Accounting News Roundup: Deloitte Buys a Storyteller and Live Like a KPMG Partner | 08.08.16

Big 4 acquisitions

If you enjoy reading about Big 4 firms throwing money at boutique professional services shops, then Deloitte's latest acquisition will not disappoint:

Deloitte has bought digital communications consultancy The Explainers, its sixth acquisition of a technology related start-up in 18 months, as it seeks to improve its business communication or "storytelling" capability.

The Big 4's dive into creative services is particularly fascinating. I can't imagine Deloitte or any other firm building a digital agency just because TPTB were bored one day and decided it would be fun.

However, it seems likely that the amount of creative work to be done far outweighs the agencies able to do it, so it is possible that TPTB were sitting around one day talking about this and did decide it would be fun. They buy a few small firms who won't say no to big checks, make some key hires and BAM — a billionaire-dollar agency. Business is so easy.

Live how a KPMG Regional Managing Partner hath lived

If you're shopping for a home in the Seattle area, try to work in a viewing of former KPMG West Region Managing Partner Steve Riggins's place on Mercer Island:

[A] 5,700-square-foot contemporary Northwest manse, with five bedrooms and five baths, a home filled with walls of windows, light and an abundance of vertical grain mill work.

There is a gazebo at the waters edge, 90 feet of waterfront and a private dock with boat lift.

The self-contained master suite is upstairs, as well as a library and sitting room, office and an exercise room. Riggins is a book lover and has thousands of books, many of which were in the library, while others found a place in specially built shelves in the living room.

Riggins is asking $4.5 million. Make him an offer.

Donald Trump's tax returns

The latest angle in the ongoing saga of Where in the World are Donald Trump's Tax Returns? involves the possibility (likelihood?) that his attorneys have given the IRS permission to inspect returns outside the statute of limitations and are slow playing the process:

The existence of outstanding audits for years as far back as 2009 indicates Mr. Trump has given the Internal Revenue Service permission to extend its work beyond the three-year statute of limitations governing such inquiries, said lawyers who specialize in complex tax disputes, who add such extensions are routine. Mr. Trump’s lawyers know the IRS’s deadlines, and can take their time negotiating settlements and responding to document request, these lawyers said.

“He certainly has a lot of influence over the audit ending sooner or later,” said Bryan Skarlatos of Kostelanetz & Fink LLP. “It would be relatively easy at this point to extend the audit beyond the elections.”

It seems that the more Trump stalls, the more the media pressures him to release the returns. Everyone knows he can release them, and yet Trump digs his heels into the IRS audit excuse even deeper whenever someone brings it up. No matter what the tax returns show — that he's lost a lot of money, that he's not particularly charitable — it seems unlikely that his supporters would've abandoned him over it. But Trump being Trump, no one is going to talk him out of this boneheaded mistake. In fact, no one doubles down on boneheaded mistakes quite like Donald Trump. That's the beauty of his campaign.

Elsewhere in DJT tax returns: "WikiLeaks isn't 'working on' hacking Trump's tax-returns. Claim is a joke from a comedy show. We are 'working on' encouraging whistleblowers." And elsewhere in Trump stalling:

It was more than a year before city officials were allowed to step inside the Grand Hyatt. On one occasion, a date was agreed on for the audit to begin, but cancelled the day before by hotel lawyers. That law firm, Dreyer and Traub, represented Trump throughout the 1980s.

Certified public accountant Robert Tobey said auditors rarely face such delays.

"It's one of those things you want closure on. Why would you want this hanging over your head?" said Tobey, a partner at Perelson Weiner LLP, which audits corporations, hedge funds, private equity funds and non-profits. "Stonewalling auditors is not a common practice. You want to make them go away."

Previously, on Going Concern…

Grant Thornton CEO Mike McGuire took Friday afternoon off to watch the Cubs. And in Open Items, someone wants to know what working in cyber security advisory at a Big 4 firm is like.

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