PracticeConsultingThe image has been tarnished

The image has been tarnished

Within hours of the verdict in the bitter Andersens divorce, the rumour mill went into overdrive.

Would Andersen Consulting’s search for a strategic partner take in PricewaterhouseCoopers? Or would AC partners seek to go it alone with a multibillion pound flotation a la Goldman Sachs?

It’s too early for answers to these and other questions and the two parties are keeping their cards close to their chests. But both firms face tough decisions between now and the year end by which time Andersen Consulting will have left the Andersen fold once and for all.

These firms might be toasting a settled future but the dispute has hurt the profession. The Big Five want nothing more than to convince the wider world they are professional services firms, not the accountants of yesteryear.

It’s understandable. To convince the brightest graduates that their future lies with a firm which advises new economy entrepreneurs on growing their business is quite easy. Keeping the same graduates out of the clutches of investment banks and share option-rich dot.coms for a future of tax and audit is much tougher.

That’s not to say tax and audit is all Arthur Andersen and the rest of the Big Five will offer once they have shed much of their consulting businesses.

But in a world where perception is everything you could forgive potential recruits – and the odd existing employee – for thinking that is what their future holds when disputes like this are conducted so very publicly.

Related Articles

5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

Accounting Software 5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

3m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

Consulting Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

9m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

10m Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

Audit Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

11m Kevin Reed, Writer
New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

Accounting Firms New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

Accounting Firms Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

10m Kevin Reed, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

10m Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

Business Regulation Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

10m Kevin Reed, Writer