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Accounting News Roundup: Talent Wars and PwC’s Secret Deal with LuxLeaks Whistleblower | 05.02.16

Accounting talent wars

The war metaphor for recruiting seems a little dramatic. Are recruiters engaging in jousts over BYU candidates? Has anyone seen regional firms preparing for a siege outside the nearest Big 4 stronghold? I think not. However, employers of all kinds are desperate for accountants and they're getting after them earlier and earlier:  

There’s a war being waged in the accounting world.

Firms of all sizes grapple continuously for market share. Today’s battles, however, increasingly take place on college campuses, as companies attempt to grow their ranks with the new CPAs they think will lead them to corporate success.

Internship programs are ubiquitous. They’re the best feeder systems for any firm’s talent pool. But companies that once did fine seeking out students in the latter years of their college education are now targeting students as early as their freshman and sophomore years in college.

Some even are getting into the high schools.

“The idea is to start planting the seed of Bober Markey Fedorovich and the opportunities a regional firm offer early on,” says the firm's HR director. Another is quoted, “It’s about getting in front of candidates early due to the number of opportunities presented to accounting students.” Even EY's campus recruiting partner for Northeast Ohio says, "[T]he war for talent is real," and the firm offers a multi-year internships that target "first-year accounting majors."

And sure, these people are on the front lines — ugh — so badgering students for 4+ years probably is the best tactic — ugh — at this stage to ensure victory. UGH. 

Elsewhere: PwC's managing partner for the Twin Cities also says, "It's a war for talent," but all he has to counter Paul McCartney tickets are tuition reimbursement, "more collaboration and mobile workspaces complete with interactive cafes, a wall of whiteboards in almost every office, and roof decks."   


According to the Luxemburger Wort, Raphael Halet, one of the two PwC employees on trial for leaking confidential files on the firm's international tax services for multinationals, signed a "secret deal" that includes a "'mortgage mandate' (a sort of guarantee) on the property of Halet, for up to 10 million euros, if he reneges on the agreement." Among other strange provisions include: "Raphael Halet reaffirms his loyalty to PwC and is willing to cooperate fully in the establishment of the truth," and "Raphael Halet agrees that PwC can check his bank accounts for the sole purpose of checking whether any payment was received for the theft of documents." Yowza.

The report states that Halet was not pressured into signing the document and that his lawyer was present. I think the moral of the story here is don't screw over PwC in Luxembourg?

Non-GAAP worries

If you like nostalgic non-GAAP worrying, you'll enjoy this Investor's Business Daily article that harkens back to a dot-com-yier time, when "Non-GAAP metrics were fiercely debated during the super-heated final quarters of the dot-com bubble in 1999 and 2000." Also, it recalls this favorite non-GAAP metric of yore:

One of the more infamous non-GAAP measurements used by Internet companies — which goes back to the dot-com bubble — is eyeballs. Internet entrepreneurs emphasized the number of times people viewed their sites, content and ads. Eyeballs quantified traffic, but traffic alone proved to be a poor indicator of earnings — future or otherwise. For this and many other reasons, dozens of dot-com bubble companies failed.

So what's the "eyeballs" of this particular tech boom? Likes? Unicorns? Uber for X's? It's hard to pick these things.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I wrote about House Lannister's (unaudited) balance sheet (no spoilers).

In other news:

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Image: iStock/BartekSzewczyk