Arthur Andersen is back. Almost.
WTAS, a San Francisco-based tax firm formed by former employees of Arthur Andersen, has purchased the rights to the Arthur Andersen name and renamed itself Andersen Tax. The Wall Street Journal reported that terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Arthur Andersen, formerly one of the “Big Five” accounting firms — which is now a “Big Four” including Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young — was Enron’s auditor, and went bust after it was convicted of destroying documents as the government began investigating Enron’s accounting.
In a letter on Andersen’s website, Andersen Tax CEO Mark Vorsatz said:
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. Arthur Andersen was the standard bearer for the accounting industry and served as the benchmark against which all other firms were measured. We recognise that embracing our new name is a bold move. However, we plan to reclaim a cherished legacy of integrity and independence that have served as the foundation of both WTAS and Arthur Andersen.
It’s been nearly 13 years since Enron went out of business, and earlier this year former CEO Jeff Skilling struck a deal with prosecutors that could cut his prison term by 10 years.
Vorsatz told The Wall Street Journal that the Enron affair, “was not representative of the rest of the firm,” but added that, “I’m not going to defend the indefensible.”