KPMG staffers who have some idle time on their hands won’t for much longer.
This KPMG communiqué was emailed to our tipline this morning:
We are pleased to share that we have won an important engagement to support a large US bank processing loans as part of the Paycheck Protection Act. The work begins immediately and will require significant resources — roughly 1,500 people — for the next 45 days.
Our work is in support of the CARES Act and is incredibly important to ensure that small businesses are able to secure loans from the Federal Government. It is rewarding work but it’s also challenging. We will conduct our work outside normal business hours, and the shifts will run from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Eastern time, seven days a week. We will schedule the shifts four days on and three days off with some flexibility within the shifts. This work aligns with our values and is key to helping small businesses weather the financial issues brought on by Covid-19.
We are coordinating staffing across the Firm including Advisory, Tax, Audit and BPG and will be looking to start as soon as possible. Your schedule in Retain is showing greater than 75% availability over the next 6 weeks. We have initiated staffing this project and are excited to include you as part of the KPMG team supporting small businesses during this health crisis.
If your personal circumstances might impact your ability to join the team and require special consideration, please let us know as soon as possible firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, we’ll assume you are ready to join the team! More details to come shortly.
It is critical that we quickly staff this engagement, so a member of our Resource Management team will be reaching out soon to discuss timing, on-boarding, and any schedule issues you may be facing.
What we’re gathering is that the reason why the hours for this project are so crappy is that normal bank employees are starting to process PPP loan applications during their workday, and having KPMGers also doing this work at the same time would blow up either the Small Business Administration’s website or the bank’s servers. So instead, Klynveldians who got voluntold will be burning the midnight oil.
We don’t know who this large U.S. bank client is that KPMG is bending over backwards for. [UPDATE: Being told it’s Bank of America.]
Also, what we’re seeing is that three different shifts are being offered during that 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. time frame:
- 6 p.m. to 4 a.m.
- 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Comments I’ve seen online about this range from “It’s a great opportunity to help small and medium businesses” to “fuck that shit” to “[KPMG] basically saved their jobs by winning the work.”
Or basically as one Redditor said:
Would have been better phrased like this:
“Okay look your utilization is going to be shit. You can either work shit hours or work somewhere else (in 6-18 months).”
I hate hearing the phrase “this is the new normal” because I want to hope one day soon we’ll be writing about normal stuff, like Big 4 firms spectacularly violating independence rules, competitive poaching, and god-awful PCAOB inspection reports. But until then, non-normal engagements like these are what’s going to keep firms profitable during this pandemic.
And despite the Big 4 telling its capital market servants that “layoffs are a last resort,” if your number gets called for projects like this one and if you’re not all-in, you’ll probably be on your way out.