Arthur Andersen

In the 1980s and 1990s Arthur Andersen was one of the 'Big 5' accounting firms; the others being PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Deloitte Touche, Ernst and Young, and KPMG. The “Big 5” provided auditing and tax services to most of the west's major companies and were highly regarded and trusted. However, in the aftermath of the craze stirred up by the Enron scandal, a slew of charges that were directed towards Arthur Andersen led to their surrendering of their licenses as Certified Public Accountants (CPA) in 2002.
Although Arthur Andersen still technically exists as a company, and despite the verdict in relation to the criminal charges being overturned by the US Supreme Court, Arthur Andersen has sustained a highly damaging tarnish to its reputation that prevents its return to its former high status. Most analysts now speak of a 'Big 4' following the troubles that hit Arthur Andersen.
Arthur Andersen was essentially brought down by the Enron scandal, which erupted in 2001 when it was reported by the Powers Committee, which had been appointed by Enron's board, had come to the conclusion that certain failings had been detected in Arthur Andersen's accounting services as provided to Enron. By July the following year, Arthur Andersen was found to have obstructed documents, having shredded documents related to its Enron auditing activities when the scandal began to break out.
The Enron scandal was one of the largest corporate disasters in the 20th century, with millions affected and billions of dollars found to have been tied up in practices that were subsequently deemed by some analysts to have been unethical and risky. The bankruptcy of Enron was the largest bankruptcy in US corporate history, which was followed by a string of bankruptcies (Worldcom went bankrupt in 2003 surpassing Enron in size of bankruptcy) that shined light on the unethical practices in the business industry of America.
As the Enron scandal gathered pace, Arthur Andersen bosses are said to have...