Thanksgiving will have extra meaning this year – it’s the week set for Emerald Publishing’s release of my book, “Count Down: The Past, Present and Uncertain Future of the Big Four Accounting Firms.”
It's the home stretch – the type-setters have my last handful of changes, the proofs of the index are turning around, and advance copies will ready to go out in the up-coming days.
Among the several audiences for “Count Down” are the young professionals and accounting students. Wherever located around the profession, their job choices, work environments and future career directions are and will be acutely affected by conditions in the market for "Big Audit" -- the structure and business model, with all its tensions and fragilities, by which audits are performed for the world's large public companies -- almost entirely by the Big Four.
On which, I had the pleasure last week of writing for Going Concern, edited by Caleb Newquist and aimed at this enormous, vocal and energetic cohort. Here is its opening:
Learning From Andersen: Opportunities and Pitfalls in a Long-Term Audit Career With the Big Four
Does anyone remember –- or care about -– the collapse of Arthur Andersen back in 2002? If recalled, what lessons might it have for young professionals taking serious stock of their career choices?
Andersen had been by far the most profitable, tightly organized and centrally governed of the large accounting firms that once were the Big Eight. It was nobody’s candidate for rapid, scandal-driven disintegration.
When Andersen crashed, the partners lost their capital, and all their post-retirement benefits. More importantly, all the Andersen employees lost their jobs. Careers had to be re-built out of the wreckage.
And today? Nothing has happened since 2002 to give anyone confidence that the surviving Big Four could withstand the shock that destroyed Andersen and upset the lives of everyone it touched.
Who should care, and why?…. Going Concern readers all have skin in this game.
For the rest of the post in its entirety, see Going Concern for October 29.
Thanks for joining this dialog. Please share with friends and colleagues. Comments are welcome, and subscription sign-up is easy and free, both at the Main page.