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Some Holiday Housekeeping

It’s the Holiday Season and that means two things: 1) Big Surprises; 2) Big Disappointments. With that in mind, I’m here to share with you, first, a surprise.


Tomorrow, barring any unforeseen sabotage by internal detractors, we’ll be launching a redesigned look and feel for Going Concern. We’ve been sporting our current layout for quite awhile and the feeling amongst us (and many of you that participated in our fall survey) was that we need to update things a bit. After quite a bit of yelling and few instances of people stomping around the room like 3 year-olds, we’ve got something we’re all (more or less) happy with.

Personally, I wanted to spring the revamped website on you like your parents divorce at the Thanksgiving table but I was convinced to share the news with you a day before for the sake of goodwill, transparency and all that crap. Along with the redesign, there will be some upcoming promotions and other new stuff that will undoubtedly change your lives forever.

Now, after an initial freak out, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of questions, which you are invited to share in the comments or by emailing us. But I will save you the trouble of asking the obvious – Yes, we will be maintaing the same commenting format, so you’ll be able to protect your true identities with cleverly devised Internet personas.

Oh right, the disappointments. If you’re devastated by this news and tomorrow your vision is completely shattered by the eyesore in front of you, we invite your feedback and suggestions for what will make your experience less sucky.

You may now shriek with glee.

Brazil Accountants to Join International Community of CPA Exam Kvetchers

I know this will cause a lot of Brazilians to get excited but please try to exercise some self-control.


Yes, it’s true, the CPA exam is coming to South America and since the AICPA and NASBA will start administering the CPA exam in February 2012, they’ll be in fine shape for 2014 and 2016:

Testing in Brazil will be open to citizens and long-term residents of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Colombia. U.S. citizens living abroad are eligible to test at any location.

The international administration of the exam, which will be offered in English, is the same as the U.S. exam administered by the AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric in the United States. Licensure requirements for international candidates are the same as for U.S. CPA candidates. Along with passing the Uniform CPA Examination, international candidates must meet educational and experience requirements as mandated by U.S. state boards of accountancy.

If any of our Brazilian friends have a head start on panicking over this, I suggest you start with our coverage to calm down. See you in 2012.

[via NASBA]

Here Are the Tax Breaks That Obama Wants Cut to Pay for the Jobs Bill

If you’re in the $200k+ club, a hedge fund manager or corporate jet owner, you won’t be pleased. From Reuters:

— A limit on itemized deductions and certain exemptions on individuals who earn over $200,000 and families who earn over $250,000, which would raise roughly $400 billion over 10 years.

— A proposal to treat carried interest earned by investment fund managers as ordinary income rather than taxing it at capital gains rates, which would raise $18 billion.

— Eliminating certain oil and gas industry tax breaks that would raise $40 billion.

— A change in corporate jet depreciation rules that would raise $3 billion.

Right. Can’t forget the oil companies.

Obama seeks $467 billion in tax changes to fund jobs plan [Reuters]

Bonus Watch ’11: KPMG Officially Rolls Out “Early Career Investment Bonus” Program for Senior Associates

Last month we told you that KPMG was kicking around the idea of loyalty bonuses for senior associates. Today we bring you the good news that the firm has officially announced the “Early Career Investment Bonus” which more or less amounts to a loyalty bonus.

This news was brought to Klynveldians this morning by John Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer (full memo on page 2). Let’s take a look at what the boys had to say:

Here’s how it works: If you are a current CSD senior associate with a 1, 2, or 3 rating you will be awarded $4,000 to be paid on May 15, 2013, provided you are employed by the firm on that date��������������������ut it gets better. By December 31, 2011 (just prior to the earnings period), you can elect to defer that $4,000 award for one year or two years and watch it grow:

• Defer the bonus for one additional year and receive $8,000 in May 2014
• Defer the bonus for two additional years and receive $12,000 in May 2015

And it gets better still because next year the cycle starts all over again. And, the following year, it starts again! So a typical first-year senior can look forward to three ECIB cycles with the opportunity to “layer” up to $36,000 in total bonus payments by the end of the last cycle. Alternatively, participants who are eligible for multiple ECIB enrollment cycles can choose different deferment options for each cycle, giving them theopportunity to customize the timing and amount of their ECIB award to meet their own needs or particular life events, like a down payment on a new home.

Obviously the catch here is that you’ll have to endure the next few years of your life within the House of Klynveld. But to that end, it seems like a halfway decent opportunity. Some might see this as a suicide mission but if you do in fact make it to May 15, 2015, that’s $12,000 in your pocket. John and Hank even gave us a nice example:

As this example shows, it will take a pretty huge commitment from anyone looking to score all three of the cycles for the big payout of $36,000. SIX. YEARS. AWAY. I won’t even begin to try and tell you what can happen in that time frame. Obama will have finished his second term by then (assuming re-election, obv). Countless people you know who are gigantic losers will get married, have kids and then probably get divorced. Facebook (and many people on it) will be dead. I’LL BE ON THE CUSP OF MY 40s. Get it? This isn’t exactly around the corner, people.

All told, this is a pretty progressive idea put out by KPMG and it seems better than the Above and Beyond awards which were a total flop.

So HoK, what say you? Got any career moves planned in the next two years or you sitting tight for the $12k? Anyone feel like the firm will take the opportunity to guilt those that don’t defer the bonus? Does anyone know if this in addition to any annual incentive comp? Discuss.

KPMG Loyalty Bonus

‘Single, Fat Accountant’ Struggling with Royal Couple Envy

Once again, we call attention to troubles from across the Pond, courtesy of AccountingWEB UK.

This time, the Single Fat Accountant is dealing with his uncontrollable jealousy over Kate and Willy’s upcoming nuptials:

I would like to publicly admit that I am jealous of the about to be married Royal couple. I do not want to know anything about them. I would prefer if there a total media blackout on the whole wedding. This to my big disappointment will not happen. As the time is getting nearer for the big day, the media has gone frenzy over the upcoming nuptials.

I know I should be a decent human being and wish them all the very best for the future like most of the very class conscious Britain. l cannot lie and pretend to join in the well wishes. I know this does makes me a mean and a horrible person.

Isn’t saying disparaging things about the Royal punishable by death in Britain? Or something? Well, single fat accountant it’s cool because most of us here in the States (accountants or not) don’t give a flying rat’s ass about Kate and Willy. Are they a good-looking couple? Sure. Do they enjoy wealth and social status that most people would kill for? Obviously. Will their marriage crash and burn in an ugly affair that results in another Royal Family scandal that will result tabloid fodder for years to come? We give it a 50/50 shot. The point is – why are you jealous? It doesn’t make any sense. Are you not capable of not clicking on their pictures or stories with their names in the headline? You’re wasting your precious utilization, friend. Get back to your spreadsheets.

Can you guys help cheer our friend up? Tell him everything is cool despite his lack of bloodline, wealth and hot fiancée.

The House Decides Tax Cut Extension Is Not Chicken Crap After All

Our favorite minority attention whore, House Republican leader and next Speaker of the House John Boehner, seems to feel as though all this nonsense over extending the Bush tax cuts is chicken crap, whatever that is supposed to be. Did he mean bullshit? Just tell us what’s on your mind, Mr Boehner, we won’t hold it against you if you say bullshit on C-SPAN. “I’m trying to catch my breath so I don’t refer to this maneuver going on today as chicken crap, all right?” he said. “But this is nonsense, all right? The election was one month ago. We are 23 months from the next election, and the political games have already started trying to set up the next election.” No no, homie, this has nothing to do with the next election, this has to do with y’all just getting around to this now when no one’s cared since 2002.

If there are any doubts as to the stimulative or depressive effect of a tax rate change in terms of tax receipts received by the Treasury, check out this WSJ op-ed by W. Kurt Hauser which tells us that historically, tax revenues as a share of GDP have averaged just under 19%, whether tax rates are cut or raised.

Anyway, regardless of our feelings on the matter (many of which include expletive-filled rants like “WTF, why are you guys just now trying to figure this out?!”, “please! Can’t you work well with others for just once in your life” and/or “Gee, maybe if we addressed the problem of an overly complicated tax system this wouldn’t be such an epic pain in the assets”), the House has finally made a decision. Frankly we couldn’t be happier to see the light at the end of the W-2 on this at last.

A mere 29 days before the scheduled December 31st Tax Cut Armageddon, the threats votes have been counted and it appears as though the yeas have it. With 6 minutes to go on the vote and with little help from House Republicans, Democrats rallied together to get the 218 votes they needed to extend tax cuts to those earning up to $250,000 and then some.

It doesn’t really matter because there’s no way the Senate is going to let this fly so you may go back to whatever you were doing and start socking away a few bucks for your 2011 tax bills.

Ahhh political process. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion from the driver’s side.

Your Future Accounting Jobs Belong to Sri Lanka

Ahhh, outsourcing. Nothing like American jobs going overseas to whip up fury among the masses. The latest example, via yesterday’s Times, is accounting jobs going to Sri Lanka.

As this tiny island nation staggers back from a bloody, decades-long civil war, one of its brightest business prospects was born from a surprising side effect of that conflict. Many Sri Lankans, for various reasons, studied accounting in such numbers during the war that this nation of about 20 million people now has an estimated 10,000 certified accountants.

An additional 30,000 students are currently enrolled in accounting programs, according to the Sri Lankan Institute of Chartered Accountants. While that ratio is lower than in developed economies like the United States, it is much greater than in Sri Lanka’s neighboring outsourcing giant, India.

But if you think these jobs are just 10-key jockeys and plugging digits into tax returns, you would be wrong, wrong, wrong:

Offices in Sri Lanka are doing financial work for some of the world’s biggest companies, including the international bank HSBC and the insurer Aviva. And it is not simply payroll and bookkeeping. The outsourced work includes derivatives pricing and risk management for money managers and hedge funds, stock research for investment banks and underwriting for insurance companies.

Many developing countries have “one particular competency that they do better than anyone else,” said Duminda Ariyasinghe, an executive director at Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment. “Financial accounting is that door opener for us.”

So all that you put in to knowing derivative accounting inside and out? Yeah, someone in Sri Lanka has a similar level of understanding and naturally, the labor there comes cheap. Extremely cheap:

In the United States, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors in May 2008 was $59,430, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sri Lankan workers in the accounting profession receive an average annual pay package of $5,900, according to a 2010 survey by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Wages in Sri Lanka for financial outsourcing are about one-third less than in neighboring India, and hiring educated employees is easier in Sri Lanka, according to executives who do business in both countries.

Yes, that’s a savings of 90%. No, there’s not much you can do about it. Except discuss below.

Sri Lankan Accountants Lure Global Outsourcers [NYT]