Perhaps you heard the news today that tax firm WTAS decided to sprinkle a little coup padre on the dead name of Arthur Andersen to resurrect a zombie of a firm name:
“Our issues with Enron were the mistake of a few,” said Mark Vorsatz, WTAS’s chief executive officer, who started the company 12 years ago with 22 other former Andersen partners. “Irrespective of Enron, we thought we were the benchmark in the industry.”
That's like saying irrespective of that whole thing with Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, OJ Simpson was the benchmark of football.
It's true that even all these years later, former Andersen guys hold the Andersen name in the highest esteem. Note the distinction between former Andersen guys and everyone else.
Vorsatz said he takes issue with those who see Arthur Andersen as symbolic of accounting fraud. The firm’s conviction, he notes, was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005. It was too late, however, to prevent some 85,000 people — most not involved with Enron — from losing their jobs. Enron, a Houston-based energy-trading firm, collapsed in 2001.
Vorsatz said his firm, which has 150 partners and about 1,000 employees, paid a sum he declined to disclose for the rights to the Andersen name. Calling it AndersenTax underscores that the firm doesn’t do auditing, he said.
WTAS also did polling on the change and has been getting public relations advice.
“This was a fairly thoughtful, deliberative decision,” Vorsatz said.
Clearly. Given the amount of lip service this decision has gotten today, these guys are possibly stupid as a fox.
Regardless of how the public feels about the new name, Vorsatz said he’s already hearing praise from Andersen alumni. Many are eager to have their former employer’s reputation restored, he said.
“I had colleagues who worked there for 30 years and retired, and they are walking around with a big stain on their chest,” Vorsatz said. “We’re going to change that.”
Again, former Andersen guys and everyone else are two different, non-divergent groups. What better way to show you're over the big scarlet A on your chest by slapping it all over your business cards instead?
In light of this, we've compiled a few names that are just as prestigious and trustworthy as Andersen's:
Enron I mean duh. If you stand behind the Andersen name, then Enron can't be that far behind. Surely it's up for grabs these days?
New Coke Nothing says thoughtful, deliberative decisions like changing your ancient, popular cola formula. Why not go with New Andersen? That's how the pilgrims did it, and look how well that turned out for the American versions of York and Jersey?
Obama Everyone loves Obama, right? Since it's a surname and not a company name, surely there's nothing stopping you from, say, naming your Internet survivalist supply company Obama Apocalypse Preparation and Supply. So why not Obama Tax Services?
Castoreum Castoreum is the fancy, not gross sounding name given to beaver ass secretions that used to be used to "naturally" flavor things like vanilla ice cream. Beaver Ass Secretions just doesn't roll off the tongue, but castoreum sounds so darn innocuous and — dare I say — healthy, doesn't it? Really, you might as well call your tax services firm Beaver Ass Secretions, LLC than Andersen Tax.
Remember that time Phillip Morris changed their name to Altria? Do you know why they did that? ESCANDALO, that's why. For the same reason the Arthur Andersen name has been dead for over a decade — except, in the case of Phillip Morris, they still had business to do and just needed a good wiping of the old slate as it were.
Anyhoo, best of luck and all that. You're going to need it, although it's assumed the firm formerly known as WTAS could easily run a business on Andersen alum alone.