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McGladrey Suing Three ‘Rainmakers’ Who Defected to JH Cohn

That, according to a report in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal:

At risk are millions of dollars, the company’s reputation and the entire health care practice now led by a Minneapolis partner, according to a lawsuit recently filed by the accounting, consulting and tax firm against the three rainmakers who went to New York-based J.H. Cohn. Bloomington-based McGladrey and the former partners said they’d rather not discuss the dispute. Public records show that McGladrey is seeking a federal court order to keep the partners away from their clients

And unfortunately, that’s all we know. The MSTPBJ is behind a paywall (and my publisher is currently not springing for a membership) so we can’t really tell you much more than that. But we do love a good Benedict Arnold story, so we called around and are anxiously awaiting both firms to call us back. In the meantime, if you’re in the know get in touch or discuss below.

ESPN’s Website Deemed Not Crucial for Ernst & Young’s Non-Monetary NCAA Bracket Competition

Perhaps circumstances have changed but as of yesterday, access to the most popular and comprehensive coverage on the web will not be allowed.

Which is unfortunate since some offices appear to be supportive of some bracketing.

Are you ready for March Madness?

As part of _______________ into spring campaign, it’s time to join the festivities during the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament. The “Madness” begins today with a non-monetary NCAA Tournament bracket competition. Everyone in the ___________ office can submit an online Tournament bracket. At the end of the Tournament, the person from each service line who picks the most winning teams will receive _____________________ (and bragging rights!).

You must complete your Tournament bracket before Thursday, March 17 __________________. Expand the section below for instructions on how to submit a bracket under your service line. During the Tournament, which concludes with the championship game on April 4, you can visit your group’s page and see how your bracket is performing compared with your service line colleagues’ brackets. If you have any questions, please contact ____________________________

Not exactly sure how you guys feel about a non-monetary competition but as far as strategy goes, since we’ve already given you access to the best strategy you can find. Of course some people are enjoying this immensely.

Annoying Busy Season Problem of the Day: Streaming Video of Live Sporting Events Is Under Attack

From the Twitbag:

For those not fluent in all things Internet, Atdhe and many other live sports streaming sites are being taken down like Mubarak the Nixon Administration. The Department of Homeland Security is all over this, having seized but apparently they’ve relocated here. All of this uncertainty has our reader concerned:

If you’re suffering from a similar malady, please advise below how you plan to deal or merely suggest an alternative prescription for making busy season more bearable.

McDonald’s CFO Has Devastating News

Your Big Mac Attack will be costing more very soon.

Food prices are rising around the globe and the world’s biggest restaurant chain expects its costs to rise 2 percent to 2.5 percent this year in the United States and 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent in Europe. Chief Financial Officer Pete Bensen said McDonald’s would “raise prices where it makes sense” to offset some, but not all, of the cost increases. Diners around the world remain cautious with their spending on food away from home and McDonald’s will be very careful not to turn customers off with higher prices, Bensen said.

Hopefully this won’t eliminate Mickey D’s from your eligible take-out options this busy season.

McDonald’s likely to raise prices in 2011 [Reuters via DB]

What Does the IRS Have Against Boobs?

We’re asking this question in a collective sense. Call it a hunch but we’re pretty sure that Doug Shulman votes “T” on the T&A question.

To clarify, we’re talking about breast feeding. More specifically about breast pumps for nursing mothers.

You see, the IRS isn’t convinced that breast-feeding has enough health benefits to qualify as a form of medical care, thus, the pumps are not covered. From a tax/health policy standpoint, the Service is more concerned with teeth (false), skin (clear) and noses (not stuffy).

Denture wearers will get a tax break on the cost of adhesives to keep their false teeth in place. So will acne sufferers who buy pimple creams.

People whose children have severe allergies might even be allowed the break for replacing grass with artificial turf since it could be considered a medical expense.

But nursing mothers will not be allowed to use their tax-sheltered health care accounts to pay for breast pumps and other supplies.

That is because the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that breast-feeding does not have enough health benefits to quality as a form of medical care.

The Times explains that under the healthcare overhaul, “preventive procedures” were going to be encouraged to control costs. Despite the mounting evidence to the contrary, the IRS isn’t budging on the issue:

I.R.S. officials say they consider breast milk a food that can promote good health, the same way that eating citrus fruit can prevent scurvy. But because the I.R.S. code considers nutrition a necessity rather than a medical condition, the agency’s analysts view the cost of breast pumps, bottles and pads as no more deserving of a tax break than an orange juicer.

Because tools that will help a mother feed a new-born human being natural food is exactly the same thing as the Omega 4000. Got it.

Acne Cream? Tax-Sheltered. Breast Pump? No. [NYT]

KPMG Survey: Execs Anxious About Reporting Undecipherable Explanations for Uncertain Tax Positions

So you take a position on a tax issue. You don’t really know why or how you got there but your CFO says it’s legit. How does he/she know? “Johnson in the tax department told me.”

Does Johnson understand it? Of course not! It’s an uncertain tax position. It’s a shot in the dark at best.

Naturally, the IRS has gotten all nosy about this sort of thing so you have to formulate something that vaguely resembles an explanation that doesn’t read like Bittker & Eustice.

You can’t simply make it a copy and paste job since we’re guessing the IRS wouldn’t appreciate the bloggy approach. But you’ve got to come up with something. Oh, and try to keep it brief.

Almost half of senior executives polled are most concerned about the prospect of providing a concise description of their uncertain tax positions (UTPs) in order to comply with a new, much-discussed Internal Revenue Service disclosure requirement, according to a survey conducted by KPMG’s Tax Governance Institute (TGI).

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since we’re talking about interpreting the INTERNAL REVENUE CODE. But the BSDs out there are worried about explaining why they’re taking a stand on something that don’t understand one iota. Plus, if you’re already pret-tay sure that the IRS is going to call bullshit on you, that warrants an explanation as well [teeth being grit into dust].

According to the survey of 1100 business leaders conducted in early October, 44 percent of respondents said their biggest concern was providing the concise description for a disclosed UTP, defined by the IRS as a federal income tax position for which a taxpayer or related party has recorded a reserve in an audited financial statement (or for which no reserve was recorded because of an expectation to litigate). Other major concerns cited centered on the IRS’s ability to effectively administer the UTP program (20 percent) and on the scope of taxpayers required to file UTPs under the new rule (15 percent).

This could all be avoided if the IRS required companies to use Twitter as a guide for brevity. Just a suggestion.

Executives Anxious About IRS Reporting Requirements for Uncertain Tax Positions Schedule, KPMG Survey Reveals [PR Newswire]

“Robert Herz has had a more interesting career than any accountant deserves.”

We probably don’t need to remind you that today is Bob Herz’s last day at the FASB. It’s a sad day indeed for many that have been addressing their poignant comment letters to Roberto for the last eight years.

How Herz is celebrating his last day up in Norwalk isn’t immediately known but we’re sure it involves making crank calls to the American Bankers Association, Barney Frank’s face on a dartboard and plenty of cake.

Not so surprisingly, there’s not much mention of Bob’s last day out there except for cheeky article over at the Economist that informs us of precisely nothing new but manages to give Bob a backhanded compliment and take a major swipe at every single accountant on Earth:

Robert Herz[…]has had a more interesting career than any accountant deserves. He began his tenure as chairman of America’s Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in 2002, dealing almost immediately with the fallout from the Enron and WorldCom scandals, which had been abetted by accountants. He was due to end it on October 1st, a sudden departure for undefined personal reasons, after a crisis also partly pinned on the profession.

Accountants “deserve” boring careers? Their choice of a profession automatically merits a long drab livelihood that involves choice of pen color, whether or not to upgrade the 10-key calculator on their desk and auditing Excel formulas? Forget about the rest of us for a minute; there are people who are ashamed to share humanity with Herz. It’s the man’s last day. Way harsh, Economist.

Beancounter there, done that [The Economist]

It Appears That Albany International Fired Their CFO Because They Felt Like It

Michael Burke need not worry. David Paterson will be unemployed soon enough.

Albany International (NYSE: AIN) announced on Sept. 23 that it terminated CFO Michael Burke without cause. Burke was also senior vice president at the manufacturing company headquartered in Menands, New York.

Albany International’s board of directors tapped John Cozzolino to serve as acting CFO. Cozzolino is a vice president overseeing strategic planning.

The moves are effective immediately. Albany International would not say why Burke was fired.

“There were absolutely no ethical, legal, accounting or personal issues involved,” said Susan Siegel, a company spokeswoman.

Just a board of directors channeling a little bit of Steinbrenner.

Albany Int’l Corp. CFO terminated [The Business Review]

Wherein We Try to Make Sense of Deloitte’s Purported Hiring Spree

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All right people, we’re going to talk about something that’s been bugging us all week – Deloitte’s big hiring spree announcement.

If you’ve already put the story right out of your mind, Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley announced earlier this��������������������would be hiring 50,000 lucky men and women a year over the next five years. At least that’s what we initially thought.

The PR machine was in full force as Quigs was mentioned in several publications all over the world touting the hiring plans in addition to big revenue numbers that might – MIGHT! – put them ahead of newly branded PwC for the biggest of the Big 4.

The problem is that the earliest report, from the Financial Times stated the following:

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the global accounting firm, said on Monday that it would hire an average of 50,000 workers a year during the next five years as it revealed strong revenues.


Deloitte employs 170,000 people worldwide and said on Monday that it expects to add 250,000 new workers during the next five years as it looks to expand its services and geographic reach.

There is no room for misinterpretation there. The FT reported that Deloitte will add 250k new people to its firm. Nowhere in that report did they take into account (or think to ask) how those people would be added or how attrition, layoffs and partner retirement would affect those numbers. It was simply stated, “Deloitte is more or less adding the city of Lexington, Kentucky to its workforce.”

Our friends at FINS did some digging on these numbers and thought to ask a few more questions:

That’s almost 140 new hires a day.

By 2015, the company expects to grow to 225,000 total employees from its current roster of 170,000, accounting for standard industry turnover, retirements and natural attrition.

According to CEO Jim Quigley, Deloitte is hiring across all areas: consulting, tax, audit and financial advisory services. For FY 2011, Deloitte is looking to hire in all regions, but it expects growth in priority markets like China and India. Both recent graduates and experienced professionals will be targeted in the hiring bonanza.


In a shaky economy — in any economy, for that matter — it would perhaps seem foolhardy to add so many new hires. But, the firm has had a “successful year despite challenging economic conditions,” Quigley said. “Deloitte’s member firms have experienced growth, even double digit growth in certain markets, so we feel well-positioned to continue this trend in FY11.”

Okay, so whether the FT was credulous or just plain didn’t think to ask any follow up questions is unknown but we are still hella-skeptical about Deloitte’s math here. They’re still claiming that they will add 55,000 global employees in five years. The problem is, you didn’t bother telling anyone exactly how you plan to do that, other than the boilerplate CEO statements offered up.

Just for the sake of argument, say the firm does add the NET 55k warm bodies that it claims. It’s pretty obvious that not many of these jobs are coming to the United States. Plus, this won’t be purely organic growth.

Looking at Deloitte’s press release, it’s pretty obvious that consulting is the only practice growing and BRIC and emerging markets are the only regions where the firm is seeing meaningful growth:

Geographic results (aggregate, in USD):

Asia Pacific revenues grew 9 percent, making it the fastest-growing region for the sixth consecutive year. Member firms achieving growth in excess of 20 percent included Korea and India. Deloitte China grew 8 percent. Market share of the Fortune Global 500 grew by 2 percentage points in the Asia Pacific region. Deloitte member firms also served some of the largest IPOs in these markets.

The Americas revenues grew 4 percent. Brazil grew in excess of 20 percent. Deloitte United States grew 3 percent.

EMEA revenues declined 3 percent. Southern Africa grew 22 percent. The Middle East grew 15 percent.

Business and industry results (aggregate, in USD):
Audit revenue declined 1 percent while market share of the Fortune Global 500 grew by 1 percentage point.

Consulting revenue grew 15 percent.

Financial Advisory revenue declined 2 percent.

Tax revenue declined 5 percent.

Industry: Public sector revenues increased 38 percent compared to the prior year. Financial Services and Manufacturing were essentially flat, which represents a significant rebound from last year’s double-digit declines.

As far as the “public sector,” everyone is aware that these were boosted by last year’s acquisition of BearingPoint, so after that plateaus, then what? And speaking of acquisitions – something that Barry Salzberg has gone on record about – this could be part of the headcount boom equation but that’s still makes for funny math.

But increase your people by nearly a third organically? We’re not buying it, Deloitte. Not that you were selling it but you certainly got a lot of panties to drop with some hot rhetoric. Will they make the numbers? Who knows but there are at least three other firms out there that will be fighting you to the death for the business that will finance that growth. Good luck with that.