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Big Shots

Are your chances of landing a big accounting firm following Enron down the drain?

This story appears in the October 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When the founders of Giving-Capital Inc., a Philadelphia-based company that provides online donation services, first went shopping for an accounting firm for tax services in 1999, they had their pick of mid-tier local firms. Instead, they chose a Big Five firm that could grow with them, provide networking connections that smaller firms couldn't and, most important, be a name their clients-including American Express, Morgan Stanley and Salomon Smith Barney-could trust. Little did they know the large, reputable firm they chose, Arthur Andersen, would just a few years later find itself waist-deep in scandal.

Fallout from the debacle has landed GivingCapital in the same unenviable spot as hundreds of other orphaned Andersen clients. But as a small business with 35 employees, it would now have to jockey alongside much bigger companies for the attention of the Final Four (as the remaining top-tier accounting firms have come to be called) and even face competition for mid-tier accounting firms looking to inherit some of Andersen's heavyweight clients.

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