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Accounting News Roundup: How to Sabotage Remote Working and Mandatory Arbitration | 07.11.17


Working from home

Here’s how you sabotage remote working:

Last year, Richard Laermer decided to let his employees work from home on a regular basis. “We hire adults, they shouldn’t be tied to the office five days a week,” said Laermer, who owns a New York-based public relations firm. “I always assumed that you can get your work done anywhere, as long as you actually get it done.”

Turns out, he was wrong.

Employees took advantage of the perk, Laermer said. One was unavailable for hours at a time. Another wouldn’t communicate with co-workers all day, which Laermer found suspicious. The last straw, he said, was when someone refused to come in for a meeting because she had plans to go to the Hamptons. “That was the most unbelievably nervy thing I’d heard in years,” he said.

Ten months in, he scrapped the benefit and now requires all of his employees to come into the office every day.

So I guess the lesson here was: You didn’t hire adults?

I think that’s the assumption a lot of businesses make — “We hire the best. We hire professionals. We know they can work from anywhere to get the job done.” Except, that’s not always the case? Lots of businesses — like accounting firms — hire a lot of high school kids with four years experience. Letting them set their own schedule early on in their careers seems pretty risky. Sure, remote working as a concept sounds appealing and straightforward — you can work anywhere, just get things done — but in practice, it’s pretty messy. “I worked from the beach today and got the work done. Mostly done, that is. Well, I got started. Actually, I just went to the beach.”

The daily structure of going into a place of work is probably important for a lot of people, both inexperienced and seasoned. For lots of businesses, implementing a broad remote working policy is just asking for decentralized chaos. And most businesses aren’t prepared to deal with that.


Hand-to-hand combat doesn’t interest me much, but I’m sure some of you are enjoying the spectacle that is the run-up to the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor.

Mayweather likes money but apparently doesn’t like paying taxes, so many stories are saying that he needs the payout from this fight to make good with the IRS. Law360 reports:

[A]ccording to a Tax Court petition asking for a reprieve until after an upcoming fight because his current assets, while “substantial,” are “restricted and primarily illiquid.”

The petition, filed July 5 and served two days later, asks for a short-term installment agreement of under three months after the IRS refused based on a finding that Mayweather had adequate assets to meet the unspecified liability. Mayweather doesn’t dispute that he has the money, according to the petition — just that he won’t have ready cash until after a late August fight.

There’s speculation that Mayweather could earn up to $400 million for the fight, which if he can control himself, should be enough to get him square.

Mandatory arbitration

I’m slightly obsessed with the fate of mandatory arbitration, so I’ll just mention quickly that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adopted a new rule yesterday that would ban financial companies’ use of mandatory arbitration “in disputes over their bank and credit card accounts.” I know, I know. That doesn’t do anything for those of you wishing to sign employment agreements with Big 4 and other large accounting firms. It also probably won’t have any effect on how the Supreme Court will rule next year. But it does signal a tide against mandatory arbitration. And if you have any doubts about how Republican lawmakers feel about the matter, here’s a choice quote:

The rule “should be thoroughly rejected by Congress under the Congressional Review Act,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who has been leading the charge to weaken the agency. “In the last election, the American people voted to drain the D.C. swamp of capricious, unaccountable bureaucrats who wish to control their lives.”

Right. You see, Rep. Hensarling would much prefer that capricious, unaccountable corporations control our lives.

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Previously, on Going Concern…

I mentioned the IMA’s revised ethics statement. In Open Items: Big 4 staff considering move to consulting.

In other news:

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