Video

And Now…Ernst & Young Interns Employees Singing a Song About Making Partner, Acronyms in the Tune of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’

UPDATE: Don’t ask me why staff are singing a song about “Intern Dreams” but apparently that is the case, hence the change in the headline. Carry on.

After being away for awhile, many you probably thought that I get on here and bitch and moan how awful it is to be back to grind with you all. It’s been quite the opposite experience actually, as we’ve learned that Adrienne is more than capable of getting people’s attention that inevitably result in emails being sent directly to me while it was widely known that I could be doing any number of things at the time, including A) watching someone’s Vespa go up in flames in London B) eating space cakes C) speaking to French women with a bad American accent D) watching a shockingly violent fight at Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Parade.

But nevermind all that. Cooler heads typically prevail around here so it’s nothing that couldn’t be handled. Plus, it nice to know that I can leave for a couple of weeks and the site doesn’t miss a beat.

But what really makes my life easy is coming back to emails pointing me to the EYConnects Facebook page where you can find this video:


As any long time reader of GC knows, Ernst & Young runs away with from the rest of the Big 4 when it comes to producing videos that border on hilarity. No need to look further than the masterpiece of “In a JIT” to the video from the Las Vegas office featuring an Elvis impersonator.

While “EY Dream” doesn’t feature legendary lyrics like “On a jet like Turley” mocking acronyms and well-rehearsed choreography wins points in our book. Still would have been funny to hear some self-deprecating lyrics related to Lehman Brothers. Oh well, we’ll keep waiting.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on this latest effort below.

(VIDEO) The CBH Raleigh Interns Present: Insanity!

Ever see those annoying exercise infomercials in the middle of the night that promise ripped abs and a tight core, all while screaming at you to get your fat ass off the couch and get started for just 12 easy payments of $99.95?

Well a few Cherry, Bekaert & Holland interns in the Raleigh office decided to make a video that pimps out the greatest fitness plan of all-time – a summer audit internship – with that same high energy madness. We have to admit we didn’t have high hopes until we actually watched it and let’s just say these interns did not disappoint.

When we asked a CBH spokesperson if these amazing interns will be joining the team come fall, we were told “Full time offers? These are obviously all super-accountants, so I’d be afraid to see what they’d do to us if we didn’t. However, I hear HR is still looking at their before pictures.”

Amazing results!

(VIDEO) FEI’s Edith Orenstein and the Singing CPA Present a Love Song to the Pozen Committee

FEI’s Edith Orenstein has dropped a track on YouTube with “The Singing CPA” Steven Zelin called “Hey There Bob Pozen” (as of the date this is posted, we haven’t been able to find a Doctor P remix of the hot track) that really doesn’t need commentary at this moment. But we’ll be back after the jump with a few things to say.

Oh, I didn’t mention it’s to the tune of “Hey There Delilah” did I? Yeah. It totally is.

Anyway, it’s a tribute to the Pozen committee, of which Edith is a huge fan, in honor of its 3rd birthday:

I am a big fan of the Pozen committee, mainly because, like other committees that have fascinated me (such as the EITF , the PCAOB SAG, and the U.S. Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession) it has a fascinating cross-section of preparers (issuers), auditors, investors, and others. I loved watching the webcasts where you could see folks discuss things from different vantage points at the same time. I think that kind of broad-based committee has an advantage over committees made up of only one segment of the constituent community, such as preparers, auditors, or investors. I think the standard-setters and rulemakers can receive the most efficient and effective input when the various segments of constituents face off against one another (I mean that in a polite way, I should say, ‘dialogue’ with each other) on issues of mutual interest.

I assume here approximately 6 to 7 percent of you have any clue what the Pozen committee is (unless you regularly read Edith, which you should if you’re into serious financial reporting shit of which we rarely if ever cover), here’s some financial reporting porn (PDF) to groove on. The short version is that the August 2008 report recommends steps to improve the usefulness of financial information to investors.

In case you’ve forgotten, this isn’t Edith’s first venture into the world of YouTube. Surely you remember “If I Were an Auditor,” filmed completely in Second Life with the help of the MACPA and friends.

Could you imagine what would happen if we could get the Maryland Association of CPAs’ dancing flash mob to do a mashup with Edith and Steven? Someone please get on that.

So You Think Your CPA Can Dance?

One thing I’ve always loved about the Maryland Association of CPAs is that they aren’t afraid to shake things up, do what everyone else isn’t doing and, uh, break out into a dance routine in the middle of a dinner reception.

Remember the “big surprise” they were planning for the 2011 CPA Summit? Here it is, enjoy:

Rich-hating Legislation of the Day: The Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Yachts Act

Sorry for being a little to the game on this one but everyone seems to still be in their meat-induced comas and this type of proposed legislation has left us wondering: IS NOTHING SACRED? If the affluent in our society can’t write off the mortgage interest on their second home that also happens to be boat, haven’t the terrorists won?


The Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Yachts Act was introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) with co-sponsors Reps Tim Walz (D-MN) and Gary Peters (D-MI):

“There’s absolutely no reason why taxpayers should subsidize luxury yachts,” said Quigley. “As we work to address our budget challenges, closing this frivolous tax loophole is a no-brainer.”

“We’re going to have to make some hard decisions to tackle our national debt, but this isn’t one of them,” said Walz. “Closing this tax loophole restores the Mortgage Interest Deduction to its original purpose; helping middle class families realize the American Dream through homeownership.”

Currently, taxpayers are allowed to deduct mortgage interest for up to two homes from their tax returns. Yachts equipped with bedding, toilet facilities, and a kitchen qualify even if they aren’t used as a primary residence. The Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Yachts Act would limit the tax deduction to only those who use their boats as a primary residence.

“We need to get the deficit under control, and that means simplifying the tax code and eliminating special interest tax giveaways like the Yacht Loophole,” added Peters. “Homeownership is part of the American Dream and we should encourage it, but yacht owners don’t need any special handouts, especially in the middle of a budget crisis.”

Also, it’s our understanding that the Reps will use the following footage to make a case for their bill:

[via DMWT]

Are Arguments Against Higher Taxes More Convincing When Made By a Hottie?

Obviously if you’re already against higher taxes, this is of little concern. If you’re more of a David Cay Johnston type, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s casting for its videos may be aimed directly at you.

If one example doesn’t convince you, I suggest you check out the other 12 videos on CFP’s YouTube page.

[via ATR]

Last Minute Tax Help Ideas: Advice From Gary Busey

With just over 24 hours until the tax filing deadline, some taxpayers may be getting desperate and many CPAs are too swamped to take any last minute clients. Faced with such a dilemma, some people are freaking out since it’s rumored that any non-compliance with the IRS will inevitably lead to interrogation techniques approved by the Bush Administration. To avoid this, you’ll need someone that is impervious to physical pain, high stress and has a smile that will frighten yet calm the most anxious of procrastinating taxpayers.


To wit:

These Videos More or Less Portray What It’s Like Being an Accountant for Celebrities

Celebrities suck at taxes. This is known. From Young Buck to Jaime Pressly, there are no shortage of talented-ish people that find themselves in a world of hurt when in comes to complying with the IRC. How any accountants to the stars manage to keep their clients from completely losing their shit this time of year is anyone’s guess.

Luckily for us (everyone out there seems to be suffering from a busy season hangover), a couple of videos we stumbled across more or less put this niche expertise into perspective:


Alan Kaufman, Rock Star Accountant from Dan Meth on Vimeo.

The question over at TV.com, however, is whether or not SNL got its idea for Mort Mort Feingold, Celebrity Accountant from Alan Kaufman, rock star accountant. You can debate that if you feel so inclined but the realism of each is what’s noteworthy here. Anyone with firsthand experience in the A, B, C, or D celebrity clients is invited to share anecdotes at this time.

Would Hannibal Lecter Eat His CPA?

Hard to say. But “Blockheads” would need to be careful.

It might have been funny if there had been glass in the window and our actor hit his head on it but otherwise we’re especially glad they didn’t involve any scenes with Miggs.

PwC Boy Band Demonstrates That Tax-related Lyrics Don’t Come Easy (VIDEO)

This video appears to be from last summer but since we’ve just been made aware of it, we’re brining it to you now. Why there are multiple videos playing off the Backstreet Boys’s “I Want It That Way” is quite baffling in of itself but this particular group decided it would be best to use their own non-studio produced singing voices AND to come up with lyrics that include “351,” “Like-Kind Exchange” and “STD.”


There are a lot of directions to go with this so feel free. Make haste however, I’m sure it won’t be up for long.

Apparently This Video Is a Hit with Big 4 Auditors in Asia

A tipster from Manila sent us this video telling us “[it has] got us laughing over here.” And based on what we see, it seems that being an auditor in the East isn’t really that different from being an auditor in the West. That said, if you detest subtitles or Disney you should probably just move along.

Here’s a Video Explaining Why “Liberals” Want Higher Taxes

In case you haven’t already come up with your own theory.

[via TaxProf]

Wealthy Canines Not Spared Democrat’s Ire During Tax Cut Debate

Somewhere in the whole mishmash of yesterday’s events leading up to the House’s passage of chicken crap, Joseph Crowley took to the floor to remind us know that it’s just not wealthy humans that stand to benefit greatly from tax cuts.

[via Gothamist]

Tim Geithner Doesn’t Think a Tax Cut Compromise Should Be Complicated

He’d take care of this right here, right now if he could.

[via DB]

Here’s What Charlie Rangel Missed at His Ethics Trial

He really should have stuck around. He won on a couple of ’em, which is probably better than most people were expecting.

 


Of course Chuck isn’t going quietly:

How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the Ethics Subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room? I can only hope that the full Committee will treat me more fairly, and take into account my entire 40 years of service to the Congress before making any decisions on sanctions.

[…]

The Committee’s findings are even more difficult to understand in view of yesterday’s declaration by the Committee’s chief counsel, Blake Chisam, that there was no evidence of corruption or personal gain in his findings.

From here forward, it is my hope that the full Ethics Committee will take into consideration the opinion of its chief counsel as well as the statement by Rep. Bobby Scott, a member of its investigatory subcommittee who said that any failings in my conduct were the result of “good faith mistakes” and were caused by “sloppy and careless recordkeeping, but were not criminal or corrupt.”

Earlier:
Charlie Rangel Has Heard Enough

Charlie Rangel Has Heard Enough

The man – looking dapper as ushe – needs representation and isn’t interested in sticking around without it.

What Investment Bank Clients Are Really Saying: “KPMG are stupid”

Auditors – if you have ever suspected that your IB client contacts aren’t convinced of your intelligence, then your intuition is serving you well.

This also helps put the whole AIG/GS/PwC situation into a hilarious context.

[source]

Deloitte Is Going with “Bathtub Recovery”

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

Sign of the Times: CFOs Living on Franks and Beans

Or ones that soon will be:


Look at the bright side, you were on the front page of the Post!

[via Gawker]

Apparently, Sport Coats Can Go a Long Way for Big 4 Auditors

And finger quotes are obviously an effective way of communicating.


Someone is wasting some billable hours in a very fine manner this August.

Earlier:
A Brief Moment in the Life of a Big 4 Auditor

A Brief Moment in the Life of a Big 4 Auditor

Well. Any auditor for that matter.

Based on personal experience it’s plausible that the script came from actual conversations.

Charlie Gasparino Suggests That Erin Callan Should Be Shaking in Her Designer Boots

“At least part of it is focused on the March 2008 capital raise where they went out and did a preferred deal. Erin Callan made some very positive bullish statements about Lehman. About how the nature of its finances would mean that it did not need more capital and three months later Lehman Brothers needed more capital and then came the decline of the firm.”

~ The Fox Business Correspondent/Ace Reporter insists that an announcement is “imminent.” That’s what the rumor mill says anyway.

Eisner and Amper Politziner & Mattia End Suspense, Officially Announce Merger

This, after the two firms downplayed the rumors of the transaction last week. Charly Weinstein, EisnerAmper CEO and Howard Cohen, EisnerAmper Chairman got down to brass tacks in this video:

BPR announcing the exceptional service to the NY/NJ/PA corridior:

New York, N.Y. and Edison, N.J. — August 16 /PRNewswire/ — Eisner LLP and Amper, Politziner & Mattia, LLP announced today that they have combined their practices to form EisnerAmper LLP. The newly formed entity will be the 14th largest accounting firm in the United States and the leading regional firm in the Northeast, with more than $250 million in annual revenue.

Combined, EisnerAmper is the premier regional accounting firm in the New York-New Jersey-Philadelphia corridor, with more than 1,200 staff, including 170 partners. Its principal practice groups provide a variety of accounting, tax and other professional services to closely-held and publicly traded companies, financial institutions, and high net worth individuals and families. EisnerAmper’s core expertise extends to the financial services industry, technology, life and health sciences, software, clean tech, real estate, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, as well as sports, media, entertainment and others. The firm is also the nation’s 10th largest auditor of SEC registrants.

“This combination is the most important and exciting development since the founding of our respective firms and it is hard to imagine two firms that represent a better strategic and cultural fit,” said EisnerAmper’s Charly Weinstein. “Given our complementary strengths in practice areas and regional reach, together with the combined knowledge of our talented professionals, EisnerAmper is exceptionally well positioned to continue to provide our clients with the highest level of expertise and service.” EisnerAmper’s Howard Cohen added, “Our firms share this common vision and strategy, and we look forward to deploying our combined resources and expertise to meet the increasingly complex accounting and business advisory needs of our clients throughout the Northeast and beyond.”

Expanded Services for an Evolving Business Environment
The firm’s expanded resources and expertise will benefit clients that face the challenges of a rapidly changing regulatory landscape, new taxation initiatives, and a volatile and competitive global business environment. EisnerAmper provides a broad array of professional services that address this changing competitive environment, while maintaining the personalized, quality service and relationships that its clients expect and value.

EisnerAmper presents a unique combination of financial expertise in one organization. The firm offers comprehensive audit, tax and business advisory services for the insurance, banking and alternative finance markets (including hedge funds, private equity, venture capital funds and broker-dealers).

Beyond accounting, audit and tax, EisnerAmper’s advisory services include enterprise risk management, mergers and acquisitions, business and asset valuation, debt financing, internal audit, forensic accounting and litigation consulting, reorganization and insolvency and international expansion. Clients of the firm have access to a deep pool of talented professionals with expertise in many industries and practice areas, who can help clients address complex accounting, tax and compliance issues.

EisnerAmper will serve clients from its 11 offices which are located in New York City and its suburbs, across New Jersey, in Philadelphia, and in the Cayman Islands. EisnerAmper is an independent member of PKF International, the 11th largest global accountancy network of over 240 legally independent member and correspondent firms located in 125 countries. EisnerAmper’s affiliation with PKF International enables the firm to provide technical and advisory services across North America and around the world to clients with international requirements.

A Magnet for Talented Professionals
The expanded career opportunities resulting from the combination make EisnerAmper a firm of choice, enabling it to continue to attract and retain the best and brightest professionals in a wide spectrum of practice areas. Both firms are dedicated to providing fulfilling careers for our staff and have a long history of making the working environment and culture a priority as illustrated by each firm placing high in several Best Places to Work rankings.

“The relationship between Eisner and Amper extends back many years and has always been one of mutual respect and admiration,” said Howard Cohen, who becomes the firm’s Chairman. “We have undertaken this combination with full confidence in our new partners and colleagues. Together, we are infinitely stronger in terms of regional reach, professional expertise and client service. We are well positioned for both immediate and long-term growth.”

“This combination is based on a strong foundation of trust that extends to the partners at both firms,” said Charly Weinstein, the firm’s new Chief Executive Officer. “Our teams have already begun working in concert to ensure not only a seamless transition for clients, but also to deliver to them the maximum benefits of our greater combined resources. This is truly a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

About EisnerAmper LLP
EisnerAmper is one of the premier accounting, tax and business advisory firms in the United States and the leading regional firm in the Northeast. EisnerAmper provides a wide array of services to a diverse client base including publicly traded and privately held companies and high net worth individuals and family groups. For more information, please visit EisnerAmper at www.eisneramper.com.

John Kerry Is Paying the Taxes on His Yacht, Would Appreciate It if Everyone Changed the Subject

Talk about wearing the guy thin.

Moral of the story? Call for an investigation of a wealthy guy – a wealthy Senator – with a wealthier wife and he’ll gladly cut a check to get you to shut the hell up.

Being a Former 007 Does Not Entitle Sean Connery to a ‘License to Not Pay Taxes’

Meant to get this out there on Friday but you know how it is. Anyhoo, everyone’s favorite Bond-turned-Darrell Hammond impersonated celebrity, Sir Sean Connery is having a bit of tax trouble in the country now known as the World Cup champions:

Legendary James Bond actor Sean Connery is being investigated for alleged tax fraud involving the sale of two large tracts of land in Spain.

Investigators say a property firm linked to the 79-year-old actor failed to pay taxes after he and his second wife sold land they owned on the outskirts of Malaga, Spain

The fact that the Connerys haven’t been arrested and are merely celebrities being investigated because some real estate companies involved in some shady dealings should be enough evidence to indicate that celebrity news is waning in the dog days of summer. Dr. Henry Jones wasn’t quote in the Daily Mail’s story but we’re hopeful that, if asked, it would go more or less go like this:

Maybe the Fired Tyco Accountant Just Isn’t into Awesome Parties

Fired Tyco Accountant (and no fan of mermaids or wenches) Jeff Wiest was on Neil Cavuto last night and he attempts to explain his story where he would not approve of some expenses for, what sounds to be, a pretty kick ass party that any one of you would love to attend. Regardless, it wasn’t Jeff’s job to judge the awesomeness of said party but merely to determine if the bash was for legitimate business purposes.

In his opinion, the mermaid greeters, wenches, tattoo artists, so on and so forth were simply too extravagant and no one at Tyco was going to convince him otherwise.


As you can see, Jeff manages to tell his story despite appearing pretty nervous and dealing with several Cavuto outbursts (he has no time for the delicate intricacies of expense approval, get to the mermaids!).

But in part deuce, Jeff gets all accountant-y, discussing intricate details of Sarbanes-Oxley and Cavuto will not stand for it. Neil finally levels with the guy saying that he goes to plenty of Fox Biz shindigs (awesome ones, at that) and it’s NBD. So what the hell man? Are you just not a fun guy?

Stingray feedings! Who wouldn’t want to feed a stingray? And of course Cavuto likes the mermaid greeters (which somehow gets a chuckle out of Jeff) but who doesn’t, amiright?

Joe Biden Gaffe of the Day: Calls Custard Shop Manager ‘Smartass’ Who Asked for Lower Taxes

It was actually over the weekend but talk about ruining a perfectly good photo-op.


For starters, taxes – like healthcare reform – are a big fucking deal and need to be debated in an environment more suitable for policy debate. Secondly, if you listened to the Veep’s advice, maybe you wouldn’t be complaining in the first place.

[h/t TaxProf]

Three Things Accounting Firms Can Learn from Jim Joyce

Chances are good that at this time yesterday you didn’t know anything about James Joyce III. Today, America can’t stop talking about the poor sap. His Wikipedia page has been frozen and he’s a trending topic on Twitter.


BP sent Joyce a bottle of tequila this morning, the card reading, “Thank you for taking the heat off of us. Enjoy the spotlight. Remember to wear sunscreen. XOXO – BP”

Experts have varying opinions on what this means for baseball and the implementation of instant replay. What is easier to agree on is that Joyce deserves respect not for his poor call but for the fact that he was humble enough to admit that he was wrong, saying, “I just cost that kid a perfect game. I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay. Biggest call of my career, and I kicked the shit out of it.”

If nothing else, Little Leaguers everywhere can learn from this moment. But the lesson doesn’t need to end there. What can every accounting firm take away from this situation in hopes of never pulling a JimJoyce* themselves?

Admit when you are wrong – Listen to your mother, George Washington, or whatever truth-telling role model you have in your life and fess up when you are wrong. Deloitte did just that back in April when they admitted to handling the “headcount adjustment” in poor fashion.

Don’t point fingers – I don’t know if you’ve noticed the bickering going on between E&Y and PwC recently, but it’s kind of…what’s the word for it…pathetic? First there was the “our raises are bigger than yours” spout from E&Y leadership. Boys, boys, keep it in your pants. Size doesn’t mat…oh wait, what? It does in this case? Well then. Brag away. Then PDubs’ London arm decided to pull a Joe McGinniss and set up camp a mere 10 meters from E&Y’s fish ‘n chips office. Awkward love affair or uber-competitive personalities? Either way it’s immature to act like this. Grow up.

Hide – Joyce is probably in the process of doing this (don’t expect him to return to the field anytime soon). But the newly branded McGladrey is leadership’s efforts to mask the fact that cuts are affecting morale and staff ranks. Perhaps no one commented on Caleb’s putting green post because no one is left. Just sayin’.

What else can your firm learn from Jimbo? Comment below.

*you heard that phrase here first.

The Guy From Reading Rainbow Has a Small Tax Problem

A refresher:


If that doesn’t mean anything to you, he’s also the dude with the bizarro shades from Star Trek, The Next Generation.

But back to the RR for a sec – many of you would be an illiterate waste of space if it wasn’t for LeVar Burton, so the least you could do is pitch in so the man can pay the $34,000 he owes California. Or at least ask your parents to help out. It’s the least they can do since LB probably bought them some much-needed private time back in the day while you were zoning out on the shower in the toilet.

Tax resistance futile for Star Trek actor [Tax Watchdog]
See also (if you want the RR theme song stuck in your head):
LeVar Burton Owes $34,000 in State Taxes… “But Don’t Take My Word For It” [Tax Docket]

Barry Minkow Isn’t Buying Anthony Weiner’s Report That Says Goldline International Is More or Less a Fraud

Last time we saw Congressman Anthony Weiner, he was attempting to discuss the IRS’ role in the enforcement of healthcare with spin-hater Bill O’Reilly. While that particular encounter was quite fun (especially Weiner’s huffing and O’Reilly’s eye-rolling) the video of the Congressman’s recent appearance on Fox Business News is quite good.

But what we’d really like to see him have a conversation with Barry Minkow about how that Barry thinks the Congressman’s report on Goldline International is unmitigated bullshit:


Friend of GC, Tracy Coenen participated in the Minkow’s investigation and she presents the findings over at Fraud Files Blog. Here’s a sample:

Allegation: Weiner criticizes Goldline because of complaints on the website Ripoff Report lodged by consumers who say Goldline representatives improperly hold themselves out as investment advisors.

What Weiner didn’t tell you: Ripoff Report says (in response to the consumer complaints) that you can feel completely confident doing business with Goldline. Weiner gave us only half of the story in his report.

Allegation: Goldline grossly overcharges for its products

What Weiner didn’t tell you: Our sampling of coins listed in the Weiner report showed that Goldline’s prices were very comparable to those of six competitors. He also forgot to mention that companies are free to set whatever prices they like for their products.

Allegation: Goldline says they’ll buy back your gold and silver, but doesn’t “guarantee” that

What Weiner didn’t tell you: It is against the law for Goldline to offer a buyback guarantee. If they offered such a guarantee, they would be in violation of securities laws because their salespeople are not licensed broker dealers.

Regardless of how you feel about Glenn Beck, gold coins, or Anthony Weiner’s Fox News-esque ability for interrupting, it kinda sorta sounds like the Congressman’s investigators don’t know a non-fraud when they see one. Besides, we’ll take the word of a convicted-felon-turned-fraud-buster over any report that comes out of Congress. Especially in an election year.

A message left with Congressman Weiner’s spokesperson was not immediately returned.

Goldline International: An In-Depth Look at Congressman Weiner’s Allegations, And How He Got It Wrong [FDI]
Barry Minkow debunks the Glenn Beck and Goldline International fraud connection [Fraud Files Blog]
Weiner Takes on Goldline and Fox Business — At The Same Time [Weiner.house.gov]

Hillary Clinton Sounds Like She Would Be Supportive of the Wealth Squads

“The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [that America is] – whether it’s individual, corporate or whatever taxation forms are.”

~ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Mario Armstrong: Cloud Computing, SaaS, Social Media Are Tools for All Small Businesses to Consider

Earlier this week we got the chance to speak with Mario Armstrong, on-air tech contributor for NPR’s Morning Edition and tech contributor to CNN. We discussed several technology issues, including SaaS and social media, for small businesses to consider to mark National Small Business Week.

There you have it! Cloud solutions, SaaS, social media. They’re all important tools for small business owners. You can spend your weekend boning up.

John Veihmeyer Wins One for the Gipper

[caption id="attachment_10529" align="alignright" width="150" caption="But how does he feel about Charlie Weis getting fired?"][/caption]

A few weeks back we presented the BusinessWeek ranking of accounting programs that found Notre Dame at the top. At first we just figured Touchdown Jesus had something to do with it but now we have reason to speculate that a divine carpenter had nothing to do with it.

Since KPMG Chairman-elect John Veihmeyer was recently named alumnus of the year by Notre Dame’s accounting department, some people might assume that JVeih did a little lobbying of the BusinessWeek folks in order to earn the top spot and perhaps this is South Bend’s thank you for the kind words.


Whether this back-scratching theory has any weight to it is up for a debate but what we know for sure is that some lucky Irish students/future Klynveldians got to hear JV speak recently at Notre Dame Stadium and some inspiring words were shared:

During his remarks, Veihmeyer used his own educational roots and career experiences to remind students what a unique opportunity they have had at Notre Dame and how it will benefit them on the road ahead. His audience listened in rapt attention. While the average college student would have paid just to have dinner in Notre Dame Stadium, these students knew that getting career advice from the Alumnus of the Year and CEO and future Chairman of a Big Four Accounting Firm was priceless.

From the sounds of it, the speech was the KPMG equivalent of this:

Just So You’re Aware: An Ex-IRS Agent Has a Reality TV Show

A taste of the June 6th premiere of The IRS (+) Hitman:

And if you think that’s interesting, there’s more:

Is there a complete sentence in there somewhere? Try the next one.


You hear that? How can you live with yourselves IRS? Stealing money from this Jonas Brothers wannabe family that won’t be able to stand around the kitchen eating cheese whiz out of the jar with their hands! No mercy indeed. If you have an IRS injustice story, you better get in touch with this Hitman character.

Wanted by America, the IRS (+) Hitman Reality TV Show is Here [PR]

Small Businesses Need Accounting Help + Accountants Want Opportunities = This Should Be Easy

With all the uncertainty out there, more and more small businesses are cropping up. As anyone who has started their own business knows, there are plenty of decisions to be made, including your accounting method. While that answer may come easy, at some point small business owners have to ask themselves honestly A) Do I know squat about accounting? B) If no, do I hire someone full time or do I contract the work out as needed?


First, if you’re not versed in accounting and taxes are you really going to take the time to learn everything you need to know at the behest of growing and refining your business? Have you seen the tax code? You want to take advantage of everything you can, right? Best to call an expert.

Secondly, if you do decide to get some help, are you willing to pay for someone to keep the books, file tax forms, manage the payroll, etc. etc. full time? Are you going to pay them a salary, benefits, supplement their daycare, give them vacation? If you’ve got the resources to bring someone on, that’s great, start interviewing people. But what if you’re still in the early stages? Finding a CPA firm that can provide those crucial services for you can save a lot of headaches.

On the other hand, if you are already an accountant, maybe this growth in small businesses is your opportunity to get a little entrepreneurial yourself. CPA firms are the most profitable small businesses out there and somebody has to help those business owners keep their debits, credits and tax forms straight; it might as well be you.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…or: Cloud Computing and SaaS Briefly Explained

Figuring out how to sum up Cloud Computing and Software as a service (SaaS) in the space of ~800 words would absolutely require the biggest, puffiest, most cumulus metaphor that ever precipitated understanding over the dry, barren plains of ignorance EVER! Something like….

king Business Applications By Storm, or
– Burning off the Fog Around Cloud Computing, or
– Cloud Computing goes from Light Showers to Torrential Downpour, or even
– Quit Jiiiivin’ Me Turkey, You Got to SaaS it! (a Turkey is a bad person)

Why?

Because this thing is growing like a Class 5 Hurricane sucking up warm air over the Gulf of Mexico in mid-September, and you’re in the eye of the storm baby!


Enough! I can’t… I just can’t brew up another hackneyed metaphor!

All joking aside, Cloud Computing and SaaS are now “required reading” if you’re even remotely involved with technology (i.e. you use a computer). I can help you understand this stuff better, but first some disclosure:

I work for a SaaS company. My paycheck depends upon acceptance of this technology.

If you can accept this embedded bias, I’ll try to suppress any overt advocacy while providing a synopsis of this space over the course of the next few weeks. Call it Saas 101.

So, what is it?

We’ll get into this in more detail soon because there’s more to it, but very simply:

Software as a Service – A software application that you access online without having to download anything to your computer.

Cloud Computing – Provides computing power and data storage on an “as needed” basis much the same way as a public utility provides electricity.

Why should you care?

At the very least, you should care because you are already using this stuff for personal web activities (e.g. Facebook – think privacy, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail, etc). And I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that the next software sourcing project your company undertakes will include Cloud and Saas representation.

This is a bet I’ll win because even the big, established players in the software world like IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft are running to try and get in front of this thing on the business side.

You want to know about this.

Where did it come from?

How did Software as a Service and Cloud Computing as we know it come about?

Well, what’s in a word?

Again, there’s more to it, but without rekindling the internecine nerd-fighting I think tracing the roots of this movement back to Marc Benioff, the founder, Chairman & CEO of Salesforce.com is not unreasonable for our purposes. He was arguably the most vocal advocate for looking at software delivery in a new way back before this stuff HAD a name. Salesforce.com launched as an unknown start-up back in 1999 and is now one of the leading CRM (Customer Relationship Management) products Cloud or otherwise and is traded on NYSE with a market cap of over $10 Billion.

Along with another early entrant, Netsuite, these guys let the genie out of the bottle. Interestingly, both companies have deep, deep roots back into Oracle Corp., Oracle, a company that, according to Oracle, “would change the face of business computing forever.” I don’t dispute the claim though. And I would take it one further saying, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The Rain Fell in Torrents…

The creation of Salesforce and Netsuite were both extremely capital intensive. In order to host their customers (i.e. users of the software), tens of millions of dollars were required to build the data center infrastructure. You’re not required to buy servers and hardware, so where do you think all your data is residing? In a cloud? We haven’t advanced that far.

But we have advanced.

Today companies building Cloud apps don’t tend to build their own data centers, at least not right off the hop. Another important innovation in Cloud comes from companies like Amazon. Apart from books, Amazon has a whole other line of business providing computer infrastructure on a rental basis. It’s like a power grid for computing.

This changes the business model for companies who build software in the same way these Cloud app companies are changing things for you.

Suddenly, your IT goes from being a Fixed Cost to a Variable Cost.

More next week.

Enjoy!

Geoff Devereux as been active in Vancouver’s technology start-up community for the past 5 years. He regularly attends and contributes to the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the city through the Vancouver Enterprise Forum, guest blogging on Techvibes.com, and as a mentor with ISS of BC. Prior to getting lured into tech start-ups, Geoff worked in various fields including a 5 year stint in a tax accounting firm. He is currently working in a marketing/social media role with Indicee, a Saas Business Intelligence company, bringing B.I. to mere mortals.

Barry Minkow Would Like to Remind Everyone, Especially PwC, That InterOil Has Never Found Any Oil or Gas

Barry Minkow has a message for InterOil auditors at PwC and it appears as though he would really, really like for P. Dubs to remember its fiduciary responsibility. So much so that he even made a video to help drive the point home so let’s hope this lands where it is supposed to and PwC considers Barry’s friendly suggestions.

Peep the press release:

“InterOil and its CEO have shown a troubling pattern of behavior that goes back to the company’s founding in 1997,” Minkow said. “We’ve seen inflated assets, a missing report from world-class Netherland Sewell, no major partners willing to put up cash for its proposed LNG plant, a recent bad-faith bankruptcy filed by CEO Phil Mulacek for a company he controls, and unreported $5.7 million commission, insiders dumping tons of stock last month, hyped press releases, and the list goes on. In fact, the only thing we haven’t seen from InterOil is any commercial oil or gas.”

Previously: Let’s Take a Closer Look at This Shia LaBeouf and InterOil Situation

Britain’s Singing Accountant Got Bullied Big Time

There’s finally some video of the new Britain’s Got Talent star, 28 year-old Christopher Stone. An accountant, Stone showed up at his audition with his Mom and Dad who sold their house to pay for music lessons when Chris was little.


Tortured as a kid for his love of music (they apparently called him a “poof” though we aren’t sure what that translates into over on this side of the pond), Stone suffered through beatings and taunting for much of his young life. “Bruises heal but the pain from mental bullying doesn’t just go away,” he said, later giving Simon Cowell a reason to criticize for the sort of nervous hand-wringing that can only come from someone who spent half their life getting chided by bullies.

The roar from the crowd when Stone admits to being an accountant pretty much sums it all up but he knocked Maria out of the park and boasts 12:1 odds to win the show (that’s some sweet action).

Hey E&Y, we’re sure you are desperate for IFRS experts AND singing talent for your excellent videos, how’s about a Visa for this dude?”

School bully torment of singing accountant [The Sun]

Some Behind the Scenes Details on the Ernst & Young “We Are Las Vegas” Video

On Tuesday we briefly shared a video that was put together by the E&Y Las Vegas office that involved a large pair of headphones (Koss perhaps?) an Elvis impersonator, plenty of off-key singing and out-of-sync choreography.

Unfortunately, the video didn’t last and AG piped in only to replace the singalong with another video that had – ugh – subtitles but at least it was a little better rehearsed.

Anyway, we did some poking around and we found out a little back story on this whole “We are Las Vegas” production.


Apparently, the video had its non-GC debut at a townhall meeting in LV last night that was relatively uneventful, according to an accountant close to the sitch:

It was basically a loyalty pep rally. They told us that we would be getting raises, but of course said we would “follow the market.” That’s ironic from a firm that strives to be the “market leader.”

Sounds like the typical yarn but it sounds like it was followed by mucho boozing so that made up for it… Anyway, what about that video?!?

What’s with the ginormous headphones?

Headphones guy was just asked to wear them as a prop. Stevie Wonder did, why not somebody else???

Was the whole office in on this thing? Were accountants forced to participate against their will?

There were people from all service lines. I would say tax and audit were both represented equally. Amazingly, there WERE people who were excited about singing the song.

How was the video received?

I was amazed how the upper level management at the town hall (from various west coast cities) was impressed with the song. The overwhelming response at town hall was “that was a good video.” I think a training at our Times Square office might be in place.

Why on Earth did someone decide to put this on YouTube?

The world may never know.

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!

Elvis Fails to Make Ernst & Young Singalong Less Awkward


Any thoughts on this? The swaying needs work, that’s for sure.

[Source]

The Beards Grown for the Tax Season Fail to Impress

Last week we told you about the Traphagen & Traphagen tradition of skipping on the facial hair hygiene for all of tax season. Sorry to say, but we were a little disappointed:


While we (and most likely all of you) had something more along the lines of ZZ Top envisioned, it’s more of a lumberjack look. We’ll give them credit for throwing appearance to the wind for 3+ months but we were hoping for some freakishly long beards and/or imaginative looks. Take note for next year people.

As Tax Season Ends, Accountants Shave off Beards [FINS]

TurboTax’s Bob Meighan: There’s No Sense in Panicking About the April 15th Deadline

With a little more than just 24 hours to go until the end of the traditional filing season for 2010, some taxpayers might be freaking out. To help prevent this we got the chance to speak with Bob Meighan, TurboTax VP and CPA yesterday morning about what to do with just a few short hours away from the deadline, what taxpayers have been struggling with this filing season and if he had any special advice for a certain customer:

And that extension form you need? It’s Form 4868. Even if your preparer got nabbed in Operation Brass Tax, just make it easy on yourself and file the extension (we did). You’ll feel better.

KPMG – Masters of Thursday’s PR Powerhouses

Forget the fact that what’s-her-name can’t hit the links, let alone join the Old Man’s Club that is Augusta; this weekend is all about Tiger Woods and, if you’re from the KPMG Kamp, Phil Mickelson. Not a resident of the KPMG Kamp is Chris Rock:


Don’t get me wrong – I love Phil, and so should you. What’s not to love? Big goofy smile, overweight just enough to make the average golfer feels connected to the lovable pork chop of an athlete. And he’s left handed, so you just know the world is out to get Golf’s Favorite Underdog. Golf and chainsaws, a lefty’s biggest fears.

But I digress. Back to Uncle Peat.

Phil currently sits tied atop the leader board at five under par, tied with three others. But who cares about those knicker-wearing chumps?! UNCLE PEAT IS IN FIRST PLACE!!!

Us regular peons can only imagine the jubilation amongst KPMG leadership in attendance this weekend. T-Fly and The New Guy back slapping each other and clients-to-be. But are they nervous? After all, Phil is much like KPMG – always the hopeful underdog, their supporters praying that their fearless leaders don’t slice it and end up in the rough (or court). There are rough patches in every round, but coming out ahead of the game is key, is it not?

Hopefully the Philster can keep himself and his catchy hat on top of the leader board going into the weekend. For the tax crew out there, you can follow your favorite Tiger Slayer’s weekend rounds live on Masters.com. Hopefully streaming video isn’t blocked by the Kamp Kounselors.

A Salute to Charlie Rangel

Apparently it’s Chuck Rangel day here at GC. Since we know there is a contingent of you that love Rangs and his exploits (and bow ties!) we feel compelled to follow up the ironic tax advice report with this.


We don’t know who’s running against Rangel (anyone?) this fall but we don’t see how this spot would be excluded from the arsenal.

[h/t TaxProf]

PICPA: You Need a CPA to Get Your Breathlessly Judgmental Friend to Shut Up

The latest edition of CPA video marketing, courtesy of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs takes another reality TV angle, parodying the show “What Not to Wear”. While our suggestion to incorporate Lady Gaga or the cast of Jersey Shore seems to have been overlooked for the time being, we’ve been assured by the PICPA VP of Communications that our suggestions are being considered. We won’t push the issue, as there may be better ideas.

Like perhaps, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”??? It’s a natural fit, amiright?

Sorry. We’re done submitting ideas. Here’s the latest:


Our tepid enthusiasm for this particular video is probably due to the fact that we’ve never seen “What Not to Wear” although we did love the “Breathlessly Judgmental Friend”. Seriously, doesn’t everyone have a breathlessly judgmental friend that you just want to punch in face?

While this parody wasn’t our favorite, we understand that there are CPAs in the Keystone State that probably enjoy this particular spin and it still beats anything we’ve seen from an accounting firm. Keep up the good work Team PICPA.

More PICPA Videos:
Latest PICPA Video: CPAs Are Like Snuggies
Pennsylvania CPAs Insist Accountants Are Funny in New Videos. Which Are Funny

Just So You’re Aware: An Accountant Tried Out for “So You Think You Can Dance”

Sure, it’s in Australia but since there’s such a push for an international accounting community it seems appropriate. Our assessment, after the jump:


So he was definitely dressed better than most accountants we’ve come across. Even after he tore the sleeves off. Plus the jump-splits, you have to admit, were impressive. Falling down the steps was an especially nice touch too. But who carries a briefcase?

[h/t Accountant jokes]

Latest PICPA Video: CPAs Are Like Snuggies

The Quaker CPAs have rolled out their latest pitch for “I need a CPA!” and once again, we’re impressed. Fully aware of the Snuggie phenomenon that is still sweeping the nation, the creative team at PAICPA saw an opportunity (even if for just a brief moment):


Like a blanket. With sleeves.

Now that hairy myths, the 1980s drug war, and reality TV/infomercials have been covered, is the next logical step is for the team to incorporate Lady Gaga and/or “The Situation”? Perhaps not but at the very least, it’s worth exploring.

Earlier
: Pennsylvania CPAs Insist Accountants Are Funny in New Videos. Which Are Funny

Today in IRS Resistance: Ohio Man Bulldozes His Own House

What’s the saying about trends? We can’t remember it but after the suicide attack on the IRS last week, we now bring you a less violent but equally ineffective middle finger to the IRS.

Terry Hoskins, of Moscow, Ohio had IRS liens slapped on his carpeting store and other properties. Apparently he used his personal residence as collateral on the business and these other properties, leading his bank to foreclose on his home. Hoskins wasn’t okay with that:


Whether Terry the Bulldozer was looking to get a Facebook following out of this, isn’t entirely clear. But we will give the guy credit; even if he did this to himself by putting up his personal residence for some bad business deals, he’s got pretty creative for the sake of making a point.

“I made a bad business decision. Fuck you IRS! Up yours, RiverHills Bank! You think I’m not serious? I will rent heavy machinery to prove my point. I will make my loved ones temporarily homeless. I will go on a local NBC affiliate to talk about it. How do you like me now?”

Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t be worse. If that attention whore Joe Stack hadn’t gone on his little flight, Terry could be enjoying Joe the Plumber-esque fame right now. Next time, Terry.

Pennsylvania CPAs Insist Accountants Are Funny in New Videos. Which Are Funny

The Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs is tired of everyone thinking that accountants are humorless, soulless, number crunching (did we mention green eyeshade wearing?) nerds, so they decided do something about it.

The PICPA has developed two videos to show everyone that not only are CPAs important business advisors, they can be creative and yes, funny. Despite where you fall on the comedic spectrum (Brian Regan, Chris Rock, Lewis Black, Larry the Cable Guy, Seinfeld, whatevs) you’ve got to admit that this is by far the best attempt at plugging the services that CPAs can provide out there. It doesn’t go the emotional route like Grant Thornton’s campaign or just miss the mark completely like BDO. This is purely for comedic value and it’s refreshing.

Granted, the PICPA is a professional association and not a firm so we aren’t expecting any firm to go with a Big Foot parody or 80s drug ads but let’s keep this angle fresh in our minds, shall we, accounting firms?

Accounting Has Finally Broken into the Hitler Meme

Since the Times ran a story on this cultural trend in fall of 2008, and the following video was posted in December ’09, you might say that accountants are again, late to the party but whatevs. And of course it’s an IFRS spin.


While somewhat humorous, it’s still based on a Canadian company and there’s no mention of Sir David Tweedie, which we think is an unforgivable oversight. That being said, it is encouraging that there is at least one Downfall remake out there that encompasses accounting. Personally, we’d like to see some of the following topics addressed using the clip:

• Patrick Byrne getting the news that Overstock has to restate their financial statements, again.

• Tim Flynn learning that the KPMG Salt Lake City office actually accepted the Overstock audit engagement.

• Stephen Chipman receiving word that Grant Thornton was fired from the Koss engagement because VP Sue Sachdeva made off with $31 million and it was discovered by American Express.

• Barry Salzberg finding out that Deloitte only ranked 70th in the Fortune 100 (behind E&Y and P&M) after being #1 on the BusinessWeek list.

We’re sure there are other possibilities. We encourage you to get to work on this ASAP.

Grant Thornton Gets Emotional in Its Ad Campaign

This morning we took a look the deadly advertising at BDO and while they came up with a good tagline, they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity to personalize their service with actual clients.

In contrast to the utilitarian feeling of the BDO advertising, Grant Thornton is all about emotions. The most important statement that a professional service agency can make is that it is passionate for the client’s business, and Grant Thornton’s attitude is authentic. The firm is well defined by the tag line, “People who love what they do” and by the whimsical rose mnemonic.

The three spots in the campaign are not balanced. This one about customer service misses the mark. It is long and tedious and continues to run needlessly after the point is made.


This commercial extolling the global capabilities of Grant Thornton is better. It is well written and although it is not particularly visually arresting, it makes the point about the firm capabilities crisply.

The commercial about responsiveness is the best. It stands out because it uses humor and the analogy of the unreliable, hapless goalie is relevant and easily understood. All in all, Grant Thornton tackled the challenge of advertising a professional service firm well.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner will GT take the next logical step and extend their passion campaign in to special topical ad?

Avi Dan is President & CEO of Avidan Strategies, a New York based consultancy specialized in advising professional service companies on marketing and business development. Mr. Dan was previously a board member with two leading advertising agencies and managed another.

BDO’s Big Ad Campaign: It’s Deadly

Advertising a professional service company is a challenge for ad agencies. First, the subject is not all that interesting, except maybe to the people who work there, their families, and their clients. And second, the differences from one company to another are minute. What you can say about one CPA or law firm is pretty much the same as another. You can’t advertise a firm as doing something better, the way Tide claims to clean better or Crest to whiten teeth better.

What can marketers do when they can’t make a claim that they are better? Why, write a jingle, like Coke or Pepsi of course. However, professional service companies have to maintain some gravitas. Schmaltz and accountants would be like wearing shorts and flip-flops to a client meeting.

We’re presenting some analysis of two current accounting firm ad campaigns, starting with BDO and tackling Grant Thornton this afternoon.

Analysis and videos, after the jump


The solution is to differentiate yourself not by what you say but through the tone of your advertising. And the tone of the BDO’s advertising is deadly, almost literally. It is dark, and cold, and depressing. And it doesn’t work because it takes itself too seriously. The conversations are artificial, and the situations forced.

In the following commercial, as two executives exit an unidentified intuitional-looking edifice, one person says to the other “Reilly hit the roof” about the need to restate. We never find out who “Reilly” is, but are reassured that “the partners are on it”, suggesting that BDO will not send in the juniors to fix the problem.

This second commercial deals with the switch from GAAP to IFRS. Why is BDO best suited to handling it? According to the commercial because of its global resources and because “it’s complicated.” Oh? Weak, pretty generic, arguments.

The best asset BDO has is it tagline, “People who know, know BDO”. That could have been the idea for a very nice commercial, maybe using real customers, but BDO did not capitalize on it.

Avi Dan is President & CEO of Avidan Strategies, a New York based consultancy specialized in advising professional service companies on marketing and business development. Mr. Dan was previously a board member with two leading advertising agencies and managed another.

Big 4 at Davos: Jim Quigley is Long Dubai

He’s not really sure how much is debt (Jim, it’s a metric asston) is being restructured but Quigs believes that Dubai will come out of it a-okay.

Black holes aside, Quigs also wants to see global accounting standards which puts him firmly in the camp with the other half of Jim-squared and Knight of Accounting David Tweedie.

We’re not sure when this interview was done but could someone get JQ a cup of coffee or something? The guy seems a little stiff. Plus, no red light/green light of trust from Fox Business? They have got to start getting more creative over there.

Tim Flynn at Davos: We’re Moving Toward the Green Light of Trust

After wondering aloud if the Big 4 was just going to spend the entire week at Davos chasing blondes and eating chocolate some of the more easily rankled of you pointed out that Tim Flynn was all business and had already given an interview with CNN. Plus, since we saw Dennis Nally this morning it would seem like there is work being done. God forbid the guys do anything fun while they’re over there.

Anyhoo, we finally got around to watching TF’s chat with Richard Quest at Davos and we thought he did a pretty bang-up job. One thing we would have done different — if we were T Fly that is — was ask DQ why we were excluded from the last CNN interview. “What about it CNN? I’m not good enough for APEC piece but you’re happy to include me on this little campout?” Or something to that effect. We imagine that he was asked to keep it cordial.


Back to business: The one thing that threw us off was the red light/green light of trust thing. Trust doesn’t really strike us a color, least of all green. Think about it: Green = money = Goldman Sachs. Plus, has T Fly seen those tea party people? They don’t trust anyone. See why we’re confused? If you get it, please explain, but watch first.

Call Off the 2010 Tony Awards, We’ve Got Your Winner Right Here

Way back in August we told you about the unimaginable: accounting fraud on the stage. For those of you worried that the British production of Enron wouldn’t make it to the States, we have BIG NEWS for you.
Enron begins previews on April 8th and opens on April 27th at the Broadhurst Theatre and we’re sure it will sweep the Tonys come awards time. That is, if KPMG doesn’t screw up the count.
For you theatre junkies, you’ll be happy to know that Norbert Leo Butz has been cast in the role of Jeff Skilling. NLB is best known for his roles in Wicked, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Is He Dead? The rest of the cast has not yet been determined but we’re still pulling for Hugh Jackman in the role of David Duncan.
The preview for the British version appears below and — GASP — mark to market is mentioned. So for those of you that aren’t so culturally inclined, maybe this will been enough to pique your interest. See you at the show.

Big 4 Performance Analysis Will Probably Come as a Huge Shock to CNN

You may remember a little rant we (and others) went on not so long ago about CNN buying what the Big 4 were selling re: growing business in shrinking economy.
Well! The gang over The Big Four Blog have put out a performance analysis (PDF can for download: big4_media_kit.pdf) for the firms’ 2009 revenue and their conclusions tell a different story.
From the Execkquote>2009 was a difficult year overall for the Big Four accounting firms: Deloitte, Ernst & Young (E&Y), KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), as their financial performance was affected by tough external conditions, slow global economic growth, cost-conscious clients and sluggish merger and acquisition activity.


After an extraordinary period of continuous revenue growth from the early 2000s to 2008, combined revenue for the four firms in fiscal 2009 did fall by 7% from fiscal 2008 in US dollar terms. Revenue decreases in US dollar percentage terms ranged from negative 5% for Deloitte to negative 7% each for Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers to negative 11% for KPMG.

One of the more interesting tidbits was presented in the chart below:
Picture 1.png
After a growth in employment of over 10% in 2008, the rate dropped to 2% for 2009 and judging by the firms’ expectation to offer less internships this year we’d expect that trend to continue.
It’s worth noting that even in the rebuilding year, the firms’ combined revenue was $94 billion so no one is starving but, as BFB pointed out, the firms near decade long run of growth has now come to a screeching halt.
With all the new information, CNN might consider a follow-up story. We’d be happy to take a look at it. Or they may just leave it there:

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An Alternative to the Bob Dylan Christmas Album

zelin4.jpgSo in case you weren’t aware, there is a singing CPA that actually puts out albums. He wrote a song for Sarbanes-Oxley’s fifth birthday, has appeared on Nightline and yes, he has a Christmas album.

Make fun if you want but we dare you to deny the song-writing genius of someone that mentions Martha Stewart, Pavarotti, Al Capone, and Dennis Kozlowski in one song (“Deck the Halls with Calculators”).

And then of course, there’s this:

Question of the Day

Ever wonder if freakishly large breasts could be depreciable assets? Video that explains, after the jump.



Any ideas on the useful life of these? Discuss.
Springer & Chesty Love Discuss Tax Court Decision Allowing Depreciation of Her Breast Implants [TaxProf Blog]

Grant Thornton’s Stephen Chipman Is Excited About the Metra

Last time we checked in with the Grant Thornton bigwigs and their interview with Accounting Today, we noted how Stephen Chipman, the next U.S. CEO, was a bit of snoozer as an interviewee.
This time around is no different but Steve-o did happen to mention how great it was to be back in Chicago and able to take the train to work. A boyish grin spreads across his face as he describes how great the Chicago commuter line is. Somebody had a train set growing up!
Video for part four of the interview is after the jump that includes Ed Nusbaum admitting that he gave up his abacus awhile ago and that GT has managed to not become dinosaurs. If you’ve a different opinion on that, discuss here or over at our technology open thread.

Ed Nusbaum Doesn’t Have to Sneak Out the Back Door Anymore

Not only that, he used to FEEL GUILTY about leaving early to coach his daughters’ softball games. Oh Eddie, we realize that guilt is a bitch. Personally, whenever we felt guilty about leaving the office early, we’d slap the shit out of ourselves to the point of submission. That made us realize that feeling guilty is for sissies. Glad to hear you beat the guilt too.
Some other highlights from part two of SEVEN part interview*:
• Ed says, “all the firms are great” and his head doesn’t explode. Amazing.
• He also says work/life balance is not just words on a piece of paper.
• GT is very proud of “the Grid”, their version of Facebook. Which will fail miserably now that they’ve lifted the veil on your status updates.
• Ed loves his iPod. Just like you!
• Stephen Chipman put us to sleep in about half a nanosecond.

Discuss, criticize, debunk, or air high-five the GT honchos in the comments.
*Yes, its over a week old and yes, we skipped part one but it was really boring, so piss off.

Since When Do They Let Accountants on CNBC?



What were these guys really saying? Other than accountants are NOT to be blamed for anything. Discuss. And for crissakes Jim, learn how to tie a Windsor knot.

The Accountants Plug at the Emmys Is Made Watchable By an E&Y Hottie and Dr. Horrible

When we heard that the accountants at E&Y with elephant-like memories were the butt of a joke on last night’s Emmys we weren’t really surprised. That being said, we weren’t really expecting a joke that would be that entertaining.
So, we were pleasantly surprised when 1) one of the E&Y reps, Mika Velga (sorry if we butchered the spelling), turns out to be a hottie and B) the sketch featured Dr. Horrible, courtesy of the comedic genius of NPH.
Video, after the jump



If you’re not familiar with Dr. Horrible, feel free to waste a few minutes of your morning getting caught up. Oh, and if you know Ms. Velga, tell her she has fans.

Labor Day Weekend Poll Results

We’re happy to report that over half of you are not working at all over the next four days. Congratulations, so get out there and make some bad choices. As for the rest of you, sorry but we’ll be here tomorrow at least. If you haven’t voted yet, what the hell have you been doing all day?
On a side-note, when we created today’s poll, we were surprised to have learned that for our last poll, we prematurely declared E&Y the winner of the lamest video contest. After likely ballot stuffing by KPMGers, the Radio Station/Backstreet Boy video ended up being the W. to E&Y’s Gore. We suspect Tim Flynn played the part of Karl Rove in this caper. Nevertheless, after the jump, we’ve presented the newly crowned winner because we’re solid like that.

Poll Results

For the love of God has anyone started drinking yet? We figured we’d share the results of our two polls today before you all blow out for the weekend and start making bad decisions.
Get the results, after the jump


With nearly 41% of the vote, Weiner, Diner, Dicker & Dunker will be the new firm formed after the speculated super-duper mega-merger occurs.
And, risking a mistake of Election 2000-esque proportions, we’re calling the race for best/worst video for E&Y who has edged out KPMG. We’ve presented it here again for your viewing and completely off beat clapping pleasure:

PwC Thinks it Can Dance

Probably not a new video for most of you but it’s the best PwC has to offer, as far as we can tell. If you’ve got other candidates, shoot them our way.
Video, after the jump



There you have it. Grant Thornton and BDO people need to lock it up. Point us in the right direction for a stupid video. We’ll put a poll together or something tomorrow to vote on the vids.

Ernst & Young Opted for Smooth Jazz

It appears that this from back in ’01 but for the love of God, who’s bright idea was this? We apologize for the small screen, we spent the better part of our morning trying to find the full size.

Deloitte’s Magic Potion

In our continuing effort to lift everyone’s spirits this week, we’ll present a few a videos today for your viewing pleasure. We’re attempting to find something for every firm but if you know of something that you feel that is imperative to share with everyone, shoot us the link, tips@goingconcern.com. Feel free to get all Roger Ebert on these videos in the comments. Oh, and as we’ve mentioned before, just charge the time to an administrative code.
We’ll start with Deloitte:
Video, after the jump

Ex-BDO Partner Won’t Be on His Boat after Plea Deal

Ex-BDO partners that were involved with the firm’s tax shelters are continuing to drop like flies. This time, Mark Bloom, a hedge fund manager and former BDO partner that worked in the Tax Solutions group, pleaded guilty to several charges.
Bloom agreed to forfeit assets as part of his plea agreement including a boat and two Steinway pianos which Bloom performed versions of his favorite songs on:
Check out the song selection, after the jump

Accountants Should Have the Passion of Glenn Beck

It starts to get interesting around the 54 second mark.