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Accounting News Roundup: Name Changes; Government Work; Even More Grant Thornton PTO | 10.28.15

Major New Mexico accounting firm changing its name, branding [NMBJ]
In the past, firms offered reasons like "creating a unified brand" or "clients just gave us this nickname, so we're going with it!"  to explain why they were rebranding with just their initials. Accounting and Consulting Group has a more practical reason:

The main reason we’re doing it is because in Texas, where we have two offices, the state board of accountancy says you have to have the name or initials of a current or former partner in the name of a firm, which we do not," [marketing director Marla Gorena] said. "The way we're talking about it with our clients is that it's just a necessary step in business so that we can have the same name in all of our offices."

The firm will now be called RPC CPAs, which is slightly less inconspicuous than Accounting and Consulting Group, making it a bit of a pyrrhic move.

Government? [Open Items]
A reader who is having trouble landing a job at a CPA firm asks, "Would going the government route be career suicide?" And the answer is, "No. Taking a government is not career suicide." Even if you consider government jobs substandard (FYI: they're not), experience within government is valuable because all sorts of businesses depending on it for tax credits, funding and other support. Also, the Big 4 and top tier firms all have enormous government practices. There's no reason a person couldn't start their career in government and end up in public accounting later.

Developer, Former Top Execs Charged for Improper Accounting of Real Estate Assets During Financial Crisis [SEC]
That developer is the St. Joe Company and the executives are the former CEO, two former CFOs and the former accounting director. Among the bad things they did were using "unreasonably high property valuation in impairment testing," failing to inform auditors of "certain material facts" related to impairment testing. This all lead to overstating earnings in 2009 and 2010. Matt Levine notes that David Einhorn was short St. Joe for almost 10 years before closing it out last quarter at a tidy profit. Persistence!

Grant Thornton offers workers unlimited time off [SLBJ]
My enthusiasm for this topic wanes, however, here's something new:

In addition, Grant Thornton will be closing its offices for two weeks during the holiday season, from Dec. 21 through New Year’s Day. [St. Louis Managing Partner Tim] Zechman said the firm previously closed for some days during the holidays but not for such an extended period of time.

Including today, there are 65 days left in 2015. Three of those days won't be under the new GT unlimited PTO policy. Sixteen of those days are on the weekend (excludes the Sat and Sun between Dec. 21 through Jan. 1). You can safely assume that three days (W, Th, F) during the week of Thanksgiving will be holidays (or de facto holidays). That leaves approximately 32 working days between now and the end of the year. I'll buy a nice lunch for any GT employee that manages to take four weeks (20 days) of their unlimited PTO during that time. Good luck.

In other news:

  • Inside the Secretive World of Tax-Avoidance Experts [The Atlantic]
  • A Fantasy Sports Control Agency is a thing that exists. [WSJ]
  • "Twitter has rooms named for birds. Square went with squares, like Lafayette. At Etsy, the conference rooms are unbearably clever puns." [Bloomberg]
  • World War III almost started today, fifty-three years ago. [PaleoFuture.Gizmodo]
  • Dog shoots man. [WaPo]