WTAS LLC, a San Francisco-based tax consultancy founded by former Arthur Andersen partners, has been renamed as AndersenTax, according to Bloomberg.
The word "tax" was appended to the Andersen name to underscore that the firm doesn't do auditing. It was Arthur Andersen's audit work on Enron 12 years ago that caused the collapse of both companies.
Andersen was convicted of obstruction of justice for shredding documents related to its audit of Enron, resulting in the Enron scandal.
“Our issues with Enron were the mistake of a few,” Mark Vorsatz, WTAS’s chief executive officer, told Bloomberg. Vorsatz started the company 12 years ago with 22 other former Andersen partners. “Irrespective of Enron, we thought we were the benchmark in the industry.”
A report by the Wall Street Journal said that in addition to Enron, the firm had other problem audits at companies such as Sunbeam Corp. and Waste Management Inc.
WTAS is acquiring the rights to the Andersen name from Arthur Andersen LLP, the surviving entity that holds the remnants of the former Andersen business. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
Prior to renaming the company, WTAS polled “tax services decision makers” in the U.S., U.K., France and China and found that more than half the respondents in all four countries had a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of Arthur Andersen, according to Bloomberg.
On the downside, the survey showed that more than half (60 percent) of those surveyed in the U.S., U.K. and France saw Andersen as a “tarnished brand.” In China it was 44 percent.
WTAS started with a focus on tax planning for wealthy clients, but the company has since branched out to offer corporate, state and local, and international tax services. It was the firm's recent expansion outside the U.S. that prompted the name change, Vorsatz said