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Academic says Enron-style disaster more likely

The mountain of accounting regulation caused by scandals like Enron and WorldCom has made another financial disaster more likely to happen, a leading academic has claimed.

David Myddelton, professor of accounting and finance at Cranfield Business School, is concerned that the UK and the European Union are increasingly adopting the US approach of detailing how companies should produce their accounts.

In Unshackling Accountants, a paper for the Institute of Economic Affairs, Myddelton claimed that the chances of financial disaster were increased because strict rule-based regulation lulled users into a false sense of security, preventing accountants from using their judgement.

‘In nine years, the volume of accounting regulation has increased by 150%, from an already high level, at a huge cost to companies, without any corresponding benefit,’ he said.

Myddelton claimed that a radical new approach to regulation was needed and proposed that accounting standards be instead replaced by ‘accounting suggestions’.

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