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Friday Footnotes: Canned Deloitte Manager Goes Off; Disrespectful Clients; Audit Smackdown | 1.21.22

Fired manager accuses Deloitte of defrauding VW and a #MeToo cover-up [Financial Times] A manager fired by Deloitte’s German business after raising concerns about alleged misconduct has accused it of defrauding Volkswagen and ignoring sexual harassment allegations against senior staff. The whistleblower made the allegations last week at a labour court in Stuttgart where he is suing for unfair dismissal.

EY targets autistic recruits to boost AI work [PlaceTech] I love how this article headline sounds unironically derogatory. Here’s a first-hand report of the NCoE program experience published in Going Concern last year. From the PlaceTech article: The emerging NCoE programme is designed “to create a supportive working environment for individuals with cognitive differences – such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD – that will help them to apply their strengths and meet clients’ business needs in emerging technologies,” EY said.

From Reddit this week:

In Battle for Workers, the Humble 401(k) Gets Richer in 2022 [Wall Street Journal] Facebook ’s parent and consulting firm KPMG U.S. are among a growing number of companies putting more money into employees’ 401(k) retirement accounts, employing another lever to attract and retain staff amid high turnover and competition for talent.

Goldman, PwC and KPMG lead City’s return to the office after Plan B scrapped [Evening Standard] Banks, accountants and other professional services companies with major presences in the city have all told staff to return to the office next week after the government said on Wednesday that work from home guidance introduced in December would be scrapped. Goldman Sachs, Citi, PwC, HSBC, KPMG, Fidelity and Standard Chartered are among the major employers to have encouraged staff back to the office in recent days. Barclays and Lloyds have told staff they are free to return if they wish.

Workers are out sick in record numbers, exacerbating labor shortage woes [Washington Post] “Unfortunately, the biggest issue about omicron is it’s no longer just fear of contagion and aversion to in-person activity, but it’s actually causing acute labor shortages from the sheer number of people who are out sick,” said Diane Swonk, economist at accounting firm Grant Thornton.

U.K. Audit Regulator Expects to Pursue More Enforcement Cases [Wall Street Journal] The U.K. government is reviewing feedback on a series of proposals to reform the country’s audit sector, including placing a cap on the number of audits the Big Four firms—Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers—can perform. Those structural changes would fall into the ARGA’s remit.

Luckin Coffee plans to relist in U.S. two years after accounting fraud – FT [Reuters] Luckin Coffee plans to relist its shares in the United States, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, two years after the Chinese coffee chain’s $300 million accounting scandal.

The theme this week on Twitter is disrespect

Global economic confidence among accountants dipped in Q4 [Accounting Today] The quarterly Global Economic Conditions Survey, released Wednesday by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants, found that economic confidence fell by 12 points around the world in Q4 2021, but economic confidence among survey respondents from North America increased by 10 points.

UK accounting watchdog extends probe into Babcock audits [Reuters] “The FRC has an ongoing investigation into aspects of the statutory audits by PwC of the consolidated financial statements of Babcock for the years ended 31 March 2017 and 31 March 2018. That investigation followed the outcome of an audit quality review,” the FRC said in a statement.

What will 2022 bring for audit and accountancy regulation? [Lexology] Seismic shifts in the audit and accountancy regulatory landscape were set in motion last year, which are expected to continue to take shape and impact the sector during 2022. Several themes will dominate the terrain.

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