how to create barcode in vb.net 2010 THREE The Accounting Story in Software

Encoder ECC200 in Software THREE The Accounting Story

CHAPTER THREE The Accounting Story
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behavior that led to Enron s high-risk actions and questionable accounting, which received the apparent blessing of its auditor The evidence certainly points in that direction. While it does not detail the technology firms role in supporting tort reform for accounting firms, the Crain s article does corroborate the growing influence of Andersen s technology clients. Referring to the ill-fated end of the options expensing debate, the article states, FASB and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) acquiesced in the wake of the 1994 mid-term elections, which put both houses of Congress under Republican control for the first time in 40 years and strengthened the lobbying power of the accounting industry. The apparent victory would hold profound implications for Andersen. It symbolized the grip that technology clients had gained on the firm, not as an auditor but as a consultant, reaping head-spinning fees. 10 Interestingly, the only recorded vote in Congress on stock options took place in 1994, when the Senate approved by a vote of 88 to 9 a nonbinding resolution proposed by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn) urging the FASB not to go forward with its proposal to expense options. This vote followed an intense lobbying campaign, including a one-day event in March 1994 in which 100 CEOs flew to Washington to lobby personally members of Congress against expensing options. While supporters of stock option expensing, led by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich), managed to add a provision to the resolution declaring that Congress ought to respect the independence of the FASB and not politicize accounting rules, the Senate vote was seen as sending a political warning to the FASB. When the FASB, bruised and battle scarred, finally did adopt FAS 123, it had backed off from requiring that options be expensed. While the board maintained its position that options should be expensed, FAS 123 said that options could be expensed. If they weren t expensed (and the vast majority of companies did not opt to expense them), then they had to be disclosed in footnotes to the company s financial statements. The FASB s own statement about FAS 123 has a note of what, at least in hindsight, sounds like defeat: The board chose a disclosure-based solution for stock-based employee compensation to
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PART ONE The Stock Option Problem
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bring closure to the divisive debate on this issue not because it believes that solution is the best way to improve financial accounting and reporting. 9
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FASB S RENEWED CAMPAIGN
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The FASB may have lost that battle but it appears to be winning the war. In its renewed campaign to require option expensing, the FASB gained an important ally: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. In an address before the 2002 Financial Markets Conference of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta delivered in May of that year, Greenspan championed option expensing as potentially bolstering investor confidence and helping the economy as a whole. The seemingly narrow accounting matter of option expensing is, in fact, critically important for the accurate representation of corporate performance, Greenspan said in his remarks. And accurate reporting, in turn, is central to the functioning of free-market capitalism the system that has brought such a high level of prosperity to our country. Just as in the early 1990s, when investors were outraged over excessive executive compensation, the FASB is once again emboldened to take action on this controversial issue. Many investors and much of the public at large have taken a decidedly anticorporate stance, looking for someone to blame for everything from the drop in stock prices to the weakness in the economy. In a world of corporate reform, the option expense is some of the low-hanging fruit. In a Motley Fool column (www.fool.com), Bill Mann accurately portrayed how many savvy investors felt over options and the reluctance of some firms particularly technology to expense them. Companies are afraid that if they have to show the true economic cost of options, earnings will be lower, and their share prices will drop. Big deal! If stock options provide a distorted picture of performance to the end shareholder, then we re not talking about making financial statements look worse. We re talking about making them look accurate. 11 With the Enron/Andersen saga filling the news headlines and the concerns over potential accounting scandals taking a toll on
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