Yes, 'beans' as in accounting. It's interesting in hearing an engineer's take on the discipline. Engineers do real stuff; bean counters deal with things that are less so. Oh? How is that latter true?
Well, consider that the mess is related to accounting and rules. Some claim that the big drop in equity value (across all markets) is exacerbated by the 'mark to market' rule's bad influence. They wish. Too, the cause for related issues, like cooking the books, lie directly in the laps of accounting.
We've seen crooks come out of the corner; not, that there aren't many yet uncovered, but the modern accounting practices allow this. How?
There was a recent CYA by a SEC guy in the WSJ about their audits of Madoff. It seems that when the audit trail led to rotten smells, all Madoff had to do to throw the hounds off was mention OTC (yes, that open pit of casino capitalism) and foreign markets. That Madoff could, allegedly, create fictitious trails (Marx must love this!) for so long speaks a bunch about accounting's ills.
Accounting, in its current vogue, started with hand techniques, ages ago. Perhaps, the new day might be a time to recommend that, just like money, accounting can be put on a framework that would be as sound as physics. How's this?
Computation, for one, would be essential. Then, voting schemes that mimic markets and other mechanisms (to be defined, but getting away from the gab standard for instance) are a start.