Inside Arthur Andersen: Shifting Values, Unexpected Consequences

Book description

"Inside Arthur Andersen provides a perceptive analysis of the changes in cultural values that took Andersen from the top of the accounting profession to its doom.The authors do a superb job of analyzing the historical Andersen culture and the varied forces that led to dramatic changes in that culture in recent years. In addition, the authors display great insight into what made Andersen great and the changes that led it to fail, while also raising serious questions about the remaining accounting firms and whether they understand how they must change to survive. In the struggle between public interest and private profit, private profit won out only to cause Andersen to fail."—Arthur R. Wyatt, Retired Partner, Arthur Andersen, former member, FASB, and past Chairman, IASC

"This book provides a thought-provoking account of how the firm's culture changed over time. It is balanced and helped me make sense of what happened to our once-great firm."—James Brennan, former Associate Partner, Andersen Consulting

"This author team is the best to provide insider insights and credible explanations of what happened at Arthur Andersen and why it happened. The story they tell contains valuable lessons for all companies and leaders and is a must-read for anyone interested in the health and well-being of companies today."—D.Quinn Mills, Harvard Business School, and author of Wheel, Deal, and Steal.

"The wave of corporate financial scandals has served to emphasize the critical role of the external auditor in maintaining a market economy. Arthur Andersen had a distinguished history of being the 'gold standard' of the profession. How this highly respected firm lost its bearings is the subject of a superb, serious study by former Andersen employees. Inside Arthur Andersen is and will remain the definitive explanation of the downward spiral to Enron."—Leonard R. Sayles, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University

"Inside Arthur Andersen provides a lively excursion through the conflicting goals and values that permeate organizations in general and the public accounting profession in particular. The story of the birth and death of the Arthur Andersen firm is loaded with lessons for us all. This book should appeal especially to readers who want an overview of the dramatic consequences of Andersen's changing values through the years."—Charles T. Horngren, Stanford Graduate School of Business

"Inside Arthur Andersen provides an outstanding chronology of the birth and life of a great firm. Andersen had an extraordinary culture and exceptional strategies that resulted in unquestioned leadership professionally and in the financial and business world. Somehow management lost sight of its 'core' and greed destroyed what I valued as a partner for 22 years."—Dean Christensen, former Arthur Andersen local office managing partner

The collapse of Arthur Andersen was among the most profound events in the history of American business. For nearly a century, Andersen was synonymous with integrity. Seemingly overnight, the firm imploded in scandal. How could it have happened?

Inside Arthur Andersen uncovers the roots of Andersen's collapse, tracing its spectacular two-decade transformation from staid auditor to aggressive consulting firm-and the profound change in corporate culture that made it possible for Andersen people to begin shredding thousands of Enron documents that fateful day in October 2001.

Could Andersen have adapted to a new business environment without compromising the values that first made it successful? How did Andersen's leaders miss the harbingers of disaster? The authors of this book are uniquely well positioned to answer these questions. Together they bring more than 26+ years' experience studying Andersen culture from the inside. In this book, they tell a story that every leader needs to hear.

  • Enron and Andersen

  • The all-night shredders-What were they thinking when they shredded all those Enron documents?

  • Honest Beginnings

  • Strong, principled leaders made Andersen the gold standard among auditors

  • Growth before the Storm

  • How Andersen grew and how it changed

  • Losing Control

  • The harbingers of disaster-and why they were ignored

  • Consulting Revolution

  • Can a public accounting firm offer consulting services without conflict of interest?

Table of contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Financial Times Prentice Hall
  3. Financial Times Prentice Hall Books
  4. Preface
    1. About the Authors
    2. Acknowledgments
  5. 1. Beginning of the End
    1. All-Night Shredding
    2. Growing Storm
    3. Enron
    4. Arthur Andersen
    5. Andersen on Trial
    6. In Search of an Explanation: Culture of Greed or Culture Change
    7. References
  6. 2. Honest Beginnings
    1. Founding Father, Founding Values
    2. Think Straight, Talk Straight
    3. Ensuring a Quality Workforce
    4. The Andersen Partnership
    5. The Making of a Myth
    6. Arthur E. Andersen’s Legacies
    7. References
  7. 3. Growth before the Storm
    1. Growth
    2. Leonard Paul Spacek
    3. Expansion
    4. Consulting
    5. Balancing Flexibility with Control
    6. References
  8. 4. Losing Control
    1. Control by Division
    2. Division Allegiance and Individual Success
    3. Balancing Unity and Division
    4. Outside Threat
    5. Consulting to the Rescue
    6. References
  9. 5. Consulting Revolution
    1. Consulting Challenge
    2. Shifting Values
    3. Consulting Revolt—Consulting Coup
    4. Conflict of Interest
    5. References
  10. 6. Sales Culture
    1. The Partner Purge of 1992
    2. Building a Power Base
    3. Building External Power—Building Client Relationships
    4. The Second Consulting Revolution
    5. Shifting Values
    6. References
  11. 7. Mistakes in Judgment
    1. Conflicts of Interest and the SEC
    2. Baptist Foundation of Arizona
    3. Sunbeam Corporation
    4. Waste Management, Inc.
    5. Risk Management
    6. Errors in Judgment at Enron
    7. Indictment and Trial
    8. References
  12. 8. Unraveling
    1. Other Side of the World—An “Inside” Perspective from Asia[8]
    2. Offices Began Slipping Away—An “Inside” Perspective from Europe[9]
    3. Unraveling—An “Inside” Perspective from the Midwestern U.S.[10]
    4. Closing Up Shop
    5. References
  13. 9. Will Anything Really Change?
    1. Regulating the Accounting Industry
    2. Securities and Exchange Commission
    3. Highlights of the Sarbanes-Oxley Corporate Reform Act of 2002
      1. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
      2. New Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Rules
    4. Establishing the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
    5. Backsliding
    6. References
  14. 10. Conclusions: Andersen and Conflicts in the Public Accounting System
    1. The First Twists—Partner Independence
    2. Another Turn—The Effects of Growth
      1. Impact of Consulting Services
      2. Andersen Adopts a Sales Culture
    3. Culture Change
    4. Wake-Up Call
    5. References

Product information

  • Title: Inside Arthur Andersen: Shifting Values, Unexpected Consequences
  • Author(s): Susan E. Squires, Cynthia J. Smith, Lorna McDougall, William R. Yeack
  • Release date: June 2003
  • Publisher(s): Pearson
  • ISBN: 0131408968