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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 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]
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 exp d 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.
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]
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.
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 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)]
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.
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, er ikely 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.
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.)
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]
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.
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!
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.
Continuing with Wednesday’s attempt to provide insight on some KPMG H.R. banter, I will try to do the same with a recent Deloitte press release.
What seems to be their attempt to provide the private sector advice on how to prevent an exodus of talent actually sounds like a fluffy internal HR memo. Perhaps the Big 4 should review Deloitte’s top ten list of ways to not get slaughtered by the ever-improving job market:
1. Take advantage of the continuing globalization of talent and leadership markets.
DWB – Raid your competitors of their best talent, downplayed earlier this week.
2. Know your critical leaders and most critical talent. Keep your talent pipeline robust enough to deliver those critical skills.
DWB – Pay your top performers in order to keep them happy. If they receive an offer elsewhere, counter-offer their asses. Because the only inevitable outcome is the loss of some talent, see #1.
3. Prepare for a workforce that is more mobile and quicker to pursue new career opportunities.
DWB – Keep tabs on your people. Job loyalty has gone the way of the
dinosaurs Baby Boomers. The “what’s in it for me” mentality is keeping job markets saturated with talented individuals looking for a better deal.
4. Tailor your strategies to address the generational and geographic diversity of your workforce.
DWB – Old people and young people don’t get along. They’ve never gotten along. They never will get along. Accept it and move on.
5. Show your employees both the money and the love. Communicate your employer brand as clearly to employees as you communicate your product brand to customers.
DWB – One part water plus two parts HR spin, stirred. Pour over ice. Serve.
6. Know what it takes to stay ahead of your competitors in retaining critical talent, developing new leaders, implementing workforce planning and driving innovation.
DWB – I don’t have a clue what you’re supposed to learn from this. Money is the main driving force. Money makes people dance for joy or jump ship. If your retained talent is net positive, suhhhweeet.
7. Create clear career paths for employees at all levels.
DWB – I like this one if implemented correctly. The traditional career trajectories are well known; communicate practice-to-practice and geographic rotations. Change – even short term – can refresh one’s career and create a greater sense of loyalty to the firm.
8. Align your leadership development programs with your long-term business goals.
DWB – Every firm has ‘the chosen ones” and invests in additional training, retreats, and leader cultivation courses. This should come as no surprise.
9. Know the real impact of talent retention and voluntary turnover on your bottom line.
DWB – Newsflash: it is not cheap to replace talent. Considering most hires begin their careers as interns, we’re talking years of financial investment in every staff member. From pen giveaways to amusement park tickets, there’s a steep price for every staff member lost!
10. Be a beneficiary — not a victim — of the resume tsunami.
DWB – Perhaps you should revisit point #1.
You don’t need to tell Jim Quigley that it’s only a matter of time before Deloitte is the largest accounting firm ON EARTH.
In a Q&A with India’s Business Standard, Quigs was asked about the shrinking gap and you better believe the man is all over it like a hard-hitting interview at Davos: