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[書摘]詮釋成功:普華(PW)在美國的一百年(第二章-2)  

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
Dickinson的时代

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.

在那個時代,正統的教育體系裏很少有會計的地位,相關的教材專著也不多,會計工作日複壹日、枯燥無聊,大學出來的高材生常常心生去意。在這些背景下,Dickinson迅速脫穎而出。因爲所獲的大學學位,特許會計師協會免除了他入會的考試要求,但他還是要在學徒期達到18個月時參加第二次考試,又名“中級”考試。考試範圍包括專業業務的許多方面,從會計科目及簿記到破産法律的原則和獎罰制度。考試結果不久公布,他名列第一。一年後的1886年12月,他參加了入會的最終考試,其範圍與上次一樣但以“排除不具備執業必需的知識或職業資格的人”爲目的。Dickinson又一次發揮出色,緊跟在排名第一考生的後面。1893年,他獲得合並後的英格蘭及威爾士特許會計師協會(ICAEW)接納,成爲會員。

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.

到任不久,Dickinson就對美國的商業環境作出評估,判斷其與英國大爲不同,且多變難測。其時美國工商業的大規模企業並購活動正如火如荼,對合並前准備階段財務調查服務的需求十分旺盛。然而,這種調查業務對事務所而言並不可靠,且事務所經營狀況在Dickinson過來的前幾年裏劇烈波動。起初所裏還能有大規模的業務需求,但很快就減少,至少在短期內都是如此。對此,Dickinson不得不采取緊急措施,比如說開設分所(有時不等倫敦總部的批准)、提拔美國員工、試水營銷和宣傳活動、以及提供新型服務。經濟上不景氣的狀況只持續了幾年,隨後事務所就參與了各行各業及政府許多各不相同的大型項目。總而言之,美國這裏的商業更爲投機化,經商須做好“冒險”的准備。爲了不負自己科班的出身,Dickinson很樂意這麽幹。

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