All Eyes on Accountants

A once comfortable profession undergoes unprecedented scrutiny

Just about the only time the accounting profession traditionally steps into the spotlight is around April 15 or when representatives of Price Waterhouse, which tallies the Academy Awards votes, put in their annual appearance at the Oscar presentations. But as this year's income tax deadline loomed, accountants were getting much more than their historic share of publicity, and a lot of it was bad. After a spectacular string of corporate failures and financial scandals in recent years, the industry that is supposed to audit company books and sniff out chicanery is under pressure from all directions.

Record numbers of outraged shareholders...

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