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Monday Morning Accounting News Brief: What Do Big 4 Firms Pay These Days?; EY Gets Sued | 4.8.24

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Morning! Let’s take a moment to extend thoughts and prayers to our brothers and sisters in the final days of the tax season grind. You’re almost there! For everyone else, guess it’s just another Monday. Woo.

About that total eclipse today. USA TODAY has a zip code checker that will tell you when to expect it in your area. It begins in Mexico at just after 11 am Pacific and ends in Maine at 3:35 pm Eastern. Remember to protect your eyes, we know you don’t get much sun to begin with.

ICYMI: Should after-hours emails be illegal? They will be if one California lawmaker gets his way.

Business Insider analyzed the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s 2023 disclosure data for permanent and temporary foreign workers to find out what Big 4 firms pay.

The so called “Big Four” accounting firms — Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG, and Ernst & Young (EY) — are known for paying their staff high salaries.

Are they really tho?

An entry-level consultant who just graduated from business school can make over $200,000 a year at the four firms when you include base salary, bonuses, and relocation expenses.

Several of these firms have faced layoffs and implemented hiring freezes over the past year as demand for consulting services has waned. Still, they’re a good bet for anyone looking to land a six-figure job straight out of school.

The roles are a bit all over the place, like they have manager salaries for these three firms:

  • Deloitte: average $152,971
  • PwC: $114,300 to $231,000
  • KPMG: $99,445 to $293,800

But not EY. Here are a few EY roles:

  • Accountants and auditors: $54,000 to $390,000
  • Computer systems analyst: $62,000 to $367,510
    Management analyst: $49,220 to $337,500

‘Big Four’ salaries: How much accountants and consultants make at Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, and EY

Big 4 firms in India are busy poaching the f out of each other according to Economic Times:

Deloitte is hiring more than 25 partners from EY in advisory businesses-largely cyber, risk, financial services and tech-out of which 13 have joined with the remainder in various stages of negotiations and expected to join in the next few months.

In all, about 50 partners will be joining Deloitte in the next few months, including more than 25 from KPMG.

“Given our robust growth rate and goal to double our business within 3-4 years, we continue to hire talented individuals, including partners spanning various capabilities and industry expertise. We hold a strong bullish stance on the growth of the Indian economy and will maintain aggressive investment,” said Romal Shetty, CEO, Deloitte, South Asia.

Bloomberg went digging around in Trump Media’s auditor’s PCAOB inspection reports:

Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. said in recent regulatory filings that it will keep BF Borgers, a Lakewood, Colorado-based accounting firm, as its auditor after starting to trade publicly late last month. A Canadian regulator said last year that BF Borgers violated its rules for auditors, while the US’s Public Company Accounting Oversight Board found multiple deficiencies in every audit it reviewed from the firm over the past two annual checks.

Its deficiency rate from the PCAOB was worse than the industry rate of 40% in 2022, and the December enforcement action from Canada’s audit regulator prevents it from accepting new clients in that country until it makes certain improvements.

Trump Media said in a statement that articles about BF Borgers’s record were partisan and “preemptively attacking our auditors before they’ve even begun their work for us as a public company.”

How did we miss Withum’s 80 percent deficiency rate? Yikes.

Small or foreign audit firms often have high deficiency rates, and are typically only examined every three years by PCAOB inspectors. However, BF Borgers is a prolific auditor with more frequent examinations. Last year, it ranked No. 8 on a list of audit firms with the most publicly traded clients, with just nine fewer clients than midtier firm BDO USA, according to research firm Ideagen Audit Analytics. Among the 10 busiest auditing firms, Withum Smith+Brown had an 80% deficiency rate and BDO had a 66% rate in 2022, according to the audit regulator.

Wirecard shareholders are suing EY, says Euronews:

Former Wirecard shareholders are suing audit firm EY Germany, accusing it of internal reorganisation and potentially asset stripping it to prevent payouts and compensation in connection with the collapse of the tech payments company.

The company’s collapse in 2020 shook Germany where it had long been the darling of the country’s fintech scene. It filed for insolvency in that year after reporting €1.9 billion ($2 billion) that had been on its balance sheet could not be found.

The fraud cost banks €3.1 billion in loans and write-downs; EY Germany was the company’s auditor.

Wirecard shareholders now fear the internal reorganisation of EY Germany could mean the firm is removing financial assets from the service that could potentially be held accountable for the damage they suffered.

EY Germany recently dropped an appeal against sanctions slapped on them by the German audit regulator related to Wirecard. This thing is really dragging out, isn’t it?

The Financial Reporting Council fined Grant Thornton £40,000 for not showing their homework. It’s the usual nonsense:

Britain’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has sanctioned Grant Thornton UK, levying a £40,000 fine against the major accounting firm for significant failures in its audit of a local authority’s pension fund for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021.

The FRC’s enforcement action stems from an inspection by its Audit Quality Review team that uncovered several lapses in Grant Thornton’s audit work, which the regulator deemed a “significant departure” from expected auditing standards.

Specifically, the FRC cited two uncorrected material errors that appeared in the audited pension fund financial statements included in the local authority’s annual report, though not in the pension fund’s own statements. Grant Thornton also failed to obtain sufficient audit evidence to verify the accuracy of the pension fund’s investment valuations.

Room151 has an update on the impending municipal audit catastrophe:

Only 21% of local authority audits have been finalised for 2022/23, with 63% awaiting sign off and 16% unpublished, according to the latest published accounts tracker by LG improve.

The tracker also revealed that for 2021/22 54% of audits have been signed off, 38% remain as drafts, and 8% are yet to be published. In total this means that around 390 audits for the last two financial years are yet to be finalised.

In February, the government launched a consultation on the best way to clear the backlog in local authority audit, which outlined measures to “reset” the system through a backstop date of 30 September 2024 to publish accounts for all outstanding years up to and including 2022/23. If accounts are not finalised by this deadline disclaimers of opinion will be issued.

Here’s a little something from Tax Policy Center (with a disclaimer that the article is solely the opinion of the author and not that of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute, or Brookings Institution):

Who’s Left to Tax? Grappling With a Dwindling Shareholder Tax Base

Foreign investors, retirement accounts, and other tax-exempt entities now dominate US stock ownership. This shift has important implications for understanding who wins and who loses from changes to US corporate tax policy such as cuts in corporate tax rates and buyback tax hikes.

In a new paper, my former TPC colleague Livia Mucciolo and I [Steven M. Rosenthal] update previous findings to document the plunge in taxable ownership of corporate stock that has occurred over the past several decades. Our study is based on the latest data on US financial accounts collected by the Federal Reserve System.

Our main findings: From 1965 to 2022, the share of outstanding US stock that was held in taxable brokerage and mutual fund accounts declined from 79 percent to 27 percent (see Figure 1). The share of publicly traded stock that was held in taxable accounts similarly declined from 81 percent to 28 percent.

Global Capability Centers (where the offshore talent grinds away) “play a crucial role in advancing the ESG agenda” says this EY report:

Insights from EY India’s inaugural ESG GCC Survey 2024 highlight that 51% GCCs in India have initiated efforts to help their global counterparts to advance the ESG agenda. GCCs are working with global sustainability leaders in enabling the end-to-end ESG implementation journey across key capabilities such as project management, supplier risk management, process and controls enablement, reporting, technology, and analytics.

“The role of GCCs as drivers of reporting and transformation is not new. GCCs are accelerating the adoption of the ESG agenda through leveraging their existing capabilities, including record to report, project management, technology transformation, supply-chain management, risk management and continuous improvement,” said Arindam Sen, EY India Global Business Services & Operations Partner.


K that’s all I’ve got. Text me or email if you see anything cool going on. PLEASE, I beg.