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Financial crises in European countries

Financial crises in European countries

Discuss what resulted to massive losses in the financial markets that brought most of the
European countries including the US and UK to dire financial crises

I disagree with the statement as the accounting profession is now more than ever before serving
the needs of the global business environment and the contribution that the accounting profession
has contributed to the global business environment is phenomenal and cannot be ignored, not
even in the wake of the major financial scandals that rocked the financial markets in the last two
decades. It’s true that some accounting professionals failed miserably in their responsibilities and
which resulted in massive losses in the financial markets that brought most of the European
countries including the US and UK to dire financial crises (Hermanson, 2008). The most notable
financial scandal that shook the world economy was the Lehman Brothers in 2008, one of the
largest investment banks in the US and it was also the largest financial institution in the US to
collapse due to bankruptcy and the Enron scandal in 2001.
The most affected people were the shareholders, depositors and creditors. Most depositors had
trusted the institution with all their life savings while shareholders invested their hard earned
money in the hope of creating more wealth while the creditors were also hoping to gain
financially by extending both long and short term loans to the bank (Atrill & Mclaney, 2013).
These groups of people require accurate and up to date information concerning their investments,
savings and debt portfolios and payments. Investments accounts provide a range of investment

portfolio that the institution has interest in and the amounts invested. The published accounts
provide all the information regarding customer savings and the debts that the company has
accumulated for a particular financial year. Specific financial statements that provide investment
information are the company’s cash flow and the statement of equity. The balance sheet provides
the total assets and liabilities that the company has for a particular financial period and it also
shows the company’s leverage that most creditors and financiers require. The income and
expenditure account provides information on the company’s revenue expenditure and sales. The
creditors are mostly interested in this information as it proves whether the company is liquid or
not. It provides the information that reflects the company’s liquidity.
The accounting profession in the US has been impacted negatively by the numerous scandals that
have created a lot of financial crises in the corporate world. The confidence rating of the
profession has been eroded and the public’s trust in the institution has waned. The US
government reacted by introducing the Sarbanes Oxley Act that places criminal liability for
certain acts of irresponsibility among company executives. The Act places a lot responsibility on
the decisions made by company executives. Other institutions like the European union have been
active in creating the Basel I, II and III that makes it mandatory for financial institutions to
maintain certain ratios for protection of the depositors funds in case of liquidity problems
(Sissell, 2006).
The US government also reacted by trying and jailing all the perpetrators of the financial
scandals including reprimanding Ernest and Young, the accounting firm that was largely blamed
for the collapse of the Giant Lehman Bros in 2008 while after the Enron scandal, Arthur
Andersen, the accounting firm that assisted the company’s fraudulent activities was dissolved

and most of the senior executives from the company were sent to prison together with Enron’s
management team.
These actions have created more transparency and accountability in the accounting profession
(Kuschnik, 2008). The number of scandals has significantly dropped since the introduction of the
Sarbanes Oxley act in 2002 hence these measures have been fairly successful in tackling
inefficiencies and fraudulent activities in the accounting profession (Hartman, 2005).

Atrill, P. & Mclaney, E., 2013, Accounting and Finance for Non-Specialists. 8 th Ed. Harlow, UK:
Pearson Publishing.
Hartman, T., 2005, The cost of being public in the era of Sarbanes-Oxley. Foley and Lardner
Presentation. June 2005. Hay, D.C., W
Hermanson, D. R., 2008, Fraudulent Financial Reporting: How Do We Close the Knowledge
Whitepaper-1.pdf. Center for Audit
Kuschnik, B., 2008, The Sarbanes Oxley Act: “Big Brother is watching” you or Adequate
Measures of Corporate Governance Regulation? 5 Rutgers Business Law Journals.
Sissell, K., 2006, Committee to Recommend Changes to Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Chemical
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