Counting on the Upside
Accountants and Lawyers Who “Got It”
[I’m] trying to kinda cross lines and … become more of just a
business person here at Enron.… Being here full time … day to
day gives us a chance to chase the deals with them and partici-
pate in the deal making process.
—Two Arthur Andersen auditors in a promotional video
In 1999, Veba (a German utility) backed away after having engaged Enron in talks about a possible merger. Its consultants from PricewaterhouseCoopers had advised that Enron’s “aggressive accounting practices” made it look stronger than it really was. One of the participants representing Veba remarked, “[W]e were wondering why this wasn’t common knowledge, or why it wasn’t discovered by those people whose business it was to discover these things.”1 Of course, it was com-