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The New World Of Accounting
Recent trends in accounting, have lead to an industry make-over.
After recent scandals in big accounting firms, the industry is
trying to regain an honest, ethical image. At the same time,
accountants are increasingly being called upon to give advice
to clients. As the industry develops, accountants will need to
avoid situations that create a conflict of interest, like the
ones that originally caused the scandals.
The Push to Be Ethical
Arthur Anderson used to be one of the biggest accounting firms in the United States but collapsed because of its involvement with Enron, showing the industry that even accounting firms aren't above the law. As a result, new legislation has been passed and additional rules and regulations have been put in place to prevent corporate fraud. The added scrutiny and pressure has left firms scrambling to reclaim the image of integrity and ethics they once had. Large firms are dropping 'risky' clients and emphasizing moral integrity in their new employees. Although smaller firms haven't typically been involved in large scandal and legal problems, they are not exempt from scrutiny as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has already started examining them.
A New Role to Play
In addition to crunching numbers, accountants are now being called upon to use them to advise their clients. This additional contact with clients means that communication skills are more important than ever before. Accountants can advise on increasing efficiency, saving money, creating budgets and more. However, there was trouble last time that accounting firms got into the business of consulting. Now there are new restrictions on what non-traditional services accountants can and cannot provide their clients to prevent illegal conflicts of interest.
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