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Morning Morning Accounting News Brief: NASBA Sticks to the 150 Rule; PwC Reports a New Gap; 60 Years of Misery | 2.13.23

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Good morning and welcome to a brand new week. Last week was oddly quiet but that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, right now is “keep your head down and get your work done” time for a good chunk of the profession. Oh, here’s last week’s Friday Footnotes if you want to catch up on the old news first.

Economist Mariana Mazzucato roasts consulting firms in her new book and this FT piece, ‘The McKinseys and the Deloittes have no expertise in the areas that they’re advising in’ she said. FT: For the past decade, she has waged a sometimes lonely battle to rehabilitate the state’s reputation as an economic motor. Her new book, The Big Con, written with Rosie Collington, argues that consultancies are hobbling governments’ ability to perform that role. In her office, holding a Diet Coke, she says: “For me, the big wake-up call was Brexit [preparations], because [the consultants] were everywhere.” In 2019-20, the British government spent nearly £1bn on strategy and other consultants — to the despair of some MPs. Mazzucato and Collington also widen their critique to include the Big Four accounting firms, such as Deloitte, and outsourcing companies, which carry out chunks of the state’s core functions.

Wall Street Journal has a depressing article about 60-year careers. “As people live longer, healthier lives, the traditional 40-year career will become a thing of the past. But that’s going to require a new mind-set—and a lot more planning.” YIPPEE

EY has resigned as auditor to MJ Hudson, saying it had “lost trust” in management of the investment consultancy whose shares have been suspended since December as it battles to establish the true state of its finances. In its resignation letter, EY said that “we are ceasing to hold office because we have lost trust and confidence in the company’s management and those charged with governance, and in their ability, along with your finance team, to provide us with accurate and reliable information for audit”.

KPMG Australia has bagged a support contract with Melbourne Airport to manage its Microsoft Dynamics applications. KPMG will support Melbourne Airport’s Microsoft Dynamics implementation across financials, supply chain, sales, customer service and marketing. This includes management of system updates, ongoing enhancements and incidents. The multi-year engagement will focus on “solution evergreening” to help Melbourne Airport to maximise investment in the Microsoft Dynamics platform, KPMG said.

PwC UK has reported its sexual orientation pay gap for the first time. The firm’s 2022 median gender pay gap decreased slightly to 5.9% from 6%. Its mean sexual orientation pay gap stood at 12.3%, and its median gap at 19.7%. PwC’s mean sexual orientation bonus gap was 17.8% and its median gap was 23%.

Good news, everyone! The accountant pipeline problem shall be fixed posthaste (does this need an /s?):

Speaking of the pipeline…

NASBA upholds 150-hour education requirement for CPA licensure

Across the board, stakeholders charged with promoting and protecting the accounting profession are searching for solutions to a talent acquisition issue that isn’t unique to the profession.

“Should any state or jurisdiction lower the licensure requirement to 120 hours, their CPAs would no longer be automatically substantially equivalent and would no longer enjoy the mobility and reciprocal practice privileges they currently are afforded,” NASBA President and CEO Ken Bishop said in an interview with the JofA. “Lowering the bar to 120 hours is only one of the alternatives we have heard that has been discussed and considered. Others, including lowering the cut score for passing the CPA Exam, have the potential and risk of creating the perception of dumbing down the profession. No one is talking about, for example, lowering the bar to become an attorney, and they’re also suffering from lack of entry.” [Read more at Journal of Accountancy]

A few other things:

On the editorial schedule this week: I’m working on a historical look back on busy season, comparing Reddit bitching about it ten years ago to current day to find out if busy season has in fact gotten much worse. We’ll also be booing the AICPA’s efforts to improve the accountant shortage (as is tradition). And I have this thing on NASBA’s financials I’ve been picking away at for weeks that might actually get done.

And one last thing:

Have a great week out there and do let me know if you see something interesting you think we should talk about.

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