Roger Worsham Case

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Arnold Abramson and Company is a regional accounting firm, with offices in Michigan and northern Wisconsin. It was founded in 1934 to provide auditing and tax services and, despite the depression, was immediately successful due to the economic growth of the area. The southern of¬fices of Arnold Abramson and Company, in Flint and Detroit, competed directly with the large, national CPA firms, the "Big Five." They were able to operate successfully until the mid-1960s by providing more personalized services and by charging somewhat lower fees. However, com¬petition sharply increased in the late 1960s and early 1970s as the tax laws became more complex, the auditing procedures more rigorous, and the bookkeeping more automated. The "Big Five" firms were able, through their extensive training programs and their continual staff additions, to provide more extensive help and assistance to their clients on tax changes and data processing pro¬cedures. Many of the small and medium-sized companies that had been customers of Arnold Abramson for years switched to one of the national firms. It was eventually necessary to close the Detroit office and to reduce the size of the staff at Flint. Some of the partners of the company recommended a merger with one of the national CPA firms, but the founder, Mr. Arnold Abramson, was not only still living but was still active, and he and his two sons were uncompromising in their opposition to any sale or merger.

The old gentleman was 84 when I joined the firm, and he simply was not going to surrender to Arthur Andersen or Price Waterhouse. And, you know, he had a point; there is room left in the world for the more personal approach, even in auditing. The old man was adamant about this. I understand that at the partners' dinner this year he laid it right on the line to the other members of the firm. "You are to keep the local banks, retail stores and manufacturers as your clients; if you lose your clients to those people from Detroit,...
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