Inside Arthur Andersen: Shifting Values, Unexpected Consequences

 
9780131408968: Inside Arthur Andersen: Shifting Values, Unexpected Consequences

Why did Arthur Andersen really collapse? What crucial lessons can be learned from Andersen's experience? Inside Arthur Andersen uncovers the roots of Andersen's implosion, tracing its spectacular two-decade transformation from staid auditor to aggressive consulting firm-and the profound change in corporate culture that led to its self-destruction. The authors bring 26+ years' experience studying Andersen culture from the inside-and their story offers profound lessons for every organization.

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From the Back Cover:

"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?

About the Author:

Lorna McDougall has extensive experience in organizational development for major companies and universities in the U.S. and UK. She joined Andersen Worldwide's Performance Consulting group in 1990, where her work included research, organizational planning and development, and cross-cultural training for worldwide delivery for Audit, Tax and Consulting.

Cynthia J. Smith worked in the Management Development Group in Arthur Andersen's Center for Professional Education and Development. She also worked at World Headquarters on cultural risk management and onsite with engagement teams in Asia developing improvements in high risk and international project management.

Susan Squires has over 15 years' professional experience conducting organizational research in corporate settings, evaluating new products, and leading business trainings throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. In 1994, she joined Andersen Worldwide, where she worked with Andersen Consulting and Arthur Andersen as well as many of their clients.

William R. Yeack joined Arthur Andersen in 1981, worked on audit engagements, earned his CPA (1983), and was a member of the Management Information Consulting Division, which became Andersen Consulting. He specialized in large, high-risk projects in the utility and financial industries. He held high-level executive positions with international responsibilities that involved ongoing business relations with the firm.

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