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Friday Footnotes: Know Your Value; Retired EY Partners Complain; ‘Rest For Success’ | 2.3.23

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Hail Eris! Today is 2/3/23 and this is your Friday roundup of all the week’s news that wasn’t fit to print (or make fun of). We appreciate you stopping by!

Big 4

EY considers handing retired US partners cut of proceeds from spin-off [Financial Times]
EY has told retired US partners it is considering giving them a cut of the proceeds from a spin-off of its consulting arm, after complaints that the firm’s leadership is cashing in on a business built by previous generations. An email sent on Thursday to retired partners of the Big Four accounting firm, seen by the Financial Times, said US executives were considering a request to boost pension payouts or hand the retirees shares in the new consulting business. EY has also agreed to pay for legal counsel to advise retired partners in the US during the process, according to Thursday’s email, which came from a committee of former partners picked by the firm to represent retirees’ interests.

EY under fire over its two roles at battery start-up Britishvolt [Financial Times]
EY has come under fire over its switch from adviser to administrator of failed battery start-up Britishvolt as questions mount over a possible conflict of interest created by its twin roles. The Big Four consultancy was a longstanding adviser to Britishvolt, playing a central role in devising its failed strategy, seconding a team to the company for almost two years, and collecting millions of pounds in fees. Last month administrators from EY were ushered in to find a buyer for the business when it collapsed, igniting concerns over conflicts of interest in a sector MPs have branded a “wild west”. EY’s move from adviser to administrator “must be a conflict of interest”, said one industry figure who was close to the Britishvolt process.

KPMG Canada advised on most mid-market M&A deals in 2022 []
The Big Four accounting and consulting firm supported 55 Canadian transactions in 2022 – outstripping PwC (27) and EY (26), who ranked second and third, respectively. KPMG also supported the most mid-market deals in the five-year period from 2018-2022, at 217 transactions.

Things Going Concern Supports Unconditionally


Paul McCann on life after Grant Thornton: ‘I was like the artist formerly known as Prince’ [The Irish Times]
When Paul McCann told his four children that he was leaving Grant Thornton after 22 years to try his hand in a role outside the firm, two of them started crying. “Your identity is wrapped up with that, and theirs is as well. They’re used to going to the Christmas parties and going to friends. It was a big deal for us all. I love Grant Thornton and still refer to Grant Thornton as ‘we’,” he says, now sitting in the chief executive’s office of Irish tech company Ergo, where he has been for the past 17 months. Ironically, Ergo’s auditor is Mazars, a big rival of Grant Thornton among the second tier of Irish accounting firms. Grant Thornton were auditors until McCann became Ergo’s chairman in 2015. When is he changing back? “Ha ha,” he chuckles. “Mazars do a good job. When I went on the board here we had to resign as auditors.”

BDO’s culture attracts KPMG auditing veteran from New York [Australian Financial Review]
An inability to easily visit family in New Zealand during the COVID pandemic led to auditing veteran Fiona Narielwalla moving to Sydney after almost a decade in New York. She has moved to BDO after working at KPMG in New Zealand and New York for more than two decades, including almost five years working on using new technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve the auditing process. “I was really attracted to the BDO culture and the firm’s values. It’s very much a family culture [here], people are approachable,” Ms Narielwalla said.

St. Louis accounting firms say demand drives surge in hiring for non-CPA professionals [St. Louis Business Journal]
At Anders CPAs + Advisors, the number of non-CPA professionals at the firm increased 57% from 2022-2023. The number of non-CPA professionals employed by the St. Louis region’s 25 largest accounting firms increased by 12% last year to 1,594. By comparison, the number of CPAs employed by those same firms grew by only 5% to 1,184.


How to communicate with purpose [Journal of Accountancy]
What you say at work — the words you choose, the context you frame them in, and how you say them — makes a difference. Communicating well is an essential skill for professionals who work with clients, colleagues, and managers. That includes accountants and finance professionals. “As an accountant, communicating clearly and concisely with your clients may be one of the most important things you do on the job,” said Caren Rodriguez, chief marketing officer of DMJPS PLLC, a tax, assurance, and business advisory firm with several offices across North Carolina. “Many clients may not have a lot of experience in speaking finance, so it’s up to you to figure out how to explain it all in a way that will help them understand.”

Lean into stress and rest for success [Deloitte WorkWell podcast]
On this episode, Deloitte Chief Well-being Officer Jen Fisher talks with “Brad Stulberg,” author of the best-selling book, “The Practice of Groundedness” and the co-author of the books, “Peak Performance” and “The Passion Paradox”, about principles that can help with improving performance without foregoing well-being. Says Stulberg in his book: “Human performance and human well-being are really complex. And when you take a system that is as complex as us and you try to do any kind of reductionist intervention, it rarely works and often has unintended consequences. So, I think that the key to any kind of health or performance behavior change, is to pick an approach that’s not reckless.”

Firm Watch

WHY ARE WE YELLING! From the press release: CBIZ, Inc. announced today that it has acquired the non-attest assets of Somerset CPAs and Advisors (“Somerset”) of Indianapolis, IN, effective February 1, 2023. Concurrent with this transaction, Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., a national independent CPA firm that works closely with CBIZ, announced the acquisition of the attest assets of Somerset CPAs and Advisors. Somerset has been providing accounting, tax, and financial advisory services to clients in a wide array of industries for more than 60 years. With additional offices in Michigan City, and Fort Wayne, IN, as well as Nashville, Tennessee, Somerset is the fifth-largest accounting service provider based in Indianapolis, with 250 employees and approximately $55 million in revenue.

BlackRock Cuts Stake in CBIZ (CBZ) [Nasdaq]
Here, have some more CBIZ happenings: Fintel reports that BlackRock has filed a 13G/A form with the SEC disclosing ownership of 3.30MM shares of CBIZ, Inc. (CBZ). This represents 6.5% of the company. In their previous filing dated February 1, 2022 they reported 3.42MM shares and 6.60% of the company, a decrease in shares of 3.57% and a decrease in total ownership of 0.10% (calculated as current – previous percent ownership).

Merged accounting firms find new digs in Innsbrook [Richmond BizSense]
Capping off their merger last summer, accounting firms Kimble CPAs and KWC have a new hub for their local operations. The combined firms, now operating here solely under the KWC banner, recently moved into an 11,000-square-foot office. Upon joining forces in July, the firms knew they’d need larger digs to bring KWC’s 14-person roster under the same roof as KWC’s existing 16 local employees.


Celsius Was Using QuickBooks for Its Accounting—Just Like FTX [Decrypt]
Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius used Quickbooks to keep track of its finances, a court-appointed examiner wrote in a report released Tuesday. That made it especially challenging to assess the company’s finances post-bankruptcy, as Quickbooks is “geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses,” wrote Examiner Shoba Pillay. Celsius’s finances were tracked across its various divisions in 15 separate Quickbooks files, Pillay wrote, without automatic systems in place to produce consolidated statements for the crypto lender that currently owes clients and creditors $5.5 billion.