters, including Jeffrey Skilling, Andrew Fastow, and Kenneth Lay. Watkins describes the corporate culture as constant pressure to network and close big deals.

Watkins worked at Enron from 1993 until November 2002. Prior to that, she had worked in the Houston office of Arthur Andersen. In the summer of 2001, while working in the finance department, Watkins became aware that the company had created complex, sham partnerships. She sent an anonymous memo to CEO Lay about the suspicious transactions and saying that she feared Enron would "implode in a wave of accounting scandals." Watkins says she approached Mr. Lay because she trusted him to do the right thing.

Not everyone hails Watkins as a hero. Articles in both Business Week and Forbes magazines point out that Watkins’ behavior doesn’t fall within the true definition of a whistleblower because she failed to notify outside authorities, such as the press or the board, about what she knew.

Order your copy of Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron at

You may like these other stories...

Here's a CPA who truly walks the walk. On March 15, Frank Ryan, CPA, departed San Diego, California, with plans to be in Ocean City, Maryland, by July 2 to teach a course at the Maryland Association of CPAs’ (MACPA...
When Theodore J. Flynn first joined the Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MSCPA) in 1970, it was a different world and a different profession.  The "Big Eight" were still headquartered in Boston. Vietnam War...
Accountant Rickey Charles Goodrich had it a little too good. Many bean counters would kill to serve as financial guru to the likes of Pearl Jam. Goodrich was hired in 2005, and the following year, he became the CFO of Curtis...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.
Aug 26
This webcast will include discussions of recently issued, commonly-applicable Accounting Standards Updates for non-public, non-governmental entities.
Aug 28
Excel spreadsheets are often akin to the American Wild West, where users can input anything they want into any worksheet cell. Excel's Data Validation feature allows you to restrict user inputs to selected choices, but there are many nuances to the feature that often trip users up.
Sep 9
In this session we'll discuss the types of technologies and their uses in a small accounting firm office.