E Corporate Governance And Ethics Accounting Essay

Good corporate administration should set in topographic point steps that eliminate or at least cut down the cancerous principal- agent job inorder to vouch the answerability of certain persons in public companies. Coyle ( 2003, 6 ) says “ In recent old ages, the acknowledgment of demand for alterations in the manner that public companies are governed began with a figure of dramatic and good publicised corporate failures. ” One of these dramatic and good publicised failures includes the Enron instance. Harmonizing to Coyle ( 2003, 8 ) , good corporate administration in developing states is indispensable for pulling foreign investing capital. Zimbabwe, as a underdeveloped state, can pull a figure of lessons from the Enron issue inorder to forestall history in the signifier of another “ Enron ” from reiterating itself within its boundary lines. This will frighten off the much needed foreign investors from the state.

Background of the Enron Issue

Enron Corporation was an American energy company based in Houston, Texas and was formed in 1985 when Houston Natural Gas merged with Internorth. The company ‘s initial focal point was the regulated transit of natural gas. After some old ages of enlargement on domestic and international forepart, Enron ‘s focal point had changed and it was involved in a figure of complicated trades affecting natural gas, mush and paper, communications companies and many more. Full inside informations of how the company was doing money was ill-defined to analysts and the general public and became a closely restrained secret. The Fortune Magazine reported that “ But depicting what Enron does is n’t easy, because what it does is mind-numbingly complex ” ( ‘Is Enron Overpriced? ‘ , March 2001 ) .

Before its prostration, Enron ‘success ‘ was a much talked about topic. A study on BBC News web site reported that “ From 1996 to 2001, Fortune Magazine named Enron as America ‘s Most Advanced Company. As a consequence, in merely 15 old ages it grew from nowhere to go America ‘s 7th largest company, using 21,000 staff in more than 40 states ” and that “ Fortune magazine named Enron “ America ‘s Most Advanced Company ” for six back-to-back old ages from 1996 to 2001. “ ( ‘Enron Case ‘ , July 2006 ) .

After its prostration, there was adequate grounds that Enron ‘s existent innovativeness was centered on ‘doctoring ‘ of fiscal studies to do the company more attractive to investors. Enron was non being true about its fiscal position and concern traffics in clear instance of deficiency of transparence. Coyle ( 2003:22 ) says “ Transparency refers to both information about the fiscal place of the company and to non fiscal issues such as the way the company is taking, its strategic aims, and so on. A crystalline company is, hence, one that investors can understand. ” Thus it can be safely concluded that Enron was non a crystalline company and so its prostration took many people including stockholders by surprise.

BBC News summarized the annihilating effects of Enron ‘s prostration when it reported that “ aˆ¦ Enron left behind $ 31.8bn ( ?18bn ) of debts, its portions become worthless, and 21,000 workers around the universe lost their occupations. ” A developing economic system such as Zimbabwe can non afford a dirt of such magnitude and should take lessons from the Enron instance.

Lessons from the Enron Case

Company Executives ‘ investings in the company necessitate monitoring and insider trading should be a punishable offense.

Merely earlier Enron collapsed, the company ‘s executives used their insider cognition and sold their portions, doing monolithic net incomes in the procedure, merely before the company ‘s jobs were made public ( BBC News ‘Enron Case ‘ , July 2006 ) . Such a pattern is known as insider trading whereby individuals with entree to non-public company information use their privileged position to merchandise in the company ‘s stock.

Monitoring company executives ‘ activities in every bit far as remarkably monolithic acquisition or disposal of company stocks could hold sounded early dismay bells about Enron ‘s financially position. The lesson learnt is that mechanisms should be put in topographic point to deter insider trading and, in peculiar, information about company executives who make heavy investings or divestments should be made public and such moves should travel through an blessing procedure which foremost ascertains nil untoward is traveling on in the company.

In Zimbabwe there was no statute law for covering with insider trading in the state ‘s legislative acts. In 2004, the Zimbabwe Independent pointed out that “ Insider trading on the ZSE presently can non be proven because the state does non hold Torahs qualifying what it is and how it can be stopped. ” ( Zimbabwe insider trading set to decline ‘ , April 2004 ) . Perpetrators are good cognizant of the lacks of legislative assembly and can transport out insider trading at will.

However Zimbabwe seems to hold taken a foliage out of the Enron issue when the Securities Act which was promulgated in 2004, was made operational in 2008. Sections 90 and 91 of the Securities Act guarantee that abuse of inside information makes culprits reprehensively and civilly apt severally. In add-on, there should be mechanisms to supervise company executives ‘ investings in the organisation.

There should be separation scrutinizing from confer withing maps

Arthur Andersen was hired to make both scrutinizing and audience for Enron. This was a clear instance of struggle of involvement. Reacting to studies that Enron had paid Andersen $ 25 million for its audit and $ 27 million for consulting and other services, industry analyst Arthur Bowmen questioned how an hearer could be independent when a client was paying such immense amounts of money ( Time, ‘Enron: Who is accountable? ‘ , January 2002 ) .

To do affairs worse Enron hired former Arthur Andersen employees. This created an ethical struggle of involvement as it would be easy for former co-workers to reprehensively conspire. Coyle ( 2003:117 ) says “ The intent of the audit study is to give users of a company ‘s fiscal statements some reassurance that the information in the statements is credible. Users of histories want reassurance that there has non been any fraud or mistake. ” However due to the struggle of involvement alluded to earlier, it was non surprising, hence, that the hearers reported abnormalities in Enron ‘s financials. In fact, Arthur Anderson was reported to hold ordered devastation of audit paperss associating to work carried out at Enron thereby killing grounds and corroborating that the independency and unity of scrutinizing done for Enron was dubious.

From the Enron issue, Zimbabwe should larn that separation of audit and consulting services is critical inorder to protect the involvements of investors. It should besides be put in statute law that accounting houses who destroy paperss to besiege probes should confront terrible punishments.

There should be no struggle of involvement among the company ‘s employees

One job that was rampant in the Enron issue was the principal-agent job. Coyle ( 2003:11 ) points out that “ In the absence of the protections that good administration supplies, dissymmetries of information and troubles of supervising mean that capital suppliers who lack control over the corporation will happen it hazardous and dearly-won to protect themselves from the timeserving behaviour of directors and commanding stockholders. ” There is ample grounds that company executives in Enron were organizing partnerships to syphon money out Enron. BBC News reported that “ Some of the partnerships were set up by the company ‘s executives, profiting them, their households and friends to the melody of 1000000s of dollars. ” ( ‘Enron Case ‘ , July 2006 ) .

In Zimbabwe, there were warning marks that struggles of involvement could prevalent in our organisations. One instance that comes to mind is the Econet – Old Mutual instance where managers were seeking stockholder blessing to come in into an installment sale understanding with Econet Wireless Global ( EWG ) based in South Africa. The Financial Gazette reported that “ Nyambirai was questioned over his engagement as lead fiscal adviser to the proposed dealing every bit good as legal adviser, while he was besides board president of the company.

Nyambirai is a chief stockholder and spouse in diversified fiscal services group, TN Financial Holdings, the fiscal adviser to the dealing, every bit good as Mtetwa & A ; Nyambirai, the legal adviser. ” ( ‘Econet battles command to barricade portion trade ‘ , April 2009 )

Clearly, there is a demand to supervise partnerships that are formed with external entities in order to restrict this sort of pattern. Company executives should be bound by the codification of moralss to guarantee that they do non mistreat their powers in chase personal enrichment.

Encouraging and advancing an atmosphere conducive for whistle blowers in the organisation

Coyle ( 2003:30 ) defines a whistle blower as “ An person, normally an employee, who reports concerns about misconduct or misdemeanours by person in the organisation. A whistle blower does non utilize normal lines of coverage, but alternatively goes to a senior person within the organisation or to person outside the organisation, such as the imperativeness or regulative board. ” One employee, Sherron Watkins, blew the whistling straight to the Enron CEO about abnormalities in the company financials but the CEO did non pay attentiveness to the information until it was excessively late.

Zimbabwean companies should esteem the function of whistle blowers as people who provide critical information that contribute to the endurance of the organisation in the face of internal corruptness. Whistle blowers should be protected and the information from they provide should trip prompt probes to avoid prostration such as the one suffered by Enron.

Care of believable fiscal accounting criterions

The demand for believable accounting criterions requires no reduplication. In a clear instance of market use, fiscal statements at Enron were to a great extent manipulated to paint a rose-colored image about the company ‘s fiscal wellness. “ Enron engaged in off-balance-sheet funding, utilizing subordinates that it controlled to fudge its ain investings. On the books, this pattern inflated company net incomes and decreased debt ” ( Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.es.northropgrumman.com /ourvalues/articles/assets/Circuit092002 ) . Harmonizing to Coyle ( 2003:12 ) “ Accounting abnormalities in a figure of companies led to fastening of accounting criterions, although jobs of window dressing are improbable to of all time vanish wholly. ”

Zimbabwean organisations should larn from the Enron that instance that fiscal deceit is dearly-won and the usage of good accounting criterions is of paramount importance in concern and any studies of fiscal deceit will frighten away investors.

Be wary of nightlong successes

The rise and rise of Enron in a little sum of clip should function as lesson to investors in Zimbabwe and elsewhere to be careful of companies that make large monies with fuzzed concern theoretical accounts and programs. Investors should guarantee that they understand how the companies they invest in acquire their net incomes. In 2001, shortly before Enron collapsed, Fortune Magazine commented that “ As for the inside informations about how it makes money, Enron says that ‘s proprietary information, kind of like Coca-Cola ‘s secret expression. Fastow, who points out that Enron has 1,217 trading “ books ” for different trade goods, says, “ We do n’t desire anyone to cognize what ‘s on those books. We do n’t desire to state anyone where we ‘re doing money. ” ” ( ‘Is Enron Overpriced? ‘ , March 2001 ) .


The lessons learnt from the Enron instance have a strong bearing on the virtuousnesss of following and adhering to good administration. The company ‘s board of managers should play an active function to supervise corporate direction so that it protects the involvements of stockholders. Developing economic systems such as Zimbabwe should larn from the Enron issue if they are to pull foreign investing capital.

The Enron ‘s board did non pay attentiveness to struggle of involvement regulations and allowed the company to make private partnerships to make concern with the house. The exclusive intent of these partnerships was to hide debts and liabilities so that Enron ‘s reported net incomes would be inflated and as a consequence, the company collapsed out of the blue in the terminal robbing stockholders of their difficult earned hard currency.

Clear separation between audit and consultancy maps should predominate in administrations to forestall damaging struggle of involvements such as in the Andersen instance. Audited accounts are at that place to reassure the unity of fiscal statements if and merely if the audit squad is independent.

Companies should non disregard the concerns of whistle blowers as was the instance in the Enron issue. Measures to protect whistle blowers should be put in topographic point to avoid persecution or fright of persecution since the information proffered by whistle blowers can do a great difference with respects to whether the company will maintain on thriving or it collapses. Finally, mechanisms to forestall insider trading should be on a regular basis reviewed to protect stockholder ‘s involvements.


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