Finance should be a servant, but never a master. So when accountants and auditors become the story because of systemic failures and corporate malfeasance you know something has gone badly wrong. As big accountancy firms are increasingly embroiled in corporate scandals, how do we clearly define their role so they actually serve society instead of continually maximising profit for private and personal gain?
All those banks and other financial institutions that have gone bust, or been bailed out, over the past 20 years demonstrate that the sector’s corporate conduct has been wayward, to put it mildly. That these dodgy outfits are located in the UK, USA, EU, Japan – virtually anywhere – suggests that, at root, their problems may have as much to do with human nature as jurisdictional regulation.
Long before the Paradise Papers, or the Panama Papers, the Enron scandal, Savings and Loan crisis, WorldCom, and the Global Financial Crisis, governments in the US, UK and Australia were colluding with the world’s biggest banks and their clients using aggressions dynamics not to defeat but to suborn the controls of the supposedly independent professionals: The accountants.