John and Mary Andersei immigrated lo the United States from their native Norway in I 881. The ung cotij 4e m:u le their way to the small larmitig community of Plaw Illinois. sorne 10 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. Over the previous few decades, hundreds of Noiweglari families had settled in Plano and surrounding communties in Í;et, the aptly itarned Norway Illinois. was IOCðtVil tist k[w miles away 1mm the couple’s new tuietown. In l8,4.5. Arthur Edward Andersen wa.s born.
Fom an eark age, the Andc’rsens’ son had a fascination with tiumbers. Little did his parents realize that Arthur’s interest in numbers would becante the driving krce in his life Less than one century after he was born, an accounting firm bearing Arthur Andersen’s name would become the world’s largest professional services Organization with more than 1,000 partners and operations in dozens of countries scattered across the globe.
Think Straight, Talk Straight
Discipline, honesty and a strong work ethic were three key trails that John and Mary
Andersen instilled in their son. The Andersetis also coristanti impressed upon him
the importance of obtaining an education. Unfortunately, Arthur’s parents did not
survive to help him achieve that goal. Orphaned by the time he was a young
teenager. Andersen was forced to take a fulI4imc job as a mail clerk and attend night
classes lo work his way through high school. After graduating from high school.
Andersen attended the University of Illinois while working as an accountant for
Allis-Chalmers. a Chicago-based company that manufactured tractors and other
farming equipment. In 1908, Andersen accepted a position with the Chicago office
of Price Waterhouse. At the time. Price Waterhouse, which was organized in Great
Britain during the early nineteenth century easily qualified as the Ui-tiled States’ most
prominent pu hi je accounting ñrm.