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2012-02-18 21:41:31|  分类: 诠释成功:普华( |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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The Dickinson Decade

At first glance, Arthur Lowes Dickinson seemed an improbable choice to head PW's practice in the United States, and even less likely to serve as the agent of change that transformed it into a distinctly American entity. A graduate of an English public school, Dickinson completed his formal education in 1882 at Cambridge University, where he took a first in mathematics. He taught briefly in a school near Edinburgh before embarking on a traveling tutorship to Algiers. His decision to marry a short while later hastened his choice of a permanent occupation, and in 1883, Dickinson became apprenticed to an accounting firm for 3 years.

乍一看,Arthur Lowes Dickinson似乎並不是帶領美國普華的不二人選,更不可能是把它轉變爲獨特的美國企業的變革者。Dickinson在英國上的是公立中學,1882年從劍橋大學畢業,畢業時數學科目名列前茅。畢業後他先是在愛丁堡附近的學校教書,然後去阿爾及爾給小學生當家教。他後來決定與壹個平民女子結婚,這促使他尋找一份穩定的職業。1883年,他被一家會計師事務所錄用爲學徒,年限3年。

In an age when there was little formal accounting education, with few books on the subject, and when the monotonous nature of the work generally dispirited those who had attended university, Dickinson swiftly achieved distinction. He was exempt from the Institute of Chartered Accouants' preliminary examination because of his university degree, but he took the second or intermediate examination 18 months into his apprenticeship. The examinations covered many aspects of professional work, ranging from bookkeeping and accounts to principles of the law of arbitrations and awards. When the results were announced, Dickinson had placed first. A year later, in December 1886, he took the Institute's final examination, which covered the same subjects but was designed "to exclude those individuals who did not possess intellectual or personal qualifications considered requisite for practice." Dickinson again did well, this time tying for first place with another candidate. He was admitted into the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales in 1893.


Dickinson then joined Lovelock and Whiffin, a small London firm, as a junior partner. During his years there, he traveled to the United States for a London company, the Riverside Trust Co., Ltd., which operated a 3,500-acre land development project in southern California engaged primarily in the production of citrus fruit. This investment venture had first attracted Wilson Crewdson, one of Dickinson's Cambridge University friends, and shortly thereafter, Crewdson's uncles, Edwin and Theodore Waterhouse. The company was organized in 1889 with Edwin Waterhouse as its chairman, and with Crewdson and Dickinson serving on its board. The Riverside enterprise required periodic audit visits, which Dickinson made during the 1890s. His experience with, and increasing knowledge about, American business, coupled with his frequent reports to Waterhouse on Riverside matters, led to PW's offer that he serve as the U.S. firm's senior resident partner when Caesar decided to resign. Dickinson arrived in New York in April 1901, 3 months before Caesar's retirement. Although Caesar remained with the firm as a consultant until the fall, Dickinson acted quickly and decisively once he took the reins.

Dickinson後來加入倫敦的Lovelock and Whiffin事務所,成爲這家小所的初級合夥人。在事務所工作期間他去美國公幹,客戶也是一家倫敦的公司,叫Riverside Trust Co., Ltd.。當時客戶在南加州正進行一個3,500英畝的土地開發項目,主要用來建柑橘種植園。這個投資項目最初引來了Dickinson的一位劍橋校友Wilson Crewdson。很快校友的叔叔們Edwin Waterhouse和Theodore Waterhouse也參與了進來。公司于1889年成立,由Edwin Waterhouse任董事局主席,Dickinson和他校友則爲公司董事會服務。公司需要事務所派員定期對其帳目進行審計,所以19世紀90年代Dickinson經常往返英美。他對美國商業的經曆及對其日漸增長的認識,與他頻繁就公司經營狀況向Waterhouse所作的彙報一道,促成普華在Caesar退休後向他發出了駐美國分所合夥人的職位邀請。Dickinson于1901年4月到達紐約,此時距離Casar退休還有三個月。Caesar退休後還以顧問的身份在所裏工作到當年秋天,不過Dickinson接手之後很快進入角色,大刀闊斧采取了一系列經營決策。

Shortly after his arrival, Dickinson had assessed the American business environment and judged it to be dramatically different, and much less predictable, than that in Britain. American business was in the midst of a massive corporate merger movement at the time, and important opportunities had arisen from the investigations required in preparation for the mergers. This work, however, proved unreliable, and the firm's economic fortunes fluctuated widely during Dickinson's first few years. At first, assignments of prodigious and unprecedented size came in, but business opportunities declined thereafter, at least for a brief time. Dickinson was forced to take urgent measures such as opening new offices (sometimes without waiting for London office's approval), developing an American staff, experimenting with marketing and promotional activities, and providing new services. The downturn lasted only a few years before the firm was engaged in large-scale, although very different, projects for industry and government. In short, the American business was much more opportunistic, and required a readiness to take chances. Dickinson, to his credit, was willing to do so.


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