Arthur Andersen remains a force in professional services even after losing its consulting arm (known as Accenture, No 44 on our list). It has global revenues of £5.7 billion and employs 72,000 people around the world. About 9% of these work in British offices located in 13 cities. The British practice is flourishing. In the year ended last July, staff numbers grew by 32% - and that was on top of a 34% jump in the previous year. Our survey shows that staff enjoy working for the company because of extensive training opportunities, lack of rigidity and the kind of confidence building that comes from exposure to the inner workings of big companies. "It makes you believe in your capabilities - sometimes you are surprised by what you can achieve," says one employee. Another says: "Arthur Andersen provides opportunities to work overseas in great places. I'm shortly off to Melbourne for two years."
Arthur Andersen was founded in America in 1913 and has been in Britain since 1957. It is now rebranding itself as a "membership organisation", where staff consider themselves members rather than workers. It hopes this new approach will cut down on the turnover that plagues the professional services sector, where many graduates join to get the training that lands them certification - chartered accountant, for example - and then leave to make a career elsewhere.
Next year the firm will put in place a new bonus scheme linked to individual and company performance. It has already introduced a flexible benefits programme enabling staff to choose their own package.
Women have fared well at Arthur Andersen. More than 50 of the 444 partners are female, almost 12%, which is the highest level among the Big Five accountancy firms.
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