Accounting Tricks Around the Globe

Accounting chicanery will be high on the agenda of the bankers who will meet at the annual IMF/World Bank gathering in Washington, D.C. The IMF should do more than offer the private sector advice about how to fix its accounting problems; governmental accounting tricks and the IMF's own wheezes should also be addressed, says Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

The Arthur Anderson and Enron scandals in America have focused attention on the problems of accounting in private businesses. But the scale of this corruption should not blind us to the problem of public sector accounting, where many deceitful things are also being done.

Accounting rules are designed to provide standardized frameworks within which the financial position of a firm, or government, can be assessed. Bad accounting frameworks always lead to bad information, and bad information leads to bad decisions, with serious long term consequences. This is true in the public as well as the private sector.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To continue reading, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions.

Log in;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.