In Unshackling Accountants, Professor D. R. Myddleton of Cranfield School of Management looks at the history of and arguments for and against detailed accounting standards. Myddleton concludes that, while there may be a case for the accounting profession to develop voluntary guidelines, the imposition of rigid standards is likely to prevent the art of accounting from evolving.
Myddleton believes that the argument that more regulation and more uniformity are necessary to avoid scandals such as those at Enron and WorldCom is flawed. He argues that those scandals happened at a time when accounting practices were more regulated than ever before and in jurisdictions where practices were laid down in the greatest detail. Very often, in fact, bad practice is imposed by regulation and accounting standards.