Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

More updates on the dual claims on the Andersen names and the press conference that didn’t happen.

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Photo doesn’t do justice as a reminder of the fabled AA double doors, but it is a reasonable approximation. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The recent news on two different firms claiming the Andersen name is subtle. If you are really interested in stories such as this, the news is actually quite interesting.

The latest developments…

3/8 – Crain’s Chicago Business – It’s Andersen vs. Andersen in bizarre trademark fight – More background on the two firms claiming rights to the Andersen name.

The background of Andersen Tax is a firm previously named Wealth & Tax Advisory Services (WTAS) was formed by 23 partners who left Andersen in 2002.

The background of  the new Arthur Andersen is a firm previously named Quatre Julliet Maison Blanche, which translates into English as Fourth of July White House. The two visible principals in the firm are a person who was on staff as a lawyer in the Paris office of the old AA and a person who ran a perfume startup and a publishing house.

The new Arthur Andersen, nee QJMB, asserts 50 partners leading 1,000 staff are in the world-wide network.

3/24/17 – Going Concern – The “New” Arthur Andersen Was Just Kidding About Holding a Press Conference to Explain WTF is Going On – That big press conference from the new AA never happened. Discussion points to following two articles.

3/23/17 – Accounting Today – Dispute over Arthur Andersen legacy continues – A few days after the press conference was announced, the new AA sent out a note saying it was off. A press release would be sent instead. That didn’t appear either.

Article says requests for followup comments have not received any response.

3/17/17 – International Accounting Bulletin – Brand wars: the return of the Jedi Andersen – Article traces the pedigree of the “Arthur Andersen” name from the LLP that held the name before the collapse and functioned as sort of holding company all of the old AA activity. That specific entity did not go bankrupt when the old AA closed. All the wrap up activity took place in that shell, which employed 4 partners and a few staff. Eventually it wound down, holding only the name and the St. Charles training center.

The new Andersen Tax nee WTAS eventually bought the name from the still functioning LLP shell. The new firm asserts that the old LLP had the rights to the AA name in the US and worldwide.

Thus, you can now track the claim of Andersen Tax to the Andersen name.

Efforts to verify offices are part of new firm

The Bulletin staff called all of the asserted 26 offices of the new AA.

A few answered the phone. Most requested an email, to which only one replied.

Of the responses to date, firms in Nepal and Indonesia acknowledge membership in the new AA. One firm, in Saudi Arabia, denies any association with the new AA.

An address provided for the new AA’s office in Houston does not exist.

If I read the article correctly, no other firms have replied to the inquiries.

In the Going Concern article linked above, Caleb Newquist spoke to a receptionist in the Chicago office of the new AA. A call to the Monterrey office has not been returned.

If this was an audit confirmation test…

Putting together the results of the two articles, I think that makes 2 exceptions out of 5 responses in terms of confirming offices that are part of the new AA.

That would leave 21 confirmations not yet completed.

If this was an audit confirmation effort, that would be a horrible response rate.

Into court

The Bulletin article closes by citing accusations from unnamed sources that this is an effort by the new AA to get a payment from the new Anderson Tax. The managing partner of Andersen Tax asserts the new AA asked for $87M to release their claim on the name.

Article says Andersen Tax is moving forward with the procedural issues to take legal action against the new AA. Current status is the initial claims have been served on several individuals with more legal work to follow. One of the early steps is to establish US courts have jurisdiction over the French citizens living in France.

Written by Jim Ulvog

March 29, 2017, 7:14 am at 7:14 am

Posted in Other stuff

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