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Friday Footnotes: Firms on India Hiring Spree; PCAOB Heads Overseas; PwC Lets You See Your Family This Summer | 5.6.22

a cat wearing sunglasses

Mesa grandma, 25-year-old accountant share love of Phoenix Suns [Arizona’s Family] JoAnne Ralph and Ben Barchilon have a special bond, and it all started with their love of the Phoenix Suns. “It’s just wonderful to have another grandson,” said Ralph. “It upsets my granddaughter because she says ‘I’m not sharing you!’ And I said, yes you are.” “I don’t have any grandmas, so this is truly my grandma,” said Barchilon. Last July, Arizona’s Family introduced you to the 81-year-old Mesa grandma who’s been a Phoenix Suns fan since 1984. The 25-year-old tax accountant saw the story on the news and decided he wanted to take Ralph, a woman he’d never met, to Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Barchilon bought Ralph a ticket and they went to the game in style–in a stretch limousine. One year later, their unique friendship and passion for the Suns have grown stronger.

The CFO’s Role In Driving Diversity, Equity & Inclusion [Forbes] CFOs who are concerned with their organizations’ ability to be resilient and competitive should be taking a close look at their DE&I strategy. Research by McKinsey has found companies that prioritize DE&I and have a diverse set of leaders in senior leadership roles outperform their peers (McKinsey’s research tracked 1,000 large companies’ progress in DE&I from 2014 to 2020, identifying diversity winners). McKinsey stressed the need for “…adopting systematic, business-led approaches to inclusion and diversity.” The message is resonating with CFOs and according to Deloitte’s second quarter 2021 North American CFO Signals™ survey, “72% of CFOs say that their company now has a formal diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program, an increase from the 67% who responded similarly in the first-quarter 2019 survey.” Beyond mere rhetoric, the Deloitte survey asked these CFOs if their company had or planned to have a defined budget for DE&I in the next year, and 60% of them indicated they did.

Deloitte, PWC, EY, and KPMG on a hiring spree in India [The Economic Times] The Big Four professional services firms — Deloitte, PWC, EY, and KPMG — are on a hiring spree in India, prompted by an all-time high demand for consulting services from companies across sectors trying to navigate through rapid technology adoption after the pandemic. These four top consulting companies and their shared services units in India are likely to hire about 80,000 people in the next 12 months to cater to the demand of business growth and due to high attrition, according to estimates by top company officials and industry insiders.

ICYMI | Exploring the Gender Gap [The CPA Journal] Previous research has established that women suffer from the impacts of the “gender gap” in the middle to late stages of their career. This gender gap manifests itself as reduced pay and reduced advancement opportunity for women relative to men, and it is likely driven by numerous issues. The authors posit that one significant factor driving the gender gap in the accounting profession originates with the Uniform CPA Examination. Successfully passing the CPA exam and earning the CPA designation is an essential step for members of the profession; CPAs are rewarded with better job placements, higher salaries, and more opportunities for advancement. Accordingly, a discrepancy in CPA exam success would indicate a gender gap that arises early in one’s career.

Not that you need to search too hard but if you’re looking for a fight on Twitter this guy is getting yelled at for this hot take:

Deloitte hires first-ever global sustainability leader [Business Chief] Deloitte has appointed its first-ever global sustainability lead, with Jennifer Steinmann selected to serve as head of the consultancy’s Global Sustainability & Climate practice. This appointment follows Deloitte’s earmarking of US$1bn investment to significantly expand its climate practice’s client services, data-driven research, and assets and capabilities.

Alvarez & Marsal Launches $2.5B Claim Against EY [] Administrators for NMC Health, the one-time London Stock Exchange-listed entity that emerged from a UAE-based restructuring deal last month, have filed a $2.5 billion claim against Big Four auditor EY for alleged negligence. The claim, which relates to a seven-year period in which EY was engaged to oversee the hospital operator’s accounts, was filed at the High Court in London on Thursday, according to press reports. “The issues that we found at NMC Healthcare following our appointment were broad, complex and multi-layered,” a spokesperson for Alvarez & Marsal, the joint administrators, told International.

US watchdog heads to Beijing to resolve audit stand-off [Financial Times] US regulators have travelled to mainland China to discuss a potential compromise over audit disclosures that could stop around 270 Chinese companies from being delisted by New York exchanges, according to two people close to the matter. The trip by officials from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is an attempt to settle a stand-off between the US and China over access to audit documents of Chinese companies listed in the US.

Oceana shareholders express low confidence in auditors PwC [fin24] Oceana shareholders were reluctant to retain PwC as external auditors for the group, votes at this year’s annual general meeting (AGM) revealed. Oceana owns canned fish brand Lucky Star and also has a presence in other global markets where it sells fishmeal, fish oil and fish. It also owns a logistics company specialising in cold storage and transport of products such as fish, fruit and vegetables, poultry and meat. The AGM held on Thursday saw most of the resolutions passed with strong majority votes, bar that of the reappointment of PwC.

KPMG faces potential misconduct fine over Carillion audit [Reuters] KPMG faces a potential fine next week after admitting it misled regulators during spot checks on its audits of construction firm Carillion and software company Regenersis, in a case the “Big Four” auditor described as disturbing.

Adler shares dive after KPMG declines to sign off on accounts [MarketWatch] Shares of German real estate group Adler dived as much as 46% on Monday after the company said its auditor, KPMG, won’t sign off on its accounts. KPMG said it was denied access to certain related party information. “This also precludes us from evaluating whether the accounting treatments for at least some of these transactions are appropriate and consistent with their substance, as well as evaluating whether management’s assessment about the valuation of certain account balances is adequate,” said KPMG.

PwC is to shut its US and Mexico offices for 2 weeks a year to help employees recharge [Insider] “Our people have told us that an important part of their wellbeing is having time to disconnect and recharge,” Yolanda Seals-Coffield, deputy people leader at PwC US and Mexico, told Insider. “By far our people tell us that is the most valuable time they have away from work because we’re all away together.”

PwC offers UK staff shorter Friday work hours for summer [The Guardian] PricewaterhouseCoopers has told its accountants and other staff they can finish work early on Fridays over the summer, becoming the latest company to offer flexible work incentives to try to keep employees happy and compete for talent. The accountancy firm has written to its 22,000 UK staff and told them they can knock off at lunchtime on Fridays between 1 June and 31 August, assuming they get their work done. It expects the majority of employees to benefit from this.

Grant Thornton achieves new heights with move to Birmingham’s tallest office [Bdaily News] The firm has signed a 10-year lease on the 17th floor of 103 Colmore Row and held a launch event to celebrate the move on Thursday 28th April. The 26-storey Birmingham building is the tallest office development in the UK outside London.

Staffing shortages, backlog hampered IRS in 2022 filing season, TIGTA says [Journal of Accountancy] Continued personnel shortages and a growing backlog of some returns significantly impeded the IRS’s performance during the 2022 income tax filing season that ended last month, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reported in a preliminary audit. The report, Interim Results of the 2022 Filing Season (Rep’t No. 2022-40-035), dated May 2, provided a snapshot of the IRS’s handling of returns amid its ongoing administrative challenges, as measured between Jan. 31, 2022 (a week after it began processing individual returns), and March 28, 2022. It builds upon other, more targeted interim audits and previous reports and will be followed up with further examination of the full 2022 season, TIGTA said.

Many nonprofits face single audits for the first time [Accounting Today] A great many nonprofit organizations that received stimulus funding from the federal government during the pandemic are now finding themselves facing unexpected audit requirements. Nonprofits that expended $750,000 or more in federal funds in a single fiscal year are subject to the single audit, named after the Single Audit Act of 1984. These complex and often expensive audits add a major compliance burden.

The next big accounting firm merger?

Deloitte: Globally, women say they’re unable to ‘switch off’ at work [HR Dive] Women continue to experience pervasive mental health issues at work, according to a recent Deloitte survey of 5,000 women in 10 countries. The firm found that 53% of respondents said they were more stressed in 2022 than they were last year, and 46% said they felt burned out. Fewer than half said they received adequate employer-provided mental health support.

Russia Barred From Using U.K. Consultants, Accountants, PR [Bloomberg] Foreign Secretary Liz Truss cut Russia off from accessing U.K. management consultants, accountants and public relations firms as she announced a further tranche of sanctions aimed at putting more international pressure on Vladimir Putin in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Photo by Nihal Karkala