Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Accounting News Roundup: Big 4 CEOs, Golfers and the Estate Tax | 06.08.16

Big 4 CEOs

Glassdoor puts out a list of the 50 highest rated CEOs every year and this year's edition includes 3 Big 4 CEOs: John Veihmeyer (KPMG, 13); Mark Weinberger (EY, 14); Cathy Engelbert (Deloitte, 41).

If you want to quibble about it, Veihmeyer and Weinberger are both global CEOs of their firms while Engelbert is the US CEO of Deloitte. I probably follow these things a little too closely.

In any case, this Wall Street Journal article mentions KPMG US CEO Lynne Doughtie but only as Veihmeyer's successor. She would've been the highest ranking woman on the list. So that's something. If you get worked up about your firm or company not being on these sorts of lists, there are explanations.


Speaking of KPMG, the firm announced it would be sponsoring a third golfer, Mariah Stackhouse, who is a recent Stanford graduate. Golf Digest thinks that's just great:

KPMG is blazing a path other corporations would be wise to follow. There is no better investment in sports marketing that [sic] golfers—the lack of uniforms makes them walking billboards—and there is no better bargain in golf than female players, who are still making a fraction of what the men make.

Huh. It just so happens that female accountants, auditors and tax preparers also earn a fraction of what their male counterparts make.

“The game of golf is great for building relationship, it’s good for business,” says Doughtie, who notes all the creative ways golfers can be used in marketing and brand awareness. “To have Stacy and Mariah play golf with out clients is really good for our business. and I think other companies should do it.”

Unsaid was the fact that [Phil] Mickelson, [Stacy] Lewis and Stackhouse have something in common besides golf: All three graduated from college. That was probably also a detail not lost on KPMG.

Hopefully Stackhouse got in some ethics classes at Stanford. Phil seems to have passed on those at Arizona State.

Estate tax

TaxProf Paul Caron wants to spice up our country's marriage with the estate tax again and makes the case in a new paper. Here's the delightful abstract:

September 8, 2016 will mark the one hundredth anniversary of the federal estate tax. As with many longstanding marriages, America’s commitment to the estate tax has waxed and waned through the years. Our ardor built slowly, growing from the honeymoon years (impacting less than 1% of decedents with an inflation-adjusted exemption of around $1 million and a 10% top rate on estates over $100 million, raising less than 1% of all federal tax revenues) to a mid-marriage peak (impacting more than 7% of decedents with a $350,000 exemption and a 77% top rate on estates over $160 million, raising nearly 10% of federal tax revenues). But our passion has steadily cooled since then, culminating in a one year trial separation in 2010 and today’s withered estate tax (impacting less than 0.2% of decedents with a $5.4 million exemption and a 40% top rate on estates over $6.4 million, raising less than 0.6% of federal tax revenues).

Yet the initial reasons for our commitment to the estate tax – to raise revenue during a time of war, enhance the progressivity of the tax system, and curb concentrations of wealth – are even more compelling today than they were in 1916. This Article argues that we should rededicate ourselves to the vibrant estate tax of our youth.

It's hard not to take sides in relationships like these. I blame America. 

Previously, on Going Concern…

Bryce Sanders wrote about shady things that clients say. I wrote about almost-partners who are having second thoughts. In Open Items: a senior manager needs help deciding between Deloitte and Grant Thornton.

In other news:

Get the Accounting News Roundup in your inbox every weekday by signing up here.