Observations on the Role of Commodification, Independence, Governance, and the Demise of the Accounting Profession (with Hillary Sale), 48 Villanova Law Review 1167 (2003)
In this Article, we argue the internal corporate governance structure of the big accounting firm is fundamentally flawed, and that this flaw contributed to the current crisis of confidence in the integrity of public reporting. The incentive structure within accounting firms makes it virtually impossible for auditors to be independent of significant clients like Enron. This flaw has led to a gradual, but fundamental, change in the basic balance of economic power between accounting firms and their audit clients. In combination with the lack of accountability created by the limited liability partnership (LLP) and the regulatory commodification of audits, this flaw has led to a market in which audits are bought and sold. As a consequence, audits no longer serve the economic purpose providing information that protects investors and leads to efficient pricing of securities-that they once served.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Macey, Jonathan R. and Sale, Hillary, "Observations on the Role of Commodification, Independence, Governance, and the Demise of the Accounting Profession" (2003). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 1416.