2010. What a year, amiright? It got off to a bit of a rough start after our facelift but as the year went on, things stayed interesting…most of the time. Anyway, since most of you aren’t getting Jack Squat done this week, let’s take a look back at the year that was.
1. Compensation – Shocking revelation here, we realize but – YES! – it’s true, red about most in 2010. After two years of disappointment, the Big 4 and the aspiring “Bigs” (Grant Thornton, BDO, McGladrey) all returned to merit increases and bonuses this year. PwC shot out of the gate with Ernst & Young keeping pace while KPMG remained steady but slightly behind. Deloitte, lagging behind, made a late charge with the announcement of a mid-year adjustment, which may or may not have set off a rash spreading amongst the other firms to provide bonuses throughout their fiscal year-ends. Was it a successful 2010 on the compensation front? Some say “yes,” some say “no,” but there’s little doubt about what keeps your attention.
2. PwC Email Hottiegate – Unless you were in a coma during the second week of November, you were aware of the email that listed the top 10, errr 13, new female associates that came out of PwC in Ireland. The gents who passed around the list weren’t so concerned with using work email to give the ladies the Letterman treatment and the Irish brass didn’t take too kindly to the “tradition.” This story dominated our pages for a few days and the last we knew, a total of five employees had been suspended, the women weren’t planning on lawsuits and Adrienne gave her point of view (as a member of the fairer sex).
3. Ernst & Young and Lehman Brothers – We were really expecting a slow week leading up to the Christmas holiday but because the force is strong with Andrew Cuomo, our dreams were filled with Jim Turley trying to burn us with Montecristos. It all started in March when the bankruptcy examiner’s report put E&Y right at the center of the failure of Lehman and last week we finally saw Cuomo fire the first shot.
4. PwC Makeover – Change is usually met with wailing and gnashing of teeth and the updated look rolled out by PwC in mid-September was no different. Despite the rants about color schemes and geometry, Bob Moritz assured everyone that the majority of feedback was positive and that he was happy to answer any questions about the change that didn’t relate to autumnal hues and Legos™. As is typical in these situations, the bellyaching has died down and everyone is now distracted by their new iPads.
5. Large firm vs. Small firm – An anonymous reader submitted an essay on the main differences between life in the Big 4 (and aspiring Bigs) life and that of the lives working in the smaller firms. Most have wondered what life would be like in their bizarro public accounting existence and some have actually lived it. There are pros and cons to each but life at the small firm is decidedly different.
6. An auditor’s life:
7. Layoffs – 2010 saw fewer mass layoffs than the past couple of years but that doesn’t mean there weren’t spots of cuts here and there. Most notably were the nationwide cuts at McGladrey as well as the 500 cuts made by PwC in Florida. Grant Thornton was busy slimming down its exposure in smaller markets but layoffs were not always part of the “transition” as practices were often sold or employees were giving the opportunity to transfer. And last but not least, we learned that Deloitte claimed “our bad” on their cuts from May 2009.
8. Getting in trouble on the Internet – Whether you’re trying to win a trip to Whistler for you and your bros or emailing your buddy about putting the moves on a lady, there was plenty of idiotic behavior going on across the Internets. Adrienne laid out how to not behave but humans are creatures of habit and we’re sure there’ll be more exciting idiotic behavior in the coming year.
9. PwC Houston Happy Hour – The team happy hour. Typically a festive event filled with free booze, laughs and the occasional awkward advance. The latter allegedly took form of a partner towards an associate this past summer in PwC’s Houston office that resulted in a odd pick-up line, a sloppy kiss (our vision) and then a knuckle sand. The latest we heard was there were multiple associates approached, the partner-in-question was still with the firm and that the associate(s) involved were shipped off to other engagements. So all is well in H-town. PwC never returned our calls, emails or singing telegrams on this story.
10. Accounting Career Drama – One of the most popular series on GC is the career advice that we throw out here and there. Everything from trying to quit nicely during busy season to defection amongst Big 4 firms to explaining why your fantasy football roster is constantly on your computer screen. We’re here to help you get through the purgatory that is your time on Earth so if you’ve got a problem and want advice, email us at [email protected].
Too hot for PwC; thinking about law school?; a Big 4 failure in our future?; an accounting degree isn’t a scam like, say, a law degree; articulating the dress code; Ernst & Young manager censured by the PCAOB; how to screw up the CPA exam; Joseph Stack’s (the guy who crashed the plane into the IRS building) manifesto; accounting professor de-pants.
If we missed any of your favorites, feel free to recall your fondest memories on this here site. As we head into the new year, here’s a friendly reminder of how to get in touch with us:
• Like Going Concern on Facebook and leave a message on the board. You’ll have to work hard if you want to friend us.
We couldn’t do it without all your help, so keep it up in the new year so we can have an even more eventful 2011!
As is the wont of many fine publications, we’ll take a moment of your otherwise 100% chargeable day to dispense our outlook for 2010.
Many stories that were big in 2009 will be again and some stuff will just come out of nowhere. Here’s our stab at what we think you’ll be reading about in this corner of the blogosphere:
• Layoffs – Will forced ranking continue or will we go back to the heyday when only new associates that ran naked through the hotel lobby at national training get let go?
• The return of raises? – We’ve already got one guarantee courtesy of Bob Moritz but what about the rest of usual suspects?
• The PCAOB’s fate – The SCOTUS decision could put an end to the Monday morning QBing.
• IFRS vs. U.S. GAAP – Despite our sincerest wishes, the debate about who will use what and when it will happen and who will overlook everything is far from figured out.
• Fraud – It’s a part of our lives. Accept it.
• The latest on the CPA Exam – Thanks to our resident expert, you will pass in 2010. Or maybe you won’t.
• Taxes – Whether it’s the IRS’s latest demonstration of efficiency or the latest attempt by Charlie Rangel to disqualify himself from his job, we’ll be sure you know everything worth knowing.
And of course we’ll be covering the latest rumors floating around your favorite firms. Whether it’s inappropriate use of email, the latest asinine cost-saving initiatives, the banishment of music, Tim Flynn’s whereabouts we’ll cover it.
Keep us updated by sending us tips and suggestions to [email protected] and we’ll serve it up.