Independent Tax Firm ‘WTAS’ Changes Its Name to ‘Andersen Tax’

San Francisco-based WTAS has acquired the rights to the iconic brand name Andersen and will rename itself Andersen Tax.

CEO Mark Vorsatz and 22 former Arthur Andersen partners founded the firm in 2002, and it has grown internationally. In an effort to identify a brand name that it could use and protect globally, WTAS felt the Andersen name best reflected its own culture of clients first, stewardship, transparency and best-in-class solutions. Trademark restrictions prevent the firm from using the WTAS name in Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Andersen Tax, like WTAS, will be an independent global tax firm with no audit practice that could impair the credibility or integrity of the services it provides.It will be completely owned by its partners, most who previously worked at Arthur Andersen or a Big 4 accounting firm.

Arthur Andersen, former auditor of the failed energy company Enron, was convicted of obstruction of justice after the federal government began its probe into Enron’s accounting and the firm was found to have shredded documents related to the case. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2005, Andersen had ended its operations.

Former Andersen employees “have been going around with a scarlet letter ‘A,’ ” Vorsatz told the Journal. “We’re going to make that A stand for Andersen.” He also told the newspaper of the Enron affair, “I’m not going to defend the indefensible.” However, he added that the actions that brought down Andersen were the responsibility of “a handful of people. That was not representative of the rest of the firm.”

“For Andersen Tax, independence and objectivity are critical,” Vorsatz says. “To be clear, we are not an audit firm and have no intention of providing audit services. From the outset, our mission has been to serve as a quality alternative to the large accounting firms who typically have audit practices, and as a premier example of independence and objectivity.”