Friday Footnotes: Which Firm Puts in the Most Hours?; Clients Pay for the Talent War; Spotting Burnout | 5.20.22

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Boring No More: Accountants, Auditors See Themselves as Creative, Curious and Adventurous, Study Shows [PR Newswire] Creative, curious and adventurous may not be traits normally associated with accountants and auditors, but a recent study shows that’s just how a growing number of industry professionals see themselves. The research – conducted by leading software provider Caseware International through interviews with nearly 500 accountants and auditors globally – suggests that the profession is shifting toward more insights-driven and human-centered work.

Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and EY push further into India as all Big Four firms go on aggressive hiring spree [City A.M.] The big four professional services firms—Deloitte, KPMG International Coop (KPMG), PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd (PwC) and Ernst & Young Global Ltd (EY)—seem to be focusing on India for recruitment since the start of 2022. Among the four, EY had the highest job postings for India during the first quarter, followed by Deloitte, PwC, and KPMG, respectively, according to fresh research from analytics firm GlobalData, shared with City A.M. today.

PwC Chair says the ‘war for talent’ could last another decade. Why he’s never seen a more challenging time for CEOs. [Insider] Tim Ryan talks to Insider: “Even if the economy slows a bit,” he said, “I think the war for talent continues to stay strong.” It’s a battle in which PwC has been engaging as it seeks to add to its US workforce of about 55,000. Last year, the company said it would boost its global workforce by more than one-third by 2026 as it expanded into areas like artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Ryan said the company had been studying how to better serve its workers before the pandemic and that some of the ideas — considerations like a four-day workweek — that seemed bold at the time now felt less so. The pandemic forced a worldwide experiment in new ways to work; many of these innovations are likely to endure. “Ultimately, what we concluded is that the debate around physical versus virtual was the wrong discussion and the wrong debate for us,” Ryan said. “Talent wants choice.”

Speaking of talent…how many hours is everyone working?

Where is the lie?

SEC Probe Looms Over Auditors’ Fastest-Growing Businesses [Wall Street Journal] BDO is one of several midtier accounting firms caught in a sweeping probe by the SEC into conflicts of interest by auditors, one of the people close to the investigation said. The probe also includes the Big Four accounting firms Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Wall Street Journal has previously reported.

KPMG warns British corporate giants of big hike in audit fees [Sky News] Companies such as Barclays and Reckitt Benckiser face steep increases in their audit fees next year, partly because of inflated staff costs, KPMG has said in a note to clients seen by Sky News.

Burnout’s telltale signs and how leaders can better understand them [Journal of Accountancy podcast] In this episode of the Journal of Accountancy podcast, you can hear more about burnout and how it can affect overall mental health.

U-turn on audit reform is bad for British capitalism [Financial Times Opinion] Despite scandals at Carillion, Patisserie Valerie, NMC Health, Thomas Cook, Eddie Stobart, Ted Baker and other companies, the UK has dropped audit reform from its next legislative programme. Those scandals show that the audit industry is failing to protect investors and employees from malfeasance. It is therefore not unreasonable to state that the audit industry is effectively little more than a tax on companies in service of a white-collar jobs programme.

Here’s what Gen Z and millennials want from their employers amid the Great Resignation [CNBC] Gen Z and millennials, like millions of other Americans, are looking for a new way to work. Stressed and burned out, many have walked away from their jobs. Others still plan to do so, according the Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and millennial survey.

EY accused of basic failings in $2.7bn claim over NMC collapse [Financial Times] EY failed to flag a multibillion dollar fraud at FTSE 100 group NMC Health in the years before its 2020 collapse because the auditor did not properly carry out basic checks, according to a $2.7bn legal claim by the hospital operator’s administrators.

KPMG Canada lets workers ‘roam’ for two months with new remote work program [Consulting.ca] The Big Four firm this week announced its “KPMG Roam” remote work and travel program, which will allow partners and employees to work outside their home province for up to eight weeks – including up to four weeks outside Canada.

Nigeria’s Top State Accountant Arrested Over $193 Million Theft [Bloomberg] The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission detained Accountant General Ahmed Idris on Monday “in connection with diversion of funds and money-laundering activities” totaling 80 billion naira ($192.8 million), the agency said in a statement. Idris was taken into custody after failing to respond to the EFCC’s invitations to “to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts”, it said.

Crypto Accounting Guidance Delivers Mixed Bag of Hope, Questions [Bloomberg Tax] The new staff guidance—which addresses certain digital assets held by platform customers—is drawing some heavy criticism that the SEC excluded the industry and companies from the process, leaving important, unresolved questions about which assets are affected and how to value them.

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