An Accounting Firm In Connecticut
By William Brighenti
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Arthur Andersen, for
I reviewed financial statements through dinner hour ad nauseum
subconsciously thinking of my audit fee.
In my hungry fatigue and looking for adjustments, I examined
balance sheet accounts, vouching countless transactions!
What errors and irregularities! Multiple assertions
misstated outright! Loans in the revenues! Improvements
in the expenses, interest in notes payable—and you, Bernard Madoff, what were you doing down in the investments?
I saw you, Arthur Andersen, inspecting documents and chastising the accountants.
I heard you questioning of each: Who reconciled
bank statements? Who confirmed receivables? Are you my Auditor?
I wandered in and out of the general ledger,
following you, and followed in my imagination by the
We performed audit procedures together in our
solitary fancy testing inventory, searching for unrecorded
liabilities, and never documenting one test.
What are your findings, Arthur Andersen? The audit needs to be
completed. What opinion have you decided to render?
(I touch your audit manual and dream of our odyssey in
Accounting Land and feel absurd.)
Will we work all night through endless spreadsheets? The
overhead lights add shadows to documents, as darkness descends, hiding our loneliness.
Will we work dreaming of the lost firms of public accounting
into the wee hours of the morning, back to our silent office?
Ah, dear mentor, distinguished auditor, honorable predecessor,
to what field of Asphodel did you retire before Antitrust’s demise,
auditing across the Lethe and leaving us prey to talons of multinationals trading bullions for sterling opinions tarnishing with greed?