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Monday Morning Accounting News Brief: Dissecting the Talent Shortage; Big 4 Culture Kills; Are You Happy? | 9.12.22

an orange cat with an alarm clock

A deal announced early this month by House Democrats for years of Donald Trump’s financial records allows his former accounting firm (Mazars) to interpret how to satisfy a congressional subpoena that was narrowed down by a federal appeals court in July, according to a settlement filed late Friday. The Denver Post wrote about the accountant shortage: “Students these days are looking for careers with purpose or where they feel they can have an impact on society. It is hard for young people to see the importance of providing good accounting information to protect our capital markets and our economic activity, ” said Sharon Lassar, director of the school of accountancy at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. If EY splits it will “give them a strategic advantage by allowing them to work with all 4 of the Big 4 audit clients— something neither PwC, Deloitte or KPMG can say.” The AICPA said it welcomes the IRS’s recent grant of automatic penalty relief for failure to file a broad range of tax and information returns for 2019 and 2020, it requested that the IRS expand, modify, and clarify the scope of that relief, as well as extend the relief deadline from Sept. 30 to Dec. 31. Queen Elizabeth II gave a South Jersey accountant a royal honor. The SEC announced plans to add an Office of Crypto Assets and an Office of Industrial Applications and Services to the Division of Corporation Finance’s Disclosure Review Program (DRP).

ICYMI: Babylon Bee satirized your job

a screenshot of a Babylon Bee article about an accountant
Accountant At Party Realizes Too Late That Person Asking Him About His Work Was Just Being Polite

“This week, local man Connor Servaprof was excited when an acquaintance at a cookout asked him what it’s like working as an accountant. Mistaking the inquiry for a genuine interest in the finer details of accounting, he began to regale the unfortunate man, failing to perceive his panic as he realized his polite question was being taken seriously.”

After the death of a 27-year-old woman working for EY Australia two weeks ago, a LinkedIn post talks about why Big 4 culture desperately needs to change:

I have worked for three Big 4 firms, two in client service and one as an executive coach, facilitator, and purpose and inclusion leader.

The fact is, billable hours and utilization targets have and continue to be a harsh reality.

No amount of talk, program investment, and PR around well-being programs, and mental resource access counters the impact of the deeply entrenched and harmful culture surrounding the billable hour and utilization.

Not a single leader in any Big 4 firm can say, we’re working on it, or we promote a culture of well-being. You’re not and you do not do it in earnest.

It is not true. It lacks integrity. It is hypocritical. People are getting sick and dying. Literally.

I continue to coach professionals inside Big 4, and well-being is never absent as topic of coaching. Never. The reality is, conversations about well-being are mostly centered around survival…bouncing between burnout and survival to be specific.

The compounding and disproportionate impact on women and underrepresented minorities increases the problem several fold as it extends into families and communities.

Well-being is the lowest common denominator for performance at work and in life.

Comments are closed on the Monday news briefing and Friday Footnotes by default, if you have a comment about anything you’ve read here or just in general you are encouraged to contact the editor. I’ll probably read it.

A few things we’re working on this week:

  • Some familiar faces on the Fortune 25 Best Large Workplaces in Consulting and Professional Services
  • I guess we should talk about “quiet quitting”
  • The 150-hour rule: a look back and a look ahead
  • P.S. there’s still an accountant shortage
  • Some tips for associates who are struggling to keep up
  • Understanding the 179D tax deduction for humans
  • Some other crap that’s been on the to-do list for too long


I guess that’s it. Give us a shout if you need anything and hope you have a great week!