“The Smartest Guys in the Room”

A quick catch-up from last week’s AMIS 861 fraud class. Prof. Turner shown us a documentary movie on Enron’s collapse—“The Smartest Guys in the Room”. As a MAcc student, Enron’s name is one of the most heard words. The Enron scandal was one of the largest accounting frauds in the American History, which lead to bankruptcy of this giant company, directly caused 22 thousand people to lose their jobs, and also dragged down Arthur Andersen, one of the big 5 accounting companies back then. This case was also highly related to the creation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

No matter how familiar I was with the Enron case, nevertheless, I was shocked, touched, and lost in deep thoughts multiple times when I watched the movie. The over passionate leaders and employees that ultimately cross the line and became extremely unethical, Cliff Baxter’s suicide, ex-employees who calmly provide testimonies but with their face revealing controlled emotion, and the sad scenes of Enron people leaving their offices and farewells to their friends on the morning Enron announced bankruptcy, these are details that I’ve never imagined. A saying is probably right, that “people and passion is the hardest to predict and to manage”.