(Bloomberg) — Two decades of financial disasters from Enron Inc.’s collapse in 2001 to Wirecard AG’s meltdown have left the Big Four accounting firms facing a major cultural problem that regulators may struggle to resolve.
The 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) missing from Wirecard’s balance sheet brought the chief executive officer’s arrest, the German payments firm’s insolvency filing and a lot of finger-pointing. Some have blamed German regulator BaFin for its oversight failures. Wirecard’s auditor, Ernst & Young, called it an “elaborate” fraud that even a very rigorous probe may not have discovered.
But EY is also on the hot seat. It was added to a class-action style lawsuit against Wirecard on Tuesday, and stands accused of failing in its most fundamental duty. It’s a systemic problem facing not just EY, but also the other members of the Big Four: KPMG, Deloitte and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, according to Atul Shah, an accounting