By Dan DePaoli - Managing Director, Andersen Tax
Arthur Andersen, LLP (1990-2002, Harford, CT 1990-1995 and NYC, NY 1995-2002)
In addition to spending quality time with family, the holidays are naturally a good time to reflect on the past year. The pace of our development and focus on managing growth and maximizing our collective potential make it easy to lose sight of the progress we have made as a firm. The brief holiday break affords us a healthy opportunity to reflect on what has been quite a journey.
When we launched our firm in July of 2002, our founding partners were united in our commitment to hitting the proverbial “reset” button. We felt that some of the issues that led to the demise of the original Andersen were the result of a shift away from the core values that made the firm great – stewardship, teamwork, integrity and a focus on delivering top quality service as the primary means for financial growth. Our collective goal was to build a firm that would be grounded in those core values, and we would strive to promote a culture and service model that went back to these basics – putting our people and clients first.
As we fast forward to today, it is clear that the re-launch of the name, along with our commitment to our core culture has been well received at all levels. While there are several areas that we need to continue to develop and strive to improve, we are certainly gaining momentum.
From a people perspective, the launch of the name and return to our training program rooted in St. Charles has spiked interest from and success with candidates, both on campus as well as with lateral hires. The story we are able to tell and how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors – less leverage and greater focus on creating an opportunity for personal and professional development, combined with a clear track record of promotions based on performance – is alluring to our candidates. The quality and quantity of our new hires continues to escalate. In addition, we continue to promote and enhance our internship program. Over the past three years, the number of interns in our program has increased by 60%. In addition, in the past year, over 79% of interns who received full-time offers accepted a position with Andersen Tax – great progress. From the lateral hiring perspective, our name, culture and business model are proving to be an attractive platform. Our track record of mentoring and promoting partners (over 23 in the U.S. in the last three years alone), clearly demonstrates a focus on building a legacy firm and creating opportunities for people. With the levels of growth we are experiencing, we will need to remain focused on the next generation and the promotion of an inclusive culture in which our people have a voice in our organization. We are committed to continuing our progress in these critical areas.
From a client service and growth perspective, our culture and business model resonates with existing and potential clients. In the U.S. alone, we have added over 1,200 new clients in 2015, and we are proud to point out that the vast majority of that growth is organic. Our growth is a testament to the values that we promote and deliver upon, both internally as well as in the marketplace.
Our international expansion also continues at a robust pace. We now have 19 offices in the United States and a total of 45 offices worldwide. In each and every one of our member firm locations, our people share the same culture and core values. While these are not unique concepts, it is great to feel the sense of true partnership being developed across boarders –a defining characteristic of the original Andersen. The delivery of our international platform is clearly being viewed as a “differentiator” in the marketplace.
We launched the “new” Andersen slightly over a year ago, and by all measures we have made great progress. Our roots are strong and it has been humbling to see how many people with connections to the original Andersen organization are “pulling for us.” We have received outstanding support across a wide spectrum – retired partners, former colleagues and former Andersen clients. Many of the major opportunities that we were provided over the last year (clients, personnel, referral sources) were introduced to us by people with ties to Andersen. It would take an entire publication to thank them all, and words can’t express the appreciation we have for those that support the firm we are building. We will remain vigilant on our journey to build a service firm that is always grounded by the simple core values that we all share.