Farewell – The Legacy of Arthur Andersen: A Model for Excellence


Most people recognize that Arthur Andersen was a great Firm. It was perhaps the greatest.

Its fulminating, unexpected and shameful collapse, with the Enron case and ensuing disappearance from the market, leaving a cloud of local professional firms, has left in the collective memory a totally negative image, erasing any earlier merits as if they never existed.

We have tried in this book to recover those merits, to bring back the entrepreneurial model that made of Arthur Andersen an admired and successful Firm, and to leave it as legacy to future generations. We have tried to do it without avoiding criticism of the model itself and denunciation of its weak points, because we believe it is the best way to help explaining that every model must be analyzed in a critical way and must be implemented with care. No model is valid anybody anytime. Each company and each moment require their own model.

Even so, we believe that the description of the seven columns that supported the Andersen Model can inspire many businessmen.

Though it was not our main objective, we also wished to vindicate Arthur Andersen’s good name, without hiding the committed sins and the fault of the Firm itself in its own destiny. A fault that we, all those who passed through the Firm, share, whether we accept it or not. Some more than others, according to our role, but without exception because we all have been the Firm.

The highest fault concentration though centers in a specific minority of people, basically in the United States, most of who have paid or are paying for it.

On the other side, we, the great majority of exArthurs, have been condemned out of court for facts in which we played no role and were the first to condemn.

Beyond vindicating the Andersen name, with this book we have wished to vindicate the good name of all those exArthurs, many of them anonymous, who took huge pains in a hard professional work. They were praised by all at a given time, and suddenly found themselves socially condemned in a way that they have always considered unfair with the Firm and unfair with them.

This book is dedicated to them all.