Accounting is the only profession where you can completely screw everything up (see Enron, WorldCom, Kmart, etc..) and your “punishment” (so long as you aren’t Arthur Andersen) is that the “powers that be” enact all sorts of legislation (SOX, Option Expensing, 409A, FASB 123, etc.), that create a full employment act for your profession, radically increase your fee structures, and make everyone in your profession better off than when everyone thought you were doing a good job and maintaining the public trust.
...We’ve had a hell of a time getting any of the Big Four to want to work with our portfolio companies and those that do are paying a very high price. It isn’t like the 1990's where they were all fighting over our companies hoping they’d go public. Right now they have so much work to do in the public sector that they can’t make enough money on the private companies. That being said, on their way out the door, they’ll try to recoup any discounts they gave you while you were a client while giving you a big smile in the hope that you’ll come back to them one day if you are successful enough to go public.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence, which tracks private equity and venture capital in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.