Fortune Cites Creative Accounting, Blames The Auditor

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 Although his cell phone number is unpublished, Fortune was kind enough to include his email address for anyone who wishes to send him fanmail.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 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.

-Rosemary Schlank

You may like these other stories...

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) on Tuesday adopted a new auditing standard and amendments in three areas of the audit that could pose an increased risk of material misstatement in company financial...
Read more from Larry Perry here and in the Today’s World of Audits archive.In my last article, I presented an overview of one of the first steps in the preplanning phase of an audit engagement: reviewing prior year...
Read more from Larry Perry here and in the Today’s World of Audits archive.AU-C Section 800, Special Considerations—Audits of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance with Special Purpose Frameworks (SPFs),...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Oct 9In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards.
Oct 15This webinar presents the requirements of AU-C 600, Audits of Group Financial Statements (Including the Work of Component Auditors).
Oct 21Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience’s communication style.
Oct 23Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.