By Stanley Bing
December 16, 2009

I certainly rail against the boneheads on the Internet who don’t check their facts carefully enough, so it’s kind of embarrassing that here I am one of them today. As many of you noticed in your comments, I was completely messed up when I said that the Arthur Anderson that was involved with Enron was the same as Accenture. It isn’t. The following explanation comes from Jim McAvoy of Accenture, which I will print in its entirety:

Accenture was not involved in the Enron scandal. Accenture is a management consulting and technology services company.  Accenture does not now, and has never, engaged in the practice of public accounting.  
From its establishment in 1989 until its incorporation in 2001, Accenture, then known as Andersen Consulting, was a separate legal entity from Arthur Andersen and operated independently from that company.
In 1990, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission recognized that Accenture’s predecessor, Andersen Consulting, was a legal entity distinct from Arthur Andersen.  After 1989, Arthur Andersen formed its own consulting practice, which was distinct and separate from Accenture’s business.
In 2000, in an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration decision, the ICC also recognized that the partnership then named Andersen Consulting was a legally separate entity from Andersen Worldwide and the Arthur Andersen firms.  The arbitrator agreed that Andersen Consulting was not a subsidiary or division of Arthur Andersen or Andersen Worldwide.  The decision confirmed that Andersen Consulting was not owned by Arthur Andersen, so there was no spin-off or break-off, and no parental link.

Under the terms of the ICC ruling, Andersen Consulting was given until December 31, 2000 to adopt a new name. Accenture began operating under its new brand on January 1, 2001.  Accenture then went public on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2001.  The Enron scandal, and Arthur Andersen’s role in it, did not become public until the fall of 2001 — ten months after we began operating under the name Accenture.

Finally, On November 7, 2003, the federal court in Houston approved the settlement of the class actions on behalf of shareholders and employees of Enron. Accenture was not a party to the settlement agreement, and under the terms of the final settlement with the class plaintiffs, Accenture was released from all claims that were brought by these plaintiff groups. This was final and conclusive proof that there was no connection between Accenture and either Arthur Andersen or Enron.
I think you will agree, these facts disprove  your allegations that Accenture was Arthur Anderson.

Yes, it does, Jim, and I’m sorry about the mix-up. Hope this post sets things right, so I can go back tomorrow making fun of people who make the same kind of mistakes.

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