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THE ruling was swift and unanimous. Few who had followed proceedings in the United States Supreme Court were surprised when, on May 31st, the justices overturned the 2002 conviction of Arthur Andersen. The auditing firm had been found guilty of witness tampering in connection with a purge of documents related to Enron, its most notorious client. There was an air of scepticism during last month's oral arguments.
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Arthur Andersen and Enron - two names that will forever live in infamy because of the events leading up to and including the debacle of December 2001, when Enron filled for bankruptcy. These two giants in the utility and accounting industries, and known throughout the world, took advantage of not only investors, but also the government and public as a whole, just so that those individuals involved could illegally increase their personal wealth. How could the backlash from the actions of the management of these two organizations have a positive influence in the accounting industry as a whole? The fallout from Enron’s bankruptcy and the SEC investigation that followed resulted in many changes to the industry to make standards tougher, penalties harder, and the accounting industry more reliable. At first glance, these “improvements” just seem like they are making more work for the many honest accountants in the industry, who are already doing the right things. However, this thesis will show how these changes actually are positive for the industry. In order to do this safety measures that were in place at the time of the debacle will be shown, the actual events leading up to the downfall of Enron and Arthur Andersen will be discussed, the changes that have occurred since the fall through the present day will be given, the changes that appear to be on the horizon for the accounting industry will be shown, and finally how all of this will impact the accounting industry as a whole in a positive fashion will be made clear.