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Accounting News Roundup: EY’s Hiring and a Bad Yelp Review | 11.14.17

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EY’s hiring

As we’ve discussed, Big 4 firms like to boast about how many people they hire. For most of their history, they’ve been hiring accounting majors, but that seems to be changing. Here’s EY’s head of recruiting talking to Accounting Today:

“We continue to see demand grow for many of our services, and while we will always need dynamic leaders with traditional business backgrounds and skills in accounting, tax, economics and supply chain, for example, we are also looking for candidates who have experience with newer, future-focused skill sets, such as robotics, AI, cybersecurity, blockchain and data analytics,” Nash told Accounting Today. “Additionally, we are looking for candidates with global mindsets that will allow them to analyze and innovate regardless of their domain expertise or background.”

Oh, I see. First, the accountants will be replaced by people who know robotics and AI; then the robotics and AI will replace the people, so long as those machines have “analytic, innovative and global mindsets.” I suppose there’s still hope for the humans if the machines are illogical, unimaginative, and nationalist.

But before all that, EY will stick with the humans, and they’re still working on the diversity of their hiring, ensuring that more women and minorities are reaching the upper levels of the firm. How are they doing that? Lets’ fire up the corporate buzzword generator for the answer:

“We apply a three-pronged approach to advancing women and ethnic minorities throughout our organization,” he continued. “First, we illuminate the path to leadership. Second, we create a culture that enables flexibility for all. Finally, we build a supportive and inclusive environment, where all differences are valued and leveraged. We place great importance on providing equitable sponsorship options for all, so that both men and women can have equal access to leadership positions and programs.”

I imagine the EY PR team spinning a giant wheel every time they have to whip up one of these statements. “Guys, let’s make a rule that if we land on ‘innovative’ twice in a row, that we’ll just default to ‘revolutionary.'”

A bad Yelp review

Crappy accountants everywhere notched a win yesterday when a California appeals court ruled that Yelp Inc. has to turn over the identity of an anonymous user who wrote “allegedly defamatory statements about a tax preparer.”

Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc., and the Electronic Frontier Foundation backed Yelp in its bid to overturn a judge’s order requiring it to reveal the identity of the accountant’s unhappy client. The online review said the tax preparer had prepared a sloppy return for double the money he initially quoted.

When did clients stop bitching about overpriced, mediocre services right to your face? Have they started moving online so they can lob more vicious words at their accountants and do so in the safety of anonymity? That only seems logical if you’re A) a coward and B) not going to use the accountant again.

Still, it becomes a whole other matter when your opinion veers into lying:

The panel reasoned that the accountant had made a showing that the review was defamatory in that it went beyond expressing an opinion and allegedly included false statements.

Yet another instance where a client fails to understand that the accountant will always keep the receipts (in a manner of speaking).

Whistleblower miniseries

Huh, the story of Michael Woodford, the former CEO of Olympus who blew the whistle on the company’s billion-dollar accounting scandal, is being made into a TV show:

Whistle-blower Michael Woodford was hounded out of Japan and left in fear for his life after unearthing a web of corruption within the company just weeks after being appointed as chief executive in 2011. Now American production company Tenafly has signed a deal to turn his book Exposure into a six-part television series similar to hit show The Night Manager.

“He was a company man his whole life but then had to make the decision to stand up for what was right,” says a production guy. I guess this is a sliver of hope for anyone who remains in a job they hate after many years: You just need to be made CEO, uncover a massive fraud, blow the whistle and BOOM: you can sell the story to Hollywood.

Previously, on Going Concern…

At the end of last week, Megan Lewczyk wrote about accounting simplification still being complicated. In Open Items, someone is asking about the CPA work requirement. In another query, someone is deciding between Deloitte and KPMG.

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FloQast seeks to fill a remote position with someone who has a knack for product marketing and accounting.

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