WTAS is pleased to announce an important milestone in the continuing development of our firm. WTAS is now Andersen Tax.
When we formed WTAS over 12 years ago, we had a key overriding objective: to provide “best-in-class” solutions for our clients. Our goal was to become the firm known for the quality of its services. With clients as our top priority, we pursued a much different business model than the rest of the accounting industry—one with far more experienced people engaged to support client relationships.
While we started primarily as a private client services firm focused on individuals, we quickly recognized the necessity for other skills and capabilities to service the ever expanding requirements of our clients. We focused on adding resources in corporate tax, fund services, state and local taxes, compensation, valuation, and international tax. We also decided it was critical that we be an independent tax firm completely owned by our partners that would not engage in audit services. Not only was this essential to providing objective advice, but it also served to differentiate us from our competitors at existing accounting firms.
As the needs of our clients continued to expand beyond the U.S., we focused on developing more comprehensive relationships with firms internationally that could provide “best-in-class” solutions for our clients. We evaluated a number of alternatives and networks and ultimately determined that building our own global platform, location by location, provided the best solution to ensure the highest quality client service throughout the world.
In June 2013, we added our first international location, PrimeTax, in Zurich, Switzerland. This was driven by a singular objective: to provide “best-in-class” quality solutions to our clients in a seamless fashion. Subsequently, we added STC in Paris, Taxperience in the Netherlands and Moscow, and Studio De Vecchi, in Italy. Each of these professional groups represents the quality service capability that we are committed to providing to our clients. In less than 14 months, we have added nine locations in Europe and expect to add several more before the end of the year.
As an organization that has 26 locations and will be expanding our outreach and capability to serve clients, the development of an integrated professional service model based on common values and with a common identity is essential. As we evaluate each potential firm to join our organization, we focus on two critical factors: individuals that represent the quality that we believe is consistent with our firm, and “like minded” partners who share our objectives of Clients First, Stewardship, Independence and Objectivity.
To further our objectives, we needed to develop a brand that we could use and protect globally, and began evaluating options that would best position our firm in the marketplace and would also represent our core values:
The original group that formed WTAS came from Arthur Andersen. Many of those who have joined us as partners also spent significant portions, and sometimes their entire career, at Arthur Andersen. We have also had colleagues join us who spent their entire prior career at a Big 4 firm. However, in each and every instance, they shared the common values that have remained at the core of our organization.
Most of us, both those who worked at Arthur Andersen and those who did not, believe that the name “Andersen” best represents those core values. Accordingly, we are changing our firm’s name to Andersen Tax, which will be a member of the international entity we are creating called Andersen Global.
I recognize that discussions about Enron may resurface as a result of this announcement. Many individuals and organizations were deeply affected by what happened. As a former partner at Arthur Andersen, it was devastating to see nearly 100,000 professionals—people who started each day with Clients First as their top priority—lose their jobs. To be clear, we are not an audit firm and have no intention of providing audit services. In fact, from the outset our mission has been to serve as a quality alternative to the large accounting firms and a premier example of independence and objectivity. Further, as the regulatory environment continues to change, our independence remains critical to our core objective of providing our services in a consistent and seamless manner worldwide.
Arthur Andersen, at its best, was a firm that was founded and managed on the basis of Quality and Objectivity by world-class people with world-class training. Arthur Andersen was the standard bearer for the accounting industry and served as the benchmark against which all other firms were measured. We recognize that embracing our new name is a bold move. However, we plan to reclaim a cherished legacy of integrity and independence that have served as the foundation of both WTAS and Arthur Andersen.
Outstanding client service has and will continue to be our top priority. Our name may be changing, but our commitment to providing best-in-class client solutions in an independent, transparent and conflict-free manner has not. We are building Andersen Tax to create an enduring place where clients across the globe are afforded the best, most comprehensive tax services provided by skilled staff with the highest standards.
We look forward to continuing to work with you as Andersen Tax, and I hope you share in our enthusiasm.
CEO, Managing Director,