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Monday Morning Accounting News Brief: Big 4 Bans ChatGPT For Job Seekers; An EY Boomeranger | 3.4.24

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Hi! It’s Monday which means it’s my job to go round up some headlines for you to start the week.

Did anyone get anything for Employee Appreciation Day? Let me know.

The IRS has a new chief counsel who enjoys boomeranging back and forth to EY:

Former EY principal Marjorie Rollinson spent a quarter-century at EY, rising to principal, before joining the IRS in 2013. She spent five years with the agency before returning to EY, where she spent three years as deputy director of national tax before retiring in 2022.

During Rollinson’s earlier IRS stint, she worked in the Office of Chief Counsel and rose to associate chief counsel for international. In that role, she led a team of 100 lawyers, issuing guidance and providing technical expertise on international tax rules.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said in a statement that Rollinson comes to the position with impeccable credentials.

“You don’t earn those job titles without real expertise in tax law, down to the finest details that leave most of us scratching our heads,” Wyden said. “All this experience is a big reason why she got bipartisan support in the Senate Committee.”

PwC produced a report on the ‘motherhood penalty’ that was picked up by The Telegraph:

A “motherhood penalty” and a failure to support women going through menopause has sent gender equality into reverse in Britain, PwC has said.

The Big Four accountant’s research suggests the gender pay gap has widened in Britain after companies failed to adequately support women.

The UK experienced the largest annual fall of any OECD country in PwC’s annual Women in Work Index, slipping from 13th to 17th.

It comes after the gender pay gap grew from 14.3pc to 14.5pc in 2022, sitting well above the global average of 13.5pc.

PwC blamed the setback on the pay penalty women face after becoming mothers.

PwC report: The ‘motherhood penalty’ is widening the pay gap

Also from Telegraph, firms are ‘banning’ applicants from using AI to help them snag a Big 4 job. GOD FORBID someone get a little help writing their cover letter and a list of bullet points to answer the question “why do you want to work at PwC?”

Job seekers have been banned from using ChatGPT and other AI tools to write their applications amid fears it will help them cheat the system.

The crackdown on AI applications has been driven by fears the tools can be used to unfairly help people improve their odds.

Job hunters applying to KPMG and Deloitte must now confirm they have finished online tests without external tools such as AI.

PwC said it is reviewing applications to check for activity, which “undermines the integrity” of its recruitment operation and will take action against rule breakers.

A PwC spokesman said: “While AI, including GenAI, can be useful in research, we tell candidates they should not use these tools during any assessment.”

BDO, the UK’s fifth largest accountancy firm, said graduates and school leavers were “strictly prohibited” from using AI-driven platforms such as ChatGPT under recently updated application guidelines.

Did I miss the memo that AI content detectors are actually good now? Because last I heard they’re ass.

Offshore is “innovating” now. EY published this piece on Global Capability Centers (GCCs):

Embracing the future: GCCs spearheading innovation with new-age services

Global Capability Centers (GCCs) have experienced significant evolution over three decades, driven by technological progress and the growing demand for digital skills. They have transformed from technical back-office functions to embracing a solution-oriented mindset, placing a strong emphasis on operational excellence and innovation. Today, GCCs play a crucial role in driving global business growth by adeptly facilitating technologies, upskilling the workforce, and leading business process transformations.

To expand their suite of offerings, GCCs incorporate new-age services into their portfolios. We explore these new-age services across business, knowledge, and enablers, encompassing AI, and Data and Analytics.


Future consultants are understandably nervous about the job market:

Jobs outlook stirs anxiety among aspiring UK consultants

Last year, Deloitte said it was making 150 junior consultancy roles redundant in the UK. In the US, meanwhile, EY deferred starting dates by a year for new graduates “based on emerging business conditions”. Starting salaries at some of the biggest firms, McKinsey and Bain, have been frozen.

This has fostered anxiety among applicants, says Dabin Choi, a second year undergraduate studying business management at the London School of Economics and head of marketing at the university’s consultancy society. She aspires to work as a consultant.

“Students in my year have been stressed about getting a role,” says Choi. “Some of my friends are looking elsewhere . . . applying for roles that might not suit [their] interests.” She is also looking into postgraduate study, in case she needs to defer her consulting plans.

“It has been a period of worry for some young consultants,” agrees Tamzen Isacsson, chief executive of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA). “Many of them haven’t seen the sector making redundancies before.”

Meanwhile, in Spain:

A Spanish High Court judge proposed on Monday that former Banco Popular chairman Angel Ron and 12 former executives stand trial on charges of investor fraud related to a 2016 capital increase, a court document showed.

Judge Jose Luis Calama proposed trying Ron, the executives and consultancy firm PwC for allegedly defrauding investors and committing false accounting on a 2.5 billion euro ($2.71 billion) capital increase in 2016 in which investors were “deceived”, the 178-page document seen by Reuters said.
The judge said that Popular’s board and audit committee approved the capital increase without a thorough debate.

Ron said he would appeal the court decision as it did not match what had been investigated in the more than six-year probe, “it contradicts the accounting rules and its conclusions are not supported by facts.”

A spokesperson for PwC said they were still analysing the court decision and would react in due time.

The Press-Enterprise of Southern California shares the story of a property management firm accountant getting creative with the accounting software:

The chief accountant for an Inland Empire property management firm was sentenced Friday to four years, nine months in federal prison for embezzling close to $1 million from clients.

According to prosecutors, the defendant [Jenev Boyd, 60, of Corona] was director of accounting for Corona-based Encore Property Management, which serves homeowners’ associations in the Corona area and elsewhere.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that from January 2012 to August 2020, Boyd used previously inactive client accounts in Encore’s software program to “falsely reflect that these were still active clients.”

“She then changed the selected vendors’ information to reflect her own name and address,” according to an agency statement. “Through manipulation of Encore’s internal accounting software, Boyd was able to mask payments to herself from client accounts as vendor payments. Boyd kept the monthly amounts in line with other vendor payments, therefore hiding the embezzlement.”


In its sentencing memorandum, the agency said the defendant “abused the trust of friends and coworkers,” causing them to feel “blindsided and betrayed.”

Some of her colleagues quit.

The King’s KPMG gets another fine for sloppy auditing:

The UK audit watchdog has fined KPMG £1.5m for “serious failings” after it didn’t spot an accounting scandal at ad agency M&C Saatchi.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) on Monday reprimanded the Big Four firm and supervising partner Adrian Wilcox for lacking “professional scepticism” when auditing the advertising agency’s 2018 accounts.

It follows a five-year investigation into serious accounting blunders at M&C Saatchi, which is known for its work with the Conservative Party.

The FRC launched its inquiry in 2019 after M&C Saatchi discovered £25.8m worth of accounting errors and misjudgments, including £14m of overstated profits.

New Pittsburgh Courier tells the story of the founder of first Black CPA firm in Michigan:

The accounting profession in the United States is predominantly white, with this demographic representing 84 percent of all Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). In contrast, Black professionals constitute a mere two percent of the CPA population, as highlighted in a 2019 report by the Association of International Certified Public Accountants. As in most instances, the lack of representation is not taboo nor is it a new finding. The truth of the matter is that it’s far too common especially in fields that propels the future of Black people such as financial institutions.

In 1921, John W. Crowell, Jr. marked a significant milestone as the first Black Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the United States, establishing his practice in Washington, D.C. Despite this breakthrough, the accounting profession has been marred by persistent barriers that disproportionately affect Black accountants. Research from the Journal of Accountancy indicates that before 1969, a mere fraction, less than 0.15%, of all American CPAs were Black.

Detroit’s history of shattering conventional boundaries finds a notable chapter in the story of the 1941 certified public accountant firm Austin, Washington, and Davenport that is now known as George Johnson & Company (GJC) since the re-organization in 1971. Founded in 1941 by Richard H. Austin, a trailblazing Black man who not only became the first African-American Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Michigan but also the 11th in the entire United States. In 1971, George G. Johnson, CPA, laid the foundation for what would become George Johnson & Company, establishing the firm as a sole proprietorship right in the heart of Detroit.

Lastly, a little Twitter discussion you may have missed. Someone posted a counter in r/Big4 over the weekend.

Has Training Dropped Off a Cliff? (Audit)
byu/DurianImpossible4479 inBig4

K, I’m done. Hope you have a great week, shout if you need anything, follow us on Twitter, blah blah.