Though 2002 had its share of blowups, another defining characteristic of the year was the focus on, and potential threat of sweeping changes in accounting, specifically with regards to off-balance-sheet assets and risk.

Center stage was (and still is) the consolidation project. Responding to loopholes and abuses of special purpose entities, particularly as exploited by Enron Corp.'s failure, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has spent 2002 re-examining existing generally accepted account principles (GAAP) through open meeting discussions, an exposure draft and several redeliberations.

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