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Accounting News Roundup: SoFi, Competitive Poaching, and Accounting Firms Can Do Anything | 09.12.17

accounting news sofi pwc dla piper wipfli

Just slowly dying over here.


Late on Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported that fintech unicorn SoFi had been dealing with a workplace culture issues, specifically, allowing an environment that is openly hostile and sexually improper towards women. This included the former CFO, Nino Fanlo, who:

would commonly make comments about the physical appearance of female employees and touch their shoulders in ways that made them uneasy, according to ex-workers who experienced both behaviors.

Fanlo told the Journal that he “occasionally complimented both men and women’s outfits and touched both men and women’s shoulders to try to be friendly,” and claimed it “wasn’t sexual.” He also said that no one complained, but if they had, he would’ve stopped and said, “Geez, I’m sorry.”

This bizarre lack of awareness happened on the watch of co-founder and CEO Mike Cagney who, The New York Times reported yesterday, plans to leave the company amid all the allegations and chaos. Cagney himself has been accused of having inappropriate relationships with subordinate employees “which helped foment a toxic workplace culture.” The Journal article cites one source who said that Cagney “used to tell SoFi staff that if they weren’t waking up twice a week in a cold sweat, they weren’t working hard enough.”

Accounting (and virtually every other profession, for that matter) has had its share of culture issues, from pushing workaholism to ignoring sexual harassment, but there seems to be a subtext to Silicon Valley’s constant talk of life-changing innovation, saving the world, etc. etc. that allows working people into the ground and openly sexually harassing women to be tolerated. Tolerated, that is, until people come along to tap them on the shoulder and say, “You can’t do that.” Then the companies themselves act surprised, “But we’re making the world a better place!” Accounting firms can’t even pretend to make that claim.

Competitive poaching

The Big 4 have been picking off Big Law partners around the world for awhile now, but I don’t recall an instance where two of the biggest firms from each profession squared off:

Former DLA Piper Asia Pacific head of corporate Bryan Pointon will join PricewaterhouseCoopers’ legal arm in Australia next month.

Pointon, who will be a partner at PwC, will join former DLA Piper Australian managing partner John Weber, who arrived at the Big Four auditor as a consultant in July.

It’s worth remembering that PwC dwarfs DLA Piper in terms of size, so this is more of a David vs. Goliath match-up than one of equals. It’s not even a fair fight.

Accounting firms can do anything

Apparently, accounting firms offering advertising agency services isn’t just for the Big 4:

Milwaukee, Wis.-based Top 100 accounting firm Wipfli has introduced Wipfli Web Marketing, a service for developing websites for customer engagement and lead generation.

The new service group at the firm is also planned to support websites with innovative graphic design and digital marketing programs with the aim of increasing visibility for companies, organizations and individuals. The group of web marketing professionals was formerly known as The Placemaking Group at Wipfli.

Sure, why not.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Megan Lewczyk wrote about accounting firm offices. In Open Items, a second-year PwC associate wants advice about broaching an international transfer.

In other news:

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