September 24, 2022

Going green

KPMG Decides Not to Publish the Green Energy Report That Pissed the Green Folks Off

Meanwhile, across the pond: KPMG is refusing to publish the full findings of a controversial study examining the cost of the government's green energy policies, which was originally used as a basis for a series of media reports attacking the cost of renewable energy. The preliminary findings of the report, dubbed Thinking about the Affordable, […]

Man Who Claimed $23 Worth of Vegetables Triggered an IRS Audit, Explains His Rationale

A couple of weeks ago, we brought you the tale of Don Dunklee, who claimed that he was audited by the IRS for a paltry $23 in vegetables from his garden. At the time, w Mr Dunklee could have come to such a strange conclusion, considering that it’s pretty obvious the IRS’s efforts at closing the tax gap would be spent in better places than the organic vegetable farmer dynamic.

And as it happens from time to time, the subject of our post reached out to us directly (Big 4 CEOs should take a hint) to explain the situation further.


You see, Don – who is a bit of inventor but not when it comes to stories about tax audits – farms as a hobby and a woman who accepted some vegetables from him stuffed a wad of cash in his pocket that he reluctantly accepted:

I work off farm for Walgreens as does my wife. We reported our entire incomes from our employer as well as the $23, and used only the standard deductions provided by the IRS as we do not have enough “expenses” to write off deductions. The $23 was a lady looking at starting her own organic farm who I refused money from. She insisted to the point she would have been offended had I not kept the money she shoved in my pocket. I kept the cash out of respect to her and reported it as additional farm income. I have a 23 acre farm that I have been building for 27 years with the infrastructure so I can have a farm business when I retire in a few years. People visit my farm to see my off grid solar/wind system, my solar charged electric scooter [Ed. note: see above], and my organic vegetable production. I give away any vegetables anyone wants as I grow much more than I can harvest for myself, in part to learn how to produce enough to make a small retirement income later on, and I like to show off my veggies/farm/lifestyle.

Then Don informed us that he fell victim to the Geithner tax malady:

I do my own taxes. I tried TurboTax for the first time (won’t again) and the $23 was reported, rightly so, as farm income. (investigator suggested I can make up to $400.00 and should consider reporting on the other income line rather than farm income during the end of our interview when she agreed our taxes were correct and made no changes). TurboTax created a form F, farm income for the $23, reported. I claimed no expenses for growing, as I do not have a true farm business.

Then Don gets to the crux of the argument behind his belief that the audit was not “random”:

Farming is my passion/hobby. Had our audit been a true random audit I believe we would have had a general agent and general tax officer doing the audit with questions and info requested related to all of my employment reported. I believe this was a targeted audit as the title of the investigator was “small business and self employed” which does not fit the nature of my return. Her questioning was often off topic from the particulars of my return (fishing?). I would not have a problem if the IRS would be honest and say something to the effect, “we would like to audit your return as we see some irregularities we need clarified.” This might help build trust in the IRS. Knowing they have powers that some consider above or outside of the law in how they deal with taxpayers I was worried. The entire process is intimidating. I do not like feeling like a criminal for being honest. I could not afford legal help, which their literature suggested, further intimidating information they provide creates the impression one is in trouble. I hope this helps clear it up a bit for you.

Giving this a little more thought, we aren’t really surprised since the IRS has shown the willingness to shake down taxpayers for a sum that wouldn’t buy you a Hershey bar in a Mad Men episode. Don told us that he doesn’t have any ill will towards the IRS but he wonders if sometimes they can be a tad misguided, “I do have a lot of respect for the IRS and their mandated task, however I wonder if their very task generates a lot of problems.”

Not sure if the IRS is into self-reflection but that’s why we have TIGTA, s’pose. Thanks to Don for reaching out to us and now that his solar-powered scooter is getting a little more exposure, KPMG (and other firms looking to reduce their carbon footprint) may have a decent alternative to the sherpas.

KPMG’s Latest “Green Initiative” Has One Employee Demanding Sherpas

[caption id="attachment_24110" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Clearly a KPMG auditor; all the supplies are blue."][/caption]

As many of you are aware, schlepping around a laptop, supplies and God knows what else is standard operating procedure for many Big 4 employees. If you work in New York, this annoyance is compounded by the fact that you have to coordinate all this stuff in an awkward balancing act in order to walk (at least partially) to your desired location. Even if your engagement budget allows you to take a cab, the annoyance factor is high.

Unfortunately, this has now been made worse (never mind the slick sidewalks for two), according to a tipster who has a beef with the New York office of KPMG’s latest attempt to save the planet:

I don’t know why this set me off the way it did, but this really made me very angry so I thought I’d send it in to you to post for open internet mockery. Now in addition to carrying around a laptop, printers, the new second monitors, binders etc all over the city, KPMG expects me to strap a MUG to myself and heaven forfend I use a “Guest Mug” because then how will I compete in this swell “Original Mug Contest”?

I’m 115 pounds, I don’t have the body mass to deal with what is gradually turning into some sort of fully equipped mountain climbing expedition. KPMG needs to start handing out sherpas. Immediately after this email went out, about three different conversations involving stockpiling paper cups in various drawers started around me. What is 500K cups anyways, about half a tree? My free cup of crummy coffee in my paper cup that requires next to no effort to get is the high point of my day, so screw you KPMG Green Initiative.

Here’s the email describing the initiative (sorry for the disjointed look, we had to clip it twice) that caused our tipster to fly off the handle.

So not only does insufficient auditing space have their unforeseen repercussions, the quantity of stuff that auditors are asked to drag with them is reaching critical mass. No lives appear to be in danger yet but one has to wonder where the breaking point is. Your concerns and reactions are welcome at this time.

Are Carbon Accounting Services the Next Hot Career Path?

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

Although the future of the controversial Cap-and-Trade bill is in limbo, particularly with a new Congress that might not be as anxious to pass the legislation as the previous group of legislators, many companies have already begun measuring and reporting carbon emissions. California andaiting for federal legislation and are initiating their own statewide cap and trade system. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative effort among 10 states in the Northeast, is helping to develop and implement a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Other areas of the country are in various stages of regional carbon trading programs.


According to a recent report in the Fast Company Expert Blog, “An overwhelming majority of Fortune 500 companies now voluntarily measure, manage, and publicly disclose their carbon emissions.” This provides an exciting opportunity for accountants to provide an important service in the growing area of carbon accounting.

A recent article published by the GreenBiz Group, a media company that reports on sustainability, points to a shortage of greenhouse gas (GHG) professionals who can measure, report, and verify emissions. Results of a recent survey of greenhouse gas professionals show that “Most respondents believe GHG auditing has insufficient oversight.”

Gillian Marks, principal at The Climate Advisor, speaking last fall at the American Women’s Society of Certified Public Accountants/American Society of Women Accountants Joint National Conference (JNC) in Nashville, TN, spoke of President Obama’s Executive Order signed in October, 2009, requiring Federal agencies to set a greenhouse gas emission target for the year 2020 with specific energy, water, and waste reduction targets that must be included in the overall plan. The Executive Order requires agencies to measure, manage, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a commitment to leading by example.

Lynne McIntosh, president of Excellerate Energy LLC, joined Marks on the podium at the JNC and emphasized the opportunity for accountants to add carbon accounting services to their practice. She suggested that revenue generated by providing carbon accounting services could reach $7 to $9 billion by 2012.

“Just because carbon cap and trade legislation didn’t make it through the Senate, it doesn’t mean this stuff is dead,” said Paul Baier, vice president of sustainability consulting at Groom Energy, an energy consulting and design firm, in an article that appeared in TheStreet.com.

To assist companies with the mission of measuring carbon usage, a new crop of software programs called enterprise carbon accounting (ECA) is showing “explosive growth” according to market research performed by Groom Energy. Groom maintains a vendor list of software companies providing GHG, Carbon, and ECA software programs – so far there are 75 companies on the list. Groom predicts that the purchases of ECA software will increase 600% over the next year.

Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued guidance requiring public companies to warn investors of risks that climate change could pose to their business.

Accountants have a two-fold purpose with regard to carbon accounting. Not only are the accounting firms setting goals for themselves, but accountants are primed to serve as advisors to clients who are ready to get busy with carbon accounting. Taking sensible steps toward conserving energy is the starting point – an obvious one because it can save a company money. Moving into the field of carbon accounting, where carbon emissions are actually charted and measured is the direction in which we all are headed. Getting ahead start today could position accountants for a lucrative career move.

Ernst & Young Study: U.S. Is Great for Renewable Investment If You Don’t Count the Red States

China has everyone beat, no shocker there, but if you don’t count Sarah Palin’s real America the red, white & blue is #2!

Ernst and Young counts only perhaps half (or is it three quarters?) of the 300 million people in the US as “US”, by considering only those states that are doing anything about renewable energy, like California…The “US” excludes all the dirty states that lack renewable policy; states like Wyoming, Indiana, North Dakota, Kentucky, Oklahoma and so on.

Ernst & Young: U.S. Blue States Nearly as Attractive as China for World Renewable Investment [Reuters]

PwC’s Other New Color: Green(er)

Newly autumnal-hued PwC still has nature on the brain, this time reflecting on the kick-ass job they did by reducing their carbon footprint 20% since FY07.

For those of you scoring at home (read: Al Gore) that’s two years ahead of schedule.

Through a two-fold strategy, consisting of solutions around workspaces, air travel and commuting, as well as through the engagement of its people to make behavior changes, the firm has reduced its carbon emissions by more than 62,000 CO2 metric tons since FY07, its baseline emission levels.

Being a shameless tree hugger, we applaud the efforts of PwC and also KPMG who announced the reaching of their greeny goals – also ahead of plan – back in July.

However, the thing we’re a little skeptical about are the goals that each firm set for themselves. If they are blowing these carbon emission reduction targets out of the water and ahead of schedule it seems like they may have set the bar a little low. You figure that if you throw some recycle bins in the common areas, encourage more video conferencing and replace all the old light bulbs with the long-life version, you’re already ahead of the game.

PwC did a good job at detailing how they’ve been recognized for their efforts but they still remain vague about any future plans to continue their efforts:

“At PwC we take an integrated approach to reducing our waste, emissions, and discharges by elevating our green efforts and embracing new business practices,” said Shannon Schuyler, corporate responsibility leader, PwC. “We will continue to work toward sustaining the reduction we have already made, as well as partner with our experts in the S&CC practice to set new goals and targets in the future. To us, supporting a healthier and more sustainable environment is part of being a responsible leader.”

KPMG, on the other hand, was very specific about their efforts and what they had planned for the future including the Living Green Teams (with uniforms), recycling laptops and taking a stab at this paperless audit idea.

Granted, getting serious about reducing emissions is something that has only been sexy for the last 2-3 years so maybe the firm will ratchet up the goals, along with detailing specific measures, over the long-term.

PwC Meets 20 Percent Carbon-Reduction Goal Two Years Ahead of Schedule [PR Newswire]

KPMG Is Overachieving in the Green Department

Klynveldians may remember back in 2008 that the firm embarked on a divine green mission to reduce waste, its carbon footprint, so on and so forth.

Well, the firm announced today that not only has it achieved its goals in two years instead of three but it also exceeded the percent reduction goal of 25% with a 26% reduction in its carbon footprint.

Formation of Living Green Teams to harness the passion of KPMG’s employees and partners in local offices nationwide. – See a Living Green Team member at right.

Recycling of every laptop, monitor and printer, for both reuse and disposal of toxic materials – This is good considering all the layoffs that KPMG did from 2007-2009, there was probably a lot of laptops sitting around just collecting dust.

In all quasi-seriousness, it’s good to see the firm taking steps to put the green back in green eyeshade. Now if we could get everyone to bike or walk to work, we’d really have something. Discuss your impressions with KPMG’s treehuggery below.

NEW YORK, Jul. 21 /CSRwire/ – KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, today announced it achieved a 26 percent reduction in its carbon footprint from 2007 through 2009, exceeding the firm’s stated three-year commitment of a 25 percent reduction in just two years.

In 2008, KPMG embarked on an ambitious environmental program in the United States called “Living Green” to support the firm’s commitment to reduce the amount of waste it generates, the volume of natural resources it consumes, and to reduce its carbon footprint. When it was announced, KPMG’s Living Green program targeted a 25 percent reduction in the U.S. firm’s overall carbon footprint by 2010.

The firm’s 26 percent reduction from 2007 through 2009 is based on the results of a recent analysis by KPMG’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services group that shows KPMG reduced its carbon footprint by 20 percent between 2008 and 2009, and 7 percent between 2007 and 2008.

“Living Green at KPMG has helped us better understand the need to adapt to climate change and invest in sustainable, eco-friendly business initiatives,” says Steve Clemente, KPMG principal and leader of the Living Green program. “Thanks to the commitment of our firm and the support of our 20,000 plus people nationwide, we are helping change the environment in which we live and work for the better.”

During the course of its Living Green program, the U.S. firm has reduced its electricity consumption by 9 percent and reduced paper consumption by 33 percent, while having increased the percentage of recycled paper used by 85 percent.

“KPMG’s successful carbon reductions represent the kind of corporate leadership we need at this time of environmental and economic crisis,” says Matt Petersen, president and CEO of Global Green USA, a national environmental non-profit organization dedicated to implementing solutions to global climate change. “KPMG is establishing – and beating ahead of time – reduction goals that save money and resources while reducing the carbon pollution that causes global warming.”

In achieving these results, KPMG is identifying leading practices and establishing new programs and processes at both the local office and national levels. They include:

• Formation of Living Green Teams to harness the passion of KPMG’s employees and partners in local offices nationwide. These teams implement the Living Green program at a grassroots level, driving innovation and making a difference through initiatives such as local specialized recycling programs, engagement with city-wide environmental programs, and hosting volunteer events with organizations dedicated to sustainability during KPMG’s annual Living Green week which is held each year in conjunction with Earth Day.

• Completion of a KPMG data technology center that uses multiple sources of electrical power, but features gas micro-turbines as its centerpiece. The natural gas-powered units provide exceptional energy efficiency, helping generate more than 70 percent of the power needed to run the facility and produce ultra-low carbon dioxide and particulate emissions.

• Recycling of every laptop, monitor and printer, for both reuse and disposal of toxic materials, while implementing server virtualization, which involves using one computer server to do the work of many. Server virtualization has prevented the emission of over 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

• In 2009, KPMG’s new Nashville office became the first firm office to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), followed by offices in San Diego and Orange County, California. Recently, firm offices in Boston and Charlotte received gold-level LEED certification.

“Being a responsible corporate citizen is a key driver of KPMG’s business, affecting our relationships with clients, shaping the experiences of our people, and inspiring us to be a positive force in our communities,” says Kathy Hannan, KPMG national managing partner, diversity and corporate social responsibility.