Inside Arthur Andersen: Shifting Values, Unexpected Consequences
Product Author Bios
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.
"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?
42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: Inside Arthur Andersen: Shifting Values, Unexpected Consequences (Paperback)I was very disappointed with this book. I had thought we would get some insight into the failure and reasons for the failure of Andersen. This would have included why was David Duncan left in charge of the Enron audit after the restatement occurred, how could the shredding incident have occurred [did not Andersen know how to address potential litigation], where was the head of Andersen's risk practice, what did the practice do, how was the Houston office run if in fact Andersen's offices had considerable latitude to run engagements. None of this was covered.
What we get is chapter upon chapter of history with references to the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal and the First 60 Years of Arthur Andersen. Oh yeah, we also get comments from some manager in Asia about how he was surprised about the downfall of his firm.
No interviews with key members of the Enron engagement team or the Houston office. No insight on why the firm failed. The book tries to lead us to... Read more
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: Inside Arthur Andersen: Shifting Values, Unexpected Consequences (Paperback)The majority of this book was a mere recast of the history of Andersen and a chronology of events. Comments by a few Andersen folks, most of whom go unnamed. Was keeping up with Accenture [Andersen Consulting] really the cause? AC was gone 3 years earlier. All the Big 5 had consulting practices -- why is Andersen the one that is gone? Footnote after footnote of references to the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and Andersen's History Book.
As a past partner in the Houston office of Andersen [not involved in Enron], I can say that the book clearly misses the mark. To really know what was happening one should explore the culture of the Andersen Houston office, the key players and those who have not been highlighted in the press, the review process, the reason that management did not step in when there was an obvious problem [Enron restatement]. How could the shredding occur? Why did Andersen send down some flunky attorney to Houston[who was only with the firm 2 years... Read more
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
good, workman-like explanation, approving yet critical,
This review is from: Inside Arthur Andersen: Shifting Values, Unexpected Consequences (Paperback)I read this for a writing project and found it one of the best accounts available of what happened to make this company collapse the way it did. While there is occasionally a sense of victimization running through it - the authors all worked for AA or were affiliated with it - it does not stop them from hard-hitting analysis of how a company declined from iconic status as a standard-setter to one that was, well, slowly corrupted and traducing its values (like, the authors contend, all the other big accounting firms).
What this book adds is an analysis of how AA's governance evolved, from a tightly controlled firm with a charismatic leader to a global, highly decentralised one that was impossible to govern. This was a slow, evolutionary development with consequences that no one could have foreseen. Slowly, values eroded, a culture came undone, and the result was, in many cases, a naked scramble for money. In essence, accounting became a doorway to far more lucrative... Read more
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Table of Contents
1. Beginning of the End.
2. Honest Beginnings.
Growth before the Storm.
3. Losing Control.
4. Consulting Revolution.
5. Sales Culture.
6. Mistakes in Judgment.
8. Will Anything Really Change?
9. Conclusions: Andersen and Conflicts in the Public Accounting System.
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