Yesterday, while most of America or at least most of my noisy and obnoxious Facebook […]
It is a commonly accepted stereotype that accountants are cheapskates. Unlike Lady Gaga, they weren't […]
There are a few things that you take for granted when working at a public accounting firm. First, your superiors will take you to nice lunches. This practice starts at the top and trickles down to the lowliest associates getting approval to throw steaks at interns. Second, you get a computer. It may not be the greatest piece of technology you’ve every used but rest assured, you won’t be crunching numbers using a pencil and paper. Third, you get tchotchkes. Tons of them. Pens, Nalgenes, poorly knit polos. The works. All of the firm swag your little heart desires can be yours. So it’s especially shocking to learn that McGladrey has a “McGladrey Store,” where items can be purchased. We don’t have a copy of the mail-order catalog but it’s safe to assume that there are items emblazoned with “McGladrey” in ample supply.
I learned of this “store” because Mickey G’s is rolling out a “Work Smarter” initiative so that the firm’s employees can maximize their time doing “high-value” work. What “high-value” entails is not entirely clear but presumably it doesn’t involve doing “research on blogs.” ANYWAY, McG boss C.E. Andrews emailed the troops to encourage them to take an online training to learn a few “Work Smarter” tips and to get the creative juices flowing so that they can submit their own “Work Smarter” ideas to the brass. For the first 25 employees that manage to throw out ideas that aren’t completely awful, they will receive “$50 to spend at the McGladrey Store.”
After the training, you will probably find yourself full of good ideas on how McGladrey can Work Smarter. Don’t keep them to yourself! Share them through our Lean thinking website and be eligible to win prizes. The first 25 people who submit an actionable idea will win $50 to spend at the McGladrey Store.
Our tipster in this matter, expands with some details:
[T]his “lean fundamentals” initiative seems irritating similar to KPMG’s “Next Step” program that I’ve seen come across your website. The dangling carrot of $50 in McGladrey bucks (cash value: 1/100 of a Monopoly bill) is particularly patronizing. Just another example of the cheapskate culture that seems to ooze from the brass at Mickey G’s these days…unless of course we’re talking shelling out for putting green-sized cakes and headlining golf tournaments that take place during the freak show of the PGA season (aka the”Fall Series”).
Unfortunately, Oanda doesn’t have a exchange rate for “McGladrey bucks” so there’s no way for us to confirm this valuation at this time. Regardless, it’s still not obvious if the $50 is enough to get you a stress ball, let alone a chance to take Natalie Gulbis out for drinks. We’d love to see a product list with prices in order to confirm/disconfirm some of our suspicions, so do get in touch with any particulars.
Blog by Wife of PwC Partner (aka Chief Spending Officer) Details Failed Attempts at More Frugal Lifestyle
Times are still tough for many but few take to the blogosphere to share their tales of coupon clipping, pics from staycations and scouring the racks at Filene’s Basement. One person who felt the need to share her frugal efforts with the masses is Lisa Unwin, the “Austerity Mum” and wife of PwC’s head of consulting in the UK, Ashley Unwin. How tough have things been at Casa de Unwin? Well, it all started when the couple purchased a house in East London that reportedly cost ‘squillions,’ and Ms Unwin thought that maybe a more modest life was in order:
Musing on how to cut the cost of family holidays she suggests forgoing private helicopter flights or cancelling that half-term break in the Maldives in favour of returning to your weekend home in the French Alps.
The closest her family comes to the wartime notion of make do and mend is for the husband to have his designer Berluti shoes resoled – at a specialist cobblers on Bond Street, she reveals.
Now that’s sacrifice! However one thing her “Chief Spending Officer” husband wasn’t able to give up are his handmade shirts:
“Not even Prada is good enough any more, can’t recall why,” she reveals.
Then, there’s the ankle-biters:
[H]er two children – nicknamed the “diva-in-waiting” and the “smallest man with the biggest attitude” – have come to believe it is normal “to have a seat that turns into a bed if you’re on a flight for more than three hours”.
For her part, Ms. Unwin was thinking about going back to work (she’s a former Deloitte communications director) but there were conditions:
Claiming she would “love” to go back to work, she bemoans how the cost of childcare makes it impractical. “It would need to be something that I could do between the hours of 10 and two – well, actually 11 and two three days a week to enable me to go the gym,” she concludes.
Sadly, Ash wasn’t so keen on the attention the blog was getting, “Mr Unwin is understood to be acutely embarrassed by the disclosures and she has now agreed to take down the blog.” Lisa is looking for ‘another way to write’ but our guess is a freelance gig with Going Concern is out of the question. Even still, the offer stands Lisa – email us.
Last week we touched on the shockingly sensitive subject of charging time while traveling. You see, apparently it was (at one time) a-okay in some KPMG offices (Southeast) while in others, the mere idea of charging time while traveling was utter nonsense.
So that got one reader to thinking – what the hell else is being cut out these days?
Please consider a post related to fringe benefits. I’m curious in knowing whether the larger firms are allowing their employees to keep points for dollars spent on company credit cards. But there are other points programs (i.e., frequent flyer miles) and fringe benefits (i.e., gym memberships, cell phones, etc.) that may be declining on top of all of the poor raises.
Big 4 firms have been quite generous with the fringe benefits (e.g. elderly parent care, subsidizing public transit passes, etc.) and they make a point to remind you of it from the day you interview with the firm to the day you leave. However, since we’re living in unprecedented times, nothing is unheard of.
If your firm has recently gotten stingy on fringe benefits, from the vastly important (401k match) to the less crucial (discounts at Brooks Brothers) discuss or shoot us the details.
Josh Stevens of Chicago was done with his corporate audit job. The glamour of cube farm life had lost its allure and lucky for him, a challenge that only an accountant could embrace.
He decided that he would accept the challenge from Internet sensation du jour Groupon to live on coupons for an entire year, “I had done corporate auditing for a year, and I decided I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle every day. I thought I’d go back and get more education, and right as I started working on those applications, this fell in my lap.”
“This” includes traveling all over this great land, living off of coupons but there are a few rules that could make things difficult for Stevens including:
• “Stevens can’t use or even touch money.”
• “He’s allowed only five visits from family and friends, with each visit lasting less than a day.”
• “Strangers, fans and supporters may donate a place to crash for the night, a car ride or plane ticket.”
So how does Josh handle not being able to have his skin touch cold hard cash and more or less being celibate (his girlfriend can’t visit him) for an entire year?
“It’s the logistics. It’s really hard to plan in advance for anything. You don’t know how to get from place to place. You don’t know where you are going to be so it’s hard to plan where you will go and who will give you rides.” Of course his ability to be a “cross between Anthony Bourdain, who is trying new things, and MacGyver, who has to be resourceful,” has proven helpful (e.g. getting manicures) as has his willingness to rely on the kindness of strangers (one couple let him stay with them for two weeks).
However, there was one instance where his adventurous nature backfired, “I kind of overdid it with a yoga class I did in Washington, D.C. I don’t know much about yoga. I think I just overstretched. I was fine that day. And the next day and then a day after that, all of my muscles tensed up, and I struggled with it for a few weeks.”
Despite this setback, Josh is plugging along and we’re rooting for him to win the $100k if completes the challenge. Hopefully he’ll spend some of the winnings on his girlfriend and maybe give yoga another shot.
Mary Schapiro needs constructive comments from the peanut gallery because this thing is a week old and since some people at the Commission have the attention of Tom Petters, they can’t afford to lose focus.
Just jump over the Public Comments page and let ‘er rip. Any section you want get down with your wonky financial reform knowledge is welcome.
It has not even been a week since the President signed the regulatory reform legislation into law, but at the SEC we are already working to fully implement the dozens of studies and rulemakings required of our agency,” said Chairman Schapiro. “We recognize that the process of establishing regulations works best when all stakeholders are engaged and contribute their combined talents and experiences. We look forward to preliminary public comments in these areas.
Not only that! The SEC needs more people. This 2,000-some odd page behemoth is putting asses in cubes and more of the kicking ass and taking names will be had. Just two ways you can join the good times going on at the SEC.
Well, he doesn’t come right out and say that but actions speak louder than words, amiright?
He moved there last April from Kent, a county in Southeast England, to “protest at higher income and capital gains tax rates,” and that “he has ‘never visited’ his school age children since he left the [the United Kingdom]. They have remained with his wife at their former family home in Kent and they now have to travel to Guernsey to see him.”
Guy “Father Knows Best” Hands also doesn’t visit his parents any more “and would not do so except in an emergency,” so he’s not much of a son either.
The devoted family man is an “‘outspoken’ critic of UK tax levels,” so this level of commitment to avoid paying taxes shouldn’t be a surprise. Non-resident tax status is at stake here; he won’t set foot in a UK airport even to transfer.
GH’s shrewd sensibilities were revealed in court papers last week as the venue for his dispute with Citigroup over Terra Firma’s purchase of music group EMI is being decided. If the proceedings are moved to London, Hands’ tax planning could be completely thwarted and — gasp — he might see his children in the UK (if time permits of course).
Last month we mentioned that while we enjoy her genius, we wouldn’t want to be of Lady Gaga’s accountant. She definitely falls into the “clients that make you want to jump out the window” bucket.
Likewise, if we had our choice of clients, we wouldn’t be chasing down burlesque artists that marry rock stars, in this case, Dita von Teese. Not because we don’t enjoy burlesque artists and the rock stars they love, quite the contrary actually; it’s just seems that the headaches associated with such a client would be more trouble than it would be worth.
Surprisingly, DVT takes money quite seriously and is not as slipshod as you might expect.
“I refuse to go to the hair salon and have a $300 hair dye job – I do it myself at home with an $8 dye kit… I’ve always been a saver…I saved at least 15[%] of everything I earned and invested it in mutual funds“
Jesus, talk about sensible. However there is this glimmer:
“I think nothing of spending $8,000 on a corset for my show. My accountant once said he couldn’t understand how I spent $70,000 on a single dress but then he came to my show and saw how lavish it was and told me afterwards that now he understood.“
Those are work related expenses though; count us unimpressed. We’re expecting Gaga-esque negligent wasting of money. Like seriously getting carried away.
“I bought [a Jaguar] one night on eBay for $35,000 when I’d had too much champagne.“
Yes. That’s the best she can offer. Plus, there’s this:
“I pay my [credit card] balances off every month.”
More sensible behavior. Doesn’t sound like she’d be that bad of a client at all. Hell, she probably even keeps all her receipts. L. Gaga’s accountant might consider asking her for some advice.
Continuing our F100BCTWF coverage, we find Deloitte next in the pecking order at #70. This extends Deloitte’s streak of umpteenththousandth straight years on the list. Congrats.
Deloitte – Previously ranked #61. Fortune cites Delta Chi as the big whoop-de-do at Deloitte: “[The] Firm has invested $300 million in Deloitte University, a 107-acre campus in Texas that opens in 2011 and will be the ‘symbolic heart’ of their organization.”
Other interesting stats per the snapshot:
• New Jobs (1 year): 296
• % Job Growth (1 year): 1%
• % Voluntary Turnover: 10%
• No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: 11,000 (?)
• Most common salaried job: Senior/Senior Consultant with average salary of $84,658
11,000 job openings? Thoughts on that?
The snapshot also states that 32% of its workforce is minorities and 44% of the workforce is women. What do you think new Chief Diversity Dude John Zamora is shooting for? 50/50? People are kvetching about a few H-1Bs, can’t imagine what that will sound like if Barry Salzberg finally is satisfied.
Plus — not to disappoint some of you looking forward to doing keg stands — if Deloitte scrapped the whole “symbolic heart”, project JARED (can anyone come up with something better than “Jointly Address Reducing Expenses at Deloitte” for the love of God?) wouldn’t even be necessary.
When we first received the tip about Project JARED we thought that Big D had struck a deal with Subway in order to help you lose those extra pounds you’ve been carrying around.
Unfortunately, “Project: Jointly Address Reducing Expenses at Deloitte” won’t be getting you sandies on the cheap; rather it’s a solicitiation of your ideas for saving the Firm money. Apparently Deloitte is plumb out and needs some help
This is your chance to help make Deloitte fitter and stronger — by contributing your ideas to Project JARED.
Project JARED was launched in the U.S. earlier this year to enable our organization to ‘shape up’ by building organizational muscle ― devoting maximum resources to our people and market opportunities. Hence, Project JARED: Jointly Address Reducing Expenses at Deloitte.
“Jointly is a key word here,” said Tony Forcum, Deloitte Consulting LLP, who leads Project JARED.
“More than 600 partners, principals and directors have already been involved in detailed discussions and input sessions, generating over 1600 cost-reduction ideas. We are certain that opening up the dialogue to all of our people will generate additional insights. We need transformational ideas if we are to reach our goal of permanently eliminating $750 million of costs by FY12. We have made a good start toward our goal. The team has validated more than $120 million in sustainable cost savings from the changes made in FY09,” he said.
Changes have produced savings and improvements in all kinds of ways ― for example, by using our telesuite facilities to reduce business travel, thus not only saving money but also reducing the time everyone spends away from home: a win-win for all.
The Project JARED team is looking for suggestions from those who know the organization best — its people. If you have often thought: “We could save a lot if only we…” now is the time to share your idea. It could be a day-to-day activity, a fresh approach to leveraging technology, an enhancement to a process, a way to change behavior that saves money―all cost-saving suggestions are welcomed.
Visit the Project JARED site to submit your ideas, learn more about the project and ask questions.
This latest plan struck at least one person as dubious and they asked the question on probably everyone’s mind:
Q: Is this just a fancy way of saying we’re going to be losing more jobs?
A: It is impossible to predict the future, but that is not the focus of the project. The organization is casting a wide net for cost savings, looking at tactical savings (printing on both sides of the paper), operational savings (streamlining the process by which work gets done from inception to completion) and transformational savings (transforming some of the ways we do business). All of the decisions we make about Project JARED will be consistent with our core values, brand and strategy.
So “not the focus of the project” should put your concerns to rest, no? And it looks like your bright idea of printing on both sides of the paper is already taken, so don’t bother submitting that one.
Let’s put our heads together gang and figure out how we can save Deloitte money. Should Barry Salzberg stop getting haircuts? Pull the plug on Deloitte University? Give up on training male employees to better understand their female colleagues?
Nothing is too crazy people. Get on this.
‘Cause the man is in a bit of a pinch. As you may recall, he’s got a small lien out there to the tune of $6.2 mil and his ex-girlfriend is suing him for and additional $13 mil.
The latest problem is that NC owes $128,000 in back taxes on a house in Rhode Island. All of this would be NBD if someone out there would step it up and take one — just one! — of his homes off his hands:
Among the properties he has been selling are three castles in Bavaria, Germany, and Bath and Somerset, England, as well as Dean Martin’s former mansion in Bel Air, Calif. Also on sale are novelist Anne Rice’s former home in New Orleans and a New Orleans mansion described as the “most haunted house in the United States.” Other properties on the block include homes in New York and Las Vegas, and a 132-foot yacht.
You figure the Anne Rice place would fly off the market what with the vampire craze and all but NOOOOOOO, you’re all too cheap. If this man is forced into bankruptcy and shunned by the Hollywood community, we will all be deprived of the next edition of the National Treasure franchise. Is that what you want?