The bankruptcy of the US energy giant Enron shook global financial financial markets. According to the findings of a survey conducted by the Mannheim Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), at least three quarters of the 274 financial analysts surveyed thought a scandal similar to Enron could potentially also occur in the New Market.

By contrast, these same analysts considered the DAX figures far less likely to be affected by such a scandal. In this case, almost 20 per cent of those surveyed saw the danger of such an accounting scandal, while almost 70 per cent said they thought it unlikely.

Another question on the survey required the financial market experts to provide information on the effectiveness of accounting regulations. Their responses show that the analysts place the most trust in accounting carried out in accordance with the International Accounting Standards (IAS). Almost 60 per cent of them shared the view that this type of accountancy most realistically reflects a company's assets, financial situation and revenue. Accountancy according to the US GAAP is seen as far less effective. This could be because the US GAAP has developed throughout history and still leaves many valuation issues open. Least effective in the eyes of the analysts is accountancy according to the German Commerical Code (HGB). This is not surprising; after all, from a creditor's point of view, accountancy carried out according to HGB is based on the prudence concept.

A third question on the survey centred around the demand for the auditing of publicly traded companies in particular to be handed over to the state in order to improve the quality and reliability of results. Despite the recent events in the US, this suggestion was only supported by 8 per cent of the analysts. The overwhelming majority (88 per cent) were in favour of leaving the responsibility for auditing with private companies. Clearly, the current structure of the German auditing system is not viewed as a source of danger.


Dr. Felix Hüfner, E-Mail:

Volker Kleff, E-Mail:

Dr. Matthias Meitner, E-Mail:




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