Larry Katzen made partner at Arthur Andersen by the time he was 30. The "Big 8" accounting firm had a long reputation for innovation and integrity. The firm continued to soar, with an emphasis on continuing education for employees and meticulous attention to detail, it was one of the most trusted accounting firms in the industry.
Katzen enjoyed a fast-paced rise through the ranks, all the while learning, traveling, and parenting quadruplets with his wife and college sweetheart, Susan. It all came crashing down in 2002 when the company was indicted based on false accusations having to do with the scandals at Enron. With the firm's survival in question, Katzen moved quickly to encourage employees to carefully complete all remaining assignments.
"Arthur Andersen became fodder for the government's prosecution of Enron - although it had no role in Enron's demise," says Katzen, author of, And You Thought Accountants Were Boring - My Life Inside Arthur Andersen, (www.larryrkatzen.com), a unique look inside one of the world's most historically important accounting firms.
Arthur Andersen was eventually vindicated by a 9-0 Supreme Court ruling. But by then, the damage had been done, creating chaos in the careers of thousands of employees. Arthur Andersen still exists today, albeit in a different incarnation. "I will never regret my time at the firm; it provided so much for me, including solid life lessons," says Katzen, who shares some of them.
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