Learning from Enron

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2002, 12:00am

Finally, the world is paying attention to deficiencies in US accounting and disclosure standards.

The realisation that something is wrong following the collapse of Enron is crucial in bringing about reforms.

The Government in Washington must now consider adopting selective standards from other countries that have put in place certain superior guidelines.

The UK has much stricter rules on corporate share buy-back disclosure. Hong Kong's rules are much tighter on insider trading disclosures.

They prohibit the creation of special entities to conceal debt, which is what happened with Enron. And many European countries' earnings-reporting requirements are more conservative and transparent.

Unrealised gains in investment portfolios of a non-core nature are not used to enhance reported earnings in most European countries, while this practice is common in many US companies.

The US now has the opportunity to take the lead in implementing better standards for itself and the world by combining the best of its own good rules with those of other nations.


Washington DC, US