In a Bloomberg Law article that looks suspiciously like a thinly-veiled advertisement for Philadelphia law firm Cozen O’Connor, Cozen CEO Michael Heller outlines his firm’s business strategy — “We don’t want to be the firm that pays the highest salaries when times are great, terminates the associates when times are bad and then just keeps […]
From the Los Angeles Times today: During the years in which Trump battled disclosure, much of the information he sought to keep secret about his pre-presidential finances became public anyway, largely from a 2020 New York Times investigation. The picture that emerged showed that for all Trump’s claims to be a great businessman, his core businesses […]
“I mean, where would I put big wooden doors?” — Kristen Andersen, a great-granddaughter of Arthur E. Andersen, told the Wall Street Journal about the time she was offered the double doors to Andersen’s Chicago office after the accounting firm’s demise but turned the offer down. Instead, Kristen Andersen, who worked as a senior manager […]
“I counsel people all the time — never believe anyone who says they’re awesome, believe other people who say they’re awesome. That’s why I recommend checking online reviews from independent sites, the Better Business Bureau and media coverage from reputable outlets. I even suggest checking to see if they partner with any major charities. None […]
“The IRS destroying data for an estimated 30 million filers in March 2021 is appalling. This will create massive chaos for taxpayers in terms of filing time and refunds. The fact that the IRS is a business that operates in the dark ages in terms of technology further compounds the taxpayer’s burden. They act like […]
“It is of course for the tribunal to reach a conclusion on the allegations as they relate to the individuals concerned. Nevertheless, it is clear to me that misconduct has occurred and that our regulator was misled. The misconduct that this tribunal will hear about over the coming weeks is disturbing and upsetting for me […]
“I’m not talking about billing hours, actual hours of work were 80 to 120 hours. There were people that were substantially underpaid. Wouldn’t you call that a sweatshop?” — Tony Sheldon, Labor senator and former union boss, asked PwC Australia partner Catherine Walsh during a Senate hearing on job security Dec. 8. Walsh was there […]
“If you were the head of audit at one of the Big Four and you read this document, you’d be thinking ‘I think those are the things I’m [already] trying to do.’ The problem, as far as we’re concerned, is they don’t really do it.” — Sir Jon Thompson, chief executive of the Financial Reporting […]
“I was just talking to our team in terms of the importance of people, the importance of being empathetic, the importance of making sure that we’re taking care of our people. And, you know, we talk to our clients about this all the time. We’ve actually hired 115,000 people in the last year, but we’ve […]
“Well, I’m KPMG man and boy. I actually did engineering at university and then decided that I wanted to get a business qualification alongside that, so I joined the KPMG audit team in Glasgow and did my charted accountant training there. And then post-qualifying I moved into our transaction services team in order to implement […]
“I remember being in the offices of Deloitte, counting down the seconds until five o’clock, or whatever time it would be that I could finally leave, and just feeling miserable every day at the office. Feeling like I wasn’t where I wanted to be.” — Simu Liu, star of the new Marvel film Shang-Chi and […]
“We are monitoring these developments. At this point in time, though, we just don’t believe it’s practical to enter the practice of law.” — Steve Kimble, CEO of Deloitte Tax in the U.S., said in an interview with Bloomberg Law about the possibility of Deloitte stomping around Big Law’s turf in the States. What developments […]
“I think the whole industry should simply do away with any age-based retirement policy. I don’t think older partners perform any differently. These days people still have got a lot to offer as they get older. They’ve got a lot of experience, they’ve got a lot of know-how. They can be up with trends in […]
“Now, if you want to do what you want [with your time] I suggest that you become millionaires, authors or bums. Failing that, I would like to emphasize the rules of the road for scheduling.” — Alexander Curry, partner and U.K. lead of Deloitte’s strategy and business design practice, Monitor Deloitte, in an internal email […]
“The film is not famous in Germany. Nobody knew of the film until the version with Johnny Depp came out. So when I tell people I was a part of the Willy Wonka movie, nobody knows.” — Michael Böllner, a tax accountant in Munich who played the obnoxious chocolate-loving 9-year-old slob Augustus Gloop in the […]
“This is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. To regulators, they have always been giving warnings that if you close one down, we will be the Big 3 – so leave us alone, as we are ‘too big to fail’. Fundamentally, it’s the leadership culture and aggressively commercial model of these firms which is broken […]
“The principle of shared audits is very attractive to challengers as long as the share of the audit is meaningful and brings incremental experience to teams. If the challenger firm is just going to get what’s left at the bottom of the barrel, that’s not interesting and doesn’t help.” — Fiona Baldwin, head of audit […]
“We have championed flexible working for many years prior to COVID-19 and we will continue to do so. This has been built on a culture of trust with our people. We also believe there will always be a need for EY to have office space across the U.K., but how we use our offices in […]
“Charles Ponzi is now a footnote. They’re now Madoff schemes.” — Anthony Sabino, a defense lawyer specializing in white collar criminal defense, famously said in July 2009 after Bernie Madoff decided not to appeal his 150-year sentence for fraud. As you’ve probably heard by now, Madoff died today in jail at the age of 82. […]
“I didn’t feel I had a choice. I had to fight for justice. And any cursory examination of the facts of the case showed that I was clearly in the right. Given that, I have never been able to understand why EY fought a losing battle for so long.” — Amjad Rihan, a former audit […]
“Just remember: if we all go an extra mile for our client, even when we feel that we’re reaching our limit, it can really make a difference in our performance.” — David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, said in a message to the investment bank’s 34,000 staff worldwide last Sunday, in which he responded to […]
“[This is] in circumstances where my client is finding it very difficult to remain in the partnership and has lost the trust of his partners.” — Paul Moorhouse, the lawyer representing Deloitte Australia partner Colin Brown, said in federal court on March 5. Brown, an audit partner, is accusing Deloitte of age discrimination by unfairly […]
On second thought, the whole kicking clients in the face and cannibalism thing will probably land you in hot water with your bosses … and the authorities: “[W]e’re going to kick you in the teeth, right? And when you punch us back, we’re going to smile at you. And when you knock us down, we’re […]
“The IRS remains dedicated to improving service to taxpayers, modernizing its systems and maintaining the integrity of the tax system, while also protecting the health of its workers and American taxpayers. The way the IRS has responded to the challenges we faced this year serve to highlight the significant role that the IRS plays in […]
From the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 21: Deloitte, infected in late June according to the Journal’s analysis, said in a statement it “has taken steps to address” the malware but hasn’t “observed indications of unauthorized access to our systems at this time.” Along with Deloitte, a WSJ analysis revealed that the suspected Russian hackers […]
“This is a bizarre and scandalous state of affairs. Putting aside any espionage risk, which is clearly highly serious in itself, surely there are significant questions to be answered about client confidentially. If I was a client of these firms, would I really want my sensitive business information being discussed by people with links to […]
From the Wall Street Journal: [Emerson Electric CEO David Farr] had just gotten off the phone with KPMG LLC, Emerson’s auditors since 1938, and he was steaming. The problem: It was June and they were still working from home. “Look. I make s—, and you can’t tell me how I’m making s— when you’re sitting […]
“You’re methodical, you think about numbers and percentages. The personality type … it’s a good fit. Learning to be resilient and not letting the bad experiences get you down is how to make it in the end.” — Brice Pavey, an audit associate at Anders CPAs + Advisors in downtown St. Louis, said about working […]
“Hot and nice nerds have always been sexy, this does not elevate Deloitte consultants who think they’re nerds because they studied poly sci at Upenn.” — Katrina Schmidt, a resident of Washington, DC, when asked her thoughts on MSNBC political analyst and election night “map guy” Steve Kornacki being named one of People’s Sexiest Men […]
“The fact that I am [sitting] here being accused of dishonesty, and have never been dishonest in my business life … is frankly outrageous. This whole case here is just a witch hunt and if [the FRC] can’t win the case, which they shouldn’t based on the facts, then it is simply a process of […]
“Banning [EY] for three years from UK public contracts would send an incredibly powerful message that the government will not give public contracts to companies that engage in misconduct … and do not get their house in order.” — Spotlight on Corruption, an anti-corruption campaign group based in the U.K., wrote in a recent letter […]
“It’s probably in the top five, nothing to do with accounting, but overall, it’s a top-five.” — Andy Majkut, owner of Majkut CPAs in Elyria, OH, said about a deer shattering a double-pane window at his office last month. If that’s not the craziest thing Majkut has seen during his career in public accounting, what […]
“We are musicians, we hired the people who we thought were the best in the world. And he failed us.” — Georg Holm, bassist for the legendary Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós, said about the band’s accountant Gunnar Ásgeirsson, who worked at PwC. I’ve got a few Sigur Rós albums on CDs that I burned […]
“[The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration] ignored information that, by its nature, would be expected to have a strong bearing on whether the intended awardee is ‘responsible,’ that is, whether it has the capability in all respects to fully perform the contract requirements and the integrity and reliability that will assure good faith performance.” […]
Yesterday Adrienne wrote an excellent post about winners and losers in accounting during the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve got one to add to the losers side: Deloitte Australia employees. Why? Not only have most Australian Green Dotters taken a 20% cut in pay since May (which CEO Richard Deutsch said was “the least worst option” to […]
[Translated from German to English] “When the times are good, [PwC] hires young talent en masse, let them work through day and night, and when it comes down to it, put the team out on the street.” — an unnamed PwC Switzerland employee, when asked what they think about the firm’s cost-cutting measures due to […]
“I think what we’ve learned is that it’s always better to control your destiny when you can. And I want to be clear, we made a zillion mistakes. I don’t want to come across as we batted a thousand, because we didn’t. But I think what we’ve learned is that it’s always better to control […]
“Hiring Deloitte [to manage PPE procurement] was a funny thing to do. If there is a fire, you don’t call the auditor, you call the fire service.” — said an anonymous clothing manufacturer based in northern England, who said Deloitte has ignored his company’s offers to make medical gowns for healthcare workers on the front […]
“It was designed with all these different things, basically to fail, I think. This thing was a clunker, there’s no doubt about it.” — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said about the state’s unemployment claims website, CONNECT, which was built by Deloitte Consulting in 2013 when Rick Scott was Florida governor. The system has pretty much […]
“Please, please, please partners. Bill now. We need another billing month like March if we are to continue [the upward cashflow trend].” — Andrew Griffiths, chief operating officer of Deloitte Australia, during a Zoom meeting with partners on April 15. The firm’s overall utilization rate dropped from about 71% in the last week of March […]
Does Cathy Engelbert have a point here, ladies? As the first female CEO of a major professional services firm, Cathy Engelbert learned a valuable lesson: Never trust a spreadsheet made by men. “No spreadsheet ever yielded a great result for women,” says Engelbert, who recently became commissioner of the WNBA after a 33-year career at […]
“We know a health pandemic is global in scope, and although this has not been called a health pandemic yet, it may get there, we are seeing a global in scope reaction to the virus. As countries move to contain the virus, those actions in and of themselves are disrupting global economic activity, and that […]
“A lot of CPAs would agree that last year was the worst tax filing season in their professional career. But it would be a mistake to think the upcoming season will be easy just because everyone is now familiar with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. There may be a slight reduction in the complexities […]
“A client injured his wrists, so the doctor told him to keep his wrists elevated. He asked me if he purchased a Harley with those high handlebars, can he deduct that as a medical expense? I told him to show me the prescription from the doctor.” — Lawrence Pon, CPA, told the Washington Post when […]
“The Street doesn’t care about accounting functions any longer. They don’t get into the nitty-gritty anymore.” — Richard Bove, an analyst at Odeon Capital Group LLC, told the Wall Street Journal when asked why accounting expertise seems to be no longer required for the CFO role. According to data from Korn Ferry, only 36% of […]
Sorry, Dan Black. Looks like you’re out of a job. “When I talked to him, we talked about, frankly, talent and how do we retain more talent in the U.S., in particular talent that goes to top schools and so forth. He was very much in favor of retaining that talent in the U.S. so […]
“A simple accounting standard is going to decimate the people in my district’s ability to have home mortgages. This has got to stop. This can’t continue. You should stop and look at the damage you’re going to be doing to the citizens of this country. And in essence after that happens, it’s going to devastate […]
“KPMG is obviously such a vast business that it could probably survive nuclear war.” — Daniel Sutherland, a partner at the U.K. business law firm Fox Williams, when asked if a large decline in profits and recent layoffs at KPMG U.K. will eventually lead to an existential crisis.
“We spend about half a billion dollars a year on upskilling our employees. A big part of our [leadership team] debate three years ago [was] well, if we make our employees more relevant then they’ll get stolen. What we’ve seen is the contrary. We’re investing in our employees—we’re leading with our heart, we’re leading with […]
“[T]he Andersen name may have some negative connotations in audit.” — Mark Vorsatz, Andersen Global chairman and Andersen Tax CEO, who is a former Arthur Andersen partner, on why Andersen Global firms only provide legal and tax services. [Bloomberg Tax]
“Frankly, the people don’t care. My finances are very clean.” — President Trump, when asked if he would release his tax returns, which he claims are still under audit by the IRS. [Roll Call]
Our QOTD comes from Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert, who shared the stage with AT&T Business CEO Thaddeus Arroyo and CNN host Anderson Cooper a couple of weeks ago during the AT&T Business Summit in Dallas to discuss how to be an effective leader in a digital world. Cooper, who moderated the discussion, mentioned that people […]
It seems that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is making New York CPAs’ jobs more hellish than they already are. From Crain’s New York Business: For New York’s largest accounting firms, the biggest tax overhaul in decades has put significantly more work on their staffers’ plates. But it’s not just New York CPAs who […]
“I don’t think the SEC’s culture is one that will make this effective one iota,” said Sherron Watkins, a one-time vice president at Enron, referring to expanded protections for whistleblowers included in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. If she was in the same situation today as 10 years ago, when Watkins approached government authorities about accounting fraud at Enron, she would probably instead take her information to an organization like WikiLeaks, Watkins said. [Paper Trail]
“Could Ernst & Young have done a better job? Maybe, but claiming they could have done a better job doesn’t necessarily make them liable. Even the best of auditors can be fooled.”
~ Anthony Sabino, professor of law and business at St. John’s University
Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette on Thursday downplayed the competitive threat from social-networking giant Facebook Inc., arguing that the digital economy will create a “ton of winners.” “Everybody will benefit if the Web is more social,” he said. “It’s not a zero sum game.” [Dow Jones]
Comments reflected “a lot of unanimity around, if we go in this direction, allowing sufficient time for companies to adjust,” said Schapiro in a question-and-answer session following her keynote address to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ national conference on accounting and auditing issues for public companies. “It’s likely to be a minimum of four years,” but that’s still a point for the SEC to decide, she said, assuming it decides to incorporate IFRS into U.S. capital markets. [Compliance Week]
“Zero Hedge kindly requests any and all Big 4 (and all other) accounting firm whistleblowers to please stand up and let us know of any and every case of improper accounting they are aware of (preferably with supporting documentation).”
“I think we got off to a good start yesterday. There are going to be ups and downs in this process but I’m confident that we’re going to be able to get it done.”
~ President Obama is making us nauseous.
“Congress has gone since 2002 without dealing with the December 31, 2010 expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts. What’s another week or two?”
~ Joe Kristan hasn’t considered the risk of tryptophan hangovers.
“These material weaknesses are likely to continue to exist until the SEC’s accounting system is either significantly enhanced or replaced, key accounting activity in other systems is fully integrated with the accounting system at the transaction level, information security controls are significantly strengthened, and appropriate resources are dedicated to maintaining effective internal controls.”
~ From a report issued by the Government Accountability Office
“Everybody must sacrifice so this quiet killer won’t eat us alive before we have a chance to fix what was our doing.”
~ Former Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici who, along with Alice Rivlin, rolled out their fiscal deficit solution today that includes a 6.5% national sales tax.
“One item that I think we all agree on that was in the Senate bill, not in the House bill, but became part of the law was 1099, which affects small businesses and small contractors and how they report their transactions. They know what it means, and they know they’d like to see it go. I think that’s probably the first place we could go together.”
~ The soon-to-be former Speaker of the House is willing to talk about this one.
“I told them that there are things in there that inspire me, and there are things in there that I hate like the devil hates holy water. I’m not going to vote for this thing.”
~ The Illinois Senator doesn’t like the sales pitch from Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.
“We plan to do everything possible to enact AMT relief legislation in a form mutually agreeable to the Congress and the president. We urge the Internal Revenue Service to take all steps necessary to plan for changes that would be made by the legislation.”
~ One of those “letters” that legislators write to bureaucrats as a form of grandstanding. This particular letter was from Max Baucus, Chuck Grassley, Sandy Levin and Dave Camp to Doug Shulman
“In the recently-released 2011 State Business Tax Climate Index, New Jersey finally moved out of its last-place ranking on that list, in part due to Christie’s veto of the millionaires’ tax he mentioned during his interview. While it still ranks a pretty dismal 48 out of 50, it proves that improvement is possible, even in a state with a tax policy legacy as historically abysmal as New Jersey’s.” [Tax Foundation]
This all started when a shareholder asked Michael about this, and he said that we’re looking into it. Well, of course we’re looking into it.
~ Brian Gladden, CFO of Dell, comes off a little sassy discussing the possibility of the company going private.
“Antitax voters clearly won a victory on Tuesday. But it would be a stretch to say that they don’t want higher taxes on the wealthy. More likely, they just didn’t want higher taxes on the nonwealthy.”
~ Robert Frank, on Washington’s rejection of Initiative 1098.
One of the main reasons [for dissatisfaction] is a lack of role models. Half of female respondents said there aren’t enough women at the top to look up to in top management, while only a third of men complained that there aren’t enough males. On the topic of mentors, however, both sexes feel there aren’t enough of them. More than two thirds of both genders said they haven’t had or currently do not have a mentor to support their career. [FINS]
Ernst & Young, take my word for it, will never be indicted by the U.S. government, as a firm, for its role in any Lehman fraud that’s eventually proven. It’s also highly unlikely – 1000 to 1 odds I’d say – EY will be fined by the SEC or the PCAOB, as a firm, in a civil or disciplinary case.
~ Francine McKenna says it’s a longshot.
“We’re confident that a Congress manned with our pledge signers will be prepared to take the necessary steps to pass permanent repeal of this un-American, outdated policy and stand up for small family businesses, the real job creators in our country.”
~ Dick Patten, President of The American Family Business Institute, says the estate tax is toast now that Senate candidates like Sharron Angle, Ken Buck and Rand Paul are on board with the AFBI’s “Death Tax Repeal Pledge.”
“How about going online and printing [the statement or report] every month as if it were mailed to you — and actually looking at it?”
~ Stephen Pedneault, a veteran forensic accountant, isn’t crazy about all the benefits of technology.
“Ever since the tax cuts were enacted in 2001 and 2003, policy makers have known the law would expire at the end of 2010. That ‘drop dead’ date offered an auspicious way to galvanize a systematic effort to reform a tax system that is badly in need of repair. Instead, policy makers pretty much ignored the issue until just before the 2010 Congressional recess, when politically tinged efforts to extend some or all of the tax cuts finally began — a ‘debate’ that was too little, too narrow, and too late.”
~ William G. Gale, Miller Chair at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center
“I’m tired of pastors submitting to this tyranny — and I’m expecting to try to get the IRS to sue us so that we can take it all the way to the Supreme Court and restore freedom in America’s pulpits.”
~ Pastor Cary Gordon, of Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, Iowa, has some strange ambitions.
“They will help investors to better understand off-balance sheet risks, and to alert them to the possibility of so-called window dressing transactions occurring at the end of a reporting period.”
~ Sir David Tweedie talking up the new rules that were published by the IASB today.
“The largest companies are generally served by one of the Big Four firms and I think that’s going to continue to be true and one of the reasons are the needs of that market place, due to the scale of those enterprises.”
~ Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley (who must have been making the rounds today) doesn’t see a return to the Big 5.
“The question is, Do we get more money from the person that’s gonna serve me lunch today, or do we get it from me? I think we should get it from me.”
“Citi still seems to have aggressiveness with financial targets (well above historical), accounting (tax credits) and corporate governance. Also, the strategy does not always seem in sync with execution and/or financial reporting.”
“If the President really wants to help small businesses, he should insist that Congress not leave town without cutting spending and stopping his tax hike to help create jobs – particularly small business jobs. By failing to act, the President is turning his back on American families and small businesses.”
~ The House Minority Leader, in a statement, nanoseconds after The President signed The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 into law.
“Swearing does provide a sort of release that other language doesn’t provide.”
~ Dr. Daniel Zimmerman, a co-author of a study that says cursing can “clear the head,” and “conveys the sort of aggression that is rewarded with honors and promotions in high-stress workplaces.”