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Barry Salzberg Recalls That His First Boss Was a Jerk, Being From Brooklyn Had Its Disadvantages

Dr. Phil doppelgänger and incoming Deloitte Global CEO Barry Salzberg spoke at Wharton recently about leadership and how it has changed quite a bit since he started at Haskin & Sells in 1977. He riffed about the old days in his speech including how jackets were all but mandatory (especially if you were from Brooklyn) and the aforementioned boss from Hell:

“In those days, [Deloitte] was a fancy, formal place,” Salzberg recalled, “so formal that you would get bawled out — and I did — if you were caught in the hallway without your jacket, especially if you arrived speaking a foreign language like Brooklynese.” His first leadership lesson came on his third day. “Bosszilla,” as he calls his first boss, asked him for a photocopy of a tax ruling. Eager to please and show off his legal savvy, Salzberg included his own two-page interpretation. “Mr. Salzberg,” Bosszilla hissed, “I asked you for a copy of the ruling, not your interpretation. One copy, stapled.”

Of course, the Big Salz knew that this wasn’t how he wanted to lead so you can bet your signed copy of As One that he spends plenty of time at the Xerox machine. Another leadership trait that has gone the way of the Dodo is that CEOs don’t mingle with the commoners. Bar is out there mixing it up on the regular:

“What I do is get out and talk to people to give them the opportunity to share. And then what you have to do is act on it, so people understand that you can change your mind.” As head of Deloitte’s U.S. operations, Salzberg visits as many as 25 to 35 offices every year, sitting down with partners to hear their concerns. When he becomes global CEO, he plans to travel more, he said. “There’s nothing that can replace face-to-face interaction. Getting the rubber on the shoes worn out is how to do it.”

And of course, in this day in and age, you simply can’t ignore animal metaphors:

“No burying your head in the sand if there’s a problem, and no ignoring the elephant in the room. Much better to name and tame an issue, no matter how difficult it is,” than to ignore it or pretend it isn’t there, he said. “Making sure the truth is told and discussed with all is the foundation of leadership. Without that, you can’t build trust.”

Got it? Ignoring problems – even the really tough ones – is a thing of the past:

Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg on Leadership as ‘the Norm, Not the Exception [K@W]

And Now, the Auditor’s Version of ‘No Sleep ’till Brooklyn’

Recently we came across a version of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” for auditors. The battle over who actually coined this ode to opining was up for grabs but now it’s been brought to our attention that throwback tunes are also being rewritten to express the plight of auditors.

Surely there’s a divergence of opinion – right down generational lines – on which rewrite is better but working in “fat finger” and “Friends think I do tax ’cause of the ‘CPA’ ” scores big points in our book.

To the tune of “No Sleep ’til Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys

(chorus) No sleep ’til – Filing

Hand on the tenkey – never a fat finger
Got work to do, I hope this client don’t linger
My job ain’t a job – it’s a damn good time
Gonna get this tied-out to the dime
On location – cursing damnation
Why’re my client contacts always on vacation?
Eight of us crammed around this audit table
I do what I do best because I’m willing and able
Ain’t no fakin’ – audit fees I’m rakin’ in
Goin’ coast to coast vouching money you’re makin’
While you’re at the job working nine to five
I’m still at the office when you arrive

(bridge) No sleep ’til –

Another spill, another thrill
Another freaking fire drill
Caffiene gum – another SUM
I wish this Diet Coke had some rum
Now where’s my contact? – he always disappears
This is the guidance, why can’t he just adhere?
Been so long since I’ve seen my fam’
I wish my computer had more RAM
We’re thrashing financials like it’s going out of style
Getting paid along the way cause it’s worth your while
Quarter after four – IA’s out the door
I’m chained to my computer for six hours more
We got a drawer with a lock to hold our files
Aside from the ones all over our table in piles

(repeat bridge)

(repeat chorus)

Ain’t seen the light since we started this audit
All we need is in this room- we got it
Born and bred to document all day
Friends think I do tax ’cause of the “CPA”
That’s not right but I don’t care
‘Cause whenever I explain it they just stare.
Got coffee, cola, chips and candy
I’ve gained ten pounds ain’t it just dandy?
Step off homes – get out of my way
‘Cause our signed opinion is the final say
Waking up before I get to sleep
Cause I’ll be rocking this party eight days a week

No sleep till filing ….
No sleep till filing …
No sleep till filing …
No sleep till filing…
No sleep till filing…

And just in case you’ve got no idea what this should sound like: