The Success Story of Alwin Ernst

On this day, July 26 in the year 1881, the man who co-founded the accounting firm Ernst and Ernst was born in Ohio, United States. His name was Alwin Charles Ernst, considered as the inventor of management consulting.

Alvin Ernst
Alvin Ernst (Credit: via

Alwin Ernst came from a poor family in Cleveland City, Ohio. After finishing high school, he worked as a bookkeeper and during the evening he went to a business school to study accountancy. In 1903, he partnered with his brother Theodore to form Ernst and Ernst bookkeeping Firm with a capital of $500. Three years after, Theodore left the firm. In 1910, he obtained his license as a Certified Public Accountant. With this license, he aggressively expanded the firm by opening offices in many places including Chicago and New York.

In 1924, Ernst and Ernst merged with prominent British firm Whinney Smith & Whinney and changed the name to Ernst and Whinney. In 1989, the company again combined with Arthur Young and Company to formed Ernst and Young (EY). Today, EY is a global organization with 231,000 employees, making it one of the top accounting and consulting firms in the world.

Alwin Ernst was the pioneer in using accounting information to make business decisions. In this way, he is now considered as the father of management consulting. Because he believed that the success of his organization depended on the character of his people, he endeavored to instill professionalism at Ernst and Ernst.

Aside from accounting, Alwin also engaged in horse racing. He owned and bred horses, some of which became winners.

Alwin died in 1948 at the age of 66.



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