Saturday, January 14, 2012

Arthur Edward Anderson: Founder of Arthur Andersen & Company

Arthur Edward Anderson was born in 1885 to Norwegian immigrant John Andersen and his Danish wife-born wife Mary. Andersen was orphaned at the age of 16.

Working as a mailboy for the manufacturing firm of Fraser & Chalmers by day he attended night class and graduated from Chicago’s Athenaeum High School in 1903.

He attended night class at Northwestern University, where he studied accounting. After graduating, he worked at Price Waterhouse and Joseph Schlitz, a brewery and taught accounting class at Northwestern.

In 1915, Anderson became a full professor at Northwestern, where he wrote a textbook titled The Complete Accounting Course.

In 1913, Andersen and another Price Warehouse employee purchased a small public accounting practice for $4,000 and renamed it Andersen, DeLany & Company.

From the beginning, Andersen sought to compete with the large, established accounting firms. His strategy was to take a comprehensive, quality centered approach that went beyond number crunching.

In 1918, the company was renamed Arthur Andersen & Company after one of the partner left the company.

The Arthur Andersen firm grew over the years. By 1928, the firm employed 400 people, which increased to 700 by 1940.

By the mid of 1940s, Arthur Anderson & Company had offices scattered across the eastern one-half of the United States and employed more than 1,000 accountants.

Not only did he grow his business into one of the world’s largest accounting firms, Andersen also developed innovative accounting systems and training programs, and was a charitable supporter of educational institutions, servings terms on the Northwestern University Board of Trustees and as the University’s president.

Arthur died in January 10, 1947 at the age of 61. The company renamed again and this time as Arthur Andersen LLP.
Arthur Edward Anderson: Founder of Arthur Andersen & Company
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