Firms

McGladrey CEO: ‘Nah, bro. We’re cool right where we are.’

You need to go over to WSJ to read all about how BDO is aggressively gobbling up firms in order to get that much closer to the Big 4's backside. Here's a nibble: BDO, one of the midtier accounting firms below the Big Four, has been aggressively trying to grow faster under Chief Executive Wayne […]

Innocent Former BDO CEO Has a Bone to Pick With His Old Firm

If you aren't up on the no longer sordid tale of Denis Field, head here first and that'll get ya nice and caught up. Well now that Mr Field's legal troubles are behind him at last, he's going all wolf-like on his former firm. He doesn't want much, maybe just an "I'm sorry" and for […]

So BDO Isn’t That Good at Auditing Either, But Still Better Than Grant Thornton

Now this is just getting funny. And by funny I mean sad. The PCAOB has released its 2012 inspection report on BDO and the news isn't nearly as bad as it was for Grant Thornton so, well, there's that. Which really isn't much when you think about it but… hey… gotta take what you can […]

Say Hello to Some Dynamic Grant Thornton Winterns

Welcome Southeast region Winter Class of 2014 #Interns from schools ranging from Baltimore to Miami! pic.twitter.com/9Xr3nbmzwX — GrantThorntonCareers (@GTCareersUS) January 15, 2014 Why is this in black and white? Did GT blow its entire color budget on its sharp purple marketing materials? Oh whatever. Congrats, you kids!

Let’s Congratulate Grant Thornton For Its Dynamic and Record-Breaking Audit Failure Rate

Colin put this in ANR this morning but it's the kind of thing that deserves a post of its own just to make sure you don't miss it and mock appropriately: The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board gave a failing grade to Grant Thornton on 65 percent of audits inspected in 2012, the highest failure […]

Grant Thornton Employees Break Out Dynamic Christmas Sweaters for Holiday Party

You'd all do well to follow this example for your respective office parties this season: Successful @GrantThorntonUS #atlanta holiday party last night. Tacky sweaters and all. @mmangrum1126 @griffinehunt pic.twitter.com/ZoE3BqEbKF — Christian Hyatt (@christianhyatt) December 13, 2013 Okay, guy on the left — we see that you phoned it in by just opting for a Christmas […]

Let’s Talk About the Denis Field Tax Shelter Verdict Before We Get Any More Angry Emails

Alright, we have to admit we totally blew reporting this in a timely manner — or rather, I did, because it happened while Colin was off doing whatever it is he does when he isn't working. And someone named Jayne Field (coincidence?) made sure to let us know. In her first email, she sticks to […]

BDO CEO Moving Up in the World

Wayne Berson, only about a year into his new gig as BDO CEO, has been elected Chairman of the global board. That's pretty quick work! Wayne-o says he's looking forward to working "with BDO International CEO, Martin van Roekel, the Global Leadership Team and the rest of the Global Board on growing the BDO Network and […]

BDO Forgot to Ask Investors What They Thought About the PCAOB’s Proposed Auditor Report Changes

They managed to round up a lot of their (and their competitors') clients though! According to a new study by BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading accounting and consulting organizations, less than one-third (27%) of public company board members believe the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's (PCAOB) proposed changes to the annual auditor's report […]

Grant Thornton Feeling Good About Grant Thornton’s Effort

The Purple Rose of Chicago turned in a scorecard of $1.274 billion in revenue, up 5 percent, for fiscal 2013. And Stephen Chipman, for one, thinks that's a solid effort:    "Attaining record revenues in a still tepid economic environment is a testament to our long-term strategy of focusing on dynamic, mid-sized clients that are poised for […]

Grant Thornton Doubles Down Nationwide on Corporate Doublespeak

Color me baffled, maybe I haven't spent long enough digesting PRspeak. ??? Does culture then wash it down with a nice, cold glass of Kool-Aid? Grant Thornton is supposedly holding "All Hands" meeting in all 54 US offices today to ensure the staff are sufficiently brainwashed into thinking this actually means something. Not very dynamic […]

The Washington Redskins Got Beat by the Green Bay Packers, Presented By BDO

As you know, BDO serves as the official accounting firm of asshole of the century Dan Snyder's football team. Now, you might ask yourself, what would the exclusive provider of professional services of an asshole's professional football team actually do? Excellent question! The answer is: Stats-Pack presented by BDO. What is that exactly?  A list of notes […]

Oh Dear Lord, Grant Thornton’s Belfast Office Has a Willy Wonka Room

Grant Thornton is the most dynamic accounting firm known to man. Now, some of you might doubt this based on past revelations such as temp tatts, unoriginal taglines, and questionable advertising campaigns, but the following report out of the Belfast office will make you believe. We all know accounting firm offices can be, er, less […]

Ex-Grant Thornton Partner Sorry for Taking $4 Million That Wasn’t His

Craig Haber, who, after being a partner at Grant Thornton for 11 years, started helping himself to client fees, admitted today that what he did was wrong and he's sure sorry about the whole thing:   Craig Haber, who prosecutors said diverted money to his own bank accounts between 2004 and 2012, pleaded guilty to […]

Here’s a List of Grant Thornton’s Newest Partners

Stephen Chipman has bestowed 30 purple roses, saying, "Our partners and principals have demonstrated great value to our dynamic clients and to our firm through their technical expertise and passionate leadership." There's also 20 new managing director,s however they merely, "[help] our partners execute the firm's strategy." Sounds like a slap in the face. I […]

Hey Look, BDO Had Another Decent Year

If Bravo Delta Oscar's announcement of its 2013 fiscal year revenues are any indication, we're going to see big revenue numbers from accounting firms this year: BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation's leading professional service organizations, today announced revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013 was $683 million, a 10.5 percent increase […]

Grant Thornton Audit Partners Might Want to Read Those Opinions Just a Bit Closer

Call this is a GT service announcement (or something). A tipster informed us a little while ago that there were a couple of Purple Rose of Chicago audit opinions floating around that have an unfortunate typo. Titan International and Gentherm, Inc. filed 10-Ks in 2013 with Grant Thornton's name spelled wrong on the opinion – spelling it […]

BDO Adds a Feather to Its Cap After Landing Exclusive Deal with Offensively Nicknamed Football Team

I can't help but think of this:  Anyway, here are the canned quotes from the principals: "We are thrilled to serve as the exclusive accounting firm of The Washington Redskins," said Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO USA, LLP. "The team's focus on providing a winning experience for fans and business partners complements BDO's commitment to […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for Grant Thornton Compensation Discussions (2013)

Last month we put out the GT comp fluffer post and with raises effective on August 1st, I suppose it's about time we gave the dynamic tattooed masses the thread they've been waiting for.

Promotion Watch ’13: BDO Admits 16 New Partners

For one reason or another, Bravo Delta Oscar announced their new partnership class late on Wednesday, so virtually everyone missed that news. Now that everyone has returned from their epic four day BBQ-beer-blowing off digits bender, we will present to you the 16 new BDO partners: Brandy Arbuthnot (Dallas – Tax) Matthew Cromwell (Bethesda – […]

Those Twelve ParenteBeard Partners That Quit to Join BDO Took Some of Their Friends Along

This is quite the impressive move by Bravo Delta Oscar. The firm issued this press release earlier today: BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional service organizations, today announced an expansion of its financial institutions practice through the addition of 12 partners and as many as 97 employees formerly with the banking practice […]

Comp Watch ’13: At Least One Grant Thornton Dynamo Is Optimistic

On Monday, compensation kvetching season officially kicked off with PwC. Papa Whisk(e)y Charlie generally sets the tone for the rest of the summer and we see some firms adjust their plans accordingly. Of course there are plenty of firms that don't adjust their plans, but probably do so at their own peril.   ANYWAY. The PwC […]

A Dozen ParenteBeard Partners Have Up and Quit; Probably Joining BDO

Joe DiStefano has nice scoop over at PhillyDeals about twelve ParenteBeard partners packing it in — sounds like it was unexpected — and taking their services over to Bravo Delta Oscar: According to industry sources, Richard T. Farrell from the firm's Philadelphia office, Alan Molin from its Clark, New Jersey office, and other audit partners […]

Grant Thornton Is Movin’ On Up

We appreciate the fact that the firm is enthusiastic about their growth, but this is getting ridiculous: Grant Thornton LLP has relocated its Minneapolis office within the north tower of the US Bank Plaza at 200 S. 6th St. to floors 14 and 15. The total space leased is 31,484 square feet. Today is the first […]

ICYMI: BDO Picks Up Skechers After…Ya Know

Bravo Delta Oscar has come to Skechers' rescue and will re-audit the two years worth of financial statements that KPMG abandoned after we learned that Scott London spent some of his billable hours counting cards. From henceforth, gaining a client due to a scandal of a notable degree shall be known as "picking up a London." […]

Public Accounting Winter Intern Full-time Offers, Round 2

Today, there are a lot of dazed tax interns walking around, wondering what happened to the last three months of their lives. However! They aren't so out of it that they can't help but wonder what their full-time offers look like compared to their peers around the country. We've had a couple of requests this […]

Hiring Watch ’13: Grant Thornton Chicago on the Hunt for Forensic and Investigative Dynamos

Last Friday while I was poorly navigating North Carolina, a tipster passed along an enthusiastic message that he received from a Grant Thornton National Talent Acquisition bounty hunter. And from the sounds of it, GT wants some fresh faces in their forensics group:

BDO Poaches a Prominent Healthcare Consultant From PwC and Issues a Press Release, Part I

Oh, how we love a good poaching expedition. Especially when a firm feels so good about their prize that they get the PR team involved. BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional services organizations, announced the expansion of the firm’s Healthcare Industry consulting capabilities with the addition of Patrick D. Pilch as a Managing […]

Ernst & Young Admits That Some of Its Partners Were Running a Tax Shelter Factory

What a fine thing for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney to announce on a Friday afternoon that it had reached at settlement with Ernst & Young over its tax sheltering activities: Ernst & Young LLP will pay $123 million to settle a U.S. tax-fraud probe as part of a non- prosecution agreement, according to a statement […]

An Ex-Grant Thornton Partner Has Been Charged with Embezzling $4 Million

Here's an interesting story about a fella by the name of Craig Haber. Craig became a partner at Grant Thornton in 1993. Around 2004, Craig decided to start helping himself to client fees that rightfully belonged to GT. This went on for a while. Approximately $4 million in fees from 2004 to 2012, to be […]

(UPDATE) BDO Associate Eager for Work Picks Up Assignments, In ‘N’ Out Delivery Request All Along the West Coast

Undoubtedly, many of the seasoned public accounting hacks out there have received some variation of the following email: From: [Bored L.A. Assurance Associate] Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 1:36 PM To: [Everyone at BDO, allegedly] Subject: Available   Hello All,   I have some free time today so if you would like for me to […]

ICYMI: PwC and BDO Both Passed Their AICPA Peer Reviews Just Fine

Remember how Deloitte's AICPA Peer Review finding of "pass with deficiency" was one of the lowliest of low points for the year in auditing? Sure you do. At the time, we learned from the AICPA's James Brackens that from 2008 to 2010, only 8% of the audit firms that participated in the peer review had […]

BDO Keeps Pace with Rival Audit Firms in Terrible PCAOB Inspection Reports

For whatever reason, BDO was excluded in the last-minute lump of coal the PCAOB delivered to Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and Grant Thornton right before Christmas, but that doesn't mean their inspection report wasn't in the same class of quality.  The Board inspected audits at 16 of BDO's 35 offices, inspecting 23 audits with 9 […]

Grant Thornton Was the Most Dynamite Accounting Firm in 2012, Says Grant Thornton

Eddie Nusbaum & Co. put up a good number, $4.2 billion to be precise. That's 10.4% (USD) greater than last time around. That's pretty good. So good, the firm reports in its press release that "Grant Thornton led the six largest global accounting organizations in reported revenue growth rate for 2012." And that appears to be true. […]

Grant Thornton Partner Asked to Take a Seat

GT partners have elected Dave Wedding as the next Chairman of the firm's board. He was also recently appointed OMP of the Purple Rose of Chicago: Carolinas practice. As a native of Charlotte, part of his appeal, undoubtedly, was his charming North Carolina accent.* This should match Stephen Chipman's charming English accent quite nicely. Leadership […]

New Grant Thornton Cleveland Location Will Benefit Employees, Withering Plants

The Purple Rose of Chicago: Cleveland Edition officially opened the doors at One Cleveland Center today and OMP Dan Zittnan says that's exciting for all kinds of reasons including "enhance[d] productivity and development," as well as, "more efficient layout, access to natural light, increased multipurpose space and more effective collaboration rooms." So not only will […]

SEC, China Will Probably Compromise Over Big 4 Chinese Affiliates Someday, Says Guy

The SEC's move against the Big 4's Chinese affiliates on Monday has people all worked up. On the one hand, yes, if the SEC were to delist a lot of Chinese companies that would make a lot of people sad. Also, if fewer Chinese companies were to consider accessing U.S. markets because they aren't so […]

SEC Finally Gets Around to Losing Patience with the Big 4’s Chinese Firms

China has been a thorny issue with the SEC and the PCAOB over the last couple of years. You see, there's been some concern that some Chinese companies have accessed U.S. markets through dubious means and then provided financial reporting and disclosures that weren't accurate in material respects. Audit firms charged with providing an opinion […]

Grant Thornton Gets Its Name Out There

Starting in 2015, Grant Thornton will be moving into the Chicago Title & Trust Co. building but more importantly will get naming rights meaning that 161. N. Clark St. will be known as the Grant Thornton something. But what? GTower? The Chipman Center? Big GT? Presumably all of these plus whatever else you can come up […]

Auditor Musical Chairs: 99¢ Only Stores Splurges on Ernst & Young, Dumps BDO

With a business name like "99¢ Only Stores," no one would blame you if you assumed the company and would try to pinch some pennies on their auditor. It's a commodity service that is just asking to be squeezed, after all. However, sometimes as a public company, you'd like a big name brand on your […]

Maybe If Non-Big 4 Firms Just Worked a Little Harder…

For some time now, observers have voiced concern about the relative lack of choice when it comes to large audit firms. Yes, they are all fine organizations with plenty of smart and capable people but some companies prefer to have a few more options. They're not asking for a Vegas buffet or anything, but, you […]

Recruiting Season: Looking for a Firm with “Longevity”; The Big 4 Toss-up; Opportunities Missed

Welcome to Rock the Recruitment Season. We'll be winding up the 2012 series very soon so if you still have a question about recruiting season, email us at [email protected] with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. The recruitment season questions have slowed to a trickle, so you best get them in while you can, […]

Another Small Accounting Firm Gets to Know BDO

Two weeks after Argy, Wiltse & Robinson climbed aboard Captain Jack's ship, BDO has found a new firm to satisfy its insatiable appetite for small firms. The latest addition is Philadelphia's Asher & Co. and the firm's 100+ partners and employees will join up with Berson & Co. on November 1. Hopefully AWR won't mind that […]

Recruiting Season: Going Concern’s Guide to the Cultures of the Big 4 and Other Public Accounting Firms

Welcome to Tuesdays with More Anxious Accounting Recruits. Have a question about recruiting season? Email [email protected] with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. Just a friendly reminder – if you have received an offer from a public accounting firm, by all means, share your excitement with us. We've received a fair amount so far, […]

A Little More Shakin’ Goin’ On at BDO

As BDO prepares for a Jack Weisbaum-less existence, there are some final pieces that need put in place. With Wayne Berson becoming CEO, his position as "presiding board member" was up for grabs and Matthew Becker grabbed. In addition to Mr. Becker, Scott Guertin (Boston/Tax) and Joe Johnson (Orange County/Assurance) will join the board for […]

Grant Thornton Is Going Places

Everyone's favorite tattoo parlor, Grant Thornton, has announced its revenues for the fiscal year ended, July 31, 2012 and things went pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay good. The $1.212 billion was so good, in fact, that it was a record for the firm and CEO Stephen Chipman says everything is going to plan: Grant Thornton’s strategy is […]

BDO and Argy, Wiltse & Robinson Are Now in a Relationship

Effective November 1, AWR will succumb to the charms of the BDO after 20 years of blissful solitude. The DC-area firm has three locations in McLean, Virginia ,Bethesda, Maryland and Fort Lauderdale, Florida and BDO CEO Wayne Berson will let 26 more partners squeeze in. [BDO via WBJ]

Is There a Hidden Message in This Interview with Grant Thornton’s Stephen Chipman?

As we've mentioned on several occasions here, when the media profiles Big 4 bigwigs, the revelations are far less interesting than, say, a movie star-governor. If touchy subjects are addressed, they are glossed over fairly quickly to move on to charity work, perseverance, or family life. It's like a heart-warming after-school special. Grant Thornton CEO […]

Someone at Grant Thornton Thought a Client Needed Help Holding Their Balls

After dominating much of 2011, the past year has been bit of a downer for the Purple Rose of Chicago. Last September, Grant Thornton reached its apex when the firm was crowned king of the hill in Vault's 50. Unfortunately, they were shoved off the pile by Ernst & Young less than a year later and things […]

Accounting News Roundup: A Deal on the Back of AMT?; Larry Flynt Makes an Offer; Diluted Audit Reforms | 09.10.12

U.S. Plans $18 Billion Sale of AIG Stock [WSJ]The Treasury Department said it would sell $18 billion of American International Group Inc. stock in a public offering, slashing its stake by more than half and making the government a minority shareholder for the first time since the financial crisis was roaring in September 2008. The sale […]

Call for Submissions: Send Us The Worst Accounting Firm Recruiting Brochures You’ve Seen

Most of your offers are signed and many of you are ready to start at your new firms this fall but surely you've got some horrible recruiting brochures lying around that you'd love to show off. You know the ones I'm talking about; the smiling auditor hanging out in the jungles of Costa Rica, the […]

Hey Look, BDO Had a Pretty Decent Year

Jack Weisbaum's final year as the most interesting accounting CEO in the world will go down in the book as a good one. The firm announced $618 million in revenues for fiscal year 2012. That's an increase of 8%. Each line of business saw increases with consulting coming in 36% higher than last year, tax […]

Compensation Watch ’12: Grant Thornton Starts Rolling Out the Numbers

Almost three weeks ago, we started the discussion for the Purple Rose of Chicago to help all the Grant Thornton dynamos gird their loins for this compensation season. We've received a number of requests for a follow-up since the discussions start this week and, finally, late last night someone shared their numbers with us: Grant […]

Promotion Watch ’12: BDO Admits 15 New Partners

Now that everyone's time has been entered and accounted for, the TPTB at BDO figured it was appropriate to recognize the men (13) and women (2) who make up the final new partner class under Jack Weisbaum: “I am very proud to welcome each of these very deserving individuals to our partnership,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO […]

Comp Watch ’12: Grant Thornton Capital Market Servants Want Some Love

A simple request from someone out of the Purple Rose of Chicago: I know its not Big 4, but would you mind starting a thread on GT comp adjustments coming up this year? Mind? Apparently you're one of those people that think these pages devoted to the kvetching of Big 4 employees. Not so! When it […]

Grant Thornton Now Offering Insight to Fictional Advertising Agencies

According to a press release, GT's Canadian arm has found a new place to find dynamic clients – TV! Grant Thornton LLP has just published Foundation for Growth, a white paper that presents the results of research and analysis into how professional services firms view their performance and people, their planning and profitability. It contains […]

Fiscal New Year’s Eve Fun: How To Handle Last Minute Time Entry Requests

Let no one say nothing good ever comes out of BDO. From the tip box: Hey Going Concern,   It's almost June 30, and you know what that means! Yep, BDO YE! That also means being bombarded with a million emails to enter all of our time. As a BDO lifer I don't know, but […]

There’s a Bit of Shake-up in the Works at BDO

Last week we heard some interesting news from a reliable source on a shakeup that will impact the regional and leadership structure of BDO. As you know, the next CEO of Bravo Delta Oscar will be Wayne Berson, the current head of assurance for the firm's Atlantic region. As the firm's CEO-elect, he is putting […]

Grant Thornton’s New Private Equity Services Managing Director Is a Public Accounting Firm Bicycle

Kevin Hudson is not quite the bounder that Reznick Group's Joe Mudd is, but he has seen a few firms in his day: [Prior to Grant Thornton], Hudson served as a National Director with McGladrey’s Private Equity Services Group and was their Regional Private Equity Leader for the Northeast and Southeast regions. He has more than 19 years of […]

Ex-BDO CEO Wins New Trial Because One of the Jurors Lied About Being a Drunk, Shoplifting Shellfish, Everything

Former BDO CEO and wolfpack leader Denis Field has won a new trial on charges of tax fraud thanks to a juror in his trial who lied about her alcoholism and, oh…pretty much everything: U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan today overturned the convictions, ruling that the presence of Catherine Conrad, who was Juror No. 1, […]

Bonus Watch ’12: Grant Thornton Auditors Who Manage to Ignore Their Wicked Impulses

Question for the auditors in the crowd – have you ever come across a nefarious situation in your career and thought, "You know, if doing the right thing were to pay better than doing the wrong thing, I'd walk away from this client in a second."?   Of course you have. That's pretty much the […]

Grant Thornton Is the Latest Firm to Join the Chinese Auditor Resignation Jamboree

SGOCO Group, Ltd. issued a press release this morning to let everyone know that Grant Thornton's Chinese affiliate decided to take a walk on May 14th. They disclosed this with the SEC around 10 am on Friday, but with the Facebook circus going on, no one noticed. What's interesting is that the company filed Form […]

BDO Joins the Auditor Resignation Party

The firm has had about all the fun it can handle trying to audit Chaoda Modern Agriculture. In a statement Thursday, Chaoda said that in a letter on Apr. 26, BDO said that despite continuing with the audit for a prolonged period, it was not in a position to conclude. It said the move was […]

The PCAOB Inspection Report of Grant Thornton Could Have Been Worse

The Board inspected 41 audits at 21 of Grant Thornton's 51 offices. Fifteen issuers were cited in the report that included various failures, primarily related to "obtain[ing] sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support its opinions on the financial statements and on the effectiveness of [internal controls over financial reporting]." There was everything from failure to […]

Stephen Chipman’s Gut Tells Him That the SEC Will Get on Board with IFRS

The Grant Thornton CEO tells Accounting Today he doesn't have any "inside information"; you're just going to have to trust him. “My sense is that the SEC is getting closer to a position,” he said during an interview with the Accounting Today staff on Tuesday. “I don’t have any inside information. This isn’t based on […]

Grant Thornton Bailing Out BDO Down Under

Grant Thornton is officially picking up BDO's Victoria and New South Wales offices in Australia for $50 million, according to reports.  [This] comes after BDO announced last month it had decided to terminate the BDO Victoria and New South Wales offices, citing “unreasonable risks”, following a strategic review of the business taken over the previous […]

Grant Thornton Now Issuing Temporary Tattoos for Laptops

Finally today, another bullseye out of the Purple Rose of Chicago:                       Our tipster writes: Can’t tell you how excited I am that the new laptop “wraps” came in at my office yesterday! See attached picture showing my company laptop sporting the new look. The handout […]

Unfounded Rumor of the Afternoon: Grant Thornton Scrapping CPA Requirement for Promotion to Senior

This just in: Rumor has it, GT is getting rid of the CPA exam requirement to be promoted to senior… GT is one of two firms (that we explicitly know of) that currently requires audit professionals to pass the CPA exam in order to be promoted. If this particular tidbit is true, then it would be […]

Grant Thornton Names New Head Dynamic Organization Hunter

Ed Novak has been appointed Head of National Sales and he'll be tasked with bringing home the dynamo bacon. “Hiring Ed is a key pillar in our strategy to establish Grant Thornton as the leading accounting and consulting firm serving dynamic organizations,” said Tricia Conahan, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer. That's great and all, but […]

Wayne Berson Will Be the Next CEO of BDO

It was a very quick turn around from the time we learned that the most interesting accounting firm CEO was retiring, to learning the slate of candidates to the announcement of the successor but here we are. Wayne Berson, BDO's Atlantic Assurance leader will be the new CEO effective November 1.  “I am honored and […]

Going Concern March Madness 2012 Enters Round 2: No More Big 4

Today marks the day that you're pulling out brackets again that just serves as a reminder of how horrible you are at picking winners. Accordingly, we'll dive right into round two of Going Concern March Madness 2012: The Coolest Accounting Firm.  Again this year we saw a bunch of upsets in round one with all […]

Who Will Be the Next CEO of BDO?

Last month we learned that Jack Weisbaum would be retiring at the end of his current term as BDO's CEO. It's been quite the run for Captain Jack, but eventually you knew that things wouldn't stay interesting forever. A tipster tells us that the process to replace J. Dubs will soon be under way: The […]

BDO Chief Technology Officer Asks Everyone To Give Up Their God-given Right to Stream NCAA Basketball Tournament Games at Work

A deckhand on Captain Jack's ship sent us a copy of an email that will either be heeded begrudgingly or completely ignored: From: [BDO Chief Technology Officer] To: [Everyone] Subject: March Madness… March Madness means many things to many people.  Basketball, spring and snow in Michigan and APT & taxes here at BDO.  With that […]

Grant Thornton Probably Didn’t Realize They Were Quoting Nietzsche in Their New Slogan

A bookly tipster sent us the following: Grant Thornton ads and tattoos aren't the issue — Has anyone else noticed that Grant Thornton's new slogan– An instinct for growth — is totally lifted from Nietzsche's The Anti-Christ: "Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power; whenever the will […]

Any Tax Professionals at Grant Thornton Interested in Going to India?

Because of recent events, you may have thought that not much was in the works at Grant Thornton. Well, you'd be wrong. Stephen Chipman runs a tight fish and chip house so while you've all been distracted by pests, tattoos, and buttering up the POTUS, SC and his team have been planning your next dynamic […]

Grant Thornton Gives the All Clear After “Insect Issue” at Downtown Office

This is from earlier in the week and there's no official word about the pest in question but our tipster insists that it was edbugsbay: It was brought to our attention yesterday that there was a potential insect issue in a small location on the 24th floor of our 60 Broad Street Office.  We took […]

KPMG Sorta Making Up for Losing All Those Partners to PwC By Taking Some of Their Audit Clients

Accounting News Report, using data from Audit Analytics, puts out an Auditor Change Analysis every year and it usually finds its way into our inbox, however, because the analysis is a subscription-based publication (and a pricey one at that), reproducing the whole thing is usually not an option. This year we asked pretty please, and we got […]

Jack Weisbaum to Step Down as BDO CEO

One last thing before you're off to make bad decisions this weekend…Oh, right! You're probably working this weekend and you probably don't get to make any decisions about that. ANYWAY, Captain Jack Weisbaum, the most interesting accounting firm CEO in the world will not seek reelection, and will retire effective October 31, 2012 when his current […]

Here Is Exhibit A for the Argument Against Temporary Grant Thornton Tattoos

Look, you guys. I know the stress of busy season can be a lot to deal with but I beg you, don't let it cloud your judgment. Think about your loved ones. Think about the American people. Think about the children.  Whatever helps you recenter your perspective, keep that thing in mind so that you don't […]

Temporary Grant Thornton Tattoos Are the Worst Idea Ever

The last twelve months or so have been very good for the Purple Rose of Chicago. Let's recount a few highlights. They've been chasing dynamic clients around like fat kids chase ice cream trucks. Their solid work has been recognized by these dynamic clients. They were dismissed from a major shareholder lawsuit. At the behest […]

Grant Thornton Applauds President Obama’s Support of Start-Ups and Small Business Because, Duh, They Will Make More Money

Oh, Grant Thornton flacks. Could you put out a more ridiculously transparent, vapid, self-serving, bullshit press release? Grant Thornton LLP applauds President Obama for recognizing the importance of access to capital to start-ups and small business during his State of the Union Address last night. The Small Company Capital Formation Act, introduced by Rep. David […]

Ex-BDO Partner Didn’t Realize You Were Asking About *That* $49,350

Bryan N. Polozola simply misremembered that he took that exact amount of money from a old employer. Problem is, he misremembered with the SEC: Polozola was the subject of a 2005 NASD (now FINRA) proceeding alleging that he took $49,350 in funds from a former employer for his personal use. Polozola neither admitted nor denied […]

(UPDATE/CORRECTION) PwC Couldn’t Find a KPMG Partner to Join Their Irvine, California Office So They Poached a Grant Thornton Partner Instead

Today in partners ditching their firm for PwC news, Gary Wilson, a 20-year Grant Thornton veteran and managing partner of the Irvine, California office will take the exact same job at join PwC on January 5th. It appears this news was first reported by the OC Business Journal and not by a press release, which proves […]

McGladrey Is Glad to Have McGladrey Back, Says McGladrey Partner

Back in August, we learned that 1040 factory H&R Block was putting RSM McGladrey (aka McGladrey) out to pasture. By all accounts, H&RB was pretty excited to get rid of RSM (aka McGladrey), as the business was a bit of a drag on the rest of the company.

Crain’s reports that the deal finally closed today and at least one McGladrey (aka McGladrey) partner is equally excited to have their old RSM (aka McGladrey) back:

The move means the reunited McGladery, which has 6,500 employees—600 of them in New York—should be better positioned to compete against such industry-leading firms as PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte. “We are a great alternative to the Big Four,” said Tom Ferreira, who heads McGladrey’s Northeast practice. […] “We’re happy to be independent again, all together under one roof,” he said.

Your loss, H&RB (not aka McGladrey).

Accounting firm escapes from soured H&R Block deal [Crain’s

Exodus Watch ’11: BDO Tax Partners

Apparently a grip (a half dozen or so) of them have left the firm in the past two months, says a source familiar with the situation at BDO. At least three are supposedly now with PwC (none worthy of P. Dubs press releases) and another two are off to Deloitte in various markets. If you’ve recently jumped Captain Jack’s ship or know of more details for your office, get in touch.

Hiring Watch ’12: Grant Thornton Chicago Looking for Some New Dynamos

Much like E&Y, GT’s Chicago office is looking to get more asses in the seats because business is swell:

Grant Thornton LLP said it intends to add 140 jobs in its Chicago office next year, 80 of them entry level and 60 internships, most of them paid. Similar hiring this year was less than 100. According to a press release and a spokeswoman, the new hires are needed because the firm’s business is growing. The hires will work in “nearly every area” of the firm, including audit, tax and consulting.

Unlike E&Y, Hizzoner was not attendance:

[T]his announcement was not made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has unveiled several somewhat similar moves by other companies in recent months.

Always a bridesmaid, GT. Always a bridesmaid.

Grant Thornton to step up Chicago hiring 40% next year [Crain’s, Earlier]

Grant Thornton CEO: Makeovers Don’t Win

As we all know, Grant Thornton has upped its game in the past few months. It rolled out a new fancy schmancy ad campaign that explains how not to be a loser and was the surprise top dog in this year’s Vault rankings.

Yesterday, the Purple Rose of Chicago announced that more good times are coming via its new “Growth Platform” that will give all those dynamo clients a spurt. Hey! there’s even a website for the whole thing.

So in case things aren’t clear, growth is winning. And it’s not just for the lucky clients who count GT as their professional services provider. The firm itself is a weed of dynamism, says Stephen Chipman:

Grant Thornton has growth plans of its own. “We want to grow ourselves,” said Chipman. “We’re dynamic and we’re on the move. We want to, over time, raise the bar on the growth agenda and be committed to it for the long haul.” The firm plans to continue with its global expansion plans, especially in emerging markets. “We’ve been very vocal about how the global organization has an ambitious five-year strategy to double our market share, and that’s consistent with our plans here in the United States,” said Chipman. “There will be organic growth, it will be strategic growth. We will invest in new talent and expertise, and it will be M&A growth through mergers and acquisitions.”

Right! Connecticut! What’s more exciting than the Constitution State? Wait, don’t answer that. You’re probably wondering if all this excitement means that GT will go for a sexy new makeover. You know, something less Northwestern and maybe something more…Ohio State, perhaps? Well, as of now, that won’t be necessary:

The new brand positioning will not extend as far as changing the firm’s logo or slogan, at least not yet. “We are not changing our logo,” said Chipman. “You will see the same Grant Thornton logo, but you will see a lot of branded material focused on supporting the growth agenda.” However, Grant Thornton may eventually evolve its strategy to incorporate new taglines or slogans. “As we move forward with this over the next several months, we will certainly be looking for different ways to innovate to present our messaging,” said Chipman.

So it sounds like the team colors will stay the same but could a message focused on “growth” actually involve something that tangibly “grows” like say, “roses”? And by extension, could this mean tangos will make a comeback? God, please make it so.

Grant Thornton Positions Itself for Growth [AT]

BDO Knows the Alamo

The most interesting accounting firm CEO would like to welcome the gang at Carneiro, Chumney & Co. to the club. “The addition of the partners and other professionals formerly with Carneiro, Chumney & Co. provides BDO with a fantastic presence in the important San Antonio market. Combined with our existing practices in Austin, Dallas and Houston, Captain Jack said. With this move, all San Antonioa-area professional recruiters are officially on notice that your leads at Carneiro now have incentive to rat you out. [BDO]

Does Eating Hours Win at Grant Thornton?

As we trudge towards busy season, there are certain things that everyone gets a little anxious about. Like not seeing the sun for three months. Like putting on an extra 15-20 pounds because you’re stuffing your face with takeout three nights (minimum) a week. Oh! and then there’s the hours. Right, the hours.

For those of you t awhile, you know how the game works. Do you really spend 14 hours a day staring at a spreadsheets, slapping together financial puzzles without nary a drop in your production? Obviously not. Some of you take smoke breaks. Some of you have the audacity to take a lunch hour. Some of you drop by this fine publication to keep yourself abreast of the latest haps in accounting world (and leave the page open all day). Some of you, on average, spend 15-30 minutes watching your your cubicle crush from afar thinking that you’ll just mosey over and say “What’s up? Numbers, huh?” only to snap out of your daydream.

All this non-billable time accumulates into a decent portion of your day. Accordingly, you work a little later to make up for your lack of productivity, charge the appropriate hours (based on your increasingly tighter budget) and you call it a day.

For those newer to the game, you may look up at the clock, note that it’s 6 pm and you think to yourself, “What did I accomplish today?” The answer: not much. But since there’s not charge code for “Fucking Around – General” and slamming it all to an administration code isn’t such a good move, you slip it into a code for a client that you’re supposedly working on. No problem, right?

Well, your managers and partners might have a problem. They look at the billed hours and then try to gauge what your progress is. If there are hundreds of hours and you have jack squat to show for it, people are going to be pissed.

With all that in mind, I’ll share a query from a reader out of Grant Thornton’s New York office:

I would like to know how wide-spread “Eating Hours” is at GT (NYC).

You are put on a project, its a lot of work, and as time progress more and more work piles on you. You end up putting a lot of hours. The manager/partner says that hours will not be a problem, and that you should bill all hours worked.

When the project is just about over, after you had worked tons of hours, when you are least expect it, they pull you into a meeting and admonishing you that there was no way that you worked those hours. (Basically calling you a thief to your face).

After that meeting, you are told to adjust all hours over and above the budgeted 35-40 hours work week.

Even though I am not an hourly employee, I do feel robbed in two ways. First, I can’t really enjoy the accomplishment of the project because I feel so cheated, unappreciated and disrespected by this unethical behavior. Additionally, I feel stress because how can I be expected to meet the already unrealistic utilization goals when those scumbags make me eat hours?

Okay, let me say first that I do not doubt this person’s account of being jerked around by a manager or partner with regard to hours. However, it’s a little bit unbelievable if this meeting where the de-pantsing occured came without any warning. Most of your superiors – whether they are partners, managers, SAs, whatever – are not completely unreasonable people. They don’t all of sudden turn on a dime and say, “Everything I told you was a lie. You should have known that you shouldn’t have been billing all those hours.” If that is the case, then you work for assholes.

Hopefully, if eating hours is expected of you, they tell you up front. I had former colleagues that were on engagements like this where a Senior Manager simply let them know exactly how many hours they were expected to bill but it was pretty obvious that they were going to be working far more than that to get the job done. It’s a fucked up equation to be sure, but at least you know what you’re up against. This has nothing to do with firms or offices but rather the people running the engagement.

As for GTNYC, it’s pretty tough to know how widespread the practice of eating hours is. How widespread is the alcoholism? Or doucebaggery? It’s not quantitative. But our tipster is still concerned:

I have spoken to many of my friends at other Big 4, at regional firms, and at smaller firms and no one had experienced it as bad as some of us here in GT (NYC).

Fine. But you’re very small cross-section of a huge population. Maybe you were just on a couple of bad engagements with bad partners/managers. It happens. Believe it.

For the Purple People Eaters out there, is eating hours at GT a problem? Does Vault have it all wrong? Eating hours definitely doesn’t win, but does it pay? Discuss below.

BDO Anthem to FIU Includes Tone Deaf MCs, Bad Wigs

As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of videos come through these parts that are of various production quality with the legendary “In a JIT” widely accepted as the best effort to date. While TPTB probably don’t appreciate the creativity, it always seems worthwhile for us to promote the talents (or complete lack thereof) of those willing to put the time into a such an extensive project.

Today in CPA-inspired video is from none other than the most interesting firm in the world, BDO. The mission of this particular video was to serenade recruits from Florida International University. And seeing how it’s a firm-sponsored production, it’s clear the firm is behind it.


Some thoughts:

1. How did the casting director consciously go with the two guys in the office that are completely tone deaf?

2. Will FIU recruits even attend an office visit after this display?

3. “Running through FASBs like Drano.”

4. At 2:35 they are clearly reading the lyrics off the screen. Poor form, gents.

5. Couldn’t they get Captain Jack to throw them out of the office instead?

We will give them an ‘A’ for effort since BDO is typically pretty quiet but they’ve got a long way to go. Feel free to share your own critique below.

Schwag Watch ’11: Deloitte May Be Implying That Recruits Have Poor Personal Hygiene

Earlier this month our resident big man on campus, DWB, put out a call for all the schwagtacular gear that recruits were snatching up this fall. We didn’t get much for submissions at first but luckily a friend from the north passed along photos that ranged from “a bunch of junk” to Dr. Seuss to a PwC cookie describe as “soft” and “amazing.”

Things have quieted down since then but thankfully, another enterprising young recruit who is right in the wheelhouse of recruiting passed along a couple more pics that include examples of loot from Deloitte and Grant Thornton.


First our tipster’s thoughts on GT’s offering: “The GT cup is ok but the straw is totally useless.” And for the gazillionth time, purple just sucks.


According to our tipster, the Deloitte sanitizer is really the most perplexing item: “I am not sure what to think of Deloitte’s hand sanitizer.”

So what do we make of this? It’s not a surprise that Deloitte isn’t a “If it’s brown flush it down; if it’s yellow keep it mellow” kinda place but what does this bottle of freshness really communicate? Do they simply think college students are unkempt? Is Deloitte making the assumption that all the recruits are applying there because the Occupy movement rejected their applications? Or, since there is fairly new leadership in place, does this speak more directly to the firm’s position on germs in general? Put simply: Are Joe Echevarria and Barry Salzgerg germophobes? I’m inclined to go with option 3 but would entertain other theories.

Grant Thornton Tops Vault’s Accounting 50 (2012)

Yes my friends, the Purple Rose of Chicago’s focus on all things dynamic and pinstripe hating was enough to catapult the firm to the #1 spot on Vault’s Accounting 50. Varnton’s rise “an upset of sorts” but I’ll go ahead and say this is more worthy of “shocker” status. This is like “Dewey Defeats Truman.” It’s the Miracle on Ice. Hell, it’s like when Brad Pitt finds Gwenyth Paltrow’s head at the end of Se7en (what do you MEAN you haven’t seen it?).

Don’t get me wrong, Grant Thornton is a fine firm. Sure, purple isn’t my favorite but the people there seem nice and very capable but HONESTLY this was not expected. When he hears the news, Stephen Chipman will probably start running through halls of the Chicago office sans pants trousers rallying everyone down to the nearest pub (pictures, please). Anyway, let’s get to the Top 25 (previous year in parenthesis), shall we?

1 (23) Grant Thornton
2 (2) PwC
3 (1) Deloitte
4 (3) Rothstein Kass
5 (5) Dixon Hughes Goodman


6 (6) Moss Adams
7 (11) WithumSmith + Brown
8 (8) Friedman
9 (4) Marcum
10 (28) EisnerAmper
11 (14) Eide Bailly
12 (18) SS&G Financial Services
13 (12) Berdon
14 (7) Elliott Davis
15 (NR) Rehmann
16 (33) Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
17 (17) Armanino McKenna
18 (16) CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
19 (41) Marks Paneth & Shron
20 (20) Schenck
21 (10) Cherry, Bekaert & Holland
22 (21) Ernst & Young
23 (22) KPMG
24 (25) McGladrey
25 (24) BDO

As for how GT orchestrated this epic upset, here’s Vault’s Derek Loosvelt:

Although the Big Four firms PwC and Deloitte both significantly outscored Grant Thornton (the perennial fifth largest accounting firm in the country) in terms of prestige, Grant Thornton handily beat PwC and Deloitte in nearly every quality of life category. In other words, while the two Big Four firms’ names still carry much more weight than Grant Thornton’s in the marketplace, insiders are much more pleased with their day to day work lives at the non-Big Four GT than their peers are at PwC and Deloitte. In fact, non-Big Four firms ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in all but three quality of life categories (these rankings will be released over the next couple of days). Although Grant Thornton did not top any single category, it consistently placed ahead of PwC and Deloitte. Particular tough categories for the Big Four firms were hours and overall satisfaction.

So there are a couple of stories here: 1) Holy shit – Grant Thornton?! and 2) prestige seems to carry less and less weight in favor of quality of life for those looking to choose a public accounting firm as their employer. We’ll be covering the Vault list and the firms therein with more posts but until then, feel free to comment on the Top 25 and what you make of GT as the new #1.

50 Most Prestigious Accounting Firms [Vault]
Vault’s New Accounting 50 Ranking Has Plenty of Surprises [GC]

Layoff Watch ’11: Grant Thornton

Similar to the recent cuts at McGladrey and KPMG, The Purple Rose of Chicago is apparently informing some support professionals that their services are no longer needed:

Layoffs occurring at director levels in the support staff and maybe other areas.

This included a director in communications, another in Knowledge Management and “others are forthcoming.” Email us updated with the latest details if you’re in the know.

Comp Watch ’11: What Do You Know, BDO?

From the mailbag:

Comp adjustments are coming out this week/ next week can you start a thread?


As we’ve pointed out in the past, BDO is probably the quietest of the top tier firms. Rarely do we get news of hookers, out-of-control happy hours or milestone awards. Sure, we got under the skin of Jeremy Newman once but he has a blog. He was asking for it.

This omertà of sorts by the rank and file has been discussed amongst the GC team and we’ve come up with this: we’vegotnofuckingidea. Not that we haven’t had the opportunity to report on the consolidation of regions or $5 Starbucks cards but the tips are so few and far between that whenever something about BDO come in, it gets us all sort of excited.

But enough about us. If you’re at BDO and you’ve had your sit-down or you’re waiting and are hearing rumors of raise percentages OR you’re simply doubtful as to Jack Weisbaum’s status as most interesting accounting firm CEO in the world, please tell us below.

Analysis: If Your Accounting Firm Was a College Football Team

Pack up your white pants and seersucker suits – Labor Day has come and gone which means only one (actually important) thing: college football is back. You NFL loving freaks can have your Sundays of Hollywood-produced sport; I believe the good Lord created Sundays solely as a recovery day for college football fans. Well, for that and drunk brunches, of course.

It is no secret that good ol’ Caleb is a vehement Husker fan,he only reason he’s given me the green light to churn out a post comparing your respective accounting firms to the likes of fried-butter-eating college football fanatics.

I can only pray that my effort will inspire the semi-regular infusion of sport, accounting, and bantering commenters around here, so I give you the “Accounting Firms If They Were A College Football Program” top nine rankings. Grab your body paint and come along for the tailgate.


Firm: Deloitte
Team: Oklahoma Sooners
First Take: Both are always in title contention but seem to shit the bed come Pay Day. Deloitte raises are on par with the Sooners’ BCS bowl record under Coach Bob Stoops (2-8).
Keep it in the Family: During Hurricane Irene, Deloitte encouraged employees to bunk up together, obviously a practice long in use in Oklahoma.
Sputter, Sputter: Sooner alum Blake Griffin jumped over a KIA at last year’s NBA slam dunk contest. A certain Deloitte consultant also prefers a certain overused and washed out mode of transportation…

Firm: PwC
Team: Oregon Ducks
First Take: They’re in the news for legit (raises, hurry-up offense) and controversial (fireside chats, BCS infractions) more often than you’d like. Also, their team colors are atrocious.
Hotties Everywhere: PDubs has Ireland. The Ducks have these ladies.
Just Pick One Already: PwC doesn’t churn out new logo/uniform re-designs as often as the Ducks but both cause a stir when they do. Whether the changes for either team result in better winnings has yet to be seen.

Firm: Ernst & Young
Team: Ohio State Buckeyes
First Take: You hate going up against them, but even if they do win, you’re thankful you’re not affiliated with their alumni.
Compliance? What Compliance? Former coach Jim Tressell thought it best to let a tattoos-for-autographs program run its course. E&Y is apparently doing the same with this minor Sino-Forest sitch.
Questionable Mascots: The poisonous nuts of the Midwest are no match for the Black & Yellow guy.

Firm: KPMG
Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
First Take: Still talking about that big win in 1983. An exodus of leadership. The general public has gone from loathing them to just feeling bad for them. Give it up, you’re no longer the powerhouse you (thought you) once were.
Johnny Be Good. The Chairman is also a proud ND alum. Need we say more?
Empty Promises: We’re going to win it all! We’re going to hire thousands!

Firm: Grant Thornton
Team: Northwestern Wildcats
First Take: As hard you they try to be tough, they’re still nerds dressed in purple.
Off-the-Mark Advertising: GT – the lack of aligned teeth took some bite out of your full-page WSJ ad. And Dan Persa for Heisman – really? Your mom for Heisman.

Firm: Rothstein Kass
Team: Boise State Broncos
First Take: First it was a feel-good story but their continued rise through the ranks is pissing off the traditionalists.
The-Anybody-But-The-Other-Guy- Vote: Whether it was Boise’s ridiculously fantastic win over Oklahoma years ago in the Fiesta Bowl or RK’s dominance in the Going Concern March Madness pool, oftentimes their fan support stemmed from us just hating their competition more.

Firm: McGladrey
Team: Missouri Tigers
Only Take: You’re supposed to be on this list; we know you belong on this list; we don’t know what you’ve done to deserve being on this list.

Firm: BDO
Team: Penn State Nittany Lions
First Take: Your parents would have been pleased if you went there but better options awaited you.
Race to the Retirement Home: JoePa is 84 and coaching from the press box. Rumor has it Jack Weisbaum calls the shots from his personal tanning bed.

Firm: CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
Team: University Buffalo Bulls
Only Take: You think you’re a big deal, but really everyone uses you as an exhibition punching bag.

How’d we do? What team best parodies your firm? Share it in the comments below.

Here’s Grant Thornton’s Full-Page Ad Out of The Wall St. Journal

If you’re a fan of pinstripes, you won’t be pleased.

Grant Thornton Ad

As a commenter noted yesterday, this obviously isn’t applicable to the Yankees. The Cubs on the other hand…well, I think we all know that story.

Grant Thornton Survey: Celebrities’ Acceptance of Infidelity Carrying Over to the Plebs

In Northern Ireland, anyway. Yes, if you’re moseying around Belfast and catch your spouse in an intimate embrace with someone who isn’t you, your heart may be broken but that doesn’t mean you’re going to divorce their cheating ass. Why, you ask? Well, you see, celebrities, being the model global citizens that they are, seem understand that marriage doesn’t really mean that you can’t have sex with other people, even if you haven’t expressed a desire to do so and regular Joes and Janes are starting to think that should be their attitude as well.

The UK Press Association reports, “one of the reasons for the shift may be the growing number of high profile celebrities that have publicly accepted their partner being unfaithful, according to consultancy and accountancy firm Grant Thornton, which carried out the matrimonial survey.” Yes Grant Thornton, fresh off their new ad campaign, is finding time to weigh in on marriage trends, although they readily admit they’re really just taking a stab at this:

Sally Longworth, partner at Grant Thornton’s Forensic and Investigations services practice, said: “The shift in the reasons for divorce is difficult to explain, although one potential influence could be the rise in the number of celebrities that are very publicly accepting their spouse’s infidelities.

Seems that GT is hard up for work in N.I.

[via UKPA]

What Do We Think of Grant Thornton’s New Ad Campaign?

As many of you trade tales of flooded basements, tree branches coming through the windows and slip n’ slides, some people had much grander plans for today. Back in the spring, we speculated about what Grant Thornton’s “major brand repositioning” might entail. Since Stephen Chipman took the helm back in 2009, things have focused towards the dynamic. Dynamic clients. Dynamic rumors. Dynamic hand-written notes. Now, as promised, the Purple Rose of Chicago has rolled out a new dynamic ad campaign.


Here’s your 30-second spot:


And your longer 60+ second ad, with an accent!

No tango. No roses. No emotion (unless business demeanor is an emotion). Just winning. So what do we think? What would Don Draper think? Tell us.

H&R Block Was Pretty Eager to Dump RSM McGladrey

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This morning we learned that H&R Block would be selling RSM McGladrey to McGladrey & Pullen for $610 million. This reunion of the two firms is interesting because just a couple of years ago they couldn’t stand the sight of one another. These days, you might conclude that since they opted to rebrand under the name “McGladrey” that everyone has kissed and made up but we all know better.

In all likelihood, there are partners on both sides who would rather set their CPA certificates on fire than work with the other side. The problem for the partners in these firms is that they probably had little choice in the matter, as H&RB seemed intent on cutting off the weak link:

[T]he top U.S. tax preparer looks to jettison the underperforming division and focus on its core business. H&R Block will finance about $65 million of the deal value as it looks to push through the sale of RSM McGladrey.

[…]

In June, H&R Block’s new Chief Executive William Cobb told analysts that RSM’s falling profit and revenue were a drag on the company’s earnings, and that the unit and its troubles were on his “radar screen.”

“(The sale) should improve overall corporate margin, as Tax Services margin in FY11 was 27.1 percent and RSM McGladrey’s was 9.3 percent,” Oppenheimer analyst Scott Schneeberger said in a note to clients.

And despite the Blockheads eagerness, the gang at M&P seems perfectly okay with it. From the firm’s press release:

“The Board’s objective is to reunite the assurance, tax and consulting practices under an integrated McGladrey & Pullen partnership structure,” said Jerry Bourassa, Chairman of McGladrey & Pullen’s Board of Directors. “The anticipated transaction will not impact the quality and timeliness of services to our clients. Our partners and employees remain focused on meeting and exceeding client expectations.”

[…]

“This is all about what we believe to be in the best interests of our clients, our employees and our partners. We see great opportunities for success and growth for McGladrey & Pullen as a firm reunited in a traditional partnership structure,” said Joe Adams, Managing Partner of McGladrey & Pullen. “Our relationship with H&R Block has served us very well but we both agree that it is time to move on.”

So it sounds like there may be cake and punch but it probably won’t be a lively affair.

Of course we’d rather hear from the people on the ground (i.e. the McGladrey partners, employees, Natalie) about what they make of this shitstorm. I can’t imagine anyone missing the used car dealership of the tax prep world but is this reunion going to work? Will C.E. and the gang now be able to turn Mickey G’s into the next accounting powerhouse? Can we get one name for the combined firm, for crissakes? All important questions. Please enlighten us below.

H&R Block to sell consulting unit for $610 mln [Reuters]
McGladrey & Pullen, LLP signs letter of intent to acquire RSM McGladrey, Inc. [McGladrey]

*Dustin Bradford

Grant Thornton Dodges the Koss Bullet, Is Dismissed From Shareholder Lawsuit

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman has dismissed Grant Thornton as a defendant in a class-action shareholder lawsuit against GT, Koss Corp. and CEO Michael J. Koss, filed in January 2010 on behalf of plaintiff David Puskala and other Koss shareholders.

In his ruling, Adelman stated that the plaintiffs failed to make a case for GT’s epic failure to detect former Koss executive Sue Sachdeva’s $34 million embezzlement/hoarding scheme. Reasonable, considering GT auditors scared the crap out of old Sue, even though they were sticking newbies on the gig.  “Fear was one thing. I thought it was imminent,” she said in a court deposition last year. “Their auditors, every time they walked in, I’d say, ‘This is it. They’re going to catch me.’” Shareholders’ issue – we assume – is that they didn’t. Year after year after year after year until 2009 rolled around and the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

The judge also dismissed claims of willful or reckless behavior against Michael Koss, saying “I conclude that the innocent explanations are more compelling than the inference of recklessness.” Meaning Mike couldn’t possibly have known Sue had been siphoning off millions in company money over a six year period, absent hanging out at her house and noticing all the fancy new shit she had strewn everywhere. And stashed in closets. And bursting out of her garage.

As for Grant Thornton, the judge wrote that the occurrence of fraud and failure to detect it doesn’t imply recklessness on the part of the accounting firm, but rather that the firm was negligent. While it is clear that Sachdeva used her position with Koss to bypass the company’s not-rock-solid internal controls, it is also believed that the controls were sufficient so as not to be obviously unreliable to a reasonable person (or auditor fresh out of accounting school). We’re looking forward to hearing how audit professors use this decision to emphasize the cavernous depth between “negligence” and “recklessness” on the part of auditors.

Sachdeva is still a defendant in the Puskala lawsuit and is currently serving 11 years for the fraud.

Grant Thornton dismissed from Koss shareholder lawsuit [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]