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Monday Morning Accounting News Brief: EY’s New Harassment Case; Who’s Happy in Consulting; Bare Minimum Monday | 2.20.23

relaxed dog

Since it’s Monday and all, let’s start with this: ‘Bare Minimum Monday’ is the latest workplace trend hitting productivity

We’ll write this one up later: Accounting firm Ernst & Young launches probe into sexual harassment claim filed by Hong Kong employee after allegation goes viral online [South China Morning Post]

Employee says she and her colleague were harassed by senior male manager at karaoke bar

‘We have also adopted immediate measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the relevant personnel,’ the company says

ICYMI: I spoke to WBUR about the accountant shortage last week:

From CPA Journal: Technostress and the Accounting Profession

A high-stress environment and high employee turnover rate have characterized the profession for decades. Increased levels of job-related stress have been observed through a multitude of factors, including a market shortage of entry level and experienced staff, increased compliance and reporting requirements resulting from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and lingering public concern over financial scandals (Kenneth J. Smith, David J. Emerson, and George S. Everly, Jr., “Stress Arousal and Burnout as Mediators of Role Stress in Public Accounting,” Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research, vol. 20, pp. 79–116, 2017). CPAs may find themselves struggling to maintain firm performance standards due to insufficient time, which may lead to excessive expenditures of emotional energy and strains on personal time. Excessive stress levels can have negative effects on firm efficiency and overall productivity; furthermore, prolonged levels of excessive stress can lead to reduced team member performance and personal health issues. Exposure to inordinate stress levels may also lead to job burnout among individuals who are not psychologically prepared to deal with the accompanying pressures.

CNBC: Cybersecurity firm Darktrace hires EY to review financial processes after damning short seller report

Cybersecurity firm Darktrace on Monday said it has appointed auditing firm EY to review its “key financial processes and controls,” in a bid to soothe investor fears after a short seller accused the company of manipulating its accounts.

“The Board believes fully in the robustness of Darktrace’s financial processes and controls. As a sign of that confidence, we have commissioned this independent third-party review by E&Y,” Geoffrey Hurst, chair of the board, said in a statement. “We look forward to the outcome of this review.”

EY will report to the chair of Darktrace’s audit and risk committee, Paul Harrison, Darktrace said. Darktrace said it doesn’t expect to be in a position to update markets on the review by the time of its first-half earnings report on Mar. 8 and didn’t provide a timeline or when it would release the findings.

Poets & Quants: Consulting: Who’s Happier – MBAs Or Undergrads?

In business, consulting is a destination career. You get to work alongside talented peers and influential executives on impactful projects. Even more, you’re exposed to a variety of industries and issues, so you’re constantly learning and becoming more valuable. While learning comes in many forms, the happiest consultants are often the ones who’ve invested the most in their formal education.


That’s certainly the takeaway from data shared exclusively with Poets&Quants from Firsthand, an industry intelligence platform. Parsed from the Vault Consulting 50 ranking, the data showed MBA-trained consultants showed higher satisfaction across every Quality of Work and Life dimension measured by Vault.

Where you are and what you do in a company often determines your experience in any organization. Fact is, MBA consultants enjoy greater responsibilities and leadership opportunities (and the trust and latitude that comes with them) than peers who only hold a Bachelor’s degree. That difference in experience shows up when MBA and Bachelor’s-only consultants answered Firsthand’s questions about their consulting firms. Using a 1-10 scale – with 10 being the highest score – MBAs produced higher average scores than their Undergraduate peers every single time.

LOL @ this headline: God’s a bad accountant, says Pope

Jesus is not a good book-keeper, no! He always leads us to the imbalance of love. We should not be surprised at this. If God had not “unbalanced” himself, we would never have been saved: It was the imbalance of the cross that saved us! Jesus would not have come to seek us out when we were lost and distant; he would not have loved us up to the end, he would not have embraced the cross for us, who did not deserve all this and could not give him anything in return.

The Hill: Rise of the tax machines: IRS algorithms are coming for you

New research has cast a harsh spotlight on digital discrimination stemming from the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) use of algorithms and artificial intelligence — a key factor in disproportionate auditing of poor families and taxpayers of color. Earlier this week, the Senate questioned President Biden’s nominee for IRS commissioner, Danny Werfel, about how an IRS algorithm targeted Black taxpayers for audit up to 4.7 times as often as other races. Amid controversy over billions of dollars in new IRS enforcement funding, Congress should recognize that letting computers decide whom to audit could destroy more lives than an army of newly hired IRS agents ever could.

Accountancy Today: Total value of UK fraud returns to pre-pandemic levels, KPMG finds

The total value of alleged fraud, with a value of £100k or above, reaching UK Courts in 2022 totalled £1.12bn, an increase of 151% compared to £444.7m in 2021.

The figure for 2022 is similar to pre-pandemic levels which saw a total value of £1.1bn for alleged fraud cases heard in 2019.

This is according to data from the KPMG Fraud Barometer, which found that the volume of cases had fallen by 27% from 298 in 2021 to 219 in 2022.

A few more things:

  • Calling the consultants’ bluff: The Big Con author on reining in the power of consulting firms [City A.M.]
  • Accounting firms need compliance oversight due to increased ESG involvement [Thomson Reuters]
  • 5 Things Whistleblowers Should Know About Reporting Accounting Fraud to the SEC [The National Law Review]
  • 69% of consumers hold back on non-essential spend as cost of living rises; 90% adopt cost-saving behaviours: PwC Consumer Insights Survey [PR Newswire]

That’s all I’ve got for now. You have yourself a good week OK?