Accounting News Roundup: Big Companies vs. Small Companies and CPAs in High Places | 04.07.17

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Big companies vs. small companies

Here’s a Wall Street Journal article with a bunch of charts showing how most people in the U.S. work at big companies. Really big companies.

More than a quarter of all U.S. employees worked at firms employing at least 10,000 people in 2014, the most recent year for which the Census Bureau has released comprehensive data.

Huge companies dominate American economic life well beyond employment. They ring up a disproportionate share of sales for goods and services, both to consumers and to other businesses.

Scale alone isn’t bad. It can bring substantial efficiencies. National cellular providers can spare customers the complexity and expense of roaming charges. At the same time, scale begets scale as big companies reinforce one another. Big retailers prefer big distributors. Big manufacturers need big suppliers.

We’ve discussed before the hugeness of the Big 4 relative to other accounting firms and the problems that can cause. The concentration of accountants at these firms is also worrying, some say, because good CPAs get burned out by the Big 4, they leave the profession and never work at an accounting firm again.

According to Accounting Today‘s Top 100 firms report, only 7 non-Big 4 accounting firms have more than 2,500 employees. Only 21 have more than 1,000. Accounting firms, at their core, are small businesses that help small businesses. And there seem to be fewer and fewer of them. That’s either the sign of an opportunity or the sign that a bunch of firms are creeping towards irrelevance.

CPAs in high places

Representative Mike Conaway of Texas, a CPA and former head of that state’s board of accountancy, is now in charge of the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election. Conaway is a buddy of former President George W. Bush (who appointed him to the TSBPA), but he also helped uncover an embezzlement scheme at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Tax refunds for sale

This doesn’t sound good:

The Krebs on Security blog provided a glimpse earlier this year, when founder Brian Krebs came across something he hadn’t seen before on the Dark Web: Bulk sales of W-2 forms. A scammer had phished a tax preparation firm, Krebs discovered, and was offering for sale 3,600 Florida W-2s in this cyber netherworld which, while connected to the everyday web, requires special software or authorization to access.

Lock down that client info, people.

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The featured job this week is an accounting manager position with Horne, LLP in Gulfport, Miss.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Popping bubble wrap is the perfect busy season stress reliever.

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