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Friday Footnotes: KPMG’s Illinois Loot; Deloitte’s State Contracts; EY Poaches PwC Tech Partners | 7.31.20

As new pot licenses delayed indefinitely, global accounting firm pockets $7M from state to rank applicants [Chicago Sun-Times] KPMG was awarded nearly $7 million in no-bid contracts [in Illinois] to grade applications for new recreational pot licenses. State officials didn’t open the contracts up to competitive bidding to speed up the process. But as it turned out, the delay in issuing 75 licenses to run pot dispensaries came in part because of a travel ban KPMG instituted in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and a provision in its contract with the state requiring the applications be picked up by hand.

Honda is reportedly deploying accountants to the assembly line [CNN] Honda appears to be taking an unusual approach to cross-functional staff training. Managers are ordering accountants to abandon their spreadsheets and step up to the assembly line—temporarily, at least. Because of coronavirus-related staff shortages, Honda is asking office workers at its Maryville, Ohio, plant to move to the production line.

Deloitte, Others Reap Big Contracts from Unemployment Deluge [Bloomberg Law] State unemployment agencies in California, New York, and elsewhere spent millions this year hiring contractors to help upgrade or expand their claims-processing systems, staff-up call centers, and assist with fraud prevention and investigation. The 11 states where Bloomberg Law confirmed terms of the deals agreed to spend a combined $173.8 million on contracts with Accenture, Deloitte, and EY. Deloitte dominated those contracts, with $141.1 million of the total.

FRC cracks down on auditor misconduct with record number of cases [Financial Times] Some of the UK’s most senior auditors are shirking work and delegating too much to junior staff, resulting in firms failing to spot “the most basic indicators of potential fraud”, according to a report by the industry’s watchdog. The Financial Reporting Council said it had identified recurring failures during its investigations into poor-quality audits by the Big Four firms — PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY — and their smaller rivals, despite warnings to firms to improve.

What PwC really thinks of its competitors [Australian Financial Review] As the big four consulting firms cut hours and staff, they’re even leakier than usual. And among the most delightful snippets to cross our desk as a result comes an internal presentation at PwC, addressing how the novel coronavirus is impacting the consulting market. Most of the document is the type of dry economic and internal analysis of risks and opportunities you’d expect. Until you get to the PwC competitor map, assessing Australian consultancies against their ability to drive growth and protect market share.

Ernst & Young raids PwC for technology partners [Australian Financial Review] The PwC Australia partners that have been lured to EY include Richard Bergman, Permenthri Pillay, John Riccio, Ken Maxwell and Steve Ingram.

KPMG excluded from industrial relations summit after allegedly leaking details [The Guardian] KPMG had been invited by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to participate in meetings on compliance on Thursday and greenfields agreements on Friday. But Thursday’s working group started with a warning that KPMG appeared to have breached the confidentiality of discussions and a consultation among participants favoured excluding it. Guardian Australia understands KPMG was excluded from the two sessions it was due to attend this week as a result.

China says to penalise Luckin Coffee for accounting fraud [Reuters] Chinese regulators said they would penalise Luckin Coffee after confirming accounting fraud that has already forced the company to delist from the U.S. Nasdaq exchange. The Ministry of Finance, which began an investigation into Luckin Coffee (China) and Luckin Coffee (Beijing) in early May, found Luckin booked 2.25 billion yuan ($322.60 million) of sales through fake coupons from April 2019 to the end of last year, it said in a statement on its website on Friday.

KPMG Australia’s David Linke appointed to global role [] David Linke, a partner at KPMG in Australia, has been named KPMG’s next Global Head of Tax & Legal services. Sydney-based Linke has been with KPMG for nearly three decades, having joined the professional services firm straight out of university. During his long career at the Big Four accounting and consulting firm, Linke has held several leadership roles, both in Australia as well as internationally.