So, yesterday, we were watching the denouement of the Enron trial when we got this pitiful attempt at getting in on the media action—an email with this subject header: “CPA OF ENRON’S ACCOUNTING FIRM WHO QUIT TO BECOME A ROCK STAR SPEAKS OUT ON PRESSURES CEOS PUT ON YOUNG AUDITORS.” The ex-CPA in question, one Chris Sernel, now of the group Escape from Earth, “aced” the CPA exam and was immediately hired by Enron accountant Arthur Andersen
back in the day, the email says. It’s probably a good thing that he’s got a talent for math, because apparently his spelling is so bad he can’t even get the name of his former employer right. In the release, he repeatedly spells Andersen with an “o” where the second “e” should be. Anyway, here is a bit of his wit and wisdom regarding the well-known CPA/rock star conundrum: “Between the scandals and tons of new rules, it was frustrating. While at Anderson [sic], I just got sick and tired of working 100 hour weeks finding potential errors and issues, only to see that the client ultimately was given an auditor’s ‘clean opinion’ by Anderson [sic again!] managers. This was due in large part to the pressure of knowing that the client is paying the auditor’s bills. In Rock and Roll [his choice of capitalization, not ours], our fans pay our bills. The pressures are the same to give people their money’s worth but rising up to meet the pressures in the world of Rock and Roll are more in intellectually honest and rewarding.” Uh, thanks for the insights, Chris.
—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor