October 19, 2021

Counting

Is the PwC Oscar® Team Really Incorruptible?

PwC issued a press release today announcing their nearly eight-decade run tabulating the ballots for the Academy Awards. From now until the broadcast, we’ll be treated with more PwC mentions on Entertainment Tonight than anyone should bear. Personally, I’m of the opinion that the Golden Globes is a better gig due to all the drunken shenanigans, […]

PwC Basks in the Oscar Gold

Man, PwC is on a tear this week. Along with the announcement of the three-peat yesterday for the Training 125, the firm also rolled out its press release on the upcoming Academy Awards.

The firm is proudly counting the ballots for the 76th year in a row but this year there are ten best picture nominations and that’s a new wrinkle for the vote counters at P. Dubs.

Now we’re not going to insinuate anything like Slate did back in 2007 where they somehow made a superficial connection between scandals at PwC to their ability to count ballots. That’s just foolhardy and we wouldn’t entertain such a notion here.


Quite the contrary, this should be the biggest slam dunk engagement that PwC has. Sure there are some archaic mechanical issues (e.g. the U.S. Mail) but at the end of the day they’re just counting ballots. The biggest risk that PwC faces is someone trying to rip their arms off with the briefcases still attached. Besides, we’re sure there is a security device on the briefcases that will destroy the entire contents if opened by anyone other than a PwC partner.

But we digress.

Back to the boilerplate press release, PwC drops all kinds of facts on us including that it takes ten total days (between the nominating and the final ballots) and approximately 1,700 “person-hours” for the team to count the ballots by hand.

This begs the question: could the Oscars be indirectly responsible for PwC being embroiled in the wage and hour lawsuits? Is our insatiable demand for red carpets and Brangelina driven the importance of this annual event beyond health care reform, financial regulation, and U.S. GAAP/IFRS convergence and thus, created the sweatshop engagement that is the counting of the Academy Award ballots?

This prestigious engagement may have its benefits (e.g. tuxedos, the opportunity for awkward sexual advances on celebrities) but at what cost, dear reader? What cost?

What Happens When the “Numbers” People Can’t Count?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for accountant.jpgThere was some quiet chatter here at GC about Ernst & Young’s closure of its Greensboro, NC office this past December, right around the Merry Happy holidays. Thanks Ernie.
This is nothing new. Smaller offices have been getting shut down for years. Years. Years.
You’ll probably find this to be a shocker but your feelings are not the main problem facing the firms due to the combination of recent closings and endless rounds of cuts. The problem is – it’s the theme of any busy season – firms finding themselves short staffed.
Many readers have commented that engagements are understaffed heading into the cold winter months. Albeit this is typically the unofficial “norm,” but slashed fees are only compounding the problem this year. The troubles of ’09 will be used as firm scapegoats for 2010. Move along, kids. Nothing more to see here.
Serious trouble is brewing for at least one Big 4 firm, however. A source confirmed that their Big 4 Beast is outsourcing work in the Carolinas to smaller regional firms because they are so understaffed:

The combination of layoffs a year ago and people leaving now that the market is turning around is causing the firm to hire outside help just to get through busy season.


Ummm. How did this happen? Is this firm (or any other firm for that matter) initiating rotations from staff “heavy” areas like Chicago and New York to cover the lapses in smaller areas like Buffalo or Greensboro? If so spread the winter cheer, because that sounds downright awful.
The public accountant’s mind is a simple one with regards to job searching:
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The middle area is commonly referred to as “run through a venti latte on the client and debate.”

The market is moving ever so steadily from red to green. This time is now, and no one, not even leadership, is denying that. Firm leaders have been talking, talking and talking some more about the upswing of 2010. If they are handing out the Kool-aid, doesn’t SOMEONE take a moment to think, “Hey guys, should we really have cut so much staff six months ago?”
Someone, somewhere underestimated staff needs or overestimated staff loyalty. Or both. So now, cutting into the already razor thin fees will be the misguided expense of hiring outside help just to get by. The situation is only going to get worse in the coming months; money is starting to move, financial firms are beginning to reinvest, and jobs are going to be created and filled by your colleagues.
How can a firm’s leadership whose fundamental – and societal stereotyped – sole function is numbers be so off the mark? This is elementary, is it not?

Who’s Doing an Inventory Today?

Thumbnail image for inventory.jpgIt’s a big day of counting items of all sorts: screwdrivers, unsold Pontiacs, Shiri Zinn Minx vibrators. And unless you’re Count von Count, we’re guessing that you’re not too psyched about it.
We’ve touched on inventories a couple of times in 2009 and now that the mother of all count days is here, we’ll open a thread for those of you poor souls that will be spending all day tagging [insert item].
Whatever your responsibilities are, we hope they won’t get in the way of your NYE plans but unfortch, one reader has already told us about the less than thrilling news they got yesterday:

I just found out I have one on new year’s eve that is three hours away from where I live for another of the firm’s offices and I likely won’t be leaving there until 8:00 pm. And this company’s inventories have historically been “messy”. F My Life.

Nothing like last minute. To top it all off they’ll probably end up counting pig carcasses outside a slaughter house.
So let this story be your jumping off point for our inventory thread. Share your nightmare inventory count stories from auditor tales of yore or what the hell you’re up to today. And don’t leave out the details like condom goodie bags. Have a great count and don’t be ashamed to use your fingers.