How everyday business language lets us engage in accounting…deception.

We’re living in interesting times. Worldcom announced $4 million in losses that had been buried as, um, capital expenditures (oops. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?). Enron’s collapses from horrendous mismanagement, taking Arthur Anderson down for obstruction of justice. Tyco apparently funneled billions of company dollars straight to the founder’s family. Global Crossing… Xerox… Merck … Everyone is so upset about the losses. We’re losing so much money. Losses, losses everywhere. But wait!

What does that mean? When I "lose" my wallet, it’s because it got accidentally (and thoughtlessly) misplaced. Getting into the cab, it was there. Six tequila shots later, when it was time to pay, the wallet was gone. Whoops. I must have lost it. Fortunately, the realization comes after the six shots, so the consequences (while probably severe) seem like little more than a hazy dream…

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Losses and Responsibility: How everyday business l…

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