Arthur Andersen

More updates on the dual claims on the Andersen names and the press conference that didn’t happen.

Photo doesn’t do justice as a reminder of the fabled AA double doors, but it is a reasonable approximation. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The recent news on two different firms claiming the Andersen name is subtle. If you are really interested in stories such as this, the news is actually quite interesting.

The latest developments…

3/8 – Crain’s Chicago Business – It’s Andersen vs. Andersen in bizarre trademark fight – More background on the two firms claiming rights to the Andersen name.

Andersen arises from the grave, again

Photo doesn’t do justice as a reminder of the fabled AA double doors, but it is a reasonable approximation. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A second firm that proudly claims the Arthur Andersen name is now officially in operation.

3/1 – Stephane Laffont-Reveilhac, AA Global Managing Partner at LinkedIn post – Arthur Andersen restarts with 26 offices in 16 countries on 5 continents – Announcement declares that Arthur Andersen is back. March 1, 2017 marks the official start of the new firm.

I don’t quite understand exactly where the new AA is at in terms of operations. The article uses several verbs that are a bit confusing, such as they “…are setting up…” the firm, and there are five (only 5) offices in the US. Comments from Andersen Tax reinforce my confusion. That all makes sense when I consider the new firm is in start-up mode.

The short article says the firm asserts it is

…the rightful holder of the ‘ARTHUR ANDERSEN” and “ANDERSEN” historical trademarks, logos … at a global level…

There is also a firm called Andersen Tax, which was previously known as WTAS. This firm was founded by 23 former partners of Andersen. They avoid audit work, focusing instead on tax, with legal work also available in two of the European markets.

There is a fight underway between the two firms over the Andersen name. Both claim to have exclusive rights to the name.

If you want a quick survey of the conflict, check out Going Concern on 3/3: Accounting News Roundup: Will the Real Arthur Andersen Please Stand Up?

If you’ve actually read this far in this post, you will certainly want to check out two in-depth articles:

More thoughts on the resurrected Andersen brand. Part 3

Here are a few more articles discussing the acquisition of the Andersen brand name by a tax-only accounting firm. My previous articles here and here.

9/8 – re:The Auditors – More on My Reuters Breakingviews Column: The Andersen Tax Name Grab – Francine McKenna brings in more background and other articles on the return of the Andersen brand.

She even quotes the last part of my previous post which said that if a small portion of the worldwide CFOs think the Andersen name denotes quality then there is huge market for the formerly named WTAS firm.

Just a small portion of people who don’t think the Andersen name is mud means there is a huge potential market. Part 2

Previous post started a discussion that the tax-only accounting firm of Wealth & Tax Advisory Services, or WTAS, has acquired the right to use the name Andersen. The firm will change its name to Andersen Tax.

More discussion this week

Prof Schaub rolled his ideas into a full article – 9/4 – LinkedIn – No Surprise to See Andersen Resurrected – …

Andersen name returns from the dead. Part 1

A tax-only accounting firm that was started by 22 or 23 partners from the imploded Arthur Andersen firm has acquired the name Andersen from the bankruptcy trustee. The firm of WTAS LLC, abbreviation for Wealth & Tax Advisory Services, will change their name to Andersen Tax.

The issue is getting a bit of attention in the accounting world this week.

9/2 – Wall Street Journal – Tax Firm to Revive Arthur Andersen Name – …

More good stuff for auditors – 9/1

A few links and comments of interest to auditors. The Andersen name is back, how to classify ‘trapped cash’, government assigning audits, and The F Student (twice). Wow, am I confused. The Andersen name resurfaces, and vinyl record sales are surging. What’s next, disco?

August 2014 – The CPA Journal – Meet the Future of the Profession – Rumbi Bwerinofa-Petrozzello is one of the bloggers I follow. She writes on fraud at Figuring Financial Forensics.

She and three other young professionals were featured in the linked article in the NY state society. The four discussed their perspectives. Well worth a read.

In particular, I enjoyed the following comment from Ms. Bwerinofa:

All the Enron accounting was approved by the attorneys and the auditors and the board. Everything was perfectly legit. Until indictments were issued.

In a speech that should give all auditors pause, Andrew Fastow, former CFO of Enron, tells us that all the off-balance sheet transactions were reviewed and approved in advance by everybody.

Enron was one of the biggest in the host of business frauds after the turn of the century.

Half of Enron’s assets were off-balance sheet. According to the article, Former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow Confronts the Fraud Examiners, Mr. Fastow says those deals were intended to deceive:

Fastow admitted that his role was engaging in structured finance transactions that intentionally created a false appearance for Enron. 

The goal was to create misleading financial statements.

Did he violate the accounting rules?


Did he break specific laws?


The transactions were reviewed and approved, yet still fraudulent

To what purpose did Arthur Andersen die? Part 3

First post in this series discussed an editorial in the Chicago Tribune concluding that Big 5 accounting firm Andersen died in vain.

Second post provides background on the large number of audit failures that surrounded Andersen.  The editorial provides background on the poor ethical environment of the firm.

David Albrecht, in his post 10 Years Later – Did Andersen Die in Vain?, has a very different answer to the question.

There was a purpose in the demise of Andersen.  Punishment

To what purpose did Arthur Andersen die? Part 2

Previous post discussed a March 14, 2012 editorial in the Chicago Tribune which ponders what greater cause may have existed behind the 2002 collapse of Big 5 accounting firm Arthur Andersen. The editorial concluded that Andersen died in vain.

Methinks the editorial’s content argues against the editorial’s conclusion.

Let’s look at the pattern of behavior

To what purpose did Arthur Andersen die? Part 1

In a March 14, 2012 editorial, the Chicago Tribune ponders what greater cause may have existed behind the 2002 collapse of Big 5 accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

Their conclusion? Andersen died in vain.

David Albrecht, in his post 10 Years Later – Did Andersen Die in Vain?, reaches a very different conclusion. More on that in part 3 of this series. If this post has already caught your interest, you’ll enjoy reading his post now.

What firm failed to find these fraudulent fiascos?

Boston Chicken, Arizona Baptist Foundation, Sunbeam, Waste Management, Global Crossing, Enron, and WorldCom have one auditor in common.

Who was it?

Unfortunately, a chronicler of accounting history could pull together a list of disastrous audits for all the large firms. Perhaps the Grumpy Old Accountants, Professors Catanach and Ketz, could put that on their to-be-blogged-about list.

At the moment, they have provided a superb summary of each of the above fiascos in their post, Enron’s tenth anniversary: Arthur Andersen’s audit failures at Enron and elsewhere.

Just a few comments from me.