Deloitte

New Leadership Appointment Causes Unrest Inside Deloitte Advisory

As we’ve discussed, there has been a bit of controversy around the leadership election process at Deloitte. We first reported this news to you in January with a follow-up story on the candidates, the sorry turnout that was expected, and finally the news that the three candidates had been elected to their respective positions.

Today we have more controversy from inside the house of D but this time it is from a sub-group in the Enterprise Risk Services (aka Advisory or “ERS”) practice. There have been a number of recent leadership appointments within ERS but one in particular that caused a Deloitte partner to reach out to GC. This individual belongs to the Security and Privacy Practice (“S&P”) which consists of approximately 80-90 partners and has been recognized as one of the “12 leading global information security & risk consulting service providers” by Forrester Research Leader for their expertise in this area, according to the Deloitte website.

According to our source, the issue that has caused concern amongst many partners in the S&P group is that the new leader does not have extensive experience in the Security & Privacy area. Our source explained to us that a recent theme inside the firm has been “leading from the front” best encapsulated by leaders like Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and others who lead based on setting an example. The feeling of the S&P partners is the most recent appointment is based more on cronyism rather than qualifications and past performance.

The leader of the ERS group who makes the appointments is Owen Ryan, a Deloitte veteran who has held several leadership positions at the firm and has led ERS for the past 2-3 years. Our source told us Mr. Ryan has run the advisory practice creating an environment of cronyism and nepotism by appointing individuals, including family members, closest to him and that this appointment in S&P has partners saying this is the latest example of “the emperor having no clothes.” S&P supposedly has many qualified partners who have held leadership positions in the past who could lead the group but were passed over. This has many of them worried about what will become of their reputation as a top service provider in the area and how clients will perceive this appointment.

We spoke to a former Deloitte partner who worked in the Securitization and Structured Products Group (also part of ERS) who confirmed these allegations of nepotism and cronyism. “I wouldn’t go so far to extrapolate what occurred in our group to others,” the former partner said, “but that was certainly my experience.”

Despite this, one insider who is familiar with the leadership at Deloitte described Mr. Ryan as a “results-oriented businessman” who is cognizant of how “his decisions will reflect on him.” This source further told GC that “[Mr. Ryan] would not compromise the potential success of the ERS group by appointing someone to a leadership position who wasn’t qualified.”

Mr. Ryan’s no-nonsense style has manifested itself into some interesting behavior. Our original source told us that he takes attendance at ERS partner meetings and fines individuals $20 for using their BlackBerrys or speaking to neighbors during them. Our source said the money collected goes to charity.

Mr. Ryan did not respond to our voicemail requesting an interview.

The concern in S&P is understandable; an outsider leading a niche group would rankle the feathers of the most laid back partner. However, these decisions are rarely made in a vacuum and Mr. Ryan has his own superiors to report to. The other aspect to consider is the difference between technical leadership and what one source called “visual” leadership. There are many partners capable of leading a practice based on technical merits but the vision and flexibility needed to keep a group progressive in a fast-paced market does not always accompany technical expertise. Quite simply, if the leadership appointments that are made on Mr. Ryan’s watch do not prove successful, he will certainly be held responsible, but there is a lot of concern that the reputations of many of the firm’s best service lines may suffer in the process.

Deloitte Bankrolls Center for Ethical Leadership at Notre Dame

John Veihmeyer can’t be pleased by this.

The Notre Dame/Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership will focus on advancing ethical leadership in business, including research, thought leadership and the dissemination of ethics-related content to the business community in the United State and around the world, the university announced Monday.

The center is being established with a major gift from Deloitte LLP, a private professional services company, according to the university. The amount of the gift was not disclosed.

Presumably portions of the curriculum will educate students on how to piece together your spouse’s new hobby with insider trading activity.

Notre Dame starts business ethics center [SBT]

Navistar Says Deloitte Sucks at Auditing; Deloitte Not Amused

Last week Navistar International Corp. sued Deloitte for $500 million alleging “fraud, fraudulent concealment, breach of contract and malpractice” on audits from 2002 to 2005. That, in and of itself, isn’t too unusual. What is pretty fun (not fun in a “man, the circus is fun” kind of way but in “you’ve gotta love this stuff” kind of way) is when a company comes right out and says that Deloitte lied about its competency to provide audit services.

Bloomberg reports:

In other words, not only is Navistar saying that Deloitte is a buncha liars, they’re saying, “Biggest accounting firm in the world, you say? How about the suckiest accounting firm in the world?” They’re saying that Deloitte isn’t qualified to be in business. In essence, that the firm shouldn’t even exist. Because such fighting words simply can’t be taken sitting down, Deloitte spokesman Jonathan Gandal emailed the ‘Berg (which is good because he never calls us back) to express the firm’s position:

“A preliminary review shows it to be an utterly false and reckless attempt to try to shift responsibility for the wrongdoing of Navistar’s own management,” Gandal said in an e-mailed statement. “Several members of Navistar’s past or present management team were sanctioned by the SEC for the very matters alleged in the complaint.”

HA! Now who’s a bunch a liars? So who’s really to blame here in this round of ‘liar, liar pants on fire’? Well, over at Fraud Files Blog, our friend Tracy Coenen tries to shed some light on this spat:

Navistar’s story about the fraud seems to keep changing. Early on in the case, the company denied wrongdoing and said the problem was with “complicated” rules under Sarbanes-Oxley. I’m not sure how SOX is to blame for management having secret side agreements with its suppliers who received “rebates.” Or improperly booking income from tooling buyback agreements, while not booking expenses related to the tooling. Or not booking adequate warranty reserves. Or failing to record certain project costs.

And now the company says Deloitte is to blame.

Here’s what’s funny about lawsuits like this: They essentially say… Our employees committed fraud and actively took steps to avoid discovery by the auditors. The auditors did not discover the fraud (at all, or soon enough), and now we’re going to hold them responsible for that failure.

In the case of Navistar, the each of the fraudulent accounting schemes above are nearly impossible to detect. The company failed to book items or provide information about them to the auditors, yet they are suing the auditors for failing to find the items.

So it appears that Navistar was expecting Deloitte to have some magical powers of fraud detection that even the likes of Tracy or Sam Antar don’t possess. Does that make them incompetent? You tell us.

Navistar Sues Its Former Auditor Deloitte & Touche [Bloomberg]
Navistar v Deloitte: Blame the auditors for fraud committed and concealed by employees [Fraud Files Blog]

Deloitte Announces Joe Echevarria as New CEO, Punit Renjen Chairman

Deloitte has announced today that Joe Echevarria will become the new CEO and Punit Renjen (who is oddly well-coifed for a leader at Deloitte) the new Chairman Board of the firm effective June 1. None of this is really news to anyone that frequents this site since we reported who the candidates were back in February. Joe takes over for Barry Salzberg who will assume the global CEO position and Punit will assume the Chairman role from Sharon Allen who is retiring.


This officially marks the end of the Deloitte election process that we brought to light after a partner reached out to us over concerns that the process is seriously flawed (or in that partner’s words, “broken”). Whether or not the rumored poor turnout had any effect on the timing is not known but the results remain the same, much to the chagrin of many partners at the firm who share the frustration of a unrepresentative election process.

[caption id="attachment_29175" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Renjen"][/caption]

Both guys seem genuinely pleased with the result, “I am deeply honored to be elected by my partners and principals to be CEO of this great firm. As the largest professional services organization in the U.S., we have an obligation to lead,” said Echevarria. “Excellence in all of the professional services we provide constitutes the foundation of our success. As markets were shaken and major players disappeared overnight, we’ve made a clear choice to focus on superior performance, innovation and growth across all our practice areas. Great firms are growth firms.”

And Renjen, “This is a great privilege, and I deeply appreciate the partnership’s confidence in me,” he said. “I share Sharon Allen’s vision for Deloitte – to be the ‘Standard of Excellence.’ Setting this standard demands effective governance, transparency, accountability and uncompromised quality. I am committed to leading the board in providing valuable oversight and strategic guidance to management, and also to representing our exceptional organization and culture with external stakeholders.”

Congratulate your new leaders, green dots; these are the men you’ll be receiving a monstrous number of emails from for the next four years.

[via Deloitte]

Deloitte’s New Motor City Digs Are ‘Cutting Edge’

How this didn’t get into the Super Bowl Commercial, I’ll never know.

Deloitte is moving from 160,000 square feet on nine floors of the 600 Tower into 100,000 to 110,000 square feet on six floors in the 200 Tower. The Detroit office employs about 1,000 people. Managing Partner Joseph Angileri said no downsizing of staff is involved.

“We’ve actually been hiring,” he said. “We’ve been in our current space since 1991, and the space is old and traditional and not conducive to the way we do work now. When half of your workforce only spends 20 percent of their time in the office, you don’t need to build the way you used to.

“It’s going to be an eye-opening environment. It will be really next generation, cutting edge.”

Build-out begins for Deloitte’s new space [Crain’s]

Sharon Allen Copes with Travel By Staying Hydrated, Listening to Kenny Chesney

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen recently had a little chat with our friends at FINS as part of their coverage of Women in the Workplace series over the next two weeks. Ms. Allen will be coasting into retirement as her second term as the firm’s Chairman (her preferred term) comes to end.

The Allen interview covers all kinds of fun stuff so let’s get to it, starting with those pesky regulators:

Some of us are still getting comfortable to having the PCAOB sticking their beak into audits:

The public accounting arena has indeed changed a lot. It’s now a regulated profession with oversight that’s provided through the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. We are still, both the regulator and the profession, trying to work through that, with the common objective of improving audit quality. We’re learning how to work within a regulated environment that some years ago we just didn’t live with.


None of the firms chose to be the “Big 4” it just sorta worked out that way:

Just last week, we were talking at our global board meeting about how the profession got narrowed down to this number to begin with. The last reduction wasn’t the choice of the profession with [Arthur] Andersen out of business.

And speaking of four, she’s pretty comfortable with that number:

You have to have concentration of enough business to service the clients properly. If you spread that across eight firms, there just isn’t enough that supports that kind of that activity. In some of the major countries, the additional number of firms make sense, but when you look at it across the world, it doesn’t work. We’re not opposed to the competition; there are next-tier firms that are very good, and we encourage them to be in the mix in terms of proposal opportunities. It’s healthy. But the reality is the concentration will and probably should continue.

Term limits have somewhat led to SA’s retirement but there’s at least one person who’s especially happy about her quitting early:

I’m approaching the end of my second four-year term as chairman. We have a limit of two terms. While I’m not at mandatory retirement age yet, I concluded that it’s a really good time to make this move. I’ve had a fabulous 38-year career. But I’m also very comfortable with the transition leadership and the state of the firm. It’s a good time for me to leave at the top of my game. My husband is looking forward to spending more time with me.

FINS went ahead and asked Allen about the leadership election process, even though they already knew how the process went down.

We have a nomination process that we undertake. We interview through a nominating committee chosen by the board. They interview about 1,300 partners for their input on the type of attributes they’d like to see in the chairman and CEO positions. Then the committee interviews some individuals who match up with those qualities and ultimately proposed the nominated person.

One of the biggest challenges Allen has faced as Chairman was dealing with this clusterfuck of an economy. Luckily for the Green Dots out there, Deloitte management saw this coming and was able to save a bunch of you:

We were a little ahead of the game in anticipating the downturn that allowed us to prepare well for the difficult times to come. We had some reductions in our workforce, but they were not as substantial as they might have been had we not appropriately planned for the downturn.

And as a high-flying executive, there has to be coping mechanisms:

[Julie Steinberg of FINS]: How do you handle all the travel you do?

[Sharon Allen]: I drink a whole lot of water. I’m also fortunate to be able to adjust to time zone changes relatively easily. I work on domestic flights, and I do take my iPod and my computer.

JS: What are you listening to these days on your iPod?

SA: I’m a country music fan.

Chesney just came to mind for some reason (FYI Sharon: I can get you into the sold-out Red Rocks show, so reach out if you’re interested). But maybe she’s more of Toby Keith person, I can’t possibly know not having had the pleasure of seeing what ended up on the cutting-room floor. You’re invited to speculate as to artists (I’m pulling for Willie Nelson myself) and react to anything else you see above.

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen on Big Four Domination, Self-Promotion and the Corporate Lattice [FINS]
Earlier: Deloitte’s Sharon Allen Never Misses Date Night, Discovered Early on That She Wasn’t Meant to be a Car Hop

Book Review: As One, Co-authored by Deloitte’s Jim Quigley

Let’s be completely honest here, when I heard James Quigley had worked on a book subtitled “Individual Action/Collective Power,” I half-expected this to be a handbook on how to get miserable shlubs to do your evil bidding for you while you abuse and humiliate them. After all, the man oversees an entire army of miserable green dot shlubs, surely he knows a thing or two about getting people to do things for you.

Lucky for Quigs and theinds behind As One, however, this book was nothing of the sort. More like Choose Your Own Adventure for leaders, which allows the reader to first determine which archetype of leaders and followers his or her group falls under. Featuring case studies (“inspirational” stories) with such big names as Apple, GE and Pixar, As One looks the why of these organizations’ collaborative efforts before taking on the how.


Deloitte spent two years studying effective collaborations and in the process defined eight archetypes of leaders and followers: Landlords & Tenants, Community Organizer & Volunteers, Conductor & Orchestra, Producer & Creative Team, General & Soldiers, Architect & Builders, Captain & Sports Team and Senator & Citizens. The main archetypes are strategically located across a circular axis, with Landlord & Tenants and Community Organizer & Volunteer anchoring the upper and lower poles. Conductor & Orchestra and Producer & Creative Team sit at the extremities of the horizontal “nature of the task” dimension on the west and east ends of the axis. The other four archetypes are hybrids, occupying the spaces between the main archetypes and combining some characteristics of each.

So this got me thinking, where would Caleb and I be on the axis?

As much as I would like to paint your dear Going Concern editor in a sycophantic, borderline psychotic light, “Dictator & Huddled Masses” wasn’t included in As One, so instead I used the easy chart in the book’s intro to answer a few simple questions about how our organization works. I have the creative freedom to carry out tasks the way I choose (as long as I don’t talk too much about the Federal Reserve), and we have a fairly small hierarchy given the size of our website and TPTB that rule over us. Instead of choosing the archetype I assumed we’d be (Producer & Creative Team), I went by the chart to determine we were most like Community Organizer & Volunteers.

From key characteristics:

Volunteers cannot be told what to do; they must be given the choice to join on their own terms. The persuasive message of the community organizer motivates them to join in the cause; and it’s that common purpose that inspires volunteers to make a difference.

[Volunteers] independently choose to follow the path of altruism or enlightened self-interest. Community organizers and volunteers may be passionate, selfless and dedicated, but, above all else, they are independent thinkers who, of their own volition, decide whether to get involved in a cause and for how long.

“A community organizer is someone who uncovers [volunteers’] self-interest,” says Jana Adams, the National Training Coordinator at the Direct Action Training Research Center. “They give [volunteers] an opportunity to work in their own self-interest and address problems in the community that they could not address by themselves.”

All of those key characteristics rang true with me, though I wouldn’t necessarily call making misogynist jokes about work/life balance altruistic. And I definitely cannot be told what to do, so another point to the book for that one.

As One allows the reader the opportunity to brand his or her own strategy, whether or not the current structure allows for such freedom. Unlike much of what one might encounter in public accounting or any other similarly-structured business, the free flow and adaptability of As One gives leadership the chance to form itself, mostly through analysis of what makes an archetype tick. Even miserable shlubs have a drive (be it money, stability, masochism or the perpetual carrot of becoming partner one day being dangled in front of one’s face), it’s how they are driven that makes all the difference. Point being that leadership isn’t about who can bark orders the loudest, despite how life in public accounting might make it appear.

Are we all so easily prodded into distinctive roles? Not really, and As One doesn’t attempt to do so. Its authors argue that life itself is a collaborative journey, and it may just be easier on all of us to accept that. Organizational structure doesn’t necessarily have to create a disenchanted workforce just in it for the paycheck, and recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each collaborative group can actually help infuse a little pride in the job, or at least more willing participation.

As One isn’t a book about how to get people who hate you to do things for you, it’s about recognizing the individual power in each of us to accomplish collective goals, be that running a business or changing the world as we know it. It presents some awfully lofty goals but asks one very important question: what could we accomplish if we could unlock the power of As One on a global scale?

Find the book on Amazon here, and download free As One iPhone or iPad apps here. You can find out more about As One through the Deloitte Center for Collective Leadership.

Did Ohio State Dump Deloitte for PwC Over Colors?

Sounds like CFO Geoff Chatas and state auditor Dave Yost wanted to figure a way around a 15-year limit but it was to no avail, “Ohio State CFO Geoff Chatas said Yost discussed with him the possibility of letting Ohio State be the first to stick with the same audit firm, but the school opted to put the contract out for bid.”

A likely story. If you ask me, this has everything to do with the fact that Deloitte’s main color is blue while PwC has opted for slightly more appropriate hues.

PwC to follow Deloitte as Ohio State audit firm [CBF]

Barry Salzberg Elected to Be Deloitte’s New Global CEO

Barry Salzberg will be the next global CEO of Deloitte, according to a statement released by the firm today. Of course, if you’ve been following our coverage of the controversy around the election process at Deloitte, then you already knew that this was coming. As you know, this election was an all or nothing deal and with Salzberg taking the reigns from Jim Quigley on June 1, Joe Echeverria will be the new U.S. CEO and Punit Renjen will assume the Chairman’s role vacated by Sharon Allen.


The always quote-worthy (at least in the context of a Deloitte press release) Dr. Phil said he was “humbled by the confidence that the network has placed in my leadership during this historic time.” He also had some kind words for predecessor, “Over the years, I have worked closely with Jim Quigley and admired his commitment to our strong global culture and shared values, which have brought us to our preeminent position in the marketplace today.”

So congrats to Mr. Salzberg on the promotion (and surviving the coup d’etat). Feel free to leave your well-wishes or other thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

Former Deloitte Partner’s Wife Faces Prison After Pleading Guilty to Insider Trading

For those not in the know, San Francisco is already an overpriced third world toilet but Pacific Heights is the go-to for wanna-bes, socialities and trust fund babies who can afford the pricey rents and even pricier home values. According to earlier reports, Annabel McClellan fell in the “wanna-be” category, though we aren’t sure if the fact that her husband worked at the Deloitte had anything to do with that.

The Bay Citizen has the latest update in this sordid tale:

A Pacific Heights housewife will be heading to prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to insider trading and obstruction of justice charges.

In her plea agreement, Annabel McClellan says she gleaned confidential information about publicly traded companies by overhearing her husband, Arnold McClellan, then a partner at Deloitte Tax LLC, discussing details of deals he was working on. She then passed the information on to her sister, Miranda Sanders, and brother-in-law, James Sanders, who was involved in a trading business in London, according to the document.

James Sanders made money from the tips, including about £396,851 (about $648,000 at current exchange rates) from information about Getty Images, according to McClellan.

McClellan also says in the agreement that she obstructed justice by lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission about having obtained and passed on the information.

Both Arnold and Annabel McClellan had been named in a civil suit filed in November by the SEC, but Annabel alone faced U.S. criminal charges.

We’re not sure where this puts McClellan’s sex app – My Nookie – but we’re pretty sure she won’t be needing it behind bars; her only sex position in the years ahead will likely be Don’t Drop the Soap, or maybe Reverse Don’t Drop the Soap if she’s feeling particularly randy.

Meanwhile, let this serve as a lesson to partners: keep your trap shut in front of the Mrs., lest she act on anything she overhears you talking about and later get taken down by the authorities for sharing that information with the girlfriends and in-laws.

McClellan will be sentenced on September 20th. She faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and fines of up to $250,000. That’s 83,612 copies of My Nookie (priced at $2.99) if you are playing along at home.

Earlier: Insider Trading Charges Throw a Wrench into Former Deloitte Employee’s Plans for Sexy Mobile App

Deloitte Is Lending Michigan a Helping Hand

Did I say lending? Sorry, that’s not technically accurate. Deloitte Consulting is monitoring Michigan’s welfare computer systems and that involves billable hours. Lots of them. $15 million worth.

The state of Michigan is spending millions of dollars on a contractor to run its welfare computer system partly because it doesn’t offer enough money to attract new hires. A system called Bridges keeps track of welfare cases in the Department of Human Services. In February, Deloitte Consulting was given a one-year contract for about $15 million to maintain it and make regular updates.

Of course it would be cheaper if the Wolverine State did this themselves but there’s a small problem:

[The State’s technology department] lost 15 people to early retirement in December and had several vacancies starting at roughly $42,000 a year. Nobody applied.

Mich. spends millions on contractor [AP]

The Doomsayers at Deloitte Have Come Up With a Crisis Management App

By crisis, we don’t mean 70 hour work-weeks and diversity training in the face of that A1 in your office who likes to wear short skirts and low-cut tops just to mess with you.

In the event of a catastrophic emergency like an earthquake, it’s good to know where your co-workers are if you’ve got to evacuate the building. Deloitte Australia has addressed the issue of safety and keeping tabs on the worker bees with Bamboo™, a Business Continuity Management (BCM) smart phone application (so far released for BlackBerry and iPhone only).

How does it work?


The BlackBerry application uses the device’s unique PIN (anyone addicted to BBM knows what that is) as well as voice, SMS and email to keep the team in communication in the event of an emergency. Emergency plans are readily available with Bamboo, eliminating the need to lug along a huge contingency binder stuffed with exit plans and instructions in a crisis situation.

Bamboo automatically logs all usage on each handset and when there is network access, sends these logs to the Bamboo server. The Bamboo Administrator is able to view all logs, from all users to understand its usage, retrace all steps taken and tailor training based on this usage. This data is also valuable in post-incident reviews and audits.

Don’t try to find it in the app store, Bamboo is an enterprise application and as such is deployed by the Company through enterprise application deployment, supported by the local Deloitte office.

Follow Deloitte’s Australian BCM team at @DeloitteBCM and stay tuned, they assure us they’re working to get the kids in America hooked up with their own BCM team.

Check it out in action below:

Deloitte Resigns as China MediaExpress Auditor; CFO Quits

In the wake of Roddy Boyd’s epic post from March 11th, China MediaExpress announced some bad news today – Deloitte resigned as their auditor effective Friday and as a result the company’s CFO, Jacky Lam, quit yesterday:

China’s largest television advertising operator on inter-city and airport express buses, today announced that the Company’s registered independent accounting firm, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (“DTT”) has formally resigned its engagement by the Company as of March 11, 2011. Following the receipt of the DTT resignation letter, on March 13, 2011, the Company received notice of the resignation of Jacky Lam from his position as Chief Financial Officer and director of the Company, effective immediately. As a result, CME will delay its fourth quarter earnings release and will not file its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010 by March 16, 2011, its original due date.

As you might have already guessed, Deloitte got spooked after all the fraud talk and they also came to the conclusion that management couldn’t be trusted (even if he did say great things about them):

The DTT resignation letter stated that DTT was no longer able to rely on the representations of management, and recommended that certain issues encountered during the audit be addressed by an independent investigation. DTT’s letter also stated that these issues may have adverse implications for the prior periods’ financial reports and that, in their view, further investigatory procedures would be required to determine whether the prior periods’ financial reports are reliable. Upon receipt of the formal DTT resignation letter, the Company requested the suspension of trading in the Company’s common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market to permit full disclosure of DTT’s resignation to be disseminated to the public.

So the company now needs a new auditor and a new CFO. Of course you’ll have to work around forensic accountants and a bunch of lawyers that will be helping the company through this little hiccough but otherwise, this should be a snap.

Earlier:
Apparently ‘The Purpose of Auditors Is Completely, Entirely, and Wholly’ to Look for Fraud and ‘Deloitte is the best. Period. End of Statement.’

Apparently ‘The Purpose of Auditors Is Completely, Entirely, and Wholly’ to Look for Fraud and ‘Deloitte is the best. Period. End of Statement.’

Remember China MediaExpress? That’s the company whose CEO – Zheng Cheng – responded to the accusations of fraud by evoking ‘reputable and well-known’ Deloitte to get the haters off their back. Even though the company is still taking heat, Mr Cheng will be happy to know that he’s got someone in his corner: Glen Bradford, CEO of ARM Holdings LLC, a Hedge Fund Advisory Company. The thing is, Mr Bradford seems a little confused about what an auditor’s purpose is (for fun, I added some emphasis):

I have received tons of messages that can be summarized by the belief that auditors do not look for fraud and that all they do is make sure things line up in the reports. I can say that this is not true simply by being practical. If we didn’t have auditors to verify the claims that companies make, then companies could claim whatever they want to. The purpose of auditors is completely, entirely, and wholly to look for indications of fraudulant activity — and to do their best to remove all possible doubt that the company is misrepresenting itself on its financial statements.

You can make of that what you will but then Glen continues:

Then, if things are OK, they sign off on them. Some auditors are better than others. Deloitte is the best. Period. End of Statement.

Well then! I’m sure Deloitte appreciates the ringing endorsement regardless if it comes from someone who is under the impression that “The purpose of auditors is completely, entirely, and wholly to look for indications of fraudulant activity.” At the very least, this is debatable point, so if you have a difference of opinion with anything above, feel free to share below.

China MediaExpress Holdings: All Eyes on Deloitte [Seeking Alpha]

Just So You’re Aware: A New Species of Frog Has Been Named After Deloitte

This announcement is a week old but it’s GC worthy so if you feel compelled to mention the timing of our post, don’t. Supposedly, this chap to the right is Nectophrynoides deloittei and was discovered in the Rubeho Forest in Tanzania in 2005. The African Rainforest Conservancy (“ARC”) slapped the name on him for Deloitte’s contributions to the nonprofit’s environmental efforts in the Rubeho region.


From Deloitte’s consistently awful website:

A new species of frog has been named after Deloitte, in recognition of the firm’s work in helping to preserve the Rubeho Forest in Tanzania, an ecologically distinct part of the country known as the ‘Galapagos of Africa’. Nectophrynoides deloittei was discovered in the Rubeho Forest in 2005 was named by the African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC), an agency set up to conserve and restore Africa’s rainforests.

Just such an occasion might cause someone to tweet something but there hasn’t been a peep out of Quigs. Probably plugging the book.

Former Deloitte Partner Jeff Farber Lands Deputy CFO Gig at AIG

Not only is Mr Farber a Deloitte audit alum, he also had stints as the controller at Bear Stearns and CFO at Gamco Investors. Today came the announcement that he is still winning, now as the new sidekick to David Herzog.

In this new position, Mr. Farber will provide global leadership and coordination for AIG’s Controllership and Accounting Policy functions, as well as the AIG Global Tax Department. He reports to David L. Herzog, AIG Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

It’s worth noting that as the a leader and coordinator for global tax department, Farber alone will encompass more oversight than all of Weatherford International.

ANYWAY, back to the boilerplate:

“Jeff Farber is well prepared to help take these key AIG finance functions to an even higher level,” said Mr. Herzog. “Over the past several years the finance team has worked diligently through an extraordinarily complex restructuring, and this new role provides Jeff with an opportunity to lead a great team and work closely with the finance transformation team as we roll out our new financial platform.”

Sounds like a hoot. Best of luck to Mr Farber.

Low Voter (aka Partner) Turnout Expected for Deloitte Leadership Election

Last week we shared the Deloitte U.S. Leadership candidates with you but at the time we hadn’t confirmed that the thumbsup/thumbsdown had begun. This week, a source confirmed for us that voting had, in fact, started last week but no one should get too anxious about hearing the results:

The vote continues at least until the Firm achieves a 50% voting rate from all the partners. This is typically a struggle, and many voice messages and e-mails are sent rounding up at least the 50%. This is part of the problem (and a bit pathetic). Nobody believes their voices are heard, so they don’t care to vote. Or, if they vote NO, they fear retribution.


As we reported in January, the retribution of a “No” vote is something that many young partners may fear and you can presuppose that many veteran partners who are a little preoccupied with a little something called “busy season clients” aren’t exactly concerned with casting a vote in an election that is all but decided already. All this adds up to a pretty sad voter turnout, sayeth our source:

Ok – so then, among that paltry 50% voting rate, there needs to be a 2/3 approval for each candidate in order for them to win election. So – if you do the math…we have about 2800 partners. Only 1400 need to vote for a quorum, and only about 940 need to approve each candidate for them to get into office. So perhaps only about 33% of the partners end up approving of the people that run the firm.

Unfortunately – nobody focuses upon this fact. Unbelievable. And now we have a non-CPA being put up for the Chairman’s spot of an accounting firm. It’s insanity, really.

Oh, right; the non-CPA chairman controversy. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Punit Renjen is the CEO of Deloitte Consulting. Mr Renjen has been on the job for just over a year and by all accounts has done an acceptable job and it doesn’t surprise us that he’s up for this position. The fact that he, in all likelihood, will become the next chairman of a Big 4 firm, bothers a lot of CPAs. Despite the bellyaching of those on the audit/tax side of the house, what’s not up for debate is that Deloitte Consulting is the second largest practice, according to the this year’s revenue data. But what’s even more important, consulting is the fastest growing segment, with double digit growth in FY 2010. So if Mr Renjen’s ascension to the chairman position bothers some in a CPA puritanical sense, we can appreciate that. But from a numbers standpoint, it’s probably overdue and is definitely not surprising.

How Would You Vote on the Deloitte Leadership Candidates?

Last month, we shared with you the concerns of a Deloitte partner who has a lot of issues with the processes around electing the firm’s leadership. As the partner explained it to us, “The elected individuals are the Chairman, the CEO, and a CEO ‘Alternate.’ The CEO ‘Alternate’ is there in the event that the CEO elect is also elected as the Global CEO (which will typically happen).”

Recently, we were able to confirm the candidates and thought we’d share them with all of you since some of you might not be aware of who they are:


Punit Renjen, for Chairman of Deloitte LLP (Current CEO of Deloitte Consulting)

Barry Salzberg, for CEO of Deloitte LLP (Current CEO of Deloitte LLP)

Joe Echeverria, for CEO Alternate (Current Managing Partner of U.S. Operations)

What’s not immediately known is when Deloitte partners will be voting “Yes or No” on these candidates. One of our sources speculated that the vote could be as early this week.

In our previous post, we learned that the partners vote up or down on these candidates as a group as the partner in our last post explained “The partners get to vote ‘YES or NO’ on the ‘slate’ of candidates that is advanced.” Since we know a lot of you out there in Internetland are Deloitte employees but not partners, we thought we’d get your perspective on this slate of candidates and whether you would give them a “Yes” or “No.” And since the comments box allows for further explanation, feel free to elaborate on your vote. We know of one person who will be voting no.

A message left with Deloitte spokesperson Jonathan Gandal was not immediately returned.

Earlier:
Deloitte Partner Encourages Brethren to Take Back Their Firm

China MediaExpress CEO Responds to Fraud Allegations by Falling Back on ‘Reputable and Well-Known Auditors’

For anyone out there concerned about Chinese companies who have less-than solid accounting practices, you can rest easy, as Gary Weiss reported in his TheStreet.com column yesterday:

All you have to do is believe in the infallibility of Big Four auditors!


Case in point, China MediaExpress Holdings is the latest company who hasn’t convinced everyone that their numbers are kosher, so their CEO, Zheng Cheng, went on the offensive:

Responding to allegations that the company is a “fraud and reported revenue is exaggerated by tens of millions of dollars,” China Media’s CEO Zheng Cheng said in a letter to shareholders: “The company is strong and doing well. Its revenues and cash position have been audited by reputable and well-known auditors who have confirmed both.” [Emphasis is GW’s.]

Those ‘reputable and well-known auditors’ just happen to be Deloitte, thankyouverymuch. Don’t think for a minute that we were dealing with Frazer Frost or some other firm that has had problems.

With China Small-Caps, It’s Shorts vs. Auditors [The Street]

Deloitte: Thanks to the Internet, Americans Are More or Less Obsessed with TV All the Time

One big concern: once Charlie Sheen continues his epic run (does anyone believe that rehab is going to take?) will the masses be able to survive without Two and a Half Men? Personally, I’ll manage but what about all those American Families that depend on this show to complete that void in their lives every week?

In a media environment saturated with new and evolving online entertainment platforms, TV continues to be king. Released today, Deloitte’s fifth edition “State of the Media Democracy” survey reveals that 71 percent of Americans still rate watching TV on any device among their favorite media activities.

The survey results indicate that live viewing on a home TV system continues to be the most common method among individuals for watching their favorite programming, and supporting the notion that traditional television advertising continues to be a viable model. In addition, 86 percent of Americans stated that TV advertising still has the most impact on their buying decisions.

Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy survey assesses media consumption preferences of nearly 2,000 consumers, ages 14 to 75 years old in the United States, revealing significant trends including the power of TV when supplemented by the Internet, a dramatic rise in smartphone adoption, the steady popularity of print magazines, and the emergence of cloud computing as a potential consumer entertainment storage and access solution.

And guess what? Not only are people watching more TV, they’re talking about it more. But not face-to-face: Americans can’t be bothered with leaving the confines of their homes or take their eyes off their computers long enough to manage human interaction and thanks to social media, they don’t have to!

Deloitte’s survey indicates that the Internet, mobile and social media channels are enhancing the overall television viewer experience, driving people to watch first-run programs and live events during their initial broadcast. The survey also reveals that nearly three-quarters of American consumers are multitasking while watching TV. According to the research, 42 percent are online, 29 percent are talking on cellphones or mobile devices, and 26 percent are sending instant messages or text messages.

Perhaps even more importantly, 61 percent of U.S. consumers now maintain a social networking site, where constant streams of updates and discussion forums have made delaying awareness of live TV outcomes a near impossibility.

“Consumers are not only watching television, they are talking about it, and those conversations are frequently taking place in real-time online and via IM/texting,” said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and technology, media and telecommunications industry leader, Deloitte LLP. “By embracing the Internet as a platform that encourages audiences to participate in discussions about their favorite programs, television is maintaining its hold on the American public. People want to be part of the real-time conversation and they are embracing both platforms in a complementary fashion.

Because discussing the train wreck that is Sammi and Ronnie in real time is crucial to the human experience. Carry on.

Against a Picturesque Backdrop, Jim Quigley Talks Deloitte’s Hiring Spree, Obama’s Tone and Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Quigs sat down with Fox Business’s Liz Claman and hasn’t even tweeted about it!?!? Whoever his ghost tweeter is, they need to be replaced immediately.

Sidebar: has anyone noticed JQ’s new spectacles? Thoughts on the visible breath, scarf choice and Liz Claman’s interviewing technique are encouraged.

Let’s All Give Jim Quigley a Warm Welcome to Twitter

We knew it was only a matter of time before Jim Quigley rounded up enough interns to run his Twitter account for him and it seems that day has finally come. While we won’t openly admit to hoping he immediately engaged in common Twitter faux pi like tweeting in all caps or speaking to others as if they could hear him without using the all important @, we’ve thoroughly scanned his account and can barely find anything to bag on.

It seems, however, that he’s merely pimping out the World Economic Forum and is really, really excited about it. So excited, in fact, that it’s been all he’s tweeted about in the less than two weeks he’s been sharing with us in 140 characters or less.


What he isn’t tweeting is how much his trip to Davos to hob-nob with the global elite might cost him. We of the working class, ticking and tying set might feel he could just as easily put his finger on the pulse of the economy by sitting down with any number of Deloitte’s 170,000 employees since, last we checked, the economy was people, not rich guys (and gals, it’s the 21st Century) hanging out in Switzerland.

We won’t say we’re disappointed because our standards are really low to begin with but he could have, you know, toned it down a notch.

Just how much does a trip to Davos cost a snazzy Big 4 CEO? Ask Andrew Ross Sorkin: A basic level Davos excursion will run you $71,000 for membership to the organization and ticket alone (that doesn’t include hotels, helicopters or red carpets strewn ahead of you). The “Industry Associate” level, which would get JQ behind the velvet rope to hang with other hot accounting and finance rockstars, runs $156,000. And if, say, Quigs wants to bring a buddy the “Industry Partner” level could run him around $301,000.

Well wait, it’s not fair to say he’s only tweeting about WEF, he did also throw some tweets about chicks in there. You know, for diversity’s sake.

Hey, it beats over-hashtagging I guess.

Earlier:
Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley Is Tweeting

Man with a ‘Passion’ for Charter Buses Managed to Dupe Moss Adams, Deloitte in Washington’s Largest Ponzi Scheme

Allegedly! Admittedly, we’re a little behind on this one but you know how it is. Anyway, your Ponzi scheme du jour comes by way of the great Northwest, where Frederick Darren Berg, who seems to have some sort of charter bus fetish, is being prosecuted for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in Washington.

When he was at the University of Oregon in the 80s, Berg allegedly helped himself to his fraternity’s cash to fund a “charter bus venture” and then pleaded guilty to a check-kiting scheme with another bus company a few years later. After those nickel and dime failures, Fred was done messing and decided to really do this:

The 48-year-old founder and chief executive officer of Meridian Group is accused of defrauding hundreds of more than $100 million invested in his Seattle company’s mortgage funds between 2003 and 2010.

Prosecutors allege Berg spent tens of millions on a ritzy lifestyle, including a posh Mercer Island mansion, two yachts and two jets.

But investigators say Berg diverted a bigger chunk, estimated at $45 million, to create a luxury bus line that served tour groups and sports teams, including the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.

And we all know what happened to mortgage funds, don’t we? Okay, then. So your next question probably is, “how did the auditors miss this one?” Well!

Berg used some simple stratagems to mislead auditors at Moss Adams, a large Seattle-based firm, which produced audits for a trio of Meridian funds for three years.

The standard procedure is to send out confirmation letters to a random sample of mortgage borrowers and compare what they say they’ve paid with what the lender’s records say.

But Moss Adams didn’t notice most of the confirmations it sent out were going to post-office boxes and coming back with the same handwriting, said [bankruptcy trustee Mark] Calvert.

Berg had rented more than 20 P.O. boxes and had the mail forwarded to another address in Seattle. He was replying to the auditors’ queries himself, according to the indictment.

[Cringe] Oops. To be fair, auditors can’t be expected to be hand-writing experts…can they? Mr. Calvert seems to think so and told the Seattle Times that he plans on suing Moss Adams and Deloitte for their roles. Oh, right! How do they fit in? To wit:

Berg also hired Deloitte Financial Advisory Services to do a “valuation report” on funds V through VII, meant just for Meridian management. Meridian, however, used it to reassure investors, touting Deloitte’s conclusion “the sample mortgage pool appears to be of higher quality and better performance” than comparable loan portfolios.

But Calvert said Deloitte’s supposedly random sampling “was not completed as outlined” in its agreement with Meridian. He declined to be more specific.

Moss Adams and Deloitte would not comment on their work for Meridian.

Financial empire, luxurious lifestyle were built on a mirage [ST]

The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Deloitte #63 (2011)

Next up on Fortune’s “You wish you worked here” list, comes the newest future resident of 30 Rockefeller Center. A slight improvement for the Green Dot this year, as the firm jumped from 70 to 63. Let’s get right to it.


Deloitte – Previous rank: #70. Deloitte wins the race for fewer white people reports Fortune, “A third of its employees are nonwhite, the highest percentage of the Big Four.”

Stats of note:
New Jobs (1 year): -552
% Job Growth (1 year): -1%
% Voluntary Turnover: 11%
No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: 3,511
Most common salaried job: Senior/Senior Consultant – $81,622
% Minorities: 33%
% Women: 43%

Compared to last year, new jobs, job growth, number of jobs (last year it was 11k), average salary and percentage of women are all down. Turnover ticked slightly up as did % of minorities. So while Deloitte manages to be the top Big 4 firm in the ranking, we’re guessing that the brass is a little miffed by the wide margin between themselves and P&M. Still no tweet from Jim Quigley on this but he seems a little distracted with Davos to be notice a seemingly permanent spot on the F100BCTWF, “Oh, gosh. That old thing? That’s great, just change the number and dates on the press release. And try to get Salzberg to say something a little less cliché.”

Too late, Jim.

Earlier:
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #26 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Deloitte #70

Deloitte Is Moving to 30 Rock

We’re still waiting for Jim Quigley’s tweet to confirm but it appears, based on an internal email sent to Going Concern, that Deloitte will be consolidating its offices to 30 Rockefeller Center.

Here’s our tipster’s email:

[I]t appears that they will be going public with this in the next couple of days. D&T is consolidating its three New York offices into 12 floors of Rock Center. The sublease from Merrill Lynch at 2 WFC is up next year and apparently [Bank of America] wanted to raise rents on them. The consensus is that there is just too much space that isn’t getting used and that consolidating the offices would be a more efficient use of the space.

Regards,

“Anonymous Tipster”

And here’s the internal email:

The only attention we’ve really paid to the Deloitte commercial real estate story is that they were threatening to leave the City altogether last summer but DWB debunked that theory sufficiently. This not only marks a major move for Deloitte but it also is a major new tenant at 30 Rockefeller Center. But why is so much sprawling cube farm space available at 30 Rock? Is this a result of Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal from General Electric or is Jack Donaghy holding a fire sale? We don’t know the real estate business well enough to give it an educated guess so if you’ve got other theories, leave them below. We left a message with Deloitte but Christ, it’s after 9 pm on Friday, so we’ll back to you Monday.

Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley Is Tweeting

There goes the Twittersphere.

Jim Quigley has broken the Big 4 CEO cherry on Twitter (to our knowledge) and he decided to do it in honor of the World Economic Forum (aka: The annual CEO ego strokefest) in Davos, Switzerland that gets underway in less than two weeks. Above is Quig’s one and only tweet so far and it’s very CEO-ish. We’re not expecting anything of the Kaplan variety but cripes man, add some color. May we recommend our series of “Doing it Wrong” Twitter posts from our resident expert?

Anyhoo, here’s the video from the tweet:

Thoughts on the performance are welcome. And JQ should know that we know Twitter can have a slight learning curve, so we’ll save you the trouble: you can follow Going Concern here. Oh, and Adrienne will be writing a review, so tweet to impress.

[via TS]

Your First Melodramatic Farewell Email of 2011 Comes Courtesy of Deloitte

While some of you are understandably broken up CRUSHED that Natalie Gulbis is off the market, there are some who are emotionally exhausted from their experience in the Big 4 and aren’t looking forward to another busy season. That got one Green Dot to thinking:

Hey Caleb,

The following email is making its way around the company, it’s a good bye email from a staff out of the NE region. At first I thought it was funny, but after reading it again, I found it quite troubling. As today marks the start of another busy season, I thought you might want to share this with your readers and stress the importance of mental health. The re end of the day, this is just a job. I think that staff, particularly staff straight out of school, have trouble understanding that. The email ends on a high note and it sounds like he is going to get the peace he really needs, but I hate to think about the hundreds of other people in this industry (this is not a uniquely Deloitte issue) who find themselves in similar situations.

Keep up the good work!

Sincerely,
Concerned at Deloitte


Before we get to the farewell email, we aren’t making light of anyone’s personal situation and certainly not the importance of mental health but for crissakes people, your job is not life or death. If your job is weighing on you to the point of misery, talk to someone you trust. And if you need to take a mental health day, or take a leave of absence or just LEAVE, then do so. There’s no point in pushing yourself beyond your limits. We’ve seen it first-hand and it’s not pretty. Just because some people enjoy (and thrive) under the torture of 60-70 hour work weeks that doesn’t mean that you have to. And if you happen to observe a co-worker slowly losing it, take it upon yourself to ask how that person is doing.

ANYWAY, here it is:

Subject: One day I was sitting wondering to myself, why do people do things to intentionally cause themselves pain?

Hi everybody,

I’m sure some of you have forgotten who I am, and I’ve forgotten who some of you are too, not most but some. I’m sitting here in my old desk in the 2wfc on the 9th floor where I worked during the 2009 audit busy season. I’m writing to inform you that I have decided to part ways with the old uncle D.

I’m not sad and I hope you aren’t either, because this isn’t an end it’s just a new beginning. During my time at Deloitte I meet so many amazing people that I can’t even count them all, so many people have touched my life deeply. I wish I could spend more time with each one of you, and I can. I’m only an email away. During my time here I had a lot of fun, there was a lot of pain, more pain and sadness then I can even hope to describe in a single email. But more and more I’m choosing to only remember the good times, which is making me a better person, a happier person.

Which brings me back to the question I asked myself. Why do people do things to intentionally cause themselves pain? After coming back to the office and reflecting back on my time here I can start to understand. Sitting here in my cold dark cubical on the 9th floor, located in the furthest most isolated corner of the floor, overhead there is no office light as the other cubicles around which all have a single UV light positioned in the ceiling over head, so it’s the darkest cubical around.

Now coming back to all this I can finally see why, why I sacrificed my happiness to sit and stare at a computer monitor for 12 to 14 hours a day. You might be saying, it was because you had too, this was your job. But in our society, in modern America no one can make me or anyone else do anything. I could have just as easily not came in, I could have decided to just leave the firm. But day after day I kept coming. Why? Now looking back I see that it was two things. The first but not most important was my loyalty to the people I worked with, the second was my own fear.

The answer to my fear lies in a song I used to listen to several times every day during the 2009 audit busy season. The song “Drones” by Rise Against is a description of the modern office worker, the song helped me to feel that someone out there understood how I felt, that I wasn’t alone. It speaks office workers who keep coming back to work, to work their lives away. They come back to work every day in order to serve a faceless queen (aka: Money, C.R.E.A.M.). A god which can never love them back or help them attain love because it’s at the end of the day it’s only an object. Yet the people keep working to make that paper.

Well enough of my rant about money. I wanted to thank everyone, even the system which is Deloitte. I want to thank you all for everything you taught me, and all the fun and crazy experiences I had will never be forgotten.

To all the people whom I complained too, didn’t listen too, and got angry with. I am sorry, I want you to know I appreciate all of you dealing with my nonsense and being patient with me, and teaching me. I understand how difficult I can be to work with, and sometimes even be around. I’m sorry if I made your lives harder.

Please keep in touch.

One love,

-[redacted]

P.S. Yes I am crazy, and no I don’t need help

P.S.S. My email is [redacted] Please feel free to write me any time.

Deloitte Partner Encourages Brethren to Take Back Their Firm

As previously discussed, making partner at a Big 4 firm is no small feat. It takes years of work, some political savvy and luck. When you finally get a seat at the big table, you discover that everything leading up to that point was simply the beginning. Now that you’re calling the shots, you have big responsibility, be willing to resist temptation, and try to keep employees happy. Not an easy task but that’s why they get paid the big bucks, right?

But forget all that. Partners, as we know, are owners. They have an equity stake in their firm and have a say in how the firm should be run. Or do they have that say? One Deloitte partner, a twenty year veteran of the firm, reached out to us recently to express their concern about the upcoming election of new leadership at the Green Dot:

I’m an audit partner with Deloitte. Don’t want to bore you with the fact that I love the firm, and I am a die-hard D&Ter. But, all firms have their faults, right? Even Deloitte. While we tout and sell “Good Governance” strategies – our own governance process is severely BROKEN.

What many may not know is that Deloitte has an election year happening in 2011. Yes – Sharon Allen is off to retirement [Ed. note: PARTY! – Oh sorry, this is serious], and so is Jim Quigley. No tears for them…they have very rich retirement packages that will keep them wealthy for decades to come.

We’ve already been through our “Nominating Committee” process, where all the partners are able to be interviewed by committee members and submit nominations of individuals that they would like to see in different leadership roles. The elected individuals are the Chairman, the CEO, and a CEO “Alternate.” The CEO “Alternate” is there in the event that the CEO elect is also elected as the Global CEO (which will typically happen).

We’ll jump in here to make a quick point: our tipster reiterated to us that (s)he loves Deloitte and the motivation for reaching out to us is due to his/her commitment to the firm. (S)he even admitted that reaching out to GC seemed odd but clarified it to us this way, “It is akin to someone that loves their country and wants to improve upon it because we know we have the right to speak out and improve our country. Right now, our election process at Deloitte is broken.”

ANYWAY:

The thing that angers many partners – but few voice this concern – is that the Nominating Committee Process and the “election” of the Firm’s leadership is a farce. The “independent” Committee comes up with their recommended candidates after hearing the soundings of the partners. I should add that Committee is selected by the Board and Management. There is no “election” to approve the Committee. Then the Committee comes to a conclusion on ONE set of recommended candidates, and the Board approves that recommendation (shocking). Then, the partners get to vote “YES or NO” on the “slate” of candidates that is advanced. This “election” occurs in late February/early March. The leaders must be installed in June. So what if the partners said NO? What would the leadership team do then?? Guess what – they don’t care! Because they know the partners always say YES! It is so painful. And nobody is willing to challenge this process. Because – you have three camps of partners. (1) the camp that doesn’t care and never will because it “doesn’t affect my daily life; (2) the camp that is so rich in the number of units they have, they wouldn’t upset the apple cart because they make too much money to want to risk it even though they know it is wrong, and (3) the younger partners who fear retribution of having their “heads cut off” for speaking up.

Jumping in again – we spoke to a former Deloitte partner, who confirmed the broad details of the process and also the widely-held notion that the election process is a “farce.” This former partner also confirmed this is a feeling held by many partners, especially the freshly minted ones. In addition to the fear of retribution, he said that younger partners also feel apathetic, being of the mindset that the “nominating committee won’t listen to me” and they are being given “lip service” by leadership. Further, for many young partners, simply joining this exclusive club is exciting enough that few pay attention and, oh yeah, they have TONS of work to do. As for the “gray-haired partners,” our source confirmed their attitudes as well, saying that there would be little motivation to speak up when they are “riding out their careers” or have a lot vested with the firm already.

Getting back:

The thing is that these leaders represent our firm, manage our firm, and control our collective destinies. They also rig the elections. And they then tout, continuously, the importance of the “Sense of Partnership.” The truth is that Deloitte is not run like a partnership. Yes, the partners have capital at risk, we are owners of the “Firm.” But, we are not appropriately represented. We lack a true collective voice. We keep quiet for the “good of the Firm.” And, we are now going to embark on a new “BOLD LEADERSHIP” move that is being done to passify all the various interests of our firm (Consulting, Audit and Tax). The thing is – we don’t attempt to have our partners select the BEST leaders – but simply the leaders that a select few believe fit a set of criteria that are BEST for us ignorant partners. It’s a bit like the government telling us what is good for us.

It angers me. And, I wish that I could wake up every Deloitte partner and have them realize this. But – if I did this – I’d likely be fired. So, I’m sending this to you to see if you can help WAKE up our Partners!! They should VOTE NO to the nominating committees recommended leaders. We need to take back our firm, much like the American voters took back our country.

[Signed,]
An anonymous Deloitte partner who cares deeply about our Firm and our culture.

Our “anonymous Deloitte partner” speculated that 75% of partners share his/her feelings on this. What’s been the catalyst to all this frustration? Well, the former Deloitte partner we spoke to said that it’s a partly the nature of the governance process itself but it has been made worse by how leadership handled layoffs and the economic crisis during 2008-2009. As you may remember, Deloitte leadership admitted that the May ’09 layoffs were handled poorly last spring, however, morale amongst partners remains extremely low.

Just to add a few more things from the “anonymous Deloitte partner” – when we asked about the details of the nominating process, the response we received was that while it was a “cordial” and that the partners that serve on the committee feel as though they are doing “God’s work,” but ultimately it is a “falsehood.” The former Deloitte partner confirmed this, who told us he had a friend who served on the nominating committee who joked with him about flying around the country, “listening to crap,” throughout the exercise.

When we asked about the firm’s leadership considering a more democratic process (i.e. partners are nominated by vote), that doesn’t appear to be on the table because another firm does it that way, “In situations where our CEO has been asked about the process, Barry Salzberg stated that our firm doesn’t want a divisive culture where certain partners get their feelings hurt in a race for the CEO spot or other positions. ‘That’s not part of our culture. That is what PwC does, and we don’t want to do that.’ ”

Stepping back from all this (we realize it’s a lot), if we were a run-of-the-mill Deloitte partner, it be pretty difficult to see this as an equitable process. As we said at the outset, being a partner means having a say in how the business is run. Granted, when you’re talking about a firm as large as Deloitte, there has to be centralized leadership but wouldn’t you want a direct voice in determining who that leadership is and not simply up or down on a list of names handed to you? It sounds like a lot of partners at Deloitte are feeling shut out of this process. Maybe some don’t care but many new and aspiring partners probably do (Millennial attitude and all) and this lack of true representation will certainly make some think twice about their long-term careers with the firm.

American Apparel Takes Issue with Deloitte’s Notion That Management Withheld Some Fairly Important Financial Statements

Remember the hipster drama Deloitte caused this past summer when they resigned as the auditor of American Apparel? It was quite the rs the stock took a beating (it has recovered in the meantime) and questions were raised about the company’s ability to continue as a [g]oing [c]oncern.

Some recent developments in this particular story have come to light as Dov & Co. have been providing a whole mess of information to Deloitte, as is SOP in these matters. For starters, Deloitte notified the APP audit committee that the 2009 financial statements are not kosher and anyone using them for any other purpose than lining a bird cage is nuts.


From the 8-K:

On December 15, 2010, the Audit Committee of the Company received notice from Deloitte stating that Deloitte had concluded that Deloitte’s report on the Company’s previously issued consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2009 (the “2009 financials”), including Deloitte’s report on internal control over financial reporting at December 31, 2009, included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 (such reports, collectively, the “Deloitte Reports”) should not be relied upon or associated with the 2009 financials.

Deloitte explained that its conclusion was based on the significance of the declines in operations and gross margin in the Company’s February 2010 monthly financial statement, combined with the January 2010 monthly financial statements, the Company’s issuance of revised projections in early May 2010 which reflected a significant decrease in the Company’s 2010 projections, and Deloitte’s disagreement with the Company’s conclusion that the results shown in the February 2010 monthly financial statements would not have required a revision to the Company’s projections as of the date of the 10-K filing and the issuance of Deloitte’s reports. Deloitte further indicated that their decision considered their inability to perform additional audit procedures, their resignation as registered public accountants and their professional judgment that they are no longer willing to rely on management’s representations due to Deloitte’s belief that management withheld from Deloitte the February 2010 monthly financial statements until after the filing of the 2009 10-K and made related misrepresentations.

So if you can get past how poorly written these paragraphs are, you can boil down Deloitte’s concerns about the 2009 10-K to a few things: 1) business was not looking good; 2) they didn’t buy APP’s notion that financial projections for February ’10 were hunky dory (which weren’t made available until after the 10-K was filed); 3) APP management was more or less full of shit. You can also read their official letter to the company, if you are so inclined.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Dov & Co. have a difference of opinion here:

The Audit Committee of the Company has commenced an investigation into the assertions that management withheld the February 2010 monthly financial statements and related misrepresentations. Management disagrees with Deloitte’s assertions and does not believe that the February 2010 monthly financial statements were withheld. The Company does not currently believe, including after discussions with Marcum, that the reaudit will result in any changes to the 2009 financials, though no assurance can be given in this regard.

So, somewhere, there are February 2010 financial statements stuffed in a drawer (but whose drawer?) that basically caused this whole fiasco. This seems like a completely plausible scenario.

Marin County Adds ‘Racketeering’ to the List of Allegations Against Deloitte

Hell hath no fury like an obscure California county that feels completely gypped (to the point that they feel it’s fraudulent) by the largest professional services on Earth.

Marin officials fired another salvo in an escalating $105 million legal war with international computer consultants, filing a new lawsuit Thursday accusing them and a former county official of violating racketeering law in a bid to rip off taxpayers.

The new suit was filed against Deloitte Consultant LLP, software developer SAP and former assistant auditor-controller Ernest Culver, who served as project director of the county’s troubled computer installation before quitting to join SAP.

As you may recall, Marin County’s original suit against Deloitte for $35 million involved allegations of “fraud, misconduct and misrepresentation” which included using ‘neophytes’ on the implementation of the county’s ERP system. The new racketeering charges are especially interesting and the Marin Independent Journal has the details:

It alleges a conspiracy, asserting consultants wined and dined Culver and interviewed him for employment at the same time Culver was approving deficient work on the project, approving fee payments and helping line up new contracts.

“County taxpayers were charged for millions of dollars in services that Deloitte failed to properly perform” and residents were “defrauded of the honest services of a high-ranking county official,” according to County Counsel Patrick Faulkner.

Deloitte denied the allegations of the original suit, saying that Marin County was actually responsible for the snafu. However, and unfortunately for Deloitte, new shit has come to light:

Faulkner disclosed that the county has combed through its computer system to retrieve thousands of e-mails issued by consultants and Culver while they worked in county offices, providing a backbone for accusations leveled by the latest suit.

The complaint alleges six violations of the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by Deloitte and SAP, and three counts of illegal conduct against Culver, including a violation of the state anti-corruption statute.

So it doesn’t sound like there’s a smoking gun per se but enough back and forth that adds up to this:

The lawsuit, the county said in a press release issued late Thursday, claims that when problems with Deloitte’s work surfaced, Deloitte and SAP engaged in a “cover-up that included bribing Culver to falsely ‘approve’ Deloitte’s defective work, and silencing an SAP employee who tried to intervene on the county’s behalf.”

So, in other words, pretty bad stuff. The MIJ reports that “Settlement talks are expected and while the parties remain at odds, the latest court filing could spur negotiations.” Using our best translation skills, this more or less says, “Deloitte, SAP and Culver realize they’re fucked – begrudgingly – and will be going to the table any day now to sort things out.”

The Independent Journal also reports that SAP, Deloitte or Ernest Culver “could not immediately be reached.” Our own messages with Deloitte spokemen Jonathan Gandal and John La Place were also not immediately returned.

Marin County alleges racketeering in new lawsuit over computer debacle [MIJ]

Holiday Bonus Watch: Deloitte Advisory

What the hell is in the water today?

FYI – “Select” resources in Northeast Advisory are getting notified that they will be getting a small holiday bonus (ranging from $500 – $2000) in their next paycheck.

Happy Holidays 🙂

If you’re not “select” feel free to get Grinchy in the comments and if you are, then go but an iPad.

Former Deloitte Employee and Burgeoning Adult-themed Mobile App Entrepreneur Annabel McClellan Appears in Court, Sans Husband

Hard to believe it’s almost been two weeks since we mentioned alleged insider trader/justice obstructer/swinger app developer Annabel McClellan but time sure flies when you’re facing criminal charges, amiright?

Annabel made an appearance in criminal court yesterday but sadly, her husband and alleged insider trading conspirator, Arnold, was nowhere to be seen. You could probably conclude that someone has to watch the kids, since no one in Pacific Heights is interested in being associated with the couple at this point.


From the Bay Citizen:

[O]n Tuesday, Annabel McClellan was very much alone in court. Previously, she surrendered her British passport and posted $250,000 bail. If convicted of the obstruction of justice charge, she could face five years in prison. Potential damages in the SEC case could exceed $90 million.

Nanci Clarence, Annabel McClellan’s attorney, told U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup that she would need several months to adequately review the documents that U.S. federal prosecutors have handed over. As of Tuesday, the number of documents stood at 47,000.

While it’s pretty unlikely that My Nookie, the aforementioned mobil app that appears to be a Wheel of Position Fortunes, gets much attention in the documents, we can always hope. The fact that this will keep the McClellans tied up in court for months and maybe years to come, goes without saying but Ms. McClellan’s attorney – acting in her client’s best interest – opted to go there:

“This is a fairly complicated matter,” Clarence explained to Judge Alsup, who will also be presiding over the related SEC case against both McClellans. Additionally, Clarence said, there are “very extensive parallel proceedings in the United Kingdom. That proceeding [will] generate its own extensive discovery” of evidence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Reeves, who is prosecuting the case, did not object to the delay.

As everyone agreed on April 5 as the next court date in the case, Alsup addressed McClellan, dressed all in black, who had stood quietly before him for the duration of the hearing, saying, “Ms. McClellan, welcome to the court. See you back in April.”

*Photo: Drew Altizer Photography via The Bay Citizen

No WikiLeaks for Deloitte Peeps

Funny how slow TPTB were to react this (message is dated today). Assange isn’t even haunting our dreams any more. Nevertheless, NO. PEEKY. And if you’ve already taken a look, you need to report yourself, ASAP.

ALERT: New federal government guidance on accessing or downloading classified information

Published: 10-Dec-10

The following is a message from [redacted], chief quality officer.

In the wake of the recent WikiLeaks disclosures of U.S. classified information, the U.S. Office of Management & Budget (OMB) and the Department of Defense (DoD) published guidance that prohibits federal government employees and federal contractor personnel from accessing the WikiLeaks website to view or download classified information. As federal contractors, the Deloitte U.S. Firms and their professionals are obligated to protect the integrity of classified information.

This notice is designed to facilitate compliance with the OMB and DoD guidance. All personnel should note the following:

Despite the unauthorized public disclosure by WikiLeaks, the information disclosed retains its classified status. The decision to remove classified status must be rendered by a government classification authority. In short, the information remains classified in spite of any public disclosure.

The access or download of classified information could be determined to be a security violation that requires immediate remediation, including removal of such information from our systems. A security violation could pose risks to the operations of Deloitte’s Federal practice and could negatively affect our client service capabilities.

You should not attempt to access the classified information on the WikiLeaks website or any related website. If you previously visited the WikiLeaks site or any related website to view or download classified information, you should immediately report a “Federal DOS Incident” via 1 800 Deloitte (option 5).

If you possess a security clearance, keep in mind that you are personally obligated to uphold the requirements for appropriate handling and dissemination of classified information, as outlined in your respective Classified Information Non-Disclosure Statement.

If you have any questions, please send them by e-mail to [redacted: presumably someone inside Deloitte who is familiar with these sorts of things].

[redacted]
Chief Quality Officer
Deloitte LLP

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen Will Be Having a ‘Big Party’ to Celebrate Her Retirement

Sharon Allen has spent 38 years at Deloitte. Doing the math on that, it probably feels more like a millennia. Accordingly, Ms. Allen has decided to hang up her green dot and chillax in Pasadena (Q&A with Accounting Today and we’ve picked out some of the highlights, including yes, a par-tay.


For starters, Sharon is a closer!

It’s a good time to leave when you’re on a high. I feel very confident in future leadership and the direction of our organization, and I think it’s just absolutely the right time to turn the reins over to others and proudly watch them continue to lead the firm in a good direction.

There will be a retirement rager, natch.

I’m going to have a big party. Yes.

Retirement will involve quality time with the hubby (but not so much that he goes nuts) and leading the Village People.

First of all I plan to spend a lot more time with my husband, family and friends, but of course there will probably be a limit on how much togetherness he can stand.[…] I have already committed to becoming the chairman of the board of the national YMCA board, which is an organization I’ve been involved with for over 25 years. I’m sure I will find ways to keep productively busy.

In case you weren’t aware, she doesn’t have a Y chromosome.

I am proud of many firsts that are in front of the titles I have carried. I was fortunate to be the first woman to become an office managing partner, the first woman to become a regional managing partner, the first woman to be elected to the board at Deloitte, and that’s been some years ago now. But I have to say my proudest accomplishment, I believe, was to have been elected as the first independent chairman of Deloitte’s board of directors. We separated our chairman and CEO role and created a full-time independent executive chairman of the board. It is an elected position by our partners, and I was very proud to be elected to that role. I always say, “Oh, by the way, I’m a woman.” It’s a very important distinction for me.

She’s more like you than you think – she got passed up for a manager promotion because her supervisor was clueless!

[P]erhaps one of the most important challenges that I had as I was coming up through my career also turned out to be one of my best lessons. That was when I was about four years into the firm and I expected an early promotion to manager, and I was passed over for that promotion. Interestingly, as I walked into my supervisor’s office and clicked off all the reasons why I thought I should have had the promotion and had earned it, he kind of sat back in his chair and looked at me and said, “I didn’t even know you did all those things.”

What about this boys club mentality?

I do think that there still is an underrepresentation of women in senior leadership in business generally and certainly in the board room of corporate organizations today. I do believe that organizations need to examine how they are recruiting, how they assure women are proportionally given the best assignments.

You know, back in the day, we basically had to come to work in drag.

There is a very big difference between today’s women and women of my era when I started in the profession because, in those days, honestly, you almost had to pretend there were no differences. I came up in the business world of wearing a suit and a little bow tie and trying to dress like the men and, of course, fortunately, men and women both can acknowledge the difference and benefit from that.

Leave Sharon your well wishes (or food and entertainment requests) below and if you get invited to this party, email us the pictures.

Insider Trading Charges Throw a Wrench into Former Deloitte Employee’s Plans for Sexy Mobile App

[caption id="attachment_22306" align="alignright" width="260" caption="Drew Altizer Photography via The Bay Citizen"][/caption]

Having a nice Friday evening, Going Concern faithful? Wonderful. Ordinarily, we would leave you to your weekend activities but something came to our attention that simply couldn’t wait.

Earlier in the week, we told you ��������������������, the former Deloittians who were charged with insider trading by the SEC. Arnold and Annabel were giving tips to Annabel’s sister, Miranda Sanders, and her husband, James, who traded on the information. The SEC alleges that the scam amounted to approximately $23 million in gains for everyone involved.

For all intents and purposes, Arnold McClellan probably was your run-of-the-mill tax partner at Deloitte until he opted to use his insider knowledge to make some money for himself and his in-laws. Likewise, you might expect that Annabel was just a humdrum Deloitte employee who landed a partner (he’s 13 years her senior) who got involved in a insider trading scam. But someone sent us a link to a report in the Bay Citizen that informs us that she had a very interesting venture in the works.

You see, Annabel left the firm (exactly when, is unclear) after working in the London, San Jose and San Francisco offices and presumably was ready to be a stay-at-home mom. When that became monotonous, she and a friend figured they would take their interest in knockin’ boots to launch a mobile app called “My Nookie.”


The website for the app has been taken down but the Bay Citizen was able to get a lot of the details:

The “about” tab for McClellan’s website details a vision for a new kind of social networking site:

My Nookie

Friends love to talk about sex and My Nookie is the app your sex life and social life can’t be without. Journal and rate your partners and sexual encounters. Share sexperiences with your closest friends, take sexting to the next level and relive your rendezvous with those five star partners.

Fun and tasteful with activity illustrations, My Nookie is fully loaded with features to flirt, play, tease and share. Feeling adventurous? Shake your phone and dare to try something new. Keep it handy on your iPhone because you never know …..

Features:

• Detailed diary of your sexual activities with date, partner, location, ratings and notes

• Partner contacts with profile, including photo, rating, activities performed, notes and tally

• Sex activity illustrations and descriptions, with the option to add your own

• ‘Shake It’ feature which suggests an activity to try

• Personal profile with ‘nookie’ summary

• Share all or some of your entries, partners, and profile

• Send a sexy invite to a partner or potential partner with alluring pictures

• Email, text or call your partners right from the app

What happens in My Nookie stays in My Nookie with optional pass code lock and discreet mode.

The Bay Citizen reports that My Nookie isn’t available in Apple’s app store (frankly, we’ll be surprised if passes Steve Jobs’s sniff test) but they have some screen shots (examples are on the following pages).

Unfortunately, now that Annabel has legal troubles to contend with, the Citizen reports her partner in the My Nookie venture, Milly Hanley, has taken over the project entirely. Arnie’s lawyer stated that he wasn’t involved with this venture while Annabel’s counsel simply stated that My Nookie was unrelated to their involvement and referred the Citizen back to Ms. Hanley who claims she can’t recall how she met Annabel.

The story around the McClellans is even weirder the more we poke around. Andrew Ross quotes a source in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“While they’ve been described as socialites, they’re definitely not at the top of that heap. I think a more apt description is they were attempting to scale the social heights.”

According to a report Wednesday in the online Bay Citizen, “in recent weeks, citing vague legal troubles, the couple had told friends that they were considering moving their family, which includes two school-aged sons, to South Africa.”

Perusing around a little bit more, Annabel’s Facebook page seems pretty locked up (definitely not accepting new friends) and we found the blog “My Nookie” which has the same feel as the mobile app and was started by “three friends in our 30s and 40s,” the third woman possibly being Jeanette Harris, who, the Citizen article states, hosted a benefit last year with the other two women.

From the blog’s “About Us” page:

We’re three friends in our 30s and 40s who realized that somewhere between meeting our husbands and getting married, we clammed up when it came to talking about our sex lives. MyNookie.com is where we can open up about everything we’re thinking about when it comes to sex and sexual health. And it’s where you can turn to for creative solutions and accurate information—because sex is too important to feel like you’re missing out.

Sure sounds like it could be our three amigas, doesn’t it? So with these developments, this story has gotten exponentially more interesting. We invite anyone with knowledge about the situation to email us and we’ll keep you updated as we learn more. Oh, and be sure to leave your thoughts on the app in the comments. Ms Hanley is probably looking for feedback.

(UPDATE 2) SEC Charges Deloitte Tax Partner with Insider Trading

~ Update includes clarification of partner’s employment status and statements from accused’s attorneys via MarketWatch.

~ Update at circa 7:20 pm ET includes statement from Deloitte

If you thought all this insider trading fun was just for hedge funds you would be sorely mistaken. Deloitte seems to have another case of a partner who can’t seem to control himself when he gets some insider info. Earlier this year, former Deloitte Vice Chairman Tom Fla> shelled out $1.1 million to settle charges with the SEC.

This time around, it’s still a family affair – husband, wife, wife’s sister and brother-in-law job – and it went overseas:

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former Deloitte Tax LLP partner and his wife with repeatedly leaking confidential merger and acquisition information to family members overseas in a multi-million dollar insider trading scheme.

The SEC alleges that Arnold McClellan and his wife Annabel, who live in San Francisco, provided advance notice of at least seven confidential acquisitions planned by Deloitte’s clients to Annabel’s sister and brother-in-law in London. After receiving the illegal tips, the brother-in-law took financial positions in U.S. companies that were targets of acquisitions by Arnold McClellan’s clients. His subsequent trades were closely timed with telephone calls between Annabel McClellan and her sister, and with in-person visits with the McClellans. Their insider trading reaped illegal profits of approximately $3 million in U.S. dollars, half of which was to be funneled back to Annabel McClellan.

The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced charges against the two relatives — James and Miranda Sanders of London. The FSA also charged colleagues of James Sanders whom he tipped with the nonpublic information in the course of his work at his London-based derivatives firm. Sanders’s tippees and clients made approximately $20 million in U.S. dollars by trading on the inside information.

So not a bad haul. The kicker is, Annabel was also employed at Deloitte, working in the London, San Jose and San Francisco offices. The McClellans provided information to the Sanders on several companies including Kronos, Inc., aQuantive, Inc. and Getty Images.

The SEC brass gave their standard scolding. First, Enforcement Chief, Robert Khuzami, “The McClellans might have thought that they could conceal their illegal scheme by having close relatives make illegal trades offshore. They were wrong.”

And San Fran Director Marc Fagel, “Deloitte and its clients entrusted Arnold McClellan with highly confidential information. Along with his wife, he abused that trust and used high-placed access to corporate secrets for the couple’s own benefit and their family’s enrichment.”

But the real story here is the second instance of insider trading charges against a Deloitte partner this year. The firm successfully sued Tom Flanagan back in January but you have to wonder if there isn’t some flaw with the firm’s internal oversight. Not long after the Flanagan suit, we reported on the 475 reprimands for internal noncompliance in 2009. Those reprimands did not mention insider trading specifically but over 200 of them were related to independence violations. Pattern? You can weigh in below.

Anyone with any knowledge on this story is invited to get in touch with us. as it is not clear if there has been any internal repercussions yet. Messages (including voicemail, carrier pigeon and morse code) left with Deloitte have not been returned (see statement below).

UPDATE: McClellan’s attorneys are not amused by the SEC’s little stunt:

Lawyers for Arnold McClellan denied charges Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the former Deloitte Tax LLP partner was involved in a big insider trading scheme. “Arnold McClellan denies the SEC’s claims and will vigorously contest them,” Elliot Peters and Christopher Kearney of Keker & Van Nest LLP said in a statement on behalf of McClellan. “He did not trade on insider information, and there will be no evidence that he passed along any confidential information to anyone.” McClellan “had no financial incentive to commit the actions alleged,” the lawyers added. “He is a conscientious, law-abiding professional with a 23-year unblemished track record of client service at Deloitte to prove it. We will see the SEC in court.”

And just to clarify, McClellan is no longer with Deloitte, leaving the firm in June of this year. Deloitte spokesman Jonathan Gandal emailed us the firm statement (see below) still hasn’t returned our call (busy day, right?) but managed to give a statement to and was quoted by Reuters, saying that he was “shocked and saddened” by the allegations and “If the allegations prove to be true, they would represent serious violations of our strict and regularly communicated confidentiality policies.”

UPDATE 2: Here is the full statement from Deloitte:

“We are shocked and saddened by these allegations against our former tax partner and members of his family. If the allegations prove to be true, they would represent serious violations of our strict and regularly communicated confidentiality policies. Deloitte is committed to safeguarding non-public client information and has cooperated with the SEC throughout its investigation. The SEC does not allege any wrongdoing by Deloitte in this unfortunate matter.”

Complaint_Deloitte

Roland Berger Tells Deloitte to Drop Dead

Last week we mentioned that Deloitte and Munich-based Roland Berger were talking about getting cozy with both firms sounding pret-tay excited about the future. Turns out, no one had asked the Roland Berger partners how they felt about the whole situation.

Plans to merge Roland Berger Strategy Consultants with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu have fallen through after the Munich-based firm rejected the advances.

The two had been in advanced talks but directors at Berger overwhelmingly voted to remain independent.

Talks between the two firms had progressed so far it is believed they had already decided upon a new chief executive and were examining possible regulatory hurdles.

Over at the Financial Times, Adam Jones reminds us that this is a big wrench in Deloitte’s McKinsey-slaying plans, “[Roland Berger’s] decision to continue to go it alone is a blow to Deloitte’s ambition of eclipsing McKinsey in the market for strategic managerial advice.”

It’s a strange turn of events to be sure after last week’s PR lovefest but the FT reports that the Roland Berger was willing to put up his own cash to keep the green ink out of his firm:

Roland Berger said the vote to remain independent had been carried with a majority of “close to 100 per cent” on Saturday.

It added that partners in the firm – including Roland Berger, its founder – had agreed to put in more money to support the renewed go-it-alone plan.

People close to the deal talks suggested Mr Berger had agreed to invest about €50m ($68.5m) to help fund its expansion as a standalone business.

That’s not so much of a “No.” as it is a “Hell no.”

Deloitte Is Eyeing Some Germans

Namely, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants based out of Munich.

Supposedly the two will have their minds made up sometime next month but by the sounds of it, the two companies are flippin’ stoked about the possibilities:

“A merger opens up a unique opportunity for growth for both firms,” [Deloitte Germany Chief Executive] Plendl said.

Roland Berger confirmed the talks.

“Discussions with Deloitte are taking place to open new and fascinating growth prospects for our company,” Roland Berger Strategy Consultants said in an e-mailed statement today.

While that’s what is going in the foreground, Adam Jones over at the Financial Times was so bold to suggest that this just another step in Deloitte’s quest to “overtake McKinsey as the market leader in strategic advice for managers.”

Now we hadn’t heard about this McKinsey-slaying goal prior to today and it seems a little credulous to think that Deloitte is jockeying with McK, especially when you consider the domination of McKinsey in the eyes of those who work in the industry.

However, on paper Deloitte derives $7.5 billion from its consulting business which is nothing to sneeze at. Considering that and the fact that they haven’t exactly made their desire for mergers a secret, Deloitte this very well could be a step in earning another #1 notch in their belt (with matching suspenders).

Jim Quigley Would Really Like It if the Big 4 Could Audit in India

Deloitte is hiring about 3,000 people in India as part of their hiring bonanza and global CEO Jim Quigley dug into his bag of boilerplate statements to express his excitement:

“India is an extremely important market for Deloitte. As…Opportunities in the new economic environment emerge in India, Deloitte with its focus on hiring, developing, and deploying the best talent in the region, will help clients capitalise on these new market initiatives,” Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley told reporters here.

Right. So nothing new there. However, Quigs thinks that it’d be really swell if TPTB in India would change their mind about letting the Big 4 provide audit services there:

Quigley also made a case for India to open up its market and allow global audit firms to practice here, besides providing consulting and advisory assistance.

Allowing international accounting firms to practice here would require India to negotiate and allow the service to be accessed under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). At present, India has not opened up services like audit and law for foreign practitioners.

“I urge the Indian authorities to give a serious thought to allowing global audit firms to practice here. It is for the betterment of accounting professionals. A mutual recognition is required out of foreign direct investment,” Quigley said.

See? It’s not just about the biggest firm in the known universe getting bigger, it’s for the betterment for the entire accounting race. There’s so much fun to be had. The Satyams of the world are once in a blue moon.

Higher-ups at Deloitte Aren’t Sure Why Employees Are Still in ‘Shock Mode’ From the Last Few Years

All the good times at the Deloitte – Jim Quigley on the teevee, surprise raises, leaving PwC in the dust – hasn’t gotten green-dot morale to acceptable levels.

Accordingly, some of the senior partners in the advisory practice have taken it upon themselves to remind everyone how things are turning around.

From a green-dot familiar with the situation:

There has been an up-tick in senior partner communication recently – mostly in the form of mass e-mail communications, published “Your Questions Answered” videos and in-person “Straight-Talk” sessions – seeming aimed at reassuring the masses that Deloitte’s on its way to the promised land. The message is pretty clear that we’ve survived the recession, are hiring like crazy, are bringing in new business at a solid clip and that we’re spanking our competition (i.e., need to look into the rear-view mirror to find PwC and gang).

This, of course, is in contrast to what we in the trenches feel; that our compensation isn’t mirroring our level of output, that we can’t staff engagements because we don’t have enough resources and that all of our friends are leaving for our competitors. This disparity is acknowledged by the partnership; and at least at one straight talk session, we were told that they can’t figure out why we don’t see the light. It was then proposed that we’re still in “shock mode” because of the last few years; but this observer thinks it’s more that we’re working so hard to produce results for the partners that we can’t see the light because the only free time we have is the few hours of twilight that exists each day – and that’s for sleeping (or other creative stress reducing activities ).

Btw, not sure what you’re hearing; but in my group-region alone, I know of 8 people who have left in the last month (the group-region is about 120 people).

Okay then – so it boils down to either being in “shock mode” or your terrible attitude. Share your position on the matter and what camp you fall into below.

Deloitte Is Going with “Bathtub Recovery”

What Sandy Cockrell doesn’t tell you is that the bathtub is the size of William Taft’s.

Some People Are Wondering When/If KPMG and Ernst & Young Will Ante Up

From the mailbag, courtesy of an E&Y senior associate:

I work for EY. Roommates are Deloitte and PWC. I’m hearing from the PWC employees that in addition to a holiday bonus, as well as a March compensation adjustment similar to Deloitte’s, PWC is also giving their employees the last two weeks of December off without requiring them to use their vacation days.

Thoughts on whether EY or KPMG will ante up? Hot topic at my client site today as you can imagine 🙂


Before we get to E&Y and KPMG, it should be noted that PwC is really playing hardball here. A quick recap:

Mid-year bonuses that include an option for an iPad. Steve Jobs hater or not – that’s a cool bonus.

• Rumors of poaching seniors in Chicago and New York.

• New Yorkers given the option to shovel Thanksgiving sustenance at a Manhattan location to be named later (btw, we really want to know where, so get in touch with details when known).

• iPhones are now available and Christmaskuh festivities return.

Now there are rumors of a merit increase in March and two free weeks of time off? This is quite the run of employer gratitude. We won’t say “unprecedented” but it is an impressive show of generosity.

Maybe PwC has gone on this offensive because they had a kick-ass first quarter. Or maybe it’s because they lost the number one spot to Deloitte and they still want everyone to know that they’re still capable of equating love with money. OR maybe they’re trying to make people forget about Logogate. Whatever the motivation, the firm is throwing money around with the gusto of Charlie Sheen and they are getting a relative amount of attention for it.

Now, then – Ernst & Young and KPMG. Maybe these two firms are spreading the wealth on the Double-DL but if not, TPTB have to be aware of the what the competition is up to. If not, maybe someone should clue them in. Regardless, there has to be heat to act in some way.

One explanation for the House of Klynveld is that the fiscal year just ended, so it is too early for leadership to communicate “the great first quarter,” thus rationalizing a mid-year bonus. If KPMG comes out to soon with the news, they risk the “Monkey see” effect.

As far as E&Y is concerned, we’re stumped. They have the same fiscal year as PwC and should have a pret-tay good idea how Q1 went. Now that PwC has made the first move, any action by E&Y is going to look reactionary .

So for the E&Y and KPMG crowd – you clearly have some expectations for something but are you hearing anything about mid-year bonuses or will the belly aching continue into the holidays? Discuss below and get in touch with details.

The Latest Results from the Deloitte Mid-year Salary Adjustment

Deloitte Raises 2.0 rolls along with the latest news from New York and Cleveland. Continue to keep us updated.


New York:

I am a senior at Deloitte based in New York.
Our engagement partner and I had a brief meeting- a 8k raise for seniors.
The second year was told a $5k raise for his level.
My manager also spoke to a partner and was told a $6k raise.
Nothing for new hires and senior managers.

There will not be a retrospective adjustment to pay us more for the past two months as if the increase happened in end of August.
The increase is effective starting 11/1/2010, meaning the first paycheck to reflect the increased pay will be 11/12/2010.

Cleveland:

1st years – $0
2nd years: $2,500
All seniors: $4,000
All Managers (excluding sr. managers): $3,000
Sr. Managers and up: $0

UPDATE – Friday circa 12:50 pm:

The latest from Houston:

2nd year: $3,500
Seniors: $5,000
Manager:$6,000

Some Early Returns From Deloitte Salary Adjustment 2.0

As you’re no doubt aware, last Friday Deloitte made the announcement that the market for audit salaries had been misunderestimated and a second adjustment was going to be communicated to opiners this week.

Checking with a source inside Deloitte, we’ve heard some of the preliminary returns:

I have heard rumors of 5k in Hartford and 4k in Chicago for Seniors. But nothing to prove them out. The general range I have heard though is 2kish for 2nd years and 5k for seniors.


No word at at this point on what managers are receiving, so if you’ve gotten the news, let us know below.

The question now is – was all this hoopla worth it? Granted it’s early but if the range is in the ballpark, there’s likely a few people that are simply, “meh.” On the other hand, maybe if you got called in for another meeting to be told that you’re getting an extra $2k – $5k you might be really flippin’ stoked. However, many people will likely remind you to get some perspective.

Either way, the tax practice is feeling short-changed and advisory is too busy rolling around in their cash-filled bathtubs to care.

Discuss the situation at present and keep us updated with the adjustment news just as soon as your sit-down is over.

UPDATE – 12:45 ET: This just in:

Deloitte experienced assistant from South Florida – $2k for audit assistants, $5k for seniors.

total raise for the year with comp adjustment – 8%. Could be better but could be the original 4% I got in August…

UPDATE – crica 2 pm ET: The latest:

Miami: 2nd years: $2k, Seniors: $5k
Parsippany: 2nd years: $5K Seniors: $8K Managers: $6K

Compensation Watch ’10: Deloitte Wants to Keep Up with the Joneses

Or the Kylnvelds, Ernsts, Coopers (aka “c”). Take your pick.

From the mailbag:

All staff just received a voicemail from the firm stating that they will be performing a salary adjustment for all staff 2nd year through manager as they have realized the marketplace is providing different salaries than expected and would like to stay competitive. No word on amounts, one on one meetings with partners are occurring in the next week.


This little Friday Surprise was brought to you by Carlos Sabater (listen to the full message below) and the salary adjustment will be for audit professionals only. We’ll definitely be interested to hear what comes out of the meetings next week so keep us updated.

Reactions welcome.

Listen to voice message here

Unfounded Rumor of the Afternoon: PwC Courting Deloitte Employees in Chicago, New York

From the mailbag by way of a Deloittian in Rahmville:

[O]ur PPD (Principal, Partner, Direct) group has received word that PWC is going to send recruiting letters to every [Financial Services Industry] senior in the Chicago and New York offices. Apparently the letter states PWC is willing to offer $15,000 more than what Deloitte is paying.

The PPD group had a meeting with all of the FSI managers in Chicago yesterday regarding this situation. On top of that, all Seniors in FSI received a meeting request today from the PPD group. The meeting is schedule for Monday morning and according to the managers, the topic of dicussion is going to be these letters. Now I can’t speak for anyone in New York but in Chicago the PPD group is not taking this lightly. Word as it that one of our senior ranking partners actually called over to PWC. Again this is all a rumor, I have not seen one of these letter but apparently one of our partners said he/she has.

If you happen across this letter, do share it with us.

Earlier:
Experienced Recruiting Amongst The Big 4 Gets Aggressive

Attention Emerging Hedge Fund Managers: Deloitte Is Ready to Serve You at Your Beck and Call

Fancy yourself a savvy investor? Are you starting a new hedge fund? Need a professional services firm to cater to your every whim so you can concentrate on creating the next shop to be lovingly mocked by our sister from another mister?

SOLUTION: Deloitte’s global full-service hedge fund emerging manager platform. Never heard of it? Of course not! It’s a brand-spanking new platoon in the asset management practice that is just rolling out Project KATN circa now:

“In today’s environment, emerging managers need recognized industry heavyweights for professional services. Deloitte has launched the hedge fund emerging manager platform to provide emerging managers with a solution that offers access to our global network, and customized, creative and responsive service,” said Cary Stier, vice chairman and Deloitte’s U.S. asset management services leader. “If you launch with Deloitte, you stay with Deloitte. A client cannot outgrow our services. Deloitte delivers results that matter.”

And because Deloitte already has “70 percent of U.S. hedge funds with more than $20 billion in assets under management, and 75 percent of global hedge funds with more than $20 billion in assets under management,” they figured that it was about time they started thinking about the little people-cum-hedge fund managers out there. You aren’t going to turn your tiny flagship fund into a behemoth without some help, so why not go with the firm that already schleps for most of the big boys?

So when shopping around for your indentured professional servants budding hedgies, Deloitte’s HFEMP (?) will have you know that they will be there with you every step of the way. From the time you realize your ginormous fortune (pet jungle cats, gold-plated toilets, etc.) to the spectacular implosion (incessant posts by BL, perp walk).

Deloitte’s Asset Management Services Launches Hedge Fund Emerging Manager Platform [PR Newswire]

Former Deloitte Employee Wants to Know If Returning to Public Accounting Is a Good Idea

Back with more from the accounting career mailbag: a former Deloitte employee left the firm recently only to discover that life outside public accounting isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Should they return to the Greed Dot???

Have a question about your career? Looking for guidance on how to give your firm some honest feedback? Need some pointers on Twitter etiquette? Email us at [email protected] and will whip something up for you.

Back to our ex-Del

Caleb,

I am writing to you in the hopes that you can provide some insight. Here is my situation, I worked at Deloitte for about four years now in the Pacific Southwest region of the US. I recently quit and took a job at one of the big public Companies in my city. After being there for a couple of months I’ve realized that I am kind of bored and am considering going back to public accounting.

The partner I worked for at DT told me to call him anytime. Before I make that call I wanted to get some input. If I go back I’ll be a manager within a year, does the job function change that much like they are telling me? I’m single and in the long term I’m not sure what I want, for now I just want to work get some more experience and then figure it out.

Considering Going Back

Dear Considering,

Your problem is not an uncommon one. Many people have spent their entire careers bitching about life inside public accounting only once they leave, they come to the conclusion that they never had it so good. There are a couple of ways to interpret this:

1. You really do love public accounting and you truly believe it is your calling in life.

2.

Of course every situation is different and in your case, you’re looking at a promotion to manager in a year. Let’s give the partner the benefit of the doubt here and consider your question about life as a manager. Personally, we didn’t have the pleasure of reaching the rank but know plenty of friends and colleagues who did and many, many, many of them said it was their toughest year of their career to date.

What happens is that your auditing skills become less important and your time management and people skills begin to take center stage. Can you handle staffing issues? Prepare a presentation for a RFP? Convince a partner that a client really isn’t that pissed and you’re not getting fired (when, in fact, the opposite is true)? This is just a taste of your responsibilities. OH! And do you like reviewing other people’s work? Because you’ll have to squeeze that in as well.

Now that we’ve scared the living daylights out of you – it sounds like you’re more concerned with enjoying your job and getting good experience rather than money. That’s rare around these parts, so good for you.

Bottom line is this – if you’re not happy at your current job and think that career bliss awaits you back at the Green Dot with Sharon and the Costanza Twins, you should go back.

Peanut gallery – what do we think here? Back into the belly of the beast or is it a huge mistake? Fire away.

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen Never Misses Date Night, Discovered Early on That She Wasn’t Meant to be a Car Hop

The L.A. Times ran a brief sit-down with Sharon Allen, the Deloitte Board Chairman (her preferred term) over the weekend and it has the typical clichéd whathaveyous about her background – education is important; her great-grandmother was an early role ght-talker, values are important, yada yada yada.

Anyway, despite those snoozy details, there are a few interesting bits to share including that she doesn’t live in New York (gasp), everyone in her entourage is in a different city and some profound insight into differences between her home state – Idaho – and her current state:

The former Midwesterner chooses to live in Pasadena instead of New York, where Deloitte maintains its headquarters. “California is quite different when you think that the whole state of Idaho has [1.5] million people,” Allen said [WOW!]. She’s lived in Southern California for years. Before being elected chairman, Allen was based in Los Angeles as Deloitte’s managing partner for the Pacific Southwest region. Technology and careful coordination allow Allen and other members of her team to live across the map: Her executive assistant is in Portland, Ore.; her chief of staff lives in New York; and her speechwriter is in Charlotte, N.C.

For now, let’s just say for the sake of argument that the head of the largest professional services firm on Earth can live somewhere other than New York. We realized that for a lot of you this is contrary to everything you stand for but apparently Deloitte is pulling it off.

As for her childhood, Sharon gave the more physical labor intensive and service industry path a shot but soon discovered that agriculture nor a career on roller skates were in her future:

She worked for a time on the farm as a kid and then as a car hop in high school, but said she lacked talent at both. “I learned very early that I wasn’t very good on the farm,” she said. “And as a car hop, I dumped an entire tray of soft drinks into someone’s car once.”

As for how she got hooked on accounting, it was like smack for her. One taste was all it took:

[H]er roommate was an accounting major and talked her into dipping a toe into the business world. “I was hooked from the time I took the first class,” she said. She switched her major to accounting soon after.

And she managed to resist the 1970s accounting firm boys’ club:

Allen was often the lone female in her accounting courses. The trend continued once she started at Touche Ross, a predecessor to Deloitte. Allen turned it to her advantage. “People found a way to recognize and notice me,” she said. “While being a woman in a predominantly male profession early in my career, it would have been easy to adjust my style and focus on doing stuff like the men did. I learned I could be successful by doing it my own way.”

Without more details, it’s difficult to determine what she means by “doing it my way.” It’s unlikely that they were asking her to pee standing up. Or that they expected her to go bald, like some people.

Now that she’s a bigwig at a Big 4 firm that has to jet all over the world doing…things, you might think it would be easy for her to forget where she came from. NOPE! No matter where she is, Sharon is always back in SoCal for Friday date night to make sure the man of the house isn’t just lying around, letting himself go while she’s out moving and shaking:

Friday date nights are sacred. No matter where Allen is in the world, she places top priority on flying home every week to spend time with her husband, Rich (they’ve been married for 38 years), who was also her high school sweetheart.

In other words, she’s heading back home to ensure that Richard chases off the freeloading friends and babes that are hanging out at the manse all week. Or maybe it’s love. Either way, it sounds like she runs a tight ship.

And no doubt, that obsession/love translated into something that helped SA become the highest ranking woman at a Big 4 firm. An impressive feat no matter where you stand. But frankly, from Deloitte’s perspective, she’s the most visible leader that’s not pulling a Costanza. You can’t put a price on that.

Accounting for her success [Los Angeles Times]

Jim Quigley Is Still Talking About Deloitte’s Hiring Bonanza, Last Year’s BusinessWeek List

After his appearance on Fox Business, Quigs plugged himself in for 24 hours and then hopped over to Bloomberg to talk about the disappointing job numbers from last week but that at Deloitte, things are just swell.

Jim Quigley Believes That ‘A Sustained Recovery Has Begun’

That’s what he told Fox Business Network anyway. He doesn’t stat it explicitly but Quigs is probably referring to his Big 4 and professional services brethren.


Not exactly sure why JQ thinks we aren’t headed for a double-dip after Team Jehovah gave the ‘fairly bad’ to ‘very bad’ outlook.

Is he still riding high on the biggest of the Big 4 news? Discuss.

Deloitte Is Officially The Biggest of the Big 4, Says Deloitte

Figuring that it couldn’t trust any of its direct competitors to call this one, Deloitte announced today that it is officially the biggest of the Big 4.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) is proud to announce that its member firms have risen to become the largest private professional services organization in the world for the first time in the organization’s history. With this milestone, Deloitte surpasses all competitors in the private professional services category to become the market leader based on revenue and headcount. As of the fiscal year ended 31 May 2010, Deloitte had aggregate member firm revenues of US$26.578 billion (US$26.6B) and employed approximately 170,000 people worldwide, including nearly 35 percent in priority markets.

Even though it’s against our natural inclination, we decided to fact check this little stat. Jumping over to PwC’s newly official rebranded site we added up the aggregated revenues by region to discover total revenues for P. Dubs of US$26.569 billion. That’s a difference of $9 million and some change. The proverbial photo finish.

As you can imagine, Jim Quigley and crew are pretty amped about the situation, even though this was never their goal:

“When Deloitte Haskins & Sells and Touche Ross & Co. merged in 1989 to form our modern organization, we were the smallest of what was then the Big Eight. Over the years, our goal was never to be the largest—we have always aimed to be the best, to be the standard of excellence,” said DTTL Global CEO Jim Quigley. “Deloitte professionals have pursued that goal by consistently delivering high-quality, world-class client service and demonstrating a strong focus on responsible business practices. Their commitment and dedication to living our values-based culture have transformed Deloitte into the world’s number one private professional services organization. This is a defining moment in our history.”

In other words, “Shucks, guys. We weren’t trying to be numero uno, it just kinda worked out that way. But DAMN, does it feel good or what?”

And this momentous occasion wouldn’t be complete with a little twist of the knife. Apparently Deloitte got so close that they ended up just wanting it more than the rest of the firms out there:

Over the years, Deloitte has consistently closed the gap and widened the lead among its major competitors. In fact, over the last five years, Deloitte was the fastest-growing private professional services organization based on total revenue among the Big Four. During the period from 2005-2009, Deloitte outgrew its peers by 2.7 to 3.3 percentage points annually. The organization has achieved its leadership position through a combination of organic growth, strategic acquisitions, a focus on quality, and bold investments in priority and emerging markets.

Of course it helps that the consulting business is still in-house but hey, no need to mention how the sausage is made, amiright? And who knows, PwC could always bounce back in FY2011 or maybe E&Y and KPMG will start courting each other again to create a super-firm. Okay, that last one is a stretch but we’re hoping for some surprises.

Deloitte ascends to become the largest private professional services organization worldwide [Deloitte]

Decision Time for One Recruit: Deloitte or KPMG?

Returning again with another edition of accounting career therapy, a recruit has two offers – one from Deloitte, one from KPMG. Rather than speak to their friends, family or flip a coin, they emailed us.

Need help making your next career move? Been taking a beating at work and need inspired? Need help deciding if you’re too hot for accounting? Send us your query (and pictures) to [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help/judge.

I have an offer from Deloitte and KPMG. Where I reside, the local Deloitte is almost twice as large than the local KPMG, but is also known to work longer hours. Of course, rankings will say that Deloitte is better than KPMG and seemingly pays more according to my research done on this very site. I don’t want to seem shallow, but I am at the moment. Should I go for the money/prestigious name or the shorter hours?

On a side note, I’m honestly only looking to a 5- to 6-year plan in public accounting (hopefully to make manager). With that in mind, what route would you take between Deloitte and KPMG?


Ahhh, the firm versus firm debate. One of the oldest and stupidest to be had. But it’s fun, so let’s indulge, shall we?

Regardless of the back and forth you might read in the comments, judging the firms collectively is a waste of time. There are “good offices” and “bad offices” at each firm. How you choose to define “good” and “bad” is up to you but it sounds like you’ve painted yourself into a corner, saying “Big prestigious firm = good,” “Money = good” and “Long working hours = bad.” Choosing a firm based on this perception is futile exercise. The difference in money won’t be life changing and “shorter hours” probably won’t feel shorter. Trust us.

And you know who agrees with us? DWB.

Clearly in this situation, the KPMG recruiters did a better job managing (i.e. bullshitting) the “long hours” argument. Long hours are a simple fact of life. Unless you want to work at the Post Office, you’ll be hard pressed to find 9a-6p. Also, remember that regardless of where you start your career you will find yourself at the bottom of the food chain. Welcome to the Big 4, kid.

Try this on for size – forget money, prestige and long hours. What about – gasp – choosing the firm that seems like the best fit for you? Did you like the Deloitte people or were they snooty two-shoes? Did the KPMG people seem like a fun bunch or were they all work and no play, thus a bunch of dull mofos? You’re going to have to work with these people EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And many nights. And weekends. Do you want to be around people that you think you’ll enjoy working with or that you’ll consider suffocating with pillow or poisoning their late-night food?

With that in mind, make your choice. Hell, maybe it won’t be either firm but forget about money, perception and hours. If that’s your measuring stick for choosing a firm, then you may have bigger issues on your hands.

Deloitte Isn’t Buying This Big 4 Oligopoly Nonsense

Over the last 20 years or so, for one reason or another, accounting firms that were able to provide audit services to largest companies on Earth have been whittled down from 8 to 6 to 5 to 4. During this time, it became the concern of many (read: anyone not in the “Big” club) that the firms were too concentrated and audit quality was deteriorating due to the lack of competition.

Naturally, the firms at the top have dismissed this argument as bupkis. And because the public accounting industry is one that elected representatives and their constituents could give a rat crap about, the cries of the less fortunate firms have gone unheard.

Until recently that is. A report this summer that revealed the existence of “Big Four clauses” in credit agreements in the UK and that allowed the Grant Thorntons and BDOs of the world to have their “A-HA!” moment.

Deloitte, however, is not impressed with revelation and would like everyone to know that the audit biz is regular dog fight:

The audit market is “fiercely competitive and transparent” according to Big Four firm Deloitte, which sees no reason to open the top-heavy industry to greater competition.

Deloitte believes audit quality is “higher than ever” and said it has seen “no evidence of anti-competitive behaviour”, according to its submission to the upcoming House of Lords inquiry into audit competition.

“Our experience is that the listed-company audit market is one of the most competitive,” the firm said.

“The firm” presumably said this with a straight face.

Audit market is “fiercely competitive” Deloitte argue [Accountancy Age]

Deloitte Adding 11.5k New U.S. Employees in FY11; 5k Campus Hires

FINS has more details on Deloitte’s hiring bonanza, reporting yesterday that the firm will add 11,500 new U.S. employees during fiscal year 2011.

The company expects to hire 11,500 in the country, which includes 5,000 campus hires. The U.S. numbers are part of the more-than 40,000 hires the company anticipates in FY 2011, said Patty Pogemiller, national director of talent acquisition.

The company is hiring across all of its major businesses in the U.S., particularly in its financial services industries. According to Pogemiller, the company is looking for candidates with “superior analytical and problem-solving skills” as well as and team-building abilities.

The breakdown of “hiring across all of its major businesses” remains unclear, although since the consulting business is going gangbusters while audit, tax and advisory are more or less flat, you could reason that the demand for consultants would be be on the rise. Assuming normal (or abnormal) attrition, the other business lines will still have their typical demand for fresh faces but a source close to Deloitte indicated to us that if the hot pace of the consulting biz continues, it could easily outpace the rest of the firm’s services.

Our source also indicated that the recruiting levels of 11,500/5,000 is consistent with those the firm had in the pre-financial crisis years of 2007-2009, which could mean the firm’s demand for new people has normalized.

Deloitte Will Hire 11,500 in the U.S. in FY 2011 [FINS]

AT&T CEO Isn’t Impressed with Deloitte Study That Says Half of iPhone Users Would Switch to Verizon at the Drop of a Hat

Confidential to AT&T BSDs: Steve Jobs may be an asshole, but he’s not stupid.

Close to half of Apple Inc iPhone users in the United States would be “very interested” in dumping AT&T Inc for Verizon Wireless as a service provider, according to a study from professionals service firm Deloitte.

“If another carrier were to pick up the iPhone, you would probably see a number of defections,” said Ed Moran, director of insights and product innovation at Deloitte.

AT&T’S Chief Executive Randall Stephenson played down the potential impact of the loss of iPhone exclusivity at a Goldman Sachs conference on Tuesday.

Stephenson said about 80 percent of AT&T’s iPhone users were either in family plans making it difficult to cancel service or had received their phone through their business. [Ed. note: rumor has it that after making this statement, Stephenson was heard laughing maniacally]

Study finds iPhone owners want to switch to Verizon [Reuters]

Wife of Ex-Deloitte Partner: Porn-extortion Plot Saved Our Marriage

[caption id="attachment_17969" align="alignright" width="260" caption="The happy couple. SOURCE: Jeff Day/NYP"][/caption]

Remember back in May when we told you about Steven Klig, the former Deloitte tax partner-cum-lawyer who attempted to extort his ex-lover with a sex tape? Klig was merely looking for some additional nude pics of his mistress after she broke it off and when she didn’t comply, Klig started with his devious-randy plot.

Klig thought to do some of his blackmailing while on vacation with the wife in kids at Disney World, which is especially creepy considering he would have been drowning in happiness.

Well, Klig is to be sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty in May to illegally accessing a computer network to threaten his mistress. Yesterday he had a whole host of people singing his praises, including his wife, who told the judge that this whole situation has turned things around for them.

In court papers filed yesterday, Steven Klig’s wife, Ellen, said she “thought our life was over” when six FBI agents showed up at their Great Neck, LI, home last year and arrested her hubby for extortion.

“Instead, it was just beginning again. I got my husband back and my children got their father back,” she wrote to Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl, who will sentence her husband Friday.

Ellen — who said Klig had “withdrawn from our family” due to job-related stress — noted that they’ve been seeing shrinks “individually and as a couple,” and “really work at keeping the lines of communication open.

“As a couple, we have rebounded to the point that after 20 years of marriage, we renewed our wedding vows and our commitment to each other and to our family,” she wrote.

Oh sure lady. Blame Deloitte! It’s bad enough that they have to take shit from the likes of Marin County California. But now you’re saying your marriage troubles were the fault of a firm that is going to (supposedly) create a quarter of a million jobs and the arrest of your husband for plan he concocted in order to get his rocks off are what turned it all around?

Even Klig himself claims that he was somewhere in between mild-mannered tax attorney and something out of a David Lynch film:

Klig — who has never revealed if he actually had the sex tape — blamed his shameful scheme on a sleep disorder, saying, “I really have no explanation other than I strongly believe . . . I was in a world that existed somewhere between insanity and sanity.”

Several former Deloitte co-workers also penned missives in support of Klig, who left the firm in disgrace after his arrest.

Former colleague Monte Jackel wrote that he “heard no mention of any misconduct of any type on Steve’s part . . . until the story broke in the New York Post.

“I was truly shocked at the allegations . . . but view them as out of character with the Steve Klig that I knew then and know today,” Jackel wrote.

The guy in between, well, who’s to say?

Lusty lawyer bust turned marriage around [NYP]

Wherein We Try to Make Sense of Deloitte’s Purported Hiring Spree

[caption id="attachment_17565" align="alignright" width="260" caption="We\'re adding a dash of human"][/caption]

All right people, we’re going to talk about something that’s been bugging us all week – Deloitte’s big hiring spree announcement.

If you’ve already put the story right out of your mind, Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley announced earlier this��������������������would be hiring 50,000 lucky men and women a year over the next five years. At least that’s what we initially thought.

The PR machine was in full force as Quigs was mentioned in several publications all over the world touting the hiring plans in addition to big revenue numbers that might – MIGHT! – put them ahead of newly branded PwC for the biggest of the Big 4.


The problem is that the earliest report, from the Financial Times stated the following:

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the global accounting firm, said on Monday that it would hire an average of 50,000 workers a year during the next five years as it revealed strong revenues.

[…]

Deloitte employs 170,000 people worldwide and said on Monday that it expects to add 250,000 new workers during the next five years as it looks to expand its services and geographic reach.

There is no room for misinterpretation there. The FT reported that Deloitte will add 250k new people to its firm. Nowhere in that report did they take into account (or think to ask) how those people would be added or how attrition, layoffs and partner retirement would affect those numbers. It was simply stated, “Deloitte is more or less adding the city of Lexington, Kentucky to its workforce.”

Our friends at FINS did some digging on these numbers and thought to ask a few more questions:

That’s almost 140 new hires a day.

By 2015, the company expects to grow to 225,000 total employees from its current roster of 170,000, accounting for standard industry turnover, retirements and natural attrition.

According to CEO Jim Quigley, Deloitte is hiring across all areas: consulting, tax, audit and financial advisory services. For FY 2011, Deloitte is looking to hire in all regions, but it expects growth in priority markets like China and India. Both recent graduates and experienced professionals will be targeted in the hiring bonanza.

[…]

In a shaky economy — in any economy, for that matter — it would perhaps seem foolhardy to add so many new hires. But, the firm has had a “successful year despite challenging economic conditions,” Quigley said. “Deloitte’s member firms have experienced growth, even double digit growth in certain markets, so we feel well-positioned to continue this trend in FY11.”

Okay, so whether the FT was credulous or just plain didn’t think to ask any follow up questions is unknown but we are still hella-skeptical about Deloitte’s math here. They’re still claiming that they will add 55,000 global employees in five years. The problem is, you didn’t bother telling anyone exactly how you plan to do that, other than the boilerplate CEO statements offered up.

Just for the sake of argument, say the firm does add the NET 55k warm bodies that it claims. It’s pretty obvious that not many of these jobs are coming to the United States. Plus, this won’t be purely organic growth.

Looking at Deloitte’s press release, it’s pretty obvious that consulting is the only practice growing and BRIC and emerging markets are the only regions where the firm is seeing meaningful growth:

Geographic results (aggregate, in USD):

Asia Pacific revenues grew 9 percent, making it the fastest-growing region for the sixth consecutive year. Member firms achieving growth in excess of 20 percent included Korea and India. Deloitte China grew 8 percent. Market share of the Fortune Global 500 grew by 2 percentage points in the Asia Pacific region. Deloitte member firms also served some of the largest IPOs in these markets.

The Americas revenues grew 4 percent. Brazil grew in excess of 20 percent. Deloitte United States grew 3 percent.

EMEA revenues declined 3 percent. Southern Africa grew 22 percent. The Middle East grew 15 percent.

Business and industry results (aggregate, in USD):
Audit revenue declined 1 percent while market share of the Fortune Global 500 grew by 1 percentage point.

Consulting revenue grew 15 percent.

Financial Advisory revenue declined 2 percent.

Tax revenue declined 5 percent.

Industry: Public sector revenues increased 38 percent compared to the prior year. Financial Services and Manufacturing were essentially flat, which represents a significant rebound from last year’s double-digit declines.

As far as the “public sector,” everyone is aware that these were boosted by last year’s acquisition of BearingPoint, so after that plateaus, then what? And speaking of acquisitions – something that Barry Salzberg has gone on record about – this could be part of the headcount boom equation but that’s still makes for funny math.

But increase your people by nearly a third organically? We’re not buying it, Deloitte. Not that you were selling it but you certainly got a lot of panties to drop with some hot rhetoric. Will they make the numbers? Who knows but there are at least three other firms out there that will be fighting you to the death for the business that will finance that growth. Good luck with that.

Deloitte’s New San Francisco Office Will Be Cooler Than Yours

Sayeth San Fran managing partner Mark Edmunds.


He told the SF Business Times, “The cool factor will be very high,” so maybe we’re taking his statement slightly out of context. Presumably, “high cool factor” not only means that there won’t be tight security on bathrooms and they’ll allow pictures in your respective cube but it sounds as though there will be a faux-Starbucks available and a theater so you can listen to Barry Salzberg talk about diversity in surround sound.

The new office — nine floors in San Francisco’s newest office tower — represents not only a change in address, but an evolving philosophical transformation in how Deloitte serves its clients. Instead of private sanctuaries where partners retreat to pore over financial statements, the new environment will be all about collaborative spaces, Starbucks-like cafes and enclaves with the latest video conferencing technology. There will be a theater-style “learning center” that can hold groups of up to 200.

Deloitte recalculates headquarters [SF Business Times (partial subscription required)]

Marin County Scrapping SAP System That Deloitte ‘Neophytes’ Slapped Together

Earlier in the summer, we told you about Marin County California, who was pretty displeased with Deloitte throwing a bunch of ‘neophytes’ at their ERP implementation project or in the County’s words ‘a trial-and-error training ground.’

As a result of Deloitte’s amateur hour, the SAP system – that Deloitte claims was just fine and dandy where they left it – is now being thrown to the scrap heap by the county because fixing it will cost more than replacing the whole system. And God knows Arnie won’t be helping them out with the bill, so they have to save on costs where they can.

The system is the subject of a lawsuit Marin County filed against system integrator Deloitte Consulting earlier this year. Deloitte used the project as “a trial-and-error training ground” for inexperienced employees, and the result was a “costly computer system far worse than the legacy systems it was intended to replace,” according to the county’s complaint.

Deloitte has filed motions against Marin County’s “completely unfounded allegations,” as well as a complaint seeking unpaid fees, a spokesman said via e-mail. The system “was working properly and could perform all the tasks consistently with the standards set forth in the written contract,” according to a Deloitte court filing.

Marin County tells a different story. The SAP implementation dates to 2006, but today only 50 percent of the functionality is in place and working properly, according to a county report.

The county hasn’t decided on who they’re going with for the new system but if you’ve got a one-person shop with no experience and present your RFP using overhead transparencies, you’ll still have an edge on Deloitte.

County will rip and replace ailing SAP system [Reuters]

Deloitte Poll: One-Third of Companies Don’t Have the First Damn Clue About Business Analytics

You can try to blame the Obama Administration’s anti-business policies but you really only have yourself to blame. Get with it people.

Business analytics represents the ability to rapidly harness massive amounts of data for modeling complex situations and predicting potential outcomes and alternatives. This presents enormous potential value for business leaders to make more informed, fact-based and ultimately better business decisions. Yet, in a recent Deloitte webcast poll of more than 1,900 technology executives and business professionals, approximately one-third of the participants either didn’t know if their organization utilized business analytics – or even if they had business analytics capabilities at all.

“Mind-boggling,” said John Lucker, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, leader of its Advanced Analytics and Modeling practice, and one of the webcast presenters. “Organizations have ever more depth and breadth of information readily available within their grasp, and the technology and methods to extract and help synthesize the data are well proven. When you see the low levels of adoption, you have to ask the question, ‘Why aren’t more companies doing it?'”

Deloitte Webcast Poll: One-Third of Organizations Have Limited or No Business Analytics Capabilities [PR Newswire]

Deloitte Highlights Its Non-monetary Commitment to Its Talent Via Hexagon-Filled Report

Deloitte officially rolled out its Talent Annuity Report today and before you start wondering just what the hell a Talent Annuity Report is, Barry Salzberg enlightens everyone:

We published a Talent Annuity Report because we regard our talenhat generates an annuity. We take pride in the contents of the report — it is a tangible manifestation of our passion and commitment to our talent. Our people are vital to the continued growth of our business, and we are focused on fostering a quality culture where everyone has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.

Everything Dr. Phil says may in fact be true, however when we look at the report, we see a lot of indecipherable hexagons that may or may not be used to communicate this “passion and commitment to [Deloitte’s] talent.”


Fortunately, if you’re not too interested in navigating through the geometric maze, the press release manages to break down why it was such a bang-up year for the talent at Deloitte:

The report chronicles a year of bold talent initiatives and historical milestones including:
• Groundbreaking of Deloitte University, a $300 million state-of-the-art center established to foster personal and professional growth at Deloitte

• Company-wide rollout of Mass Career Customization® , a career development model that enables all Deloitte professionals to dial up and dial down their careers to fit their needs at various life stages

• Launch of a voluntary sabbatical program for employees to take up to six months leave to engage in volunteering and other personal pursuits

• Presentation of Deloitte’s cutting-edge corporate lattice business strategy in a new book titled “The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work

• Introduction of a customized approach to talent development with Deloitte professionals participating in 2.4 million learning hours

• Achievement of the 1000+ mark for women partners, principals and directors — a reflection of Deloitte’s hallmark Women’s Initiative and commitment to an inclusive environment.

• Recognition from more than a dozen national organizations, including the No.1 ranking on BusinessWeek’s “Best Places to Launch a Career” list

Whether or not spending $300 million to build the Deloitte frat house is worth it, is a matter of opinion.

As for BusinessWeek lists and whathaveyou, most employees understand that this perpetual conclusion is for marketing purposes and would be more than happy to take exception with it. As for the rest of the initiatives and milestones, you can take them for what they are worth.

But what’s especially interesting is the timing of this release. These non-monetary reasons are presumably supposed to serve as reminder of Deloitte’s commitment to employees. But since the report was issued in wake of the merit increases we saw last week, it’s almost if it’s meant to console employees after the relatively disappointing news. And if that is the case, it will fail miserably.

Deloitte Releases Talent Annuity Report [PR Newswire]

Deloitte Donates $500k to Seminar Where Professors Nerd Out on Complex Accounting Issues

Joking, joking, joking. Actually it’s the American Accounting Association Robert M. Trueblood Seminars for Professors and it sounds as though it’s a pretty important little get-together.

Launched in 1966 and sponsored by the AAA, the Trueblood Seminars is a two and one-half day session where attendees share and examine complex accounting and auditing case studies. The program’s objective is to offer professors some perspective on present day accounting issues from the viewpoint of the auditors and preparers of financial statements. Each seminar features multiple case discussions led by Deloitte & Touche LLP partners, an open forum discussion on professional issues and developments in practice, as well as an update on the standard-setting activities of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). More than 2,000 professors have attended the Seminars since the program’s inception.

As long as Barry Salzberg isn’t having a free-wheeling discussion about diversity, then we’re all for it.

Deloitte Foundation Renews $500,000 Commitment to Continuing Education for Accounting Professors [CSR Newswire]

Comp Watch: Deloitte Advisory Breaks Double Digits

The news from the House of Salzberg continues to roll in; following the news from the audit practice yesterday:

The Deloitte advisory P/P/D group had a call today discussing the raises for this year. The raises will run between 5%-15% for anyone rated 1-3. 4s will get no raise. The breakdown will be based on level, promote status, rating and some potential variable factors to determine percentages. Most likely staff and seniors will get the best raises, as they are most likely to bolt once bonuses (AIP) are paid.

No word on what bonuses are, as this can vary much more on a person to person basis.

Tax practice was supposed to have their call this morning; was there a mass hari kari or a riot?

American Apparel Subpoenaed Over Auditor Switcheroo

American Apparel’s downward spiral continues as Bloomberg reports that the company has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY over the company’s “change in accounting firms.”

If you’re justl started with Deloitte quitting as the auditors of APP late last month. At that time, Deloitte warned that the ’09 financial statements may not (read: definitely are not) reliable and that they were getting the hell out of Dov.

Former APP auditor Marcum – for reasons unbeknownst to us – went back to their old client to try and help them straighten things out. Here’s the latest from the “preliminary results” for the second quarter, while thetardy 10-Q remains elusive. These prelims (i.e. a wild stab?), that were filed today warn that things are likely to get worse before they get better:

Potential Restatement of previously issued financial statements

Effective July 22, 2010, Deloitte resigned as our independent registered public accounting firm. On July 26, 2010, we engaged Marcum as our independent registered public accounting firm. On July 28, 2010, we reported on a Form 8-K that we had been advised by Deloitte that certain information had come to Deloitte’s attention that if further investigated may materially impact the reliability of either Deloitte’s previously issued audit report or the underlying consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2009 included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009. Deloitte has requested that we provide Deloitte with the additional information Deloitte believes it is necessary to review before any conclusions can be reached as to the reliability of the previously issued consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2009 and auditors’ report thereon.

Depending on the outcome of this review, a restatement of our financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2009 could be required. Any restatement may subject us to significant costs in the form of accounting, legal fees and similar professional fees, in addition to the substantial diversion of time and attention of our Chief Financial Officer, our other officers and directors and members of our accounting department in preparing and reviewing the restatement. Any such restatement could adversely affect our business, our ability to access the capital markets or the market price of our common stock. We might also face litigation, and there can be no assurance that any such litigation, either against us specifically or as part of a class, would not materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or the market price of our common stock.

But that’s not all! The company discusses a few more issues, “We are subject to regulatory inquiries, investigations, claims and suits. We are currently defending one wage and hour suit, one sexual harassment suit and responding to several allegations of discrimination and/or harassment that have been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or state counterpart agencies.”

At that point, the filing finally gets to the problem du jour:

In addition, in connection with our previously disclosed change in auditors, on July 30, 2010, we received a grand jury subpoena from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for the production of documents relating to the circumstances surrounding the change in our auditors. We have also received inquiries from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding this matter. We intend to cooperate fully with these requests and any related inquiries.

If consider all that, plus the fact that the company is spending cash like Pacman Jones at a strip club and that they’re likely to be in noncompliance with a major debt covenants at September 30th, it’s no surprise that the stock is off even more than when Deloitte first quit as auditors.

American Apparel Drops After Receiving Subpoena on Change in Accountants [Bloomberg]
10-Q [SEC]

(UPDATE) Compensation Watch ’10: More Deloitte Results Lag E&Y, PwC

From the mailbag:

Managers in the Northeast for Deloitte had their compensation call today, raises for [audit] senior promotes (2nd year to 3rd year) are confirmed at 5 to 9 percent, depending upon rating. 1st year to 2nd year are 2 to 5 percent, depending upon rating. Experienced seniors are 4.5 to 6.5 percent with bonuses from $3k to $7k depending upon rating.

This is materially flat year over year for Deloitte. Although they are giving bonuses and raises to experienced seniors which did not happen last year.


So this is similar to the news from the Midwest we reported on Friday which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the country who may have been hanging on to a sliver of hope for PwC/E&Y-esque numbers.

Discuss and keep us updated.

UPDATE, August 18th: This just in:

Confirmed on audit senior compensation webcast this morning:

Base salary increase for New Managers by Rating:

1 – 24%
2 – 23%
3 -18%

Base salary increase for Experienced Seniors by Rating:

1 – 9%
2 – 6.5%
3 -4.5%
4 – 0%

Bonus for Experienced Seniors by Rating:

1 – 7k
2 – 5k
3 – 3k

Base salary increase for 1st to 2nd year staff:

1 – 5%
2 – 3.5%
3 – 2%
4 – 0%

Base salary for new hires will not change from prior year.

Annnnd discuss.

Compensation Watch ’10: Early Returns from Deloitte Are In

The first reports of Deloitte raises for audit professionals have come in from the Mid-America Region:

I’m surprised to see absolutely nothing posted about Deloitte raises. We have had the raise discussions in my office for staff and seniors, no double digit raises in sight. AIP (bonus) for Seniors and above. Managers- TBA.

Mid America Region- it’s looking like 2-9% for staff/seniors. AIP is supposed to be in the range of 2-12%, but that is the range for both seniors and managers. I spoke with a friend in another office in my region and their raises are looking pretty consistent, if not lower. Starting salaries are frozen- start classes from fall 09, 10, 11 will all at the same rate.

This is the earliest word we’ve received and comments have suggested that more news would come early next week. The tax practice still has their town halls next Tuesday but that could be to explain the numbers if in fact they are similar to audit’s.

So this could be a John Kerry-esque exit polls effect or maybe this is a sign of things to come. Either way, if you’ve gotten word, discuss below and keep us updated with any developments.

All This Talk of Deloitte’s “Double Digit Growth” Has People Wondering

On Monday we learned that Deloitte Tax had a STD and now there’s more chatter about the firm’s performance that could maybe, possibly affect comp for this year:

A new set of video blogs came out from the northeast regional managing partner. He announced double digit growth in perdiods [sic] 9-13 of FY10 and a plan for “continued double digit growth through FY11”. I know everyone is getting antsy over compensation (discussions are supposed to take place beginning next week, with raises hitting on the 9/3/10 payroll), and they keep dropping comments about “substantial raises” and “double digit growth.”


So while some people remain skeptical, it appears that Deloitte is warming you up the troops for a nice surprise next week. Deride if you must but can Dr. Phil & Co. really afford to come in with lower raises than PwC and E&Y?

For a firm that talks like they’ll be numero uno in a few short years, it would be pretty embarrassing to bring in some paltry raises while the firm they’re chasing managed to make it up to at least a few of their people. Discuss the latest and keep us informed.

Compensation Watch: Deloitte Tax Sets a Date

Rejoice Deloitte Tax Troops. Your wait is nearly at an end, although from the sounds of it, you might be disappointed:

Word from our office tax managing partner has been that the compensation pool for raises is about 4-5%, which I think is going to make a lot of people pretty unhappy. But I guess with all the rumors out there and with Deloitte being the last of the Big 4 to release comp numbers, they decided to hold this forum. I’m expecting the same song and dance (weak revenue, highlighting all the other benefits besides comp) to try to stem the tide of people leaving. Since January, we’ve lost about 15 people (at all levels) out of about 110 in our office tax practice, and I doubt the news regarding comp will keep others from jumping ship.

Who: All US Employees

What: Overview of FY11 US employee compensation, including:

• Review the objectives and strategy of our compensation program
• Review the components of compensation
• Review the FY10 annual incentive plan
• Review the Tax compensation process and next steps
• Answer your questions

When: Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time: 8 am to 8:30 am –regional compensation town hall
8:30 to 9:00 am -optional local office debrief with practice lead

Depending on how the town hall goes, the “optional” debrief could be an extremely interesting discussion. If audit or advisory have receive similar communiques, send them our way and we’ll continue to keep you updated on the countdown.

Ex-Deloitte Partner, Son To Shell Out $1.1 Million to Settle SEC Insider Trading Charges

Last we had heard of Thomas Flanagan, Deloitte had just taken him to the woodshed, successfully suing him for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and breach of contract related to Tom’s insider trading activities of Deloitte clients.

Now it’s the SEC’s turn to get in on this sweet action. The Commission charged Flanagan and his son, Patrick Flanagan for insider trading of Deloitte clients including Best Buy, Sears, Walgreens and Motorola.

Why Flanagan, the 38-year veteran of Deloitte and Vice Chairman of Clients and Markets, who thought that in the twilight of his career, the best move would be to engage in some insider trading is still a mystery. Since he was presumably pushing 60, one couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps his memory was going and he just totally spaced the independence thing.

But actually, no. Turns out, Tom Flanagan is just a liar:

According to the SEC’s complaint, Thomas Flanagan concealed his trades in the securities of Deloitte’s clients and circumvented Deloitte’s independence controls. He failed to report the prohibited trades to Deloitte, lied to Deloitte about his compliance with its independence policies, and provided false information to Deloitte’s personal income tax preparers about the identity of the companies whose securities he traded.

Flanagan & Son will be paying over $1.1 million in disgorgement and fines for their little stunt. And Robert Khuzhami had a little reminder for anyone else out there that thinks they can get cute, “Flanagan’s insider trading violated one of the most fundamental rules of public accounting. All audit firms should learn from this unfortunate episode and employ vigorous controls designed to ensure compliance with the SEC’s auditor independence rules.”

SEC Charges Former Deloitte Partner and Son With Insider Trading [SEC Press Release]
SEC Complaint Against Thomas Flanagan and Patrick Flanagan [SEC Complaint]

Compensation Watch ’10: The Teasing Continues as News from Deloitte Inches Closer

By now everyone is borderline freaking out due to Deloitte partners’ ability to remain coy throughout this process, using words like “substantial” and “better than last year” which, considering the love shown last year, is ironically accurate.

Annnnnnddd it continues. A source dropped us part of an email from Nick Tommasino, Deloitte’s Chairman and CEO of audit and enterprise risk services:

Understand your compensation package
• Deloitte provides a comprehensive Total Rewards package, which is designed to:
· Attract, retain, motivate, recognize, & reward high-performing talent
· Demonstrate the value of individual contributions as it relates to business performance
• When your individual compensation discussions occur in mid-Aug, keep in mind these main financial components of the Total Rewards package:
· Base salary
· AIP*, aimed at eligible high-performing seniors, managers, & senior managers (Reminder: AIP payouts will be subject to taxation & 401k deductions)
· Rewards & Recognition program, which includes Applause Awards, Outstanding Performance Awards, Promotion Awards, & Service Anniversary Awards
• Key compensation dates include:
· Mid-Aug: Compensation discussions begin
· Sun, Aug 22: New salaries effective
· Thu, Sep 2: Updated compensation statements available on DeloitteNet
· Fri, Sep 3: New base salary & AIP award amounts reflected in pay statements available on DeloitteNet

The motivation behind such a message is subject to interpretation. Some may think this is a friendly reminder (one of several, no doubt) of the upcoming discussions OR it’s a friendly reminder that doubles as a reality check that this isn’t 2005-2006.

Meanwhile, in the consulting part of the house, one commenter is claiming that news is going to be extra good, courtesy of some Punit Renjen prognostication:

Punit said “Compensation will be highest in history” via video for Consulting…

So who knows! The good news is that you will know soon enough but numbers remain a mystery. Unless someone finally coughed up a range. In that case, we strongly encourage that you share.

What if Deloitte Moved Out of New York City?

What happens when you’re the Prized Catch of the New York City real estate market? You threaten to move your operations to New Jersey or Connecticut, of course!

Per a report on GlobeSt.com: “According to IDA documents, Deloitte notes that it is ‘currently assessing options’ for its metro area real estate strategy, ‘including the evaluation of existing in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.’”

One could assume that this is just a ploy by Deloitte to frighten the IDA into approving $21 million in tax benefits, but Deloitte – currently in four different buildings around the city – bit back with teeth:

In New Jersey, Deloitte US firms “have significant operations, including recently expanded, underutilized class A office space.” Similarly, Deloitte has more than 30,000 square feet of “underutilized” office space in Connecticut, and adds that “various other jurisdictions are being considered” for future growth.

Now before you East Village wannabe socialites and Park Slope stroller pushers freak, let’s break this down.

Deloitte isn’t going anywhere. Corporate Tax breaks are nothing new, right baseball fans?

Even if it were to move across the Hudson to New Jersey, it is doubtful the firm would go farther than Jersey City. Sure, there are comrades in Parsippany; but it would be very difficult to maintain a city presence from exit 45 off of Rte 80. But from a staffing perspective, this would be corporate suicide. What University of Texas (“at Austin” – sure, sure) graduate wants to move to New York City and Not. Actually. Be. In. New York. City?

Recruitment – shot.

Talent retention – HAHAHA.

A handful of current employees thankful their NJ Transit days are over – okay, I’ll give you that one.

Listen – in reality, this is a rather simple case. Manhattan is bleeding vacant office space; Deloitte is promising 2,100 new jobs; no one really wants to take the PATH train to work every morning. This should be a rather slam dunk case.

Unless, of course, Connecticut governor Jodi Rell catches wind that the Green Dot is looking for a new home.

Deloitte Resigns as American Apparel Auditor; Hotness of Engagement Team Presumably Not an Issue

So for those of you that aren’t too fashion conscious, you probably don’t the name Dov Charney. He’s the Chairman and CEO of American Apparel and you’d be hard pressed to find something in one of his stores that qualify under your firm’s dress code.

Nevertheless! AA is a publicly traded company and is subjeities laws as everyone else. Last year they opted to drop Marcum as their auditor for Deloitte. One year later, the firm has apparently had all they can stand of AA because they resigned today, citing possibly unreliable financial statements for 2009, sending the company’s stock reeling.


The 8-K has the usual language that you would expect from a typical auditor/client break-up but here are the gory details for those you that enjoy that sort of thing (citations omitted and extra fun stuff is bolded):

During the period from April 3, 2009 through July 22, 2010, there were no “reportable events” except that (i) in Deloitte’s report dated March 31, 2010 (which was included in the 2009 Form 10-K) on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2009, Deloitte identified material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting related to the control environment and to the financial closing and reporting process, which are further described under Item 9A in the Company’s 2009 Form 10-K, and advised that the Company has not maintained effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2009; and (ii) Deloitte advised the Company that certain information has come to Deloitte’s attention, that if further investigated may materially impact the reliability of either its previously issued audit report or the underlying consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 included in the Company’s 2009 Form 10-K. Deloitte has requested that the Company provide Deloitte with the additional information Deloitte believes is necessary to review before the Company and Deloitte can reach any conclusions as to the reliability of the previously issued consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2009 and auditors’ report thereon.

As we mentioned, this has spooked plenty of people, including Ed Yruma an analyst at KeyBanc quoted by Bloomberg in a letter to investors, “The company has struggled since its IPO with both its internal controls and its ability to file SEC filings on a timely basis. An ability to file SEC filings on a timely basis has been an ongoing issue.”

Back to the superficial. Dov Charney is, what you might call, a character. Here’s a brief chat we had with Nick, Breaking Media web developer and occasional contributor to our sister site Fashionista:

me: When i say the name
Dov Charney
your response is…
Nick: LECH
PERV

You only need to snoop around the web briefly (e.g. here, here, here) to pick up what Nick is referring to.

Deloitte’s letter to the SEC is brief and makes no mention about the plethora of models not wearing pants or Dov judging the young auditors’ hot or not-ness, so that likely wasn’t part of the problem. Anyhow, AA ran straight back to Marcum who might be more comfortable with, what we imagine to be, an interesting work environment.

8-K [SEC]
American Apparel Falls After Deloitte Resigns as Accountant [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]

Compensation Watch: Deloitte Advisory Can Expect ‘Substantial’ Salary Increases

From the mailbag:

Just got off an “All Hands” call for Deloitte Advisory (not Audit). TPTB said to expect “substantial” base salary bumps for staff and seniors, but that they are moving toward a “base+bonus” structure for managers and up. As such, the bulk of the increase in salary pool will be to staff/seniors.

I dont know what that means – it would sure be nice to see 12-15% percent, but I dont think that is being too realistic. Whatever the case, I doubt there will be bonuses for staff/seniors like you saw at PwC. They bandied about a “$36MM” number a couple times, but that is really irrevelant without a discussion of the distribution.

People are sure giving a lot of credit to PwC. Maybe firing out of the gate was a way to put pressure on everyone else but don’t forget, not everyone at PwC is thrilled with their compensation season.

We aren’t expecting official word out of Deloitte for awhile but in the meantime, feel free to speculate on ‘substantial’ and keep us updated.

Deloitte Survey: Once this Ship Turns Around, People Are Going to Start Jumping

Deloitte’s 2010 Ethics & Workplace Survey tells us what most of you have been thinking since 2007 (if you haven’t been laid off that is), that you are GTFO of your current job. Everyone is just sitting tight until the economy to turns around.

While that might not exactly be a newsflash, the reasons for the anxious ship jumpers is primarily due to lack of trust and communication from their companies. Deloitte knows a little bit about this since the firm admitted to handling its own communication regarding layoffs “poorly.”

According to Deloitte LLP’s fourth annual Ethics & Workplace Survey, one-third of employed Americans plan to look for a new job when the economy gets better. Of this group of respondents, 48 percent cite a loss of trust in their employer and 46 percent say that a lack of transparent communication from their company’s leadership are their reasons for looking for new employment at the end of the recession. Additionally, 65 percent of Fortune 1000 executives who are concerned employees will be job hunting in the coming months believe trust will be a factor in a potential increase in voluntary turnover.

So. The question of the day is, are you leaving your firm or company as soon as this economy takes off? You have to admit, you could waiting awhile. Of course since it’s compensation season for the major accounting firms, it may not even come to that.

Compensation Watch: Anxiety Continues at Deloitte

Why? Because the partners seem to be pretty good at keeping a lid on things:

[N]o word on raises or communication of raises- all I’ve heard from some partners is “they will be better than last year, but not as good as they have been in the past”, I know most people around here are starting to get anxious.


As we mentioned on Friday, PwC and E&Y have been having a pissing match of sorts but only P Dubs has dropped actual numbers. E&Y will be coughing up official word in a couple weeks-ish or so, but Deloitte? Our understanding is that D’s comp news won’t be known for another month.

Some vets of the firm are used to it. Like GuestDT:

This is really just the blueball conversation for most people – there are a handful who will get unexpected drop in rating or not promoted, but most of that stuff is hinted at as we plan for the next audit year. This is the time of year to go to lunch and hear your counselor say, “Noone’s really said what compensation will be…” But you do get a free lunch.

But the NKOTB are more anxious. D&T 1st Year:

We’re all sitting on our hands as we see managers coming out of counselor meetings crying because they didn’t get promoted to SM. Worse yet, being a 2nd year next year will be rough as we are all going to be senioring our jobs as there are no seniors left. Look out 5th years, you might be senioring again next year too.

So what to do (besides console your emotionally unstable manager)? Start tickling partners until they cough up some ballpark figures, pull out a dartboard or just drop your best guess below.

Deloitte Tax Sells Deloitte Investment Advisors to Aspiriant

Don’t panic! DIA only has 40 professionals serving 450 clients so the band isn’t breaking up. Although, maybe this is a segue into Barry Salzberg’s shopping spree. Who’s to say?

Whatever it means, both c happy with how the deal turned out.


Deloitte’s Chet Wood: “We determined that divesting Deloitte Investment Advisors is in the best interest of DIA, our professionals and our clients. As part of the Aspiriant organization, the business will have greater latitude for growth through offering additional services and pursuing its own marketplace interests.”

Aspiriant’s Rob Francais: “This acquisition is another step in our long-term growth strategy to ensure that Aspiriant remains a leading independent wealth management firm that is well-positioned to serve the needs of wealthy families for generations to come. The employees at Aspiriant and DIA share the same high standards and values; we are truly cut from the same cloth, and we welcome this exceptionally skilled team to Aspiriant.”

So. D Tax is happy to free up some cash; Aspirirant is happy to get some exceptionally skilled cloth. Carry on.

BPR:

NEW YORK, July 19 /PRNewswire/ — Deloitte and Aspiriant today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Aspiriant Investment Advisors, a subsidiary of Aspiriant, a leading independent wealth management firm, will acquire Deloitte Investment Advisors LLC (DIA), a fee-only registered investment advisory group owned by Deloitte Tax LLP. The transaction is expected to close in September 2010, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

DIA commenced operations in 1998 and is comprised of approximately 40 professionals. The group provides investment advisory services to individual and institutional investors and currently has approximately $2.9 billion in assets under advisement for more than 450 clients.

After a review of strategic opportunities for the business and an analysis of regulatory considerations, Deloitte Tax concluded that divesting DIA provided the best opportunity for the group’s future growth.

“We determined that divesting Deloitte Investment Advisors is in the best interest of DIA, our professionals and our clients,” said Chet Wood, chairman and chief executive officer of Deloitte Tax LLP. “As part of the Aspiriant organization, the business will have greater latitude for growth through offering additional services and pursuing its own marketplace interests.”

“This acquisition is another step in our long-term growth strategy to ensure that Aspiriant remains a leading independent wealth management firm that is well-positioned to serve the needs of wealthy families for generations to come,” said Rob Francais, chief executive officer of Aspiriant. “The employees at Aspiriant and DIA share the same high standards and values; we are truly cut from the same cloth, and we welcome this exceptionally skilled team to Aspiriant.”

Once the transaction is completed, Aspiriant will serve approximately 800 clients through eight offices in the U.S., and have more than $7 billion in assets under management and advisement.

“We are confident that our expanded team and geography will enable us to deliver additional benefits to clients through a broader range of investment and financial planning services, as well as increased depth of management and investment talent,” Francais added.

Deloitte Employees Infesting Miami Condos with Their Green Dottedness

In case you hadn’t heard, Miami has been in the news this week. It is the new home of some rich dude who may or may not be the biggest egomaniac in sports.

HOWEVER! What’s more important is that we read that the decimated real estate situation in downtown Miami – you know, all those luxury condos on one bought – might be turning around and it’s due to, in no small part, to a plethora of Deloitte employees infesting the towers:

Brandon Klein has done what few Floridians can: go weeks without driving his car.

The 26-year-old tax accountant walks three blocks from his condominium tower on Biscayne Bay in Miami to his office at Deloitte LLP. On weekends, he and his friends hang out on the pool deck or share a cab to a local Irish pub.

He lives in Downtown, a neighborhood where young people are renting condos built during the 2004 to 2008 boom to attract second-home buyers. Thanks to the housing crash, Klein and two roommates pay about $900 a month each for an obstructed waterfront view, a wraparound balcony and access to a gym, spa and steam room.

“Five years ago you wouldn’t have kids fresh out of college living in luxury like this,” said Klein, sitting in front of the 24-hour concierge in the three-story lobby of his building at 50 Biscayne Boulevard, coordinating happy-hour plans by text message. His friends are concentrated in nearby Met I, which has 447 luxury units and a steakhouse on the first floor. They refer to the building as “Deloitte Dorm” because it’s home to so many employees of the accounting and consulting firm.

We understand that ‘BergBW has certain journalistic standards that prevent it from explaining the ‘Dorm’ aspect of ‘Deloitte Dorm’ so we’ll be glad to elaborate.

Chances are most of Green Bloods living in the Deloitte Dorm are around Brandon Klein’s age so it’s likely that there is activity going on that you would normally find at a national training. This means people passed out in the lobby, lots of awkward accountant sexual advances and the occasional drop-in by Barry Salzberg or some other “adult” to remind everyone that they are representing Deloitte.

In any case, if there’s a ‘Deloitte Dorm,’ then there are certainly other Big 4 buildings in the area which is a pretty sickening thought.

Miami’s Downtown Comes Alive as Condos Fill With Young Renters [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]

Comp Watch: Sit Downs Starting at Deloitte; Anxiety Over Raises Picking Up

Lots of news this week on the compensation and promotion fronts with Grant Thornton, KPMG and PwC all making announcements or soon-to-be making announcements (that we’ve heard; are you holding out on us, E&Y?).

The latest out of Deloitte is that the discussions are starting (although maybe not today since it sounds like most are off) but the news on yay or nay on promotions is starting and now the anxiety around comp will increase over the next two month:

The year-end ratings and promotion decisions have been approved by National; so the process of communicating both to Deloittians is starting…At a high-level, I heard that promotions this year were tough – that being said, plenty of people made it through. For the most part, people are now waiting to hear about comp – scheduled for communication the last two weeks of August.

We did hear one rumor about the number of new partners expected, “at a recent partner meeting, it was announced that there will be more than 60 new PDPs nationally, with more than 10 being in the Northeast,” so you can toss that around your meat-ingestion fest this weekend if you so choose.

Discuss your epic/tragic news re: your new promotion if you’ve received word and keep us updated on the comp rumors.

Who Will Deloitte Buy Next?

Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg did a little sit down with the Journal and made it perfectly clear that he’s shopping for another acquisition. The BearingPoint transition seems to have gone as well as Dr. Phil could have asked for and now he’s ready to move on to the next one.

But who?

Mr. Salzberg declined to name specific future targets, but said he sees opportunities to build scale in areas including environmental and technology consulting.

“I would be very willing to make another and very willing to position ourselves properly for the right kind of acquisition or a combination in the market.”

The Journal article mentions the recent rumors around Booz & Co. merging with A.T. Kearney but BS wasn’t that hot on the idea (even though D could take both either of them no prob) saying that they aren’t, “‘as high a priority for me’ as other opportunities.”

Plus, Salz is hoping that he can offering something tangible for a change rather than just billing all your hours out, “He cited a newsletter, or ‘information services,’ as an example of something that isn’t as labor-intensive as consulting but provides a complementary service to clients. Such a business ‘isn’t as dependent on the hourly production of people,’ he said.”

No target is too big or too small, according to Salzberg but like we mentioned, he’s not naming names. So let’s try and read his mind a little bit, throwing caution to the wind – McKinsey? DiversityInc Magazine? The Hair Club for Men?

Suggestions, sincere wishes and wild-ass guesses are welcome.

Today in Auditor Musical Chairs: KPMG and Deloitte Both Get the Boot

Evergreen Energy of Denver dismissed Deloitte effective June 23rd according to the company’s 8-K filing. Hein & Associates, a local Denver firm, will take it from here.

It stands to reason that Evergreen didn’t appreciate the going concern opinions that Deloitte gave the company for its December 31, 2009 and December 31, 2008 financial statements but in cordial SEC filing fashion, there are no parting shots from the company.


Evergreen’s press release indicates that this was simply an opportunity to throw some action to another firm (most likely with lower fees), “With the sale of certain Buckeye assets and our exit from the coal mining industry, Evergreen Energy has transitioned into a green technology company. This is an ideal time to switch to a Denver-based regional accounting firm with substantial public company expertise in the clean technology and software industries that can more cost effectively meet our needs.”

Deloitte’s letter to the SEC is abruptly admits that everything is cool rather than flat out saying, “you’ll be sorry you ever ditched us, you losers.”

Similarly, Measurement Specialties, Inc. showed KPMG the door for Ernst & Young. The company says everything was hunky-dory between the two although there was a small matter of the internal controls around a significant joint venture of which the company had no control. Oh, and the effectiveness of internal controls of some recent acquisitions also couldn’t be determined. But it was cool and the company said, “it was in the best interests of the Company to change its independent registered public accounting firm.”

KPMG has NFI what that means saying in their letter, “we are not in a position to agree or disagree with Measurement Specialties, Inc.’s statements relating to the reason for changing principal accountants.”

We wish everyone nothing but happiness.

BearingPoint Trustee Shaking Down Old Employees for Sketchy Expense Reimbursements

The Washington Post recounts Deloitte’s purchase of BearingPoint’s Federal Services business last year and as you might imagine it’s mostly a glowing piece about various aspects of the deal.

These include revenue growth “The company posted about $1.65 billion in federal revenue this year — up from combined revenue of about $1.43 billion before the acquisition,” the increase in headcount, “Deloitte hired close to 1,400 people, and the firm is now planning to add 160 to 170 more per month,” and expansion of services, “Deloitte had a more expansive set of services and products than BearingPoint — including tax, audit and consulting services — but BearingPoint, with more than 35 years in the federal business, had access to a larger set of clients.”

Sounds swell but there are some loose ends to tie up, most notably the trustee of BearingPoint’s liquidating trust is sending letters to former BearingPoint employees under the Deloitte roof to get some cash back for expenses that were deemed unnecessary for doing typical business in DC Metro:

John DeGroote, whose firm serves as trustee to BearingPoint’s liquidating trust, confirmed his company is now trying to reclaim BearingPoint expenses that were improperly reimbursed — either because the expense should not have been reimbursed or because the employee did not provide the right documentation.

The trust has sent out between 400 and 500 letters to former BearingPoint employees seeking $750,000 in expenses, $250,000 of which has already been returned, DeGroote said.

Since the “the expense should not have been reimbursed or because the employee did not provide the right documentation” you can safely assume that these were the standard three martini lunches at the District’s finer establishments, rub ‘n tugs and other expenses that would normally be a-okay but less-so when a rival buys you out.

BearingPoint acquisition has extended Deloitte’s reach [WaPo]

Deloitte Employees Enjoy Boozing, Checking Out Men in Uniform Thanks to G-20 Protesters

Protestors of this weekend’s G-20 Summit invaded Toronto this week which promoted some companies in the TO’s financial district to take extraordinary measures so that their employees wouldn’t be bothered by all the jobless ruffians.

Most shops just sent people home as a precautionary measure as protestors gathered throughout the week but some diehards are camping out, as FINS reports on StatPro North America’s office that is near the red zone that surrounds the Toronto Convention center:

Andrew Peddar, chief operating officer of StatPro North America, said that the firm wanted to ensure that its clients, which include asset managers and hedge funds, could be assured of uninterrupted service during the week.

The campout was the employees’ suggestion. That way, they’ll avoid potential disasters on the client front and also sidestep protestors.

“We have sleeping bags, lot of food and lots of liquid,” said Peddar. The axes? “In case we need to break out.”

Or chop off some ne’er do well’s arm, you know, whatever is necessary. Obviously these guys are overachieving, bedwetting amateurs that don’t recognize an opportunity when they see one.

Fortunately, Deloitte knew better and told all its employees to work from home starting Tuesday. Some used the unexpected time off to get enamored by the security, “Junaid Zia, a risk analyst at Deloitte, had most of the week off. When he left the office Monday night, he said he didn’t see any protestors, only a lot of policemen…’They should just do G-20 every year,’ he said.”

But at least one Big 4 veteran saw this as a perfect opportunity to do some weekday drinking:

[A] senior analyst at the office, took the opportunity to spend time riding his motorbike and watch soccer… “I went to a British bar for the England game, an Argentinian bar for an Argentina game, a German bar for a German game,” he said. “But I’ve been working.”

By Thursday, he was lying down at home, having injured his back. He declined to elaborate on how the injury happened.

Probably hurt it tracking that fantasy football team, no?

What I Did During the G-20 Summit [FINS]

Compensation Watch ’10: Deloitte Is Kicking Around Some Numbers

Last we checked on Deloitte’s compensation news, it was news of the wealth being spread around more than last year, although no one was really impressed based on the discussion that followed.

But now out of Ronaldo Fan Club HQ we’ve got an opening bid:

“It was announced at a Tax meeting last Monday that the average raise for NE Tax would be 5% this year.”


Since Dr. Phil recently said that raises weren’t going to return to “pre-recession levels” an average raise of 5% may be in the ballpark. Then again, this is only the tax practice…

Anyhoo, our source told us that reactions boiled down to:

1. After axing or transferring everybody from the Stamford, Wilton and Hartford offices, they better pay the remaining people more!

2. At least it’s more than the average of 0% last year…

If you don’t fall into either camp 1 or 2, make your opinion known. Otherwise, get back to watching your fantasy team suck.

Satyam: Does Anyone Mind if We Take Another Three Months to Finish Our Restatements?

With just a couple weeks until the June 30 deadline for the company to issue its restated financial statements, Satyam is requesting just a little more time to get this mulligan nailed down. Three months to be precise.

Yes, they’re completely aware that it’s been nearly 18 months since the shit hit the fan. And yes, this is the third time they’ve asked India’s Company Law Board (“CLB”) for an extension on the filing but at this point they figure expectations are so low, no one will get too worked up over it.


Except for an “analyst with a leading brokerage house.” who is quoted in the Business Times, “There is no clarity on what is happening within the company. They should have at least provided the current sales figure or the bench strength. How is the shareholder supposed to rate their stock?”

Since more than a few people might be caught up in “sales figures” and whatnot, Satyam went to the trouble to let everyone know that they’re working hard, ordering in, etc. etc. so you can rest your pretty little heads:

A Satyam official said, “The records have been under the custody of investigating agencies and we recently got a court clearance. Also, our auditors (KMPG and Deloitte) told us they need some more time for the restatement. It’s only a matter of a quarter.”

See? It’s just a matter of a quarter. Plus, you can’t really blame them – KPMG and Deloitte are the ones saying they need more time. Satyam has likely been bugging them for months about wrapping up but KPMG and Deloitte are probably complaining, saying things like, “we can’t find any documentation to supports these numbers” and “this doesn’t add up.”

So, TFB if some whiny analysts don’t like it. We’ll just find out just how big of nightmare these financial statements will be in due course.

Everyone at Deloitte Worked for Free Today

As you may or may not be aware, it’s Deloitte’s 11th Annual Impact Day today:

“Deloitte is providing hundreds of nonprofit leaders from across the country with valuable counsel to help them deal with common business challenges, at no cost.”

That’s right friends, no one is – gasp – billing time! It’s a 100% green dot free-for-all across this great land.


However, we did speak to one source at the firm who told us that they haven’t participated in Impact Day in 3 years, “everyone leaves me alone so I can get something done,” so despite the message at Deloitte HQ that “no one is available to take your call,” and what you’re reading on Twitter, we know some people are working.

Obviously that’s lame but the real question is how many Green Dots called in sick and are currently getting blitzed watching the World Cup? And keeping an eye on their fantasy teams? AND maniacally laughing while watching Barry Salzberg live Tweet the whole day?

All Deloitte New Hires Want to Do Is I-F-R-S

No, really. They made a song:


Items of note:

– “Spin that beat” had to be requested twice.

– Things don’t get really serious until #20 gets off the stage.

– #21 didn’t know the words but managed to do the arm swinging quite well.

– The line, “My workpapers don’t lie” is obviously a lie. Everyone ghost ticks at some point.

– Calling out the tax practice for not having any swagger is a little presumptuous.

Other thoughts? Go.

It’s Ridiculous to Think That Enterprise Financial Dismissed KPMG Because of the Restatements

KPMG has been kicked to the curb by Enterprise Financial according to an 8-K that was filed on Friday by the company. The ubiquitous claim of “no disagreements with [insert firm]” was there along with a mention of a material weakness that was related to the restatements issued for both 2008 and 2007 but that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the dismissal of the auditors:

In connection with the identification of the loan participation accounting error described in Item 7, Management Discussion & Analysis and in Item 8, Note 2 of the consolidated financial statements and elsewhere in the Form 10K dated March 16, 2010, the Company also determined that a material weakness in its internal controls over financial reporting existed during the periods affected by the error, including as of December 31, 2008. The Company’s management concluded that the material weakness was the Company’s lack of a formal process to periodically review existing contracts and agreements with continuing accounting significance. To remediate this material weakness, during the fourth quarter of 2009 the Company implemented a formal process to review all contracts and agreements with continuing accounting significance on an annual basis. As a result of the review conducted in the fourth quarter, management did not identify any other errors in its previous accounting for such contracts or agreements. Management believes that this new process has remediated the material weakness in the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.

So in other words, “Yeah, maybe we should have been looking at these contracts but we weren’t and so some material misstatements slid through. We’ve slapped some duct tape on it and it’ll be fine from here on it. End of story.”

The esteemed pleasure of auditing Enterprise now belongs to Deloitte who has now snagged three clients from KPMG this year (by our count) – picking up Jefferies and Select Comfort back in March.

Enterprise Bank parent dismisses KPMG [St. Louis Business Journal]

Deloitte’s World Cup Fantasy League Will Ensure That No One Gets Any Work Done for a Month

Deloitte is officially the first Big 4 firm to succumb to their World Cup fever. Understanding that a large portion of its 160,000-ish employees will be completely unproductive for the next month, rather than take reactionary measures, D has instead decided to encourage participation the Deloitte World Cup Fantasy League.


Don’t worry if you happen to work at a less cool firm that would never encourage such egregious behavior, anyone can play in Deloitte’s World Cup Fantasy League, so some KPMG folk can enjoy a little international competition and sport denim twice a week.

PLUS! You could throw some of your hard-earned money around based on PricewaterhouseCoopers picking Brazil as the favorite but Deloitte would rather you spend your precious chargeability obsessing over the hottest player about to go cold in order to win a replica of the World Cup trophy.

And if that’s not worth your time then maybe you aren’t capable of being pleased by anything. Except for perhaps more images of football stars with their shirts off.

[h/t The Big Four Blog]

Marin County Accuses Deloitte of, Among Other Things, Using ‘Neophytes’ on SAP Project

Deloitte is being sued by Marin County in California, who is alleging fraud by misrepresenting its “skills and experience.” In other words, the County says that D used their ERP project as more or less a training ground for its newbie consultants. And no client likes it when you bring the blades of grass on site. They can’t even turn on their laptops without causing some sort of scene, amiright?


Channel Web has some of the particulars:

The County in April 2005 hired Deloitte to implement its SAP ERP system. However, the County alleged in the court document, “rather than providing the County with SAP and public sector expd the County’s SAP project as a trial-and-error training ground to teach its consultants — many of them neophytes — about SAP for Public Sector software, all at the county’s expense.”

Plus! The County claims Deloitte promised their very best people. From the complaint: “Deloitte further represented that for the County’s SAP implementation, Deloitte had assembled a team of its ‘best resources’ who had ‘deep SAP and public sector knowledge.’ ”

A Big 4 firm promising their best and brightest on the job in an RFP? There’s a shocker. “Best” being relative, as we all know but Marin County (obviously not familiar with a Big 4 sales pitch) must have been expecting a team to fly in from hyperspace that could slap this thing in lickity.

Thankfully, Michael Krigsman explains over at ZDNet that this isn’t exactly rare:

1. The court filing describes sales practices that are common through the consulting and systems integration industry.

For example, the complaint alleges that Deloitte committed to “dedicate our best resources and bring tailored implementation strategies to meet [Marin’s] long-term needs.” Many IT customers complain their system integrators do not follow through on such commitments and use inexperienced labor in attempts to reduce their own costs and increase profits.

We’d be so bold to say that this true of many Big 4 engagements, whatever the service line. Newbies have to get their teeth cut somewhere – why not on a public service job where money obviously grows on trees?

Deloitte isn’t impressed with this gnat of a lawsuit, claiming that they did exactly what they were supposed to do (not to mention to put up with the amateurs at MC that have zilch ERP experience) and the system was working just fine when they left:

As stated previously, we fulfilled each and every one of our obligations under the contract, as evidenced three years ago when all of our work was approved by the County officials responsible for the project. To be clear, the SAP (NYSE:SAP) software was working properly when we completed our work in November 2007. Not only is the complaint without merit, but we are filing our own claim against the County for breach of agreement and unpaid invoices. Although we are confident that we will prevail in court, it remains our belief that this dispute can and should be resolved in a more logical fashion that benefits the County and its taxpayers.

So Deloitte gets a little huffy basically saying, “Suck it, Marin County. MBAs love Deloitte. OH, and btw, you owe us some money,” but ultimately wants to keep things civilized for the sake of the taxpayers. Let’s hope it stays childish just for the sake of entertainment purposes. Taxpayers in California are f—ed anyway.

Marin County complaint against Deloitte Consulting on failed SAP project

California County Sues Deloitte For Fraud In SAP ERP Project [Channel Web]
Marin County sues Deloitte: Alleges fraud on SAP project [IT Project Failures/ZDNet]

Porn-Extortion Plot Didn’t Turn Out Too Well for Ex-Deloitte Partner

This story goes back before GC’s time so we’ll give you some background: Steven Klig was a hotshot tax partner at Deloitte until he was arrested for extorting an ex-lover back in January 2009.

Since most tax partners we know have to beat off the ladies with a stick in each hand, this seems unbelievable but apparently, Klig didn’t have the typical IRC wonky charm and was a little miffed that a lover wasn’t interested in him any more.


His frustration reached critical levels which resulted in emails to the lover, who he tracked down on the web and claimed that he had a DVD of them getting down. Lucky for us, the Post just so happened to get its hands on a copy of the email back in January ’09:

“Just to give you a head’s up. I’ve been doing a little editing on our video. Mostly some blurring of myself so that I won’t be recognized,” he wrote in one e-mail, according to the criminal complaint. You, on the other hand, can be seen very clearly having the time of your life being f—ed by me.”

Despite the good times, the woman went to the FBI after Klig emailed her husband trying to get a hold of her email address. An agent posing as the woman responded to Klig:

[A]sking what he wanted and pleading, “I want to keep my family out of this.”

He allegedly responded, “I don’t need money. What I really want is something new to look at.”

Klig then allegedly detailed his preferences for the “first installment” as: “(1) fully clothed; (2) without your shirt; (3) without your shirt and pants (in just a bra and panties); (4) without the bra and (5) fully nude.”

And the best part? He sent some of these emails while he was on vacation. At Disney World. With his wife and kids. Can’t you see it? You’re walking around Epcot, surrounded by shrieking children, grown adults dressed as princesses, talking animals, and overgrown dwarves; what a perfect opportunity to extort some porn out of an uncooperative ex-lover!

According to the Post, Klig pleaded guilty to lesser charge in order to avoid serious time although the judge indicated he could face up to a year in prison where he may or may not have the time of his life.

Tax lawyer pleads guilty in porno-extort scheme [NYP]

Bonus Watch ’10: “Performers” Getting More Love at Deloitte

Last month we told you about some Deloitte partners in the Northeast that were dropping some “Applause Awards” on “strong performers,” possibly to help calm some nerves.

At that time, our sources indicated that “partners have also hinted at more money coming their way.” It now sounds like those hints are resulting in some greased palms:

[S]ome $1,000 [Outstanding Performance Awards] have been circulating in NE AERS for “performers”. Similar to the $100 applause awards for the larger segment of consultants, I think partners are trying to head off a mass exodus; not sure if the 1k will make a difference; but it does seem to be keeping people from quitting prior to hearing about their year-end comp adjustments

So regardless of what some Deloitte HR types might think, there are partners out there that are worried about people leaving and they seem to understand that throwing a little cash around does wonders for cooling some anxious heads.

Deloitte’s Walt Disney World Dream Ends: Firm Going “Virtual” in Orlando

Deloitte Disney World joins PwC’s tax practice which took the dirt nap effective May 3rd. The Orlando Business Journal reports that the office will become “virtual,” a term that still has not been defined to our satisfaction.


We called Deloitte Orlando for more information but the employee we spoke to “was not authorized to comment.” We were forwarded to a voicemail box of someone else and we haven’t heard back. According to the report in the OBJ, Deloitte is the third largest firm in the area; according to Deloitte’s website the location has 60 employees.

One source familiar with Deloitte told us that this could possibly be a move by D (and possibly other firms) to “centralize their operations in an effort to cuts costs,” while still maintaing a minimum “physical presence” in a city. Whatever the reasoning the most likely scenario is that no one wants to be within a stone’s throw of a certain resident.

Accounting firms rumored to be paring down area operations [Orlando Business Journal (subscription)]

Compensation Watch ’10: More People at Deloitte Will Receive Raises This Year

Some straight talk from Barry Salzberg:

Barry had a [recent] session in LA at which time he said essentially the following about comp:

1. Raises and bonuses will be distributed this year
2. Raises and bonuses will be larger than last year, but are unlikely to return to “pre-recession” levels any time soon
3. More people will be receiving raises and bonuses this year


Unfortch, Deloitte doesn’t seem to be getting involved in the pissing match with E&Y and PwC by putting a number out there but “more people” and “larger” are both somewhat encouraging, no? Well, not really, according to our source:

To my knowledge, we’re not getting any more info. On the people side; the video didn’t say anything new and everybody knows that the economy’s getting better and that Deloitte’s doing better; so we all assumed it was going to be like he said. Without a number benchmark, words are pretty much useless.

Deloitte Manages to Tone Down Its Response to This Year’s PCAOB Inspection Report

The PCAOB has released its 2009 Inspection Report for Deloitte and out of 73 audits inspected, 15 deficiencies were cited in this year’s review.

The Board writes that deficiencies are “failures by the Firm to identify or appropriately address errors in the issuer’s application of GAAP, including, in some cases, erikely to be material to the issuer’s financial statements. In addition, the deficiencies included failures by the Firm to perform, or to perform sufficiently, certain necessary audit procedures.”


Issues cited by the PCAOB in the report included goodwill impairment, deferred tax assets, inventory valuation, a failure to identify a “departure from GAAP,” among others. The Big 4 Blog rightly notes that this is the first time that the PCAOB has provided the sample size of the inspections which allows for some surprising error rates:

The error rate in this situation is quite high, almost one of every five audits has errors. Obviously, Deloitte performs thousands of audit each year and extrapolating from a small sample is quite dangerous, nonetheless, even at half of 20%, the natural conclusion is that one in ten audits has an error, and would have gone unnoticed had not the PCAOB done a good post-audit on the audit.

You could really make a fuss about what auditors did and did not do but the fact remains, audits are never perfect. Some are just more unperfect than others. What’s especially interesting is how Deloitte’s attitude has changed with regards to the PCAOB’s findings as compared to last year.

In last year’s inspection report, the Board cited seven audit deficiencies which resulted in a three page letter from Deloitte that, in no uncertain terms, told the PCAOB to get bent and keep their Monday Morning QBing to themselves. This was about as an aggressive of a response from an accounting firm as we had seen so it was definitely a surprise to see a firm lose their cool.

This year, despite the fact that Deloitte was cited for over twice as many deficiencies, the firm is considerably less defensive (read: boring) and put together a concise one page response to the Board’s findings that included the following:

“We have evaluated the matters identified by the Board’s inspection team for each of the Issuer audits described in Part I of the Draft Report and have taken actions as appropriate in accordance with D&T’s policies and PCAOB standards.”

It’s nice to see the firm playing nice with their regulator this year but we’re curious as to how the change in attitude came about. We hope that at least one of the remaining Big 4 will include a little more color in their response.

PCAOB_2010_Deloitte_Touche_LLP
PCAOB Inspection of Deloitte Audit – 20% Error Rate?? [Big 4 Blog]
Audit Deficiencies at Deloitte [WSJ]

Deloitte Is Totally Cool with You Jumping Ship

A GC reader from Deloitte emailed me the notes from a recent meeting for management on the health of its staff levels. Our source had the following to say:

I’m a senior in D&T (making manager in the fall) and thought the minutes from a recent manager meeting were interesting in terms of HR’s take on attrition. It does match what you’ve said in your column, i.e. they plan for a certain level of attrition, but I don’t think they even want to consider that there could be a cause for concern.

Management Community Feedback

Retention: Previous S. Manager / Manager Practice meeting unity is seeking additional clarity as to where the firm is heading, in the short term and long term (i.e., economics, compensation, etc.).

HR Audit Update: As of the time of the meeting, specific numbers are not known

DWB: Staff complaints, questions, and concerns, are summed up with the phrase “community is seeking additional clarity.” People want to know what the *#&! to expect in these still-somewhat-unclear times. Oh, and HR? They can run their “numbers” in minutes. Why they were not shared is a mystery; a concerning one at that.

Senior Turnover: Managers feel concerned with the leadership leaving at the senior level – potential for additional turnover in the fall

HR Audit Update: Turnover is comparative to 2 – 3 years ago so not considered a concern.

• Recent increase in the number of seniors that are voluntarily leaving the firm when compared to those trends seen in the last 12 – 18 months
• Region is looking at approximately 75 new hires
• Restrictions on inter-office transfers are being lifted

DWB: A lot to take away from this.

1) Managers are vocalizing the fact that people are leaving; this goes beyond the typical public accounting attitude of “good riddance.”

2) Turnover in 2007 was incredible. Do you remember what the market was doing in 2007?! It was a rip-roaring success. To compare it to that time frame and say it is “not considered a concern” is troubling. The difference between then and now is D&T was hiring like gang-busters themselves at that time so the attrition was not “felt” as severely as it’s being felt now. Layoffs and frozen hiring budgets make the recent staff losses more significant.

3) More people quitting now than during the recession? What research expert included that bullet point?

4) Inter-office transfers being reintroduced is a positive point; expect an announcement about this spun in the HR-style of “woo-hoo, now you can work in St. Louis!” And by St. Louis they mean Branson, Missouri.

What to do?

• Create a positive environment for the seniors and staff
• Leverage personal experiences to keep seniors/staff motivated
• Express advantages a “manager” position can add to one’s career path when looking at long-term goals.
• HR Advisory Update: National recruiting expects a good group in the Mid-West. Comparative attrition trends are taking place even though it may feel that the turnover rate is higher than normal.

DWB: Talking about the glory days of D&T audits doesn’t sound exciting, but sometimes it’s enough of a Kool-Aid effort to keep staff motivated. And look! Attrition rates are right where they want them to be. So all of you on under-staffed, over-worked projects? Yeah, this is the type of environment they plan for.

I’ll let our anonymous tipster finish off the commentary:

At least they might try to “create a positive environment” for me. I’d be really concerned if HR actually believes this or if they just don’t want to panic the managers. (Incidentally, I will be leaving after they give me the promotion.)

In More Accounting Firm-Terrorism Related News, Some Taxi Driver Really Had It Out for Deloitte

After a sun-adverse family man tried to blow up the Viacom Building (and was close enough to E&Y to evacuate the area) and a former PwC Senior Manager was charged yesterday for supporting terrorism, now a taxi driver whose company serviced Deloitte in India has been arrested for attempting to set off a bomb in Hyderabad’s HITEC City:

Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba was planning bomb attacks on the HITEC City, a major IT township here, and the office of a multinational auditing firm.

Mohammad Zia Ul Haq, who was arrested yesterday following a tip off by the National Investigation Agency, was directed by his LeT handlers to bomb the Hyderabad office of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, one of the four largest auditors in the world, and was in the process of carrying out the plan, government sources said.

Interestingly, Haq works as a driver for a taxi service hired by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

What kind a-holes do they have working at Deloitte in Hyderabad? Bad enough that this guy concluded that bombing a company that puts food in his mouth was an action that needed to be taken. Thankfully, they caught the guy.

Obviously the question now is, when does KPMG get its little terrorist related news?

LeT planning to attack Hyderabad’s HITEC City [Economic Times]

Deloitte Playing Superhero to Group Hoping to Buy Manchester United

Let’s stop digging E&Y for five minutes and talk about Deloitte trying to sex itself up as tax advisory coaches to the group hoping to purchase Manchester United.


Guardian:

Deloitte, which has worked hard to build up its sporting credentials with its annual audits of football’s finances and consultancy work for a host of clubs, is understood to have become the latest big financial hitter to become associated with the Red Knights, the would-be buyers of Manchester United, in an advisory capacity.

Alongside Freshfields, which is supplying legal expertise, and Nomura, the Japanese investment bank that has been responsible for contacting all the 40 or so wealthy individuals who expressed concrete interest in the plan, Deloitte is believed to have been supplying advice on tax structures and how to structure any bid most efficiently.

Yeeeeeeeeeeah I can see it now, “casual football Friday” memos circulated around Deloitte’s UK offices about appropriate garb for the field and some hokey “We Are the World” sing-a-long at the end when Manchester United kicks whomever’s ass (I don’t watch the stuff). Excellent.

In the spirit of not discriminating when ripping on the Big 4, this Deloitte flick nearly brought me to tears. Maybe it was the faux hawk or the overgrown baby beard. Perhaps it was the fucking cape. You decide.

The Green Dot FTW!

Bonus Watch ’10: Are Deloitte Partners Getting More Generous to Keep the Peace?

Here we are, it’s April, and most of you are happy to be bored (relatively) at work for the first time in months. Now that your brain isn’t saturated with numbers and/or what you’ll eating at your desk, you may be weighing your options. As we’ve mentioned, Big 4 partners are expecting this and naturally they want to keep their top performers. How best can they do this? Bribery of course!


And at Deloitte, this method seems to be gaining steam. An accountant close to the situation gave us the rundown on the recognition programs at the firm:

• Applause Awards (whenever)
• Outstanding Performance Awards (whenever)
• Merit Bonuses (annual)

For the most part AAs ($100 to $500 – tax adjusted) and OPAs ($500 to $5,000 – non-tax adjusted) were frozen for the last 2 years; with MBs only being processed for 1s and sometimes 2s (we’re rated on a scale of 1 to 5 – 1 being the best, 5 the worst – with typically 5% 1s, 10% 2s, 80% 3s, 5% 4s and 5s).

Now that you have the background, there’s this:

Based upon what I’ve been hearing very recently, strong performers have been getting [Applause Awards] for $100 in the NE [Advisory] practice. In some limited instances, partners have also hinted at more money coming their way (seemingly in the [Outstanding Performance] realm). Seems like the partners are noticing that people, especially performers, are getting antsy; and are trying to keep the peace until compensations are adjusted in September…

Well! Good to see that Deloitte partners are taking their firm’s advice (combo of #2 and #5). This could work out well for those of you that are rockstars at Deloitte (and are easily swayed by monetary reward) but for the other 80% that fall into the unexceptional categories, you may just have the longer ladder to look forward to.

Earlier:
KPMG Reinstating “Standing Ovation” Bonus Awards

The Tax Code Became a Religious Experience

“I started to read the Internal Tax Code like I used to study the Bible.”

~ Bob Gorman, religious teacher turned tax professional.