October 19, 2021

PwC Is a Name You Can Trust … Or So It Claims

Hey all you Trusty McTrustersons! Here’s an excerpt from a post Trusty Tim Ryan published today on LinkedIn explaining something new at PwC called The New Equation:

What we know is that trust will be the defining factor in how businesses are able to achieve both profit and purpose – so in the US, we are aligning our people, capabilities, and technology into two segments designed to help our clients streamline how they build that trust:

Trust Solutions expands our ability to help clients earn trust by bringing together our Assurance and Tax Reporting capabilities, and making bigger investments in further tech-enabling them as part of our ongoing commitment to advance quality and excellence in the work that we do. Our clients’ and their stakeholders’ expectations are changing, and the scope of risks and opportunities for businesses are growing. As organizations are focusing on topics like ESG, diversity and inclusion, workplace safety, and data transparency and privacy, we are excited to meet them where they are with holistic thinking and seamless, high-quality services as the largest Trust services platform in the world!

I can just imagine Tim sitting at his laptop twirling a fake villainous mustache he’s wearing and bellowing “MUHAHAHAHAHA!” at that last part in bold.

He continues:

Consulting Solutions represents the core of how PwC helps clients identify value and design and deliver impactful, business-led change. Essential to PwC’s revolutionary approach is our focus on sustained outcomes over activity, specifically in the areas of Deals, Transformation, Cybersecurity, Privacy and Risk, Cloud and Digital, and Tax Consulting. We’ve made big investments to digitally transform our business and upskill our people, as well as big bets on cloud, products and tech – and we will offer sharper answers driven through technology, human insights and global acumen to create successful, sustainable, and scalable change.

Organizations’ ability to serve broader societal needs is essential to winning trust. We believe this new strategy will give PwC and our clients the tools to deliver on, and surpass, that mandate.

Ryan is really pushing this “trust” thing, isn’t he? I mean, that word comes up 18 times in his post (19 if you count the title). And he announced that the firm is making a three-year, $300 million commitment to “help embed purpose into today and tomorrow’s business leaders to drive responsible decision-making and ultimately build trust.” PwC is calling this “Tomorrow Takes Trust.”

OK, Tim, we get it. PwC is all about trust. But if you have to tell people 18 or 19 times in one article or in one conversation how trustworthy you are, some people might start to doubt if that’s really the case.

The “trust” thing is kinda silly. I mean, PwC is a professional services firm that audits the financial statements of mega-corporations; its employees are not ER surgeons who sick or injured people entrust with their lives. But the other things the firm is aiming to do as part of the “Tomorrow Takes Trust” initiative are … fine:

  • Invest $125 million to address inequality through a new training and mentorship initiative that will support 25,000 Black and Latinx college students. (Great!)
  • Hire 10,000 of those 25,000 students in the next five years. (Awesome!)
  • Add about 100,000 new jobs over the next five years, at a cost of approximately $12 billion. (Neat!)
  • Launch the PwC Trust Leadership Institute, which aims to help more than 10,000 business leaders develop the right skills to make responsible decisions. (Right on!)
  • Unveil Tech Effect, a digital resource for business leaders that will help them “get smart about technology.” (Groovy!)

But let’s make no mistake, this huge PR blitz today is about one thing and one thing only: recruiting. Sure, the firm is developing curriculum for the Trust Leadership Institute to teach future business leaders so they aren’t complete dumbasses. But you better believe that PwC will have stacks and stacks of info about “The New Equation” and “Tomorrow Takes Trust” to pass out to students at the University of North Carolina, the University of Michigan, UCLA, and all the other universities where the firm recruits, all to gain an edge on the other Big 4 and midtier firms.

Because the Big 4 exodus is real, folks. These firms need warm bodies in seats, pronto. Why do you think PwC declined to tell the Wall Street Journal its attrition rate?

And do you think any current PwCers from director on down really give a shit about the firm now calling its assurance and tax reporting services Trust Solutions and its tax consulting and advisory services Consulting Solutions? No. Do you think they give a damn about “The New Equation” and “Tomorrow Takes Trust”? No. Unless a good portion of those 100,000 new hires can start tomorrow and fill some holes in PwC offices that are holding on by a shoestring, as there’s so much work and not enough people to do it because so many people have recently left public accounting for 9-to-5 accounting/finance or executive jobs in industry or the government sector.

PwC accomplished what it wanted to accomplish today: The firm got the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Accounting Today, Financial Times, CNN, and this jabroni to write about all these new things it’s doing to make itself look cool and progressive and forward-thinking to potential new hires and PwC clients (and potential new clients).

But at the end of the day, PwC is just like any other Big 4 or midtier firm: an employer that makes its employees work ungodly hours for demanding clients while making menial pay for the amount of work they do.

You can trust us on that.

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2 Comments

  1. As someone who is no longer in the Big 4, one of the most entertaining things about keeping up with the Big 4 is watching a bunch of middle-aged white douchebags constantly striving to understand and pander to the millennials. And I’m not even worried about the millennials getting older, because the generation coming up behind them is even worse. Pretty soon all the Big 4 firms won’t even be selling audit or tax services anymore. They’ll just be selling wokeness.

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