Last year, Crowe Horwath LLP broke all the rules with its mobility strategy launching its “What to Wear” and “Where to Work” initiatives. It was one of the first top ten accounting firms to allow its people to wear casual clothing any day of the week and allow its people to make decisions as to […]
As you may have heard, busy season is over for many miserable accountants across the country. If you failed to get that memo, it’s time to avert your eyes from that spreadsheet and get some sleep, you’re obviously brain-dead and completely disconnected from the real world. Sorry. Rather than wallow in busy season gone by, […]
It's unfortnate that we don't hear more news about Crowe Horwath. It's a Top 10 firm with more than $700 million in revenue last year. That means it's only one big merger away from joining the billion-dollar firm club and closing the gap between it's Tier-2 rivals — RSM, Grant Thornton and BDO. WHAT ARE […]
Crowe Horwath has gobbled up Saslow Lufkin & Buggy, a firm that specializes in healthcare and property & casualty insurance. According to firm's press release, bringing the 90-person firm into the fold will triple the number of Crowe's revenue from insurance clients. Also worth noting, SLB is based in Simsbury, Connecticut and has an office in Burlington, […]
It's August. It's hot. The collective stench of human bodies and rotting trash hangs around like that unwelcome friend who won't stop talking about his latest dating failure. There's little you can do but hold your nose and wait for it to pass. Lucky for us, we can still have the public accounting firm summer […]
Clearly the fine folks at Crowe weren't following SALY, as their batting average has improved slightly over their last report. And by slightly we mean they got it right half of the time in 2012, which is still better than Grant Thornton and BDO. Still, it looks like AS 5 is to auditors as a […]
A year ago TODAY we did the et al. compensation thread for any and all accounting firms that typically fly below the radar, so it seems fitting that we would mark the occasion again on August 29th. Plus, someone at Rothstein Kass is practically begging us: Can you please open a compensation thread for Rothstein […]
The local news was calling him a "possible South Side exposer" (man, couldn't they have come up with anything better than that?) but police eventually tracked down the man a teenager claimed approached her repeatedly offering her up to FIVE whole dollars to touch his naughty parts. Oh and it looks like the man they […]
Do you work for a public accounting firm? Are you employed by a non-Big 4 firm NOT named Grant Thornton, BDO, or McGladrey (thank you, Jeeeesus)? Have you received a raise and bonus that didn't meet your expectations and now you're feeling slightly envious of all the other public accountants out there whose firm gets […]
Nine new partners and seven new directors have seats at the adult able, according to a firm press release. Here's your new partner class: Stephen Bedell, Tax (Columbus, Ohio) Rebecca Hurt, Tax (Knoxville, Tenn.) John Kelleher, Tax (Oak Brook, Ill.) Bart Kimmel, Risk Consulting (Los Angeles, Calif.) Troy La Huis, Risk Consulting (Grand Rapids, Mich.) […]
PCAOB Terror Tour 2012 continues with the release of the inspection for Oakbrook Terrace's own Crowe Horwath. Up until this point, we thought that no one was going to make a run at the deplorable performances of Deloitte and McGladrey but ol' Crowe (as opposed to Old Crow) has managed to do it. PCAOB examiners found […]
Crowe Horwath International has announced Frank Arford will be retiring after having served as the network's CEO since 2007. He'll be replaced by Kevin McGrath effective July 1, 2012. Mr. Arford has been in the accounting industry for 40 years. McGrath has been with Crowe Horwath for 35 years. Bonus points to anyone that can […]
Today marks the day that you're pulling out brackets again that just serves as a reminder of how horrible you are at picking winners. Accordingly, we'll dive right into round two of Going Concern March Madness 2012: The Coolest Accounting Firm. Again this year we saw a bunch of upsets in round one with all […]
Ed. note: Our permanently ink-stained wench is still struggling with Internet connectivity after a small storm swept through the DC area, so we now present the following post that is republished with permission from Jr. Deputy Accountant.
A-ha! I hate to say I told you so (no I don’t) but, uh, I told you so.
In August of 2009, I caught PwC digging around on my site to find out more about the Colonial Bank failure, a failure which PwC itself oversaw and maybe just participated in (if indirectly, naturally). The year before Colonial’s epic failure, PwC auditors gave the bank the all clear.
“In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements listed in the accompanying index present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of The Colonial BancGroup, Inc. and its subsidiaries at December 31, 2008 and 2007 and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2008 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America,” read the opinion.
Anyway, fast-forward two years and here we are:
Colonial Bancgroup Inc (CBCDQ.PK) and its trustee filed a lawsuit against former auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC and Crowe Horwath LLP, charging them with accounting malpractice and professional negligence for not catching a fraud that led to the bank’s collapse.
The complaint was filed late on Wednesday in a Circuit Court in Montgomery County, Alabama.
It also accuses the auditors of breach of contract, saying that PwC’s independent audits of its financial statements violated generally accepted accounting standards and served to conceal the seven-year fraud that drained it of $1.8 billion and left it with hundreds of millions of dollars in worthless or nonexistent assets on its balance sheet.
Can someone please tell me why the PCAOB still has a job with this nonsense going on? Furthermore, why does PwC make $13 billion a year soaking its clients with audit fees? And why aren’t the people of the United States suing the shit out of these auditors too? Colonial was the 6th largest bank failure in U.S. history and cost taxpayers $3.8 billion.
Anyone else find it funny how they call the audit service arm “Assurance”? It has nothing to do with discovering fraud or giving investors actual peace of mind that the statements they are looking at are, in fact, prepared in accordance with GAAP. Rather it is a mafia-style pay-to-play protection ring that offers clean audit opinions in exchange for cash.
Vomit. All over Dennis Nally’s impeccably polished wingtips.
The two highest remaining seeds – Grant Thornton and BDO – are looking defeat square in the face right now to their respective opponents – Crowe Horwath and Rothstein Kass. First round comeback kid Reznick Group is currently getting worked by Moss Adams which makes should make us all wonder what happened to the teamwork we saw in the first round. Perhaps they’re a one-trick pony?
Finally, in the least talked about match-up, Mickey G’s and Dennis Rader’s favorite firm (ideas for something better are welcome) look like they’ll be taking it down to the wire. There’s just over thirteen hours left to vote, so get the word out sooner rather than later (sorry Clifton Gunderson).
Auditors and audit firms have few options when it comes to defense strategy when they are sued for missing a fraud. If fraud occurs and an auditor partner claims to know everything that one should about his/her client, then the partner was probably in on it. That’s a little tricky.
However, if fraud occurs and the partner claims that he/she had no knowledge of any unscrupulous activity, then that means the audit sage is really just a two-bit glad-hander that couldn’t tell a debit from a credit.
And that appears to be the case of William Brizendine, a Crowe Horwath partner, who is claiming that he didn’t know about the relationship between executives of Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky and Bill Erpenbeck who were engaged in scheme that artificially inflated the purchase price of model homes. Brizendine claims that he couldn’t possibly known that his client was involved with such a shifty character A) the bank’s execs didn’t tell him until after the shit hit the fan and B) this Erpenbeck character’s name only came up on the tax returns and why on Earth as an audit partner, would he look at those?
The bank’s lead attorney, Ron Parry, tried to establish that Brizendine was in a unique position to expose the fraud before it became large enough to take down the bank. Parry said auditors had to be aware of the business relationship because they also did the taxes of the company Finnan and Menne created with Erpenbeck.
Brizendine claimed he didn’t know of the relationship because he was just involved in the auditing of the bank and that JAMS tax returns were done by the tax department on another floor of the company’s offices.
Parry was able to show, however, that JAMS tax documents were sometimes sent directly to Brizendine. Brizendine claimed he never looked at those documents since his department didn’t prepare taxes.
Brizendine also admitted on the stand that he was the person who brought in the contract to do JAMS taxes.
We might be a little late to the party on this but it just recently came across our desk and since trying to get a post up today is akin to turning water into wine, we’re running with it. And, frankly, if a large portion of you regularly read the “Public Accounting Report” we’ll be blown (BLOWN!) away.
The determination of the ranking isn’t entirely clear to us so we’ll just go for some superficial analysis on Crowe Horwath (#1 on the list) and the Big 4:
• Crowe Horwath #1 – Net gain of 24 clients; net gain in audited revenue of approximately $4 billion; net gain in assets audited of $18.4 billion; net revenue to the firm of $11 million.
• PwC #2 – Net loss of 8 clients; net gain in audited revenue of $34.9 billion; net gain in assets audited of $2.68 billion; net revenue to the firm of $8.4 million.
• KPMG #5 – Net loss of 1 client; net gain in audited revenue of over $12.9 billion; net loss in assets audited of $61.4 billion; net loss in revenue to the firm of $19.5 million.
• Ernst & Young #9 – Net loss of 30 clients; net gain in audited revenue of $5.3 billion; net loss in assets audited of $53.8 billion; net loss in revenue to the firm of $36.7 million.
• Deloitte #10 – Net loss of 7 clients; net loss in audited revenue of over $90.5 billion; net loss in assets audited of $718 billion; net loss in revenue to the firm of $74.7 million.
Crowe Horwath’s net gain of 24 clients is easily the highest of the firms presented and they’re the only firm that has increases in all the categories presented. Kinda makes you wonder why they had such a steady stream of layoffs in 2009. We’re open to suggestions and wild-ass theories on this topic.
On the losing end, Deloitte’s loss of huge clients due to the financial apocalypse has been noted by our contributor Francine McKenna and is noted by the PAR:
The firm landed the most wins of any of the Big Four firms for 2009, 46, garnering 3.5% of the overall SEC audit wins for the year. Overall, the Big Four won 7.5% of the auditor changes reported during the first three months of 2005. What relegated the firm to last place in the standings was two huge loses: UAL, to E&Y, and Merril Lynch’s acquisition by Bank of America.
All that added up to nearly $75 million in lost audit fee revenue for Deloitte. In terms of the number clients lost, E&Y managed to cruise to that title with net loss of 30 clients:
E&Y captured some sizable wins for the year, notably UAL/Chicago (Revenue: $20.19 billion) from Deloitte and Apple/Cupertino, Calif. (Revenue $32.48 billion) from KPMG. But its gains couldn’t offset losses for the year of Tyson, Sovereign Bancorp and Nalco Holding, to name a few notable losses.
The end result of this client musical chairs doesn’t really add up to much in terms of revenue for any of the firms. Even the $75 million lost by Deloitte is a drop in the bucket compared to their fiscal year ’09 revenue of $26.1 billion.
Peruse as you numbers see fit and feel free to wave the flag.
How’s this for weird: accounting firm Crowe Horwath has filed a creditor claim against the estate of Michael Jackson, claiming that they handled his “business affairs until the day he died,” according to TMZ.
The claim is for about three weeks of work, from June 4, 2009 to June 29th (DOD) and the total bill reported is $38,495.
Since this was the weirdest thing we’ve read in the past hour, we called up Crowe to find out their side since TMZ didn’t seem to bother. They’re currently checking into it and will hopefully get back to us. Stay tuned…
Last month we had a couple of posts on the year that was in Crowe Horwath layoffs. After learning about three rounds of layoffs and a CH exodus, we figured we had exhausted the details on 2009 for Crowe.
Not so! The latest on CH is that, like everyone else, the firm is gearing up for busy season desperately shortstaffed despite the end of their “Alternative Staffing Program”.
We’ve also learned that there were pay freezes across the board at CH last year. This included a couple of instances where newly promoted managers had their pay frozen despite being told “substantial changes in duties would be exempt from pay freeze.”
Right now our sources aren’t sure what to expect from CH in 2010 as communication from their leadership has been minimal. So all in all, it doesn’t sound like Crowe is all that different from the Big 4 despite claiming to be “a unique alternative” to them. Good luck to all the professionals at the firm in 2010 and keep us updated with all the happenings during your busy season.
Earlier this month we told you about layoffs that went down at Crowe Horwath in late November.
We’ve now received additional details that indicate that Crowe has had several rounds of layoffs this past year that started with non-client serving personnel late in 2008 and culminating with the November round.
Our source told us that the second round occurred in spring of this year and at that time, firm leadership communicated that no further layoffs would be necessary. Apparently things didn’t goes as plan as a third round occurred in July that consisted of professionals in the risk consulting practice and many in the Financial Institutions practice that were not chargeable were asked to take sabbaticals. This report of “sabbaticals” is consistent with our report earlier from a source that indicated that “there was a lot of forced time off during the summer.”
It sounds as though Crowe has consistently notified their employees about the layoffs, although our sources have indicated that details (i.e. number of professionals) are always scarce for “morale purposes.” One could assume that since anything after the spring round was not supposed to happen, morale was probably all but wiped out anyway.
The second and third rounds were rumored to be in the nabe of 150 each and our source told us that the third round included many “Executives, Senior Managers, and Managers over 40.” and that “Agreeing to not sue Crowe for age discrimination was part of the Severance Package.” So if you’re 40+ at Crowe it sounds like your best years are behind you or maybe you’re just too damn expensive?
Middle-aged dismissal rumors notwithstanding, Crowe has seen its own exodus, which seems to be the natural progression of things when layoffs reach bodily function regularity.
Crowe Horwath has not responded to our repeated requests for comment.
If you’ve been involved in any of these layoffs at Crowe, or have additional details discuss below, or email us and we’ll continue to keep you updated.
We just received word that Crowe’s CEO, Chuck Allen left a firm-wide voicemail announcing that the firm was having layoffs.
According to our tip, CH had “a lot of forced time off during the summer” and that “Oakbrook assurance has seen some movement.” Also, our source indicated that “Firm isn’t announcing specifics besides that its happening.”
So far, our calls and emails to Crowe Horwath have gone unreturned. We’ll update you with any comment or further information they may provide. If you have details on Crowe Horwath layoffs from any office, send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org and discuss in the comments.
What? Your firm hasn’t reminded you that November 8 – 14 is International Fraud Awareness Week? Shameful. Lucky for you, Crowe Horwath is all over this.
Crowe is offering tips to its clients “on how companies can help turn their own personnel into their best fraud preventers and fraud detectors” because they are sick and tired of being the ones finding all of it.
Here’s a taste of their ideas:
• Know who you hire &ndash Avoid guys in tracksuits and with short attention spans.
• Create an ownership environment &ndash That stapler? It’s yours.
• Keep employees informed &ndash Emails about the latest dead-end marriage in the office do not count.
• Establish sound internal controls &ndash Unless you don’t have to.
• Implement checks and balances &ndash Again, optional.
While we admire Crowe’s attempt to get proactive, we’re concerned that, inevitably, the “Army of Fraudbusters” will start using their newly acquired fraud detection skills for outing their office enemies for petty crimes such as leaving food in the fridge, ass-photo copying and the like.
Create An Army of Fraudbusters Within Your Organization [Press Release]
Crowe Horwath either has some shrewd auditors working there or they need to work on their people skills because First Place Financial Corp. just kicked their asses to the curb over irreconcilable differences.
The whole thing came down to the “material weakness” versus “significant deficiency” debate you auditors love so much.
More, after the jump
On September 1, 2009, Crowe notified the Company that it was its opinion that the Company had not maintained effective internal control over financial reporting as of June 30, 2009. This was in contrast to Management’s opinion that it had maintained effective internal control over financial reporting as of June 30, 2009. After subsequent discussions, the disagreement remained. The essence of the disagreement concerns a single internal control weakness which resulted in an error in valuing loans held for sale as of June 30, 2009. Crowe determined that this internal control weakness was a material weakness while the Company determined that this internal control weakness was a significant deficiency.
The shitty control in question missed an error that overstated loans held for sale by $2.17 million and understated the net loss for fiscal 2009 by $1.41 million. Crowe said that this was cause for the material weakness and First said nonsense poopy-pants, it’s not material, so it’s a significant deficiency.
Well, it was obviously mule vs. mule because First Place’s audit committee ultimately decided that firing Crowe on Tuesday was the best course of action.
Maybe First Place are the assholes. WTFK, really? Whatever the problems, KPMG gets the pleasure now. If you’ve got any further information on this one, want discuss MW/SD (vomit) or just feel like speculating, discuss in the comments.
First Place Details Disagreement with Auditor [Business Journal Daily]