PSA – Larger Mid-Size Firm with potential to blow up!

Category: FirmsPSA – Larger Mid-Size Firm with potential to blow up!
TheFuzzyDopplegangerTheFuzzyDoppleganger asked 4 years ago

I apologize if this isn’t the correct forum for this, as I traded in my CPA for a JD back when CP3 was underperforming in the NCAA tourney instead of the NBA playoffs (although after last night he might finally be on track for a championship!), so usually spent my time Above the Law, but I’ve been told by the few millennial CPA’s I know that this is the accounting equivalent.  It’s important to note that I was basically forced to find a new career when my firm went under almost 20 years ago as the actions of few had a drastic impact on one the many that comprised one of the largest firm’s in the world!  That is why I am writing this today, as I feel something like this might soon be happening again (albeit on a MUCH smaller scale), and it was much more difficult for us younger/less experienced personnel to find a new job than it was for the partners/more established personnel.  Therefore, if you work for one the largest mid-size firms, especially in the northeast at one of that firm’s largest office (most likely the largest), then you better read this closely and if anything sounds familiar, you need to GeT Out NOW!  Much easier to make lateral move now instead of going down with the ship and/or the market is flooded from the firm laying everyone off…  I hit the links this weekend with a few of my old law school buddies, and one of them brought his younger brother/sister, who is a CPA at one of the largest mid-size accounting firms (not Big 4), and while I’ve probably got at least 10 years on him/her, we’ve always been decent friends, and I was expecting him/her to tell me he/she was a Partner and loving life, since he/she’d been there for easily 10+ years and always had nothing but had nothing but positive things to say, but what I heard completely shocked me.  Basically, after year’s of being promised “next year,” a tale as old as time at public acct firms, this kid was sick and tired of hearing partner’s not only change their position year after year, but even go so far as to say they “never said that” or even they “don’t remember ever saying that.” Therefore, he/she decided to take matters into his/her own hands and basically began recording all of his/her interactions with partners, either on phone (really insane that for a couple bucks you can buy an app that will record all phone calls and even provide means to “broadcast” them on internet using a link to a recording that will play on loop) or in person (I’ve always said never trust a person who carries 2 phones!  Just bc the screen might be cracked doesn’t mean the phone can’t record!).  Now he/she swears that he/she initially was only doing this to point out what a specific person had said when the following year would come, but what he/she ended up recording is far more unbelievable (or hysterical – depending on how you look at it).  Now he/she had tens or even hundreds of recordings/voicemails/emails, so I will just highlight a few of the more brazen, but you’ll get the idea…
1)      Internal call on how to bill for “out of pocket” expenses that didn’t exist, and then adding client via a conference call, and the client was told basically the opposite of everything that was just discussed prior to adding the client to the call.
2)      Calls/conversations/emails on how to update their audit process based upon what they’d seen when reviewing another firm’s audit workpapers.  There was even a calendar invite for a meeting titled something along the lines of “how to update audits based on what we learned during review of XYZ firm”!
3)      This last one is just the funniest example of several inappropriate remarks/emails, and really just impressive he/she had retained it, as its got to be almost 10 years old (given sender of email wasn’t a partner at the time – but is now!).  It’s an email with a link to the infamous “People Who Annoy You” scene from Southpark , with the kicker being it included a reference to the sender’s direct superior at the time, who lets just say is someone that wouldn’t have been amused by this scene.
Now I’d like to take this moment to say that beyond what I was being shown on the spot (PDF’s of emails/messages/calendar invites, voicemails, recordings, etc), so I have no proof of whether any of this was actually real or this person was just a master at doing voice impersonations and with photoshop (although the latter seemed extremely unlikely).  Therefore, everything above can be considered “alleged” since I haven’t done anything to confirm its veracity beyond checking a few names on LinkedIn to see what their Firm/Position was (which honestly I only did because I couldn’t actually believe any partners would ever actually do/say some of what I was seeing/hearing – but it all checked out! at least online… but I suppose I would have said the same almost 20 years ago!).  This is also partially why I am trying to be somewhat vague not using any actual names for any person/company, as this person didn’t seem intent on ever really releasing this information since he/she seemed to genuinely care about the majority of the people at the firm.  However, in the off chance they ever decide to royally screw him/her (i.e. – let him go without a FAT severance), then I would say all bets are off!  But since I have to imagine no firm would be that dumb, even with the above examples of the opposite, the other portion of my reasoning for posting this is as sort of a PSA for anyone who reads this and realizes it is their firm, because even if it doesn’t come out from this person, I can GUARANTEE this firm will run into issues in the near future, and TRUST ME when I say it is better you GeT OUT NOW!  So if you work at one of the larger mid-size firms, in an office in the northeast, and notice that someone you thought was a lifer has recently left or has one foot out the door, read the above closely, and if it sounds all too familiar, might be time for a move!  And remember, a change in industry isn’t always a bad thing (hell – the person from above will likely end up working for his/her/spouse’s family business, which couldn’t be more polar opposite from public accounting and will end up making more money and have a better quality of life!).  
OK, hopefully this has reached its intended audience and my conscience can be cleared. As always, practice the appropriate amount of professional skepticism when determining if this is your firm!  GOOD LUCK everyone!  And enjoy the long weekend!

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5 Answers
MarginCallingBc-I-M...MarginCallingBc-I-M... answered 4 years ago

Hahahahahaha – this might be the greatest thing I’ve ever read for so many different reasons, most of which I wont bore you with, EXCEPT FOR bullet point #3.  Ya see, while none of it really surprises me, I can’t really speak to the majority of what has been written above as I personally left that firm to go private almost a decade ago (yes, I realize this is going to be hard to believe, you might even tell me to “GeT out”, but I cracked the not so subtle “capital letter code”!).  Anyyyyways, as it relates to #3, I can vividly remember being on that email chain and proclaiming to the other email recipients that the sender would 1000% regret sending that, particularly given the heritage of the Partner on the email sender’s largest engagement.  So while I warned that even being a part of an email chain like that was dangerous, let alone being the actual sender, I was basically laughed at all the way from Broad St to Bayonne and beyond!  But now this moment if my vindication.  Might be 6 or 7 or 8 years later, but totally worth it!  I might not have any idea of who wrote the above, or who the the author is even referring to, but I have to imagine the guy who sent that email is SWEATING BULLETS in fear of that email coming out, especially when you consider that he’s now a partner over there, and that can’t be a good look.  As for my guess on who the actual mystery man is (sorry #metoo, but that firm was like 90% male when I was there, so I gotta assume it’s a guy), I imagine the Greek Freak is the leading contender, as that dude has been there almost 20 years and still isn’t a partner, and that 20 years isn’t even really an exaggeration since he legit couldn’t pass his CPA exam and was a senior for legitimately 10 years, which also isn’t an exaggeration.  Tack on the fact that I think he went to the same highschool as the sender of the email, and had probably already graduated before the sender even was a freshman, and that sounds like enough envy ammunition to go this route.   But then again, he was always kind of a moron (see above re: 10+ years to pass CPA exam and staying almost 20+ years at firm that he clearly is never going to advance at), so now I’m seriously doubting he actually has (or ever had) the brains/generally savvy to actually think to retain all this info.  Oh well, he’d still be my guess, but that’s only because he’s basically the only person still there from when I was and that isn’t currently a partner! LOL
And to paraphrase the author above, please take everything written here with some sort of a grain of salt, as I have also done nothing to validate the above author’s information, and everything else is subject to my severely alcohol impaired memory!  (EXCEPT the email – that happened!) And since I’m already stealing from him, I’ll steal his sign off too… hopefully this has reached its intended audience (actually don’t worry about that – bc I will be emailing old colleagues shortly!) and GOOD LUCK everyone!  enjoy the weekend!

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Mr.VerdEMr.VerdE answered 4 years ago

Damn.  I was really hoping the capital G and capital T used in the 1st post was an unfortunate coincidence, but i guess we shoulda known those dont really exist, as that “Broad St” reference in the 2nd post is clearly a dead give away this is GT in NYC.  right?  does anyone care to refute that? 
i’ve only been here a couple years so i wont even begin to try and weigh in on the South Park email, and will be 1st to admit i am certainly no expert on office politics, but i do know there is a running joke amongst the seniors and younger managers about 1 senior manager being a complete idiot and a serious brown noser, and he has gotta be almost 40, which fits the 20+ year description.   he does constantly follow around 1 partner in particular, like an old beaten down dog just hoping he’ll finally get a treat that the whole office knows he is never going to get, such that the joke is that even after almost 2 decades, you wouldnt know if he was working for that partner as a manager or as his assistant or just his whipping boy.  so i suppose that much abuse could drive him to want to go postal on the firm using incriminating/embarrassing evidence, but i guess i just cant see him having the balls/brains to try it? or anyone trusting him enough with that type of info?  plus his name isnt overly “Greek” or anything like that, if even Greek at all?  can anyone provide any clarity on that?  i mean the South Park email cant be a coincidence, so did the 2nd post just get the person wrong?

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Jjcjjc answered 4 years ago

Truthfully I don’t know how the mid size Senior/Manager gets through the day.  I traded down to a small firm life 10 years ago and while I have given up 20% of my comp, I have acquired 300% more life.  I drop my kid at school, home for dinner and I work maybe 10 Saturdays a year.

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Big4LiferBig4Lifer answered 4 years ago

millennials man…  just when I think I can’t possibly understand them any less, one of em goes and TOTALLY… confuses me even more!
you’re admittedly an intern AT THE COMPANY in question?!  yet instead of, I don’t know, asking people who’ve been there a couple years, your best idea is to post on a website? because THAT is where you’ll find the TRUTH!  and on a gorgeous Sunday no less?  L M A F O! (did I get that right?)
I will give em this though.  perhaps the only thing less trustworthy than what you read on the internet would be the explanations you’d get from a partner at a public accounting firm if you asked em this point blank.   “errrr well it could be true?  but it probably isn’t.  either way it wont have a material effect.  so get back to work!”
my advice, ask a couple Senior II’s or Senior III’s that you hear are leaving this summer.  they’ve likely been there long enough to know enough of the office gossip to get you the answer, and wont care to “tow the company line” anymore since they are headed out the door, so you might get an ounce of truth outta them.  if this guy was forced out, the key will be to find out what his severance was.   anyone that’s been there 10+ years and been around key partners enough to potentially have that damaging info shouldn’t be able to walk out the door with any less than 120-180 days and a big fat NDA.  as much as I’d personally like to see this guy set off some fireworks, my guess is that’s how this went down.  HOWEVER, it if it was anything less than 90 days, head elsewhere.  after all, NDA or not, hell hath no fury like a senior manager passed over for partner and pushed out for less than he’s worth.
last piece of advice, you’re an intern, presumably in your early 20’s, STOP thinking about this on a Sunday!

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Mgoblue0970mgoblue0970 answered 3 years ago

New to a Big 4 firm — I’m in technology risk consulting rather than accounting.
What did I get myself into?!?!  Office culture makes me feel like I’m in a mashup of “Suits”  Tom Crusie’s “The Firm”. 
Anyway, reading this, instead of referring to, allegedly, GT, isn’t this post just a boilerplate template for any of these companies?  Insert name of partner-based organization here __________.
I’m amazed at the amount of sleaze I see here on a daily, no, hourly basis… especially considering all the corporate emails and videos and mandatory fun videos, training classes, etc., on trust, integrity, and diversity.
My favorite part is how we bill clients tens of thousands, into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, for something they can download off of the internet for free.  We did… and rebranded the resource with the label of “toolkit” and now charge for it.  LMFAO.

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