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Friday Footnotes: KPMG Hires Ex-Prisoners; Notes From PwC’s All-Hands; Why CPAs Are Leaving | 4.26.24

dog on a path running

Big 4

KPMG hires ex-prisoners as part of Gov strategy to tackle £18bn reoffending cost [City A.M.]
One of the Big Four firms, KPMG, has become the first white-collar British business to employ former prisoners as part of the government’s new pilot programme. The Big Four firm has employed its first cohort of prison leavers in a range of different roles, including technology development. Its part of a campaign by the Government urging the UK’s biggest businesses to recruit prison leavers as part of in order to reduce reoffending as well as growing the economy. According to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the vision is that this campaign will help fill some of the estimated 1m vacancies in the UK job market and it’ll also “keep former offenders on the straight and narrow”.


PwC All-Hands Call [Tipline]
We didn’t get a chance to write this up this week, here’s an update on PwC’s all-hands.

PwC picks consultant Marco Amitrano as next UK senior partner [Financial Times]
PwC’s partners have elected consultant Marco Amitrano to lead one of Britain’s largest professional services firms, after a three-way race that included female candidates on the shortlist for the first time. The firm said on Thursday that Amitrano would become the firm’s next UK senior partner after triumphing in a partner vote against audit boss Hemione Hudson and tax leader Laura Hinton. Amitrano, a PwC lifer who currently serves as the firm’s head of clients and markets, will take over from outgoing boss Kevin Ellis on July 1.

An alternative take on the above news:

PwC picks only man on shortlist to be next boss [The Telegraph]
Partners overlook female candidates to maintain 175-year-long male-led streak.

Accountant Shortage

PIPCA Survey Sheds Light on What Existing CPAs Want and Why Some are Leaving [INSIDE Public Accounting]
Accounting firm business models need to change to retain and attract CPAs amid the worst talent shortage in recent history, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) asserts in a new survey. The report, “CPA Talent Retention 2024: Keeping Your Best Performers,” delves into why entry- and mid-level CPAs are exiting the profession and offers strategies for firms to retain their current talent. “The findings from our latest report emphasize the complexity of talent retention and the necessity for firms to adopt innovative strategies that address both individual and organizational needs,” says PICPA CEO Jennifer Cryder. “This report aims to guide accounting firm leaders towards effective strategies that we believe, when properly implemented, will enhance both retention and firm performance.”


The Peter Principle Of Excessive Drinking [Above the Law]


Trump Media’s auditor is really bad at spelling his own name [FT Alphaville]
Ben F Borgers, whose accountancy firm BF Borgers inspects the finances of Trump Media & Technology Group, has filed Form APs to the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board using the names Ben F Brogers, Blake F Borgers, Ben F Vonesh and Ben F orgers, among 10 others — some of which look like simple spelling mistakes — according to Public Company Accounting Oversight Board data. Orthographically-challenged auditors are relatively rare. One other US auditor has used nine variations of their name and another two have used eight different spellings. The vast majority spell their names consistently.

Generative AI

Meta and Deloitte Execs on the Of GenAI in Marketing and How It Will Disrupt the Future of Digital Media [Variety]
At Variety‘s 2024 Entertainment Marketing Summit presented by Deloitte, Jana Arbanas, leader of media and entertainment at Deloitte, told the crowd that AI will disrupt “every single industry,” it touches. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. She and her team at Deloitte have already seen the benefits of using generative AI in their work, and as a result, “[increased] efficiency by 200%.”

Strategic AI integration, governance and risk in finance [EY]
AI has the potential to impact finance functions by automating processes and enhancing decision-making. In conversations among Fortune 250 CFOs, EY teams found that while organizations are at different stages in their AI journey, all admitted to having done some experimentation, and about half had defined projects or other capabilities in use today. However, widespread use of these tools raises serious concerns about data privacy, security and compliance. Businesses must focus on an accountable and ethical AI approach, but there is hesitation among business leaders. In the October 2023 EY CEO Pulse survey, 62% of respondents acknowledge the urgency of acting on GenAI to keep pace with their competitors, and 61% express reservations due to the uncertainties surrounding AI strategy.

Office Space

Former law office will house a restaurant [Annandale Today (Virginia)]
The restaurant will be Shawarma Taco, a casual eatery featuring a mashup of Middle Eastern and Mexican food. There is a Shawarma Taco in Springfield Mall; this will be the second location. The owner of the building, Fozan Ghannam, is moving his accounting and tax business, Olwan, Ghannam & Associates, to a section of the building at 4201 Annandale Road. He is relocating to Annandale because the company is outgrowing its current space in Bailey’s Crossroads.

Accounting Firm Renews Lease at Causeway Plaza [Biz New Orleans]
The Feil Organization, a national real estate investment firm, has announced that Kushner LaGraize has renewed its 17,000-square-foot space at Causeway Plaza for over 10 years. Kushner LaGraize is a full-service accounting and consulting firm. “An important asset in the next phase of our continuous growth is the quality of the workplace and the central location of our office, providing proximity to our staff’s homes, ease of access to our clients, and movement across the thriving business hub,” said William B Hamilton, managing partner at Kushner LaGraize.


“Almost Unstoppable”: WVU Accounting Helps Students Succeed [West Virginia University]
It’s basically an ad but whatever.
“I’ve always liked math,” said Claire Ullom. “My dad said, ‘You’re a great people person. I really think if you enjoy math and are good with people, you should consider accounting.’” That conversation marked the beginning of Ullom’s accounting journey. Her journey isn’t over yet, though – five years later, Ullom has notched an undergraduate degree, an internship and a job offer with a Big Four accounting firm. Soon, she’ll have a graduate degree to go along with the rest of it.

First-gen La Salle accounting student moving onto role at PwC following graduation [LaSalle University]
Wait, is this an ad too?
Cagatay Ozbay, ‘24, who is an accounting major and finance minor is proud of all he’s accomplished—and overcome—as a student. “One thing I would like to say is, no matter how difficult it gets, if you have a goal and the discipline you will always succeed,” the Delran, N.J., resident said. “That is what got me here today. The discipline is what has made me the man who I am today.”

Accountants Behaving Badly (Allegedly)

Colby CPA, creator of ‘Middle Finger Ranch,’ accused of fraud, money laundering [12News (Kansas)]
In a news release, the United States Attorney’s Office said Flannagin, a certified public accountant, is part owner of the accounting firm, Williams Consulting. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the owners of Diamond M. Farms, in Thomas County, contracted the firm to perform CPA work for the company with Flannagin acting as a signatory for Diamond M. Farms’ bank accounts and payroll. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Flannagin created a fictitious business called Middle Finger Ranch and added the company name to his personal bank account.

Former accountant charged with embezzling over $800,000 from Richmond paving firm [The Mercury News (California)]
A former accountant for a Richmond-based paving company is facing allegations she embezzled more than $800,000 from the firm, according to prosecutors. Angela Fae Brown, 53, of Olivehurst, is charged with embezzlement, money laundering, identity theft and tax evasion, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. She was arraigned on the felony charges Tuesday. Brown used her accounting skills to exploit financial vulnerabilities in the company to illegally enrich herself for nearly five years,” the district attorney’s office said.


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Deloitte: ‘You don’t need to be perfect; you just need to start’ disability inclusion work [UNLEASH]
“We want everyone to feel they can be themselves and to thrive at work – in every country where we operate, in everything we do, every day,” Kay Forsythe, Senior Advisor, ESG Advisory at Deloitte UK, tells UNLEASH. At the end of the day, “if we enable people personally, professionally to be their best, we get much better outcomes, as do our clients”, adds Forsythe. This explains why diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is a “business priority” for US$65 billion-revenue professional services giant. “We know that this vision can only be achieved by providing a workplace culture that is always inclusive, underpinned by respect and appreciation for diversity in all its forms,” she continues.