Outlook: Andersen fairytale ends in tears

What excitement. A four-star bust up in the staid old world of accounting. In fact the two warring halves of Andersen Worldwide, its consultancy arm and the old bean-counting business have been at each other's throats like squabbling siblings almost from the day they were conceived eight years ago.

With Coopers-PW and KPMG-Ernst limbering up to jostle Andersen out of number one slot, the sensible thing to do would be to bury the hatchet, stay together and lever off one another's strengths.

Alas it has gone too far for that - partners' profits are feeling the pinch and now Andersen Consulting has reached for the the international arbitrators citing "irreconcilable differences". At least the lawyers are assured fat fees even if it ultimately means tears at bedtime for everyone else.