Arthur Andersen
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Accounting Today News

WTAS Revives Arthur Andersen Name as Andersen Tax

San Francisco (September 2, 2014)

By Michael Cohn

Arthur Andersen, the former Big Five firm that collapsed over a decade ago in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals, has been revived by a group of former Andersen partners who have changed the name of their firm from WTAS to Andersen Tax.

WTAS was founded in 2002 by CEO Mark Vorsatz and 22 former Arthur Andersen partners and has grown internationally. In an effort to identify a brand name that it could use and protect globally, WTAS said it felt the “Andersen” name best reflected its own culture of clients first, stewardship, transparency and best in-class solutions.

“We all came from a common culture and shared certain core values,” Vorsatz said in a statement Monday. “In creating a global platform, we recognized that the development of an integrated professional service model based on common values with a common identity was essential.”

Andersen Tax, like WTAS, will be an independent global tax firm with no audit practice. It will be completely owned by its partners. Most of them have previously worked at Andersen or a Big Four accounting firm.

As the needs of the firm’s clients continued to expand beyond the U.S., WTAS said it has focused on developing more comprehensive relationships with firms outside the U.S. It said it evaluated a number of options and networks and ultimately determined that building its own global platform was the best solution to ensure the highest quality client service internationally.

In the last 14 months alone, WTAS said it has welcomed nearly 40 partners and more than 150 professionals in nine locations across Europe. Studio Associato De Vecchi in Italy, Paris-based STC Partners, PrimeTax AG in Switzerland, and Taxperience in the Netherlands and Russia joined the WTAS team, and several other additions are expected before the end of the year.

“We all share a vision of creating a premier independent tax firm that delivers best-in-class service in a seamless fashion across the globe,” Vorsatz said. “To achieve that, we needed one common name. Accordingly, we are becoming Andersen Tax.”

At its peak, Arthur Andersen and its affiliated firms had more than 85,000 employees worldwide. It closed its U.S. accounting operations in 2002 because of problems resulting from its audit of the Texas energy firm Enron along with the telecommunications giant WorldCom. Andersen never declared bankruptcy or dissolved. Most of the partners left for other firms. Since that time, Arthur Andresen has mainly focused on resolving various lawsuits. Ownership of the partnership went to four limited liability corporations known as Omega Management I, II, III and IV.

“Many individuals and organizations were deeply affected by what happened at Enron,” said Vorsatz. “But Arthur Andersen, at its best, was a firm that was founded and managed on the basis of quality and objectivity by world-class people with world-class training. For Andersen Tax, independence and objectivity are critical. To be clear, we are not an audit firm and have no intention of providing audit services. From the outset, our mission has been to serve as a quality alternative to the large accounting firms who typically have audit practices, and as a premier example of independence and objectivity.”

Andersen Tax is expanding in the U.S. and Europe in the near term, with expectations for future growth in Asia and Latin America.

“Our name may be changing, but our core values remain,” Vorsatz said. “We are building Andersen Tax to create an enduring place where clients across the globe are afforded the best, most comprehensive tax services, delivered by skilled professionals with the highest standards.”

 

 

 

The Chicago Tribune

 

For immediate release

 Friday, February 22, 2013

 

 

Andersen may sell Q Center in St. Charles Once-powerful accounting firm considers future of conference facility

 

By Ameet Sachdev, Tribune reporter

22 February 2013

Chicago Tribune

Copyright 2013, Chicago Tribune. All Rights Reserved.

 

It might surprise some to know that Arthur Andersen hasn't gone out of business. The last vestige of the once-mighty accounting firm is a sprawling conference center in west suburban St. Charles that was once used to train new bean counters.  But Andersen's days in the hospitality business might be numbered. The firm is mulling the sale of the conference center, known as the Q Center, according to its general manager, Tom Donahue.  "We're looking at all financial options, including sale, but no decision has been made," said Donahue, who has worked at the center since 1989.

 

He added that the time is right to consider selling the property because the real estate market has improved.  Another factor in the timing is that the firm has wound up most of its legal affairs. When Andersen shuttered as an accounting firm in 2002 in the wake of the Enron accounting scandal, it was faced with a slew of lawsuits, including multibillion-dollar securities class-action claims, insurance disputes, and employment and partnership disputes.  For more than 30 years, Andersen invested heavily in the facility as a dedicated campus for training. Training was taken seriously at Andersen. The company annually spent about $240 million, or 6 percent of its U.S. revenue, on professional education. Young college recruits from all over the world came to St. Charles to be transformed into well-scrubbed auditors and consultants. Employees also returned for continuing education.

When the firm imploded, the training center opened its doors to new clients and renamed itself. 

 

The Q Center is one of the largest conference facilities in the nation, with more than 1,000 guest rooms and 150,000 square feet of meeting space. Companies from Accenture to Grant Thornton have hosted employee meetings at the facility, citing its academic feel and distraction-free environment along the Fox River.  Brian Townsend, St. Charles city administrator, said the facility is "a world-class property that we're very proud of."

The 95-acre campus might have limited appeal because of its large size and location far from Chicago airports, said Ted Mandigo, an Elmhurst-based hotel consultant.  "There are very few companies that operate those kind of facilities," Mandigo said.

 

Andersen has hired the commercial real estate firm of CBRE Group Inc. to help it explore options for the Q Center. The process is expected to take six to nine months.  CBRE will consider if there are alternative uses for the campus, Donahue said, but he hopes the conference center will not disappear like the accounting firm.  "I would hope it would continue to run in its current state," he said. "It's a viable business."

 

 

 

Florida CPA Today                                                                              January/February 2013

FICPA Members Named Among Most Powerful Women in Accounting

CPA Practice Advisor and the American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) recently named two FICPA members - Cynthia Borders-Byrd, CPA and Mia A. Thomas, CPA - to their inaugural list of the Most Powerful Women in Accounting.  The list included 25 accounting and tax professionals, consultants and technology developers from throughout the United States.  The awards were presented at the 2012 ASWA Annual Conference in San Diego.

“The FICPA is thrilled to have two members included in this prestigious list” said FICPA President/CEO Deborah Curry, CGMA.  “We congratulate them on making a difference in the profession and their own organizations, and for their personal leadership and mentorship of future women leaders.”

Borders-Byrd is immediate past chair of the Florida Board of Accountancy.  She is an FICPA student-outreach speaker and a member of Institute’s State and Local Government Section.

                                                 

 


 

University of Florida Foundation

 

For immediate release

Thursday, September 10, 2009

 

UF COLLEGE OF BUSINESS NAMESAKE COMMITS $16 MILLION TO CREATE FACULTY FELLOWS FUND

 

WarringtonSmall.jpg

Al Warrington

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Citing faculty as the key to a competitive future for the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration, UF Trustee Al Warrington announced today that he has committed a deferred gift of $16 million to establish an endowment to privately fund faculty positions in the college.

 

Salary and benefits for the positions will come entirely from the income generated by the newly created Warrington Faculty Fellows Endowment. The faculty positions will be in accounting and entrepreneurship and the others are yet to be determined. Faculty supported by the fund will be known as Warrington Fellows.

 

“We have an incredible faculty at the college, as evidenced by some major publications that evaluate our team to be the finest business faculty in the nation among public or private institutions, which is the good news,” said Warrington. “The bad news, though, is we haven’t added enough professors, as evidenced by a very high student/teacher ratio.”

 

“This gift, which is being accompanied by others, will help address this issue. I hope this gift will encourage others to join in supporting this singularly most important need at our college of business.”

 

John Kraft, dean of the college, sees this faculty funding model as a way to secure a high level of talent and to develop a competitive pipeline of young faculty for the future.

 

“This is an innovative way to provide the means to maintain a consistent pool of talented junior faculty in an environment of insufficient state resources, since the caliber of the faculty is a key driver of the quality of our college,” said Kraft.

 

Warrington’s gift takes the Warrington College of Business Administration over the $100 million mark as part of UF’s university-wide $1.5 billion capital campaign, entitled “Florida Tomorrow.” The gift is also eligible for matching funds from the state of Florida’s Trust Fund for Major Gifts, which could bring the total amount of the Warrington Faculty Fellows Endowment to $32 million.

 

Warrington has a long history of financial support and service to UF. In 1996, UF’s college of business was named for Warrington. He is one of the original members of the UF Board of Trustees, established in 2001, and continues to serve on that board.

 

Currently a Houston resident, Warrington earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UF in 1958. He worked with Arthur Andersen & Co. for 32 years in numerous positions, from new staff accountant to managing partner of practice development, to office managing partner. He resigned from Arthur Anderson & Co. in 1990. Thereafter he became founding chairman and co-CEO of Sanifill, Inc. and a founder and vice president of House of Cheatham, Inc., an Atlanta-based health and beauty aids manufacturer.

 

More recently, Warrington became a founding member of a group that acquired Houston Plating and Coatings, on oilfield service company. Then, in November 2007, he again became a founding member of a group that acquired Gulf Coast Mechanical, a company that coats air conditioning and generator coils. He is currently working with some Houston businessmen and three UF business students to develop a computerized tracking system with broad application possibilities in numerous industries.

 

 

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