Arthur Anderson

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The rise and fall of Arthur Andersen

Arthur Andersen

Arthur Andersen was born in Plano, Illinois in 1885. He graduated the University of Illinois in 1908 with a degree in accounting. At the age of 23, he was the youngest Certified Public Accountant in the state of Illinois. From 1907 to 1911 he served as the Senior Consultant for Price Waterhouse in Chicago. In 1913, Andersen decided to establish his own accounting firm. At the age of 28, he founded the public accounting firm of Andersen, DeLany & Company in Chicago.
Licensed as accountants and auditors in many states across the country, the company grew rapidly during the 1920s. The firm opened six offices nationwide, the most important of which were located in New York (1921), Kansas City (1923), and Los Angeles (1926). During World War II Andersen himself reached the pinnacle of his success. After World War II, Andersen began training his associate, Leonard Spacek, for the company's leadership position. Spacek joined the company in 1928 and was named a partner in 1940, becoming one of Andersen's closest and most trusted confidants. Upon Andersen's death in January 1947, Spacek took over the company, remaining committed to the regimented management style of the founder. During Spacek's tenure, the firm grew from a regional operation located in Chicago with satellite offices across the United States into an international organization with one-stop, total service offices located around the world.
Spacek began to focus on Andersen's idea that the company serve as the public role of the industry police. In the 1950s, the accounting profession was generally regarded as a club, with its own principles, methods, and procedures that had developed over the years without any standardization. Spacek began a campaign to improve accounting methods and practice by emphasizing the importance of…...

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