Colin put this in ANR this morning but it's the kind of thing that deserves a post of its own just to make sure you don't miss it and mock appropriately: The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board gave a failing grade to Grant Thornton on 65 percent of audits inspected in 2012, the highest failure […]
Somewhat related but kind of a side note: when did video holiday cards become a thing? Anyway, here is Grant Thornton's entry for this holiday season. At a full 17 seconds, it clocks in as the shortest we've seen yet because ain't no one got time for a 2 minute holiday card video. Sadly, I […]
You'd all do well to follow this example for your respective office parties this season: Successful @GrantThorntonUS #atlanta holiday party last night. Tacky sweaters and all. @mmangrum1126 @griffinehunt pic.twitter.com/ZoE3BqEbKF — Christian Hyatt (@christianhyatt) December 13, 2013 Okay, guy on the left — we see that you phoned it in by just opting for a Christmas […]
See, and you guys say we never listen to you. This comes from this morning's open items thread: Is it true that Grant Thornton lost a $100MM lawsuit regarding tax shelters? Accounting Today has the best scoop I've seen so far on this matter: A Kentucky circuit court judge has ruled that Grant Thornton is […]
Like 'em or not, stereotypes exist for a reason. For example, guys like Colin are always riding around on their bicycle and using high brow words to show how obscure their compendium of knowledge is. And cat ladies like me are always sporting cat hair on our t-shirts and talking about what our cat did […]
We need to clarify this situation before people start claiming everyone at GT is going to be fired and replaced with humanoids and/or shapeshifting lizards. As far as we know, that is not happening so just relax. What is happening is Stephen Chipman is aiming to hit the door at the end of 2014. Here […]
We received this snazzy little item in the tip box and while it has not been confirmed, the commentary is so passionate that we can't help but think maybe just maybe this can be trusted. Names have been removed to protect the innocent: [Marketing Lady] says only 4 positions eliminated but does not mention the […]
The Purple Rose of Chicago turned in a scorecard of $1.274 billion in revenue, up 5 percent, for fiscal 2013. And Stephen Chipman, for one, thinks that's a solid effort: "Attaining record revenues in a still tepid economic environment is a testament to our long-term strategy of focusing on dynamic, mid-sized clients that are poised for […]
Color me baffled, maybe I haven't spent long enough digesting PRspeak. ??? Does culture then wash it down with a nice, cold glass of Kool-Aid? Grant Thornton is supposedly holding "All Hands" meeting in all 54 US offices today to ensure the staff are sufficiently brainwashed into thinking this actually means something. Not very dynamic […]
Grant Thornton is the most dynamic accounting firm known to man. Now, some of you might doubt this based on past revelations such as temp tatts, unoriginal taglines, and questionable advertising campaigns, but the following report out of the Belfast office will make you believe. We all know accounting firm offices can be, er, less […]
Craig Haber, who, after being a partner at Grant Thornton for 11 years, started helping himself to client fees, admitted today that what he did was wrong and he's sure sorry about the whole thing: Craig Haber, who prosecutors said diverted money to his own bank accounts between 2004 and 2012, pleaded guilty to […]
Stephen Chipman has bestowed 30 purple roses, saying, "Our partners and principals have demonstrated great value to our dynamic clients and to our firm through their technical expertise and passionate leadership." There's also 20 new managing director,s however they merely, "[help] our partners execute the firm's strategy." Sounds like a slap in the face. I […]
Call this is a GT service announcement (or something). A tipster informed us a little while ago that there were a couple of Purple Rose of Chicago audit opinions floating around that have an unfortunate typo. Titan International and Gentherm, Inc. filed 10-Ks in 2013 with Grant Thornton's name spelled wrong on the opinion – spelling it […]
On Monday, compensation kvetching season officially kicked off with PwC. Papa Whisk(e)y Charlie generally sets the tone for the rest of the summer and we see some firms adjust their plans accordingly. Of course there are plenty of firms that don't adjust their plans, but probably do so at their own peril. ANYWAY. The PwC […]
We appreciate the fact that the firm is enthusiastic about their growth, but this is getting ridiculous: Grant Thornton LLP has relocated its Minneapolis office within the north tower of the US Bank Plaza at 200 S. 6th St. to floors 14 and 15. The total space leased is 31,484 square feet. Today is the first […]
Last Friday while I was poorly navigating North Carolina, a tipster passed along an enthusiastic message that he received from a Grant Thornton National Talent Acquisition bounty hunter. And from the sounds of it, GT wants some fresh faces in their forensics group:
Here's an interesting story about a fella by the name of Craig Haber. Craig became a partner at Grant Thornton in 1993. Around 2004, Craig decided to start helping himself to client fees that rightfully belonged to GT. This went on for a while. Approximately $4 million in fees from 2004 to 2012, to be […]
Oh I bet you guys think you're slick for this one! Thanks so much for ruining my Doomsday. So here's what we've got. Let's start with Deloitte: The PCAOB identified a few particular deficiencies it didn't like: The inspection team considered certain of the deficiencies that it observed to be audit failures. Specifically, certain of […]
Eddie Nusbaum & Co. put up a good number, $4.2 billion to be precise. That's 10.4% (USD) greater than last time around. That's pretty good. So good, the firm reports in its press release that "Grant Thornton led the six largest global accounting organizations in reported revenue growth rate for 2012." And that appears to be true. […]
GT partners have elected Dave Wedding as the next Chairman of the firm's board. He was also recently appointed OMP of the Purple Rose of Chicago: Carolinas practice. As a native of Charlotte, part of his appeal, undoubtedly, was his charming North Carolina accent.* This should match Stephen Chipman's charming English accent quite nicely. Leadership […]
The Purple Rose of Chicago: Cleveland Edition officially opened the doors at One Cleveland Center today and OMP Dan Zittnan says that's exciting for all kinds of reasons including "enhance[d] productivity and development," as well as, "more efficient layout, access to natural light, increased multipurpose space and more effective collaboration rooms." So not only will […]
Starting in 2015, Grant Thornton will be moving into the Chicago Title & Trust Co. building but more importantly will get naming rights meaning that 161. N. Clark St. will be known as the Grant Thornton something. But what? GTower? The Chipman Center? Big GT? Presumably all of these plus whatever else you can come up […]
This week's Recruiting Season post is brought to you by the letters C, P, A and by numbers. Lots and lots of numbers. Have a question about accounting careers? Email us at [email protected] All right, boys and girls, this is the last recruiting season post before we spill all the salary details on you. […]
Welcome to Tuesdays with More Anxious Accounting Recruits. Have a question about recruiting season? Email [email protected] with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. Just a friendly reminder – if you have received an offer from a public accounting firm, by all means, share your excitement with us. We've received a fair amount so far, […]
Everyone's favorite tattoo parlor, Grant Thornton, has announced its revenues for the fiscal year ended, July 31, 2012 and things went pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay good. The $1.212 billion was so good, in fact, that it was a record for the firm and CEO Stephen Chipman says everything is going to plan: Grant Thornton’s strategy is […]
As we've mentioned on several occasions here, when the media profiles Big 4 bigwigs, the revelations are far less interesting than, say, a movie star-governor. If touchy subjects are addressed, they are glossed over fairly quickly to move on to charity work, perseverance, or family life. It's like a heart-warming after-school special. Grant Thornton CEO […]
After dominating much of 2011, the past year has been bit of a downer for the Purple Rose of Chicago. Last September, Grant Thornton reached its apex when the firm was crowned king of the hill in Vault's 50. Unfortunately, they were shoved off the pile by Ernst & Young less than a year later and things […]
For some time now, second-tier audit firms in the UK have been bent out of shape about the domination of the Big 4. And seeing how one of the Final Four Horsemen of the accounting apocalypse is auditing 99 out of 100 FTSE companies (and 240 of the FTSE 250), they may have a legitimate beef. On […]
Almost three weeks ago, we started the discussion for the Purple Rose of Chicago to help all the Grant Thornton dynamos gird their loins for this compensation season. We've received a number of requests for a follow-up since the discussions start this week and, finally, late last night someone shared their numbers with us: Grant […]
The word from the Purple Rose of Chicago was just handed down this morning from Stephen Chipman, at least that's what we hear. Oh wait, no, we know for sure, here's the email: Dear colleagues, One of my greatest pleasures as CEO of Grant Thornton is the opportunity I have every year to […]
A simple request from someone out of the Purple Rose of Chicago: I know its not Big 4, but would you mind starting a thread on GT comp adjustments coming up this year? Mind? Apparently you're one of those people that think these pages devoted to the kvetching of Big 4 employees. Not so! When it […]
According to a press release, GT's Canadian arm has found a new place to find dynamic clients – TV! Grant Thornton LLP has just published Foundation for Growth, a white paper that presents the results of research and analysis into how professional services firms view their performance and people, their planning and profitability. It contains […]
Kevin Hudson is not quite the bounder that Reznick Group's Joe Mudd is, but he has seen a few firms in his day: [Prior to Grant Thornton], Hudson served as a National Director with McGladrey’s Private Equity Services Group and was their Regional Private Equity Leader for the Northeast and Southeast regions. He has more than 19 years of […]
Question for the auditors in the crowd – have you ever come across a nefarious situation in your career and thought, "You know, if doing the right thing were to pay better than doing the wrong thing, I'd walk away from this client in a second."? Of course you have. That's pretty much the […]
SGOCO Group, Ltd. issued a press release this morning to let everyone know that Grant Thornton's Chinese affiliate decided to take a walk on May 14th. They disclosed this with the SEC around 10 am on Friday, but with the Facebook circus going on, no one noticed. What's interesting is that the company filed Form […]
The Board inspected 41 audits at 21 of Grant Thornton's 51 offices. Fifteen issuers were cited in the report that included various failures, primarily related to "obtain[ing] sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support its opinions on the financial statements and on the effectiveness of [internal controls over financial reporting]." There was everything from failure to […]
The Grant Thornton CEO tells Accounting Today he doesn't have any "inside information"; you're just going to have to trust him. “My sense is that the SEC is getting closer to a position,” he said during an interview with the Accounting Today staff on Tuesday. “I don’t have any inside information. This isn’t based on […]
Imagine my surprise when a link to the 2013 Vault Accounting 50 found its way to our tip box. It comes to us five months earlier than last year and I really didn't expect to see all of the Big 4 in the type five, especially the likes of E&Y and KPMG who were doing well […]
Grant Thornton is officially picking up BDO's Victoria and New South Wales offices in Australia for $50 million, according to reports. [This] comes after BDO announced last month it had decided to terminate the BDO Victoria and New South Wales offices, citing “unreasonable risks”, following a strategic review of the business taken over the previous […]
Finally today, another bullseye out of the Purple Rose of Chicago: Our tipster writes: Can’t tell you how excited I am that the new laptop “wraps” came in at my office yesterday! See attached picture showing my company laptop sporting the new look. The handout […]
This just in: Rumor has it, GT is getting rid of the CPA exam requirement to be promoted to senior… GT is one of two firms (that we explicitly know of) that currently requires audit professionals to pass the CPA exam in order to be promoted. If this particular tidbit is true, then it would be […]
Ed Novak has been appointed Head of National Sales and he'll be tasked with bringing home the dynamo bacon. “Hiring Ed is a key pillar in our strategy to establish Grant Thornton as the leading accounting and consulting firm serving dynamic organizations,” said Tricia Conahan, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer. That's great and all, but […]
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 […]
A bookly tipster sent us the following: Grant Thornton ads and tattoos aren't the issue — Has anyone else noticed that Grant Thornton's new slogan– An instinct for growth — is totally lifted from Nietzsche's The Anti-Christ: "Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power; whenever the will […]
Because of recent events, you may have thought that not much was in the works at Grant Thornton. Well, you'd be wrong. Stephen Chipman runs a tight fish and chip house so while you've all been distracted by pests, tattoos, and buttering up the POTUS, SC and his team have been planning your next dynamic […]
This is from earlier in the week and there's no official word about the pest in question but our tipster insists that it was edbugsbay: It was brought to our attention yesterday that there was a potential insect issue in a small location on the 24th floor of our 60 Broad Street Office. We took […]
Accounting News Report, using data from Audit Analytics, puts out an Auditor Change Analysis every year and it usually finds its way into our inbox, however, because the analysis is a subscription-based publication (and a pricey one at that), reproducing the whole thing is usually not an option. This year we asked pretty please, and we got […]
Look, you guys. I know the stress of busy season can be a lot to deal with but I beg you, don't let it cloud your judgment. Think about your loved ones. Think about the American people. Think about the children. Whatever helps you recenter your perspective, keep that thing in mind so that you don't […]
The last twelve months or so have been very good for the Purple Rose of Chicago. Let's recount a few highlights. They've been chasing dynamic clients around like fat kids chase ice cream trucks. Their solid work has been recognized by these dynamic clients. They were dismissed from a major shareholder lawsuit. At the behest […]
Oh, Grant Thornton flacks. Could you put out a more ridiculously transparent, vapid, self-serving, bullshit press release? Grant Thornton LLP applauds President Obama for recognizing the importance of access to capital to start-ups and small business during his State of the Union Address last night. The Small Company Capital Formation Act, introduced by Rep. David […]
Today in partners ditching their firm for PwC news, Gary Wilson, a 20-year Grant Thornton veteran and managing partner of the Irvine, California office will take the exact same job at join PwC on January 5th. It appears this news was first reported by the OC Business Journal and not by a press release, which proves […]
Much like E&Y, GT’s Chicago office is looking to get more asses in the seats because business is swell:
Grant Thornton LLP said it intends to add 140 jobs in its Chicago office next year, 80 of them entry level and 60 internships, most of them paid. Similar hiring this year was less than 100. According to a press release and a spokeswoman, the new hires are needed because the firm’s business is growing. The hires will work in “nearly every area” of the firm, including audit, tax and consulting.
Unlike E&Y, Hizzoner was not attendance:
[T]his announcement was not made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has unveiled several somewhat similar moves by other companies in recent months.
Always a bridesmaid, GT. Always a bridesmaid.
As we all know, Grant Thornton has upped its game in the past few months. It rolled out a new fancy schmancy ad campaign that explains how not to be a loser and was the surprise top dog in this year’s Vault rankings.
Yesterday, the Purple Rose of Chicago announced that more good times are coming via its new “Growth Platform” that will give all those dynamo clients a spurt. Hey! there’s even a website for the whole thing.
So in case things aren’t clear, growth is winning. And it’s not just for the lucky clients who count GT as their professional services provider. The firm itself is a weed of dynamism, says Stephen Chipman:
Grant Thornton has growth plans of its own. “We want to grow ourselves,” said Chipman. “We’re dynamic and we’re on the move. We want to, over time, raise the bar on the growth agenda and be committed to it for the long haul.” The firm plans to continue with its global expansion plans, especially in emerging markets. “We’ve been very vocal about how the global organization has an ambitious five-year strategy to double our market share, and that’s consistent with our plans here in the United States,” said Chipman. “There will be organic growth, it will be strategic growth. We will invest in new talent and expertise, and it will be M&A growth through mergers and acquisitions.”
Right! Connecticut! What’s more exciting than the Constitution State? Wait, don’t answer that. You’re probably wondering if all this excitement means that GT will go for a sexy new makeover. You know, something less Northwestern and maybe something more…Ohio State, perhaps? Well, as of now, that won’t be necessary:
The new brand positioning will not extend as far as changing the firm’s logo or slogan, at least not yet. “We are not changing our logo,” said Chipman. “You will see the same Grant Thornton logo, but you will see a lot of branded material focused on supporting the growth agenda.” However, Grant Thornton may eventually evolve its strategy to incorporate new taglines or slogans. “As we move forward with this over the next several months, we will certainly be looking for different ways to innovate to present our messaging,” said Chipman.
So it sounds like the team colors will stay the same but could a message focused on “growth” actually involve something that tangibly “grows” like say, “roses”? And by extension, could this mean tangos will make a comeback? God, please make it so.
Sounds like it. By way of gobbling up a firm that sounds like it should belong to John Fogerty.
[CCR, LLP] [t]he full-service accounting and advisory firm announced Monday that it has entered into “exclusive negotiations” with Chicago-based Grant Thornton, one of the largest U.S. accounting firms that currently lacks a Connecticut presence. Its closest office is Boston. Neither party elaborated on terms and boundaries of their talks, except to say in a written statement that “a resolution is expected by year-end.” CCR, with offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, is the 13th largest accounting firm in the Hartford Region with 44 employees and 22 CPAs[.]
CCR has five office locations, none of which were born on the bayou, and only one – Glastonbury – that’s in the Constitution State. So technically, they’d be in CT but I mean, COME ON.
As we trudge towards busy season, there are certain things that everyone gets a little anxious about. Like not seeing the sun for three months. Like putting on an extra 15-20 pounds because you’re stuffing your face with takeout three nights (minimum) a week. Oh! and then there’s the hours. Right, the hours.
For those of you t awhile, you know how the game works. Do you really spend 14 hours a day staring at a spreadsheets, slapping together financial puzzles without nary a drop in your production? Obviously not. Some of you take smoke breaks. Some of you have the audacity to take a lunch hour. Some of you drop by this fine publication to keep yourself abreast of the latest haps in accounting world (and leave the page open all day). Some of you, on average, spend 15-30 minutes watching your your cubicle crush from afar thinking that you’ll just mosey over and say “What’s up? Numbers, huh?” only to snap out of your daydream.
All this non-billable time accumulates into a decent portion of your day. Accordingly, you work a little later to make up for your lack of productivity, charge the appropriate hours (based on your increasingly tighter budget) and you call it a day.
For those newer to the game, you may look up at the clock, note that it’s 6 pm and you think to yourself, “What did I accomplish today?” The answer: not much. But since there’s not charge code for “Fucking Around – General” and slamming it all to an administration code isn’t such a good move, you slip it into a code for a client that you’re supposedly working on. No problem, right?
Well, your managers and partners might have a problem. They look at the billed hours and then try to gauge what your progress is. If there are hundreds of hours and you have jack squat to show for it, people are going to be pissed.
With all that in mind, I’ll share a query from a reader out of Grant Thornton’s New York office:
I would like to know how wide-spread “Eating Hours” is at GT (NYC).
You are put on a project, its a lot of work, and as time progress more and more work piles on you. You end up putting a lot of hours. The manager/partner says that hours will not be a problem, and that you should bill all hours worked.
When the project is just about over, after you had worked tons of hours, when you are least expect it, they pull you into a meeting and admonishing you that there was no way that you worked those hours. (Basically calling you a thief to your face).
After that meeting, you are told to adjust all hours over and above the budgeted 35-40 hours work week.
Even though I am not an hourly employee, I do feel robbed in two ways. First, I can’t really enjoy the accomplishment of the project because I feel so cheated, unappreciated and disrespected by this unethical behavior. Additionally, I feel stress because how can I be expected to meet the already unrealistic utilization goals when those scumbags make me eat hours?
Okay, let me say first that I do not doubt this person’s account of being jerked around by a manager or partner with regard to hours. However, it’s a little bit unbelievable if this meeting where the de-pantsing occured came without any warning. Most of your superiors – whether they are partners, managers, SAs, whatever – are not completely unreasonable people. They don’t all of sudden turn on a dime and say, “Everything I told you was a lie. You should have known that you shouldn’t have been billing all those hours.” If that is the case, then you work for assholes.
Hopefully, if eating hours is expected of you, they tell you up front. I had former colleagues that were on engagements like this where a Senior Manager simply let them know exactly how many hours they were expected to bill but it was pretty obvious that they were going to be working far more than that to get the job done. It’s a fucked up equation to be sure, but at least you know what you’re up against. This has nothing to do with firms or offices but rather the people running the engagement.
As for GTNYC, it’s pretty tough to know how widespread the practice of eating hours is. How widespread is the alcoholism? Or doucebaggery? It’s not quantitative. But our tipster is still concerned:
I have spoken to many of my friends at other Big 4, at regional firms, and at smaller firms and no one had experienced it as bad as some of us here in GT (NYC).
Fine. But you’re very small cross-section of a huge population. Maybe you were just on a couple of bad engagements with bad partners/managers. It happens. Believe it.
For the Purple People Eaters out there, is eating hours at GT a problem? Does Vault have it all wrong? Eating hours definitely doesn’t win, but does it pay? Discuss below.
Earlier this month our resident big man on campus, DWB, put out a call for all the schwagtacular gear that recruits were snatching up this fall. We didn’t get much for submissions at first but luckily a friend from the north passed along photos that ranged from “a bunch of junk” to Dr. Seuss to a PwC cookie describe as “soft” and “amazing.”
Things have quieted down since then but thankfully, another enterprising young recruit who is right in the wheelhouse of recruiting passed along a couple more pics that include examples of loot from Deloitte and Grant Thornton.
First our tipster’s thoughts on GT’s offering: “The GT cup is ok but the straw is totally useless.” And for the gazillionth time, purple just sucks.
According to our tipster, the Deloitte sanitizer is really the most perplexing item: “I am not sure what to think of Deloitte’s hand sanitizer.”
So what do we make of this? It’s not a surprise that Deloitte isn’t a “If it’s brown flush it down; if it’s yellow keep it mellow” kinda place but what does this bottle of freshness really communicate? Do they simply think college students are unkempt? Is Deloitte making the assumption that all the recruits are applying there because the Occupy movement rejected their applications? Or, since there is fairly new leadership in place, does this speak more directly to the firm’s position on germs in general? Put simply: Are Joe Echevarria and Barry Salzgerg germophobes? I’m inclined to go with option 3 but would entertain other theories.
All of you people have dreams. Not your-name-in-lights dreams, however. Most of you are more interested in shopping-at-Bergdorf’s dreams. But which firm is going to give you the best combination of salary/bonus/Omaha Steaks to make you happy? Vault’s Compensation Ranking should give you an idea. Here’s your Top 5 out of 20 (previous year’s ranking in parenthesis):
1 (11) SS&G Financial Services
2 (5) Armanino McKenna
3 (8) WithumSmith + Brown
4 (7) Dixon Hughes Goodman
5 (1) Marcum
Where are the Final 4 Horsemen of the Accounting Firm Apocalypse, you ask? Well, a couple of them are completely MIA. Here are the other two plus some notables:
9 (10) Rothstein Kass
10 (NR) Grant Thornton
14 (19) CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
15 (18) Moss Adams
19 (20) PwC
20 (17) Deloitte
Seriously, I think Stephen Chipman is putting something in the water at Grant Thornton. Whatever it is, KPMG and E&Y would be wise to get their hands on it. Check out the full ranking if you’re not satisfied. And feel free to share feelings on your firm’s presence (or lack thereof).
Yes my friends, the Purple Rose of Chicago’s focus on all things dynamic and pinstripe hating was enough to catapult the firm to the #1 spot on Vault’s Accounting 50. Va rnton’s rise “an upset of sorts” but I’ll go ahead and say this is more worthy of “shocker” status. This is like “Dewey Defeats Truman.” It’s the Miracle on Ice. Hell, it’s like when Brad Pitt finds Gwenyth Paltrow’s head at the end of Se7en (what do you MEAN you haven’t seen it?).
Don’t get me wrong, Grant Thornton is a fine firm. Sure, purple isn’t my favorite but the people there seem nice and very capable but HONESTLY this was not expected. When he hears the news, Stephen Chipman will probably start running through halls of the Chicago office sans
pants trousers rallying everyone down to the nearest pub (pictures, please). Anyway, let’s get to the Top 25 (previous year in parenthesis), shall we?
1 (23) Grant Thornton
2 (2) PwC
3 (1) Deloitte
4 (3) Rothstein Kass
5 (5) Dixon Hughes Goodman
6 (6) Moss Adams
7 (11) WithumSmith + Brown
8 (8) Friedman
9 (4) Marcum
10 (28) EisnerAmper
11 (14) Eide Bailly
12 (18) SS&G Financial Services
13 (12) Berdon
14 (7) Elliott Davis
15 (NR) Rehmann
16 (33) Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
17 (17) Armanino McKenna
18 (16) CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
19 (41) Marks Paneth & Shron
20 (20) Schenck
21 (10) Cherry, Bekaert & Holland
22 (21) Ernst & Young
23 (22) KPMG
24 (25) McGladrey
25 (24) BDO
As for how GT orchestrated this epic upset, here’s Vault’s Derek Loosvelt:
Although the Big Four firms PwC and Deloitte both significantly outscored Grant Thornton (the perennial fifth largest accounting firm in the country) in terms of prestige, Grant Thornton handily beat PwC and Deloitte in nearly every quality of life category. In other words, while the two Big Four firms’ names still carry much more weight than Grant Thornton’s in the marketplace, insiders are much more pleased with their day to day work lives at the non-Big Four GT than their peers are at PwC and Deloitte. In fact, non-Big Four firms ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in all but three quality of life categories (these rankings will be released over the next couple of days). Although Grant Thornton did not top any single category, it consistently placed ahead of PwC and Deloitte. Particular tough categories for the Big Four firms were hours and overall satisfaction.
So there are a couple of stories here: 1) Holy shit – Grant Thornton?! and 2) prestige seems to carry less and less weight in favor of quality of life for those looking to choose a public accounting firm as their employer. We’ll be covering the Vault list and the firms therein with more posts but until then, feel free to comment on the Top 25 and what you make of GT as the new #1.
Back with another edition of “Decide My Life for Me – Public Accounting Edition.” Today, an antsy Big 4 employee in a large city wants to know if moving to second-tier firm in small city will mean a demotion or cut in salary.
Do you have trouble matching your socks? Need help making sense of your cryptic performance review? Are you worried that someone with a bun in the oven is also capable of doing their job? Email us at [email protected] and someone will try to straighten you out.
Back to our “Should I Stay or Should I Go” du jour:
I was curious if you had any information on employees jumping from Big 4 firms (auditing) to upper-mid-tier (i.e. McGladrey). Do you find that they are often promoted? I am currently in a large city and am uninterested in staying in the city long-term. I was thinking of moving to a 300,000 person city with some firms like McGladrey, Grant Thornton, etc. If I am jumping ship as a senior or manager, where should I expect to come in at? Same level? Same salary?
Had it with Big 4 life, eh? Let me guess, the groupies got to you, didn’t they? Every damn time.
As to your inquiry, here’s the deal – you won’t be promoted if you decide to accept a position with McGladrey or Grant Thornton. Why? There are a few reasons: 1) You don’t have the experience; 2) You don’t have the experience; 3) You don’t have the experience. We all know that Big 4 auditors think they’re pretty special and that anyone who doesn’t soil themselves after looking at their stellar résumés followed by an immediate job offer is simply stupid. So it comes as a shock to many when this scenario doesn’t play out. As far as second-tier firms go, they definitely want Big 4 talent when they can get it but they’re aren’t about to throw you a bone because you worked at E&Y Chicago or PwC New York.
What you can expect – if you’re senior associate or a manager at a Big 4 firm, you can reasonably expect to be offered (not a guarantee, obv) a similar position at GT or Mickey G’s that you currently have. If you’re moving to a smaller city, you could see a similar salary but you should not expect a raise. You’ll receive the market rate for your position in your new city. The firm may put you at the high range of pay for your group but be prepared to be reminded of that fact come merit increase time.
Anyone made a similar move with different results? Share below.
Layoffs occurring at director levels in the support staff and maybe other areas.
This included a director in communications, another in Knowledge Management and “others are forthcoming.” Email us updated with the latest details if you’re in the know.
If you’re a fan of pinstripes, you won’t be pleased.
As a commenter noted yesterday, this obviously isn’t applicable to the Yankees. The Cubs on the other hand…well, I think we all know that story.
In Northern Ireland, anyway. Yes, if you’re moseying around Belfast and catch your spouse in an intimate embrace with someone who isn’t you, your heart may be broken but that doesn’t mean you’re going to divorce their cheating ass. Why, you ask? Well, you see, celebrities, being the model global citizens that they are, seem understand that marriage doesn’t really mean that you can’t have sex with other people, even if you haven’t expressed a desire to do so and regular Joes and Janes are starting to think that should be their attitude as well.
The UK Press Association reports, “one of the reasons for the shift may be the growing number of high profile celebrities that have publicly accepted their partner being unfaithful, according to consultancy and accountancy firm Grant Thornton, which carried out the matrimonial survey.” Yes Grant Thornton, fresh off their new ad campaign, is finding time to weigh in on marriage trends, although they readily admit they’re really just taking a stab at this:
Sally Longworth, partner at Grant Thornton’s Forensic and Investigations services practice, said: “The shift in the reasons for divorce is difficult to explain, although one potential influence could be the rise in the number of celebrities that are very publicly accepting their spouse’s infidelities.
Seems that GT is hard up for work in N.I.
Back in the spring, any chances of a GranMA merger that originally cropped up back in January were put to rest. This was after an impassioned denial by Moss Adams CEO Rick Anderson to his fellow partners.
And maybe all the GranMA talk was just that- talk. But what’s not talk is that Moss is moving into the midwest combination with Overland Park, Kansas-based Warinner, Gesinger & Associates LLC (“WGA”).
WGA focuses on telecommunications clients, which will allow MA to expand its own telecom practice outside the west. WGA principals Bill Warinner and Jarret Rea will join Moss Adams as partners, and Andrew Denzer will join as a director. You want quotes from the particulars? You got it!
“We look forward to helping our clients further strengthen their financial operations,” Warinner said. “This is a challenging time for the telecom industry and we are excited to deepen our telecom practice. In addition, Moss Adams provides a full spectrum of telecom and value-added services that our clients will enjoy.”
For Moss Adams, the combination demonstrates the firm’s commitment to strengthening its telecom offerings and to growing the Moss Adams team. According to Rick Betts, chair of the Moss Adams telecom practice, “Moss Adams is focused on providing premier client service. A strong Moss Adams presence in the Midwest means our telecom clients have more resources at their fingertips.”
So sorry GT, Moss Adams has moved on, officially. Hope you have too.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman has dismissed Grant Thornton as a defendant in a class-action shareholder lawsuit against GT, Koss Corp. and CEO Michael J. Koss, filed in January 2010 on behalf of plaintiff David Puskala and other Koss shareholders.
In his ruling, Adelman stated that the plaintiffs failed to make a case for GT’s epic failure to detect former Koss executive Sue Sachdeva’s $34 million embezzlement/hoarding scheme. Reasonable, considering GT auditors scared the crap out of old Sue, even though they were sticking newbies on the gig. “Fear was one thing. I thought it was imminent,” she said in a court deposition last year. “Their auditors, every time they walked in, I’d say, ‘This is it. They’re going to catch me.’” Shareholders’ issue – we assume – is that they didn’t. Year after year after year after year until 2009 rolled around and the whole house of cards came tumbling down.
The judge also dismissed claims of willful or reckless behavior against Michael Koss, saying “I conclude that the innocent explanations are more compelling than the inference of recklessness.” Meaning Mike couldn’t possibly have known Sue had been siphoning off millions in company money over a six year period, absent hanging out at her house and noticing all the fancy new shit she had strewn everywhere. And stashed in closets. And bursting out of her garage.
As for Grant Thornton, the judge wrote that the occurrence of fraud and failure to detect it doesn’t imply recklessness on the part of the accounting firm, but rather that the firm was negligent. While it is clear that Sachdeva used her position with Koss to bypass the company’s not-rock-solid internal controls, it is also believed that the controls were sufficient so as not to be obviously unreliable to a reasonable person (or auditor fresh out of accounting school). We’re looking forward to hearing how audit professors use this decision to emphasize the cavernous depth between “negligence” and “recklessness” on the part of auditors.
Sachdeva is still a defendant in the Puskala lawsuit and is currently serving 11 years for the fraud.
Grant Thornton dismissed from Koss shareholder lawsuit [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
From the mailbag, a tipster quotes his OMP:
“Compensation and bonuses have been approved. Final letters will be received from national HR by end of day tomorrow [i.e. today] and will be communicated by your practice leader before August 1.”
Fill us in if you have gotten the news or email us the details.
Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the six global audit, tax and advisory organizations, admitted 26 new partners and principals to the firm, effective August 1. These partners and principals are based throughout the firm’s offices across the country.
Partners and principals admitted to the firm are thought leaders upon whom the firm relies to provide personalized attention in serving clients. These professionals have demonstrated consistently their extraordinary ability to understand and meet the needs of client companies and industries. They have also demonstrated long-term leadership in the accounting profession and the community.
“These professionals have demonstrated extraordinary client service, driving value for the dynamic firms we serve,” said Stephen Chipman, Grant Thornton’s CEO. “These leaders exemplify Grant Thornton’s mission of making a difference – to our colleagues, our clients, our profession and our communities.”
It’s also strange that no one from GT has dropped any news regarding compensation discussions as this is about the time we should start hearing it or sayeth comments from the last post on the subject. Anyway, give the new partners a slap on the back or at least a nice note.
The latest from the
Can we get a thread opened about Grant Thornton raises and promotions. We started finding out promotions yesterday and the raise info came along with it. Thanks,
Not much news out of Grant Thornton lately so thanks for reaching out. The last we heard from Purple Rose of Chicago was that auditors were wanting their raises and bonuses to rival the Big 4 after a hellish busy season. I’d still be willing to be that Michelle Bachmann has a better chance of becoming President than GT’s raises keeping pace with the Big 4 but I do like a good longshot.
So if you’re in the House of Chipman and got news about a promotion, let us know and share the details of your newfound riches.
As we know, your information technology teams can be what holds things together at your firm in times of strife. If you’re good to these people, they’re good to you. And if you treat them poorly, well…good luck to you.
Grant Thornton has been recognized as one of Computerworld’s best places for IT professionals to work, the only accounting firm on the list. It’s a typical ranking with the general buzzword descriptions along with examples of why you should be hella-jealous that you don’t work there. For the IT gang at GT, not only do they get to show off their culinary talents at “annual chili cook-offs and dessert competitions” but when they go above and beyond the call of duty, there seems to be a Hallmark system in place.
To encourage employees to thank their co-workers and recognize a job well done, the IT department developed a way to voluntarily track the sending and receiving of thank-you notes. The names of both senders and recipients are submitted for drawings in which the winners receive a gift cards.
What’s not entirely clear is if these “thank-yous” are inspired by Stephen Chipman’s past communications or if was simply another way that the IT team was able to avoid human contact. Either way, it sounds like they enjoy a decent gig at the Purple Rose of Cairo and that will keep anything catastrophic from happening.
Chinese companies certainly have had their share of problems with financial reporting in the U.S. but I had no idea that it would come to this.
The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of Weikang Bio-Technology Group Co., Inc. (OTC Markets: WKBT.PK – News) (“WKBT,” “Weikang” or the “Company”), a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Western prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals and other health and nutritional products in the People’s Republic of China, today announced that Grant Thornton (“GT”), one of the world’s leading organizations of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms, has verified that the cash amounts listed on the Company’s SEC filings for 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 are consistent with account statements obtained from WKBT’s banks directly by GT.
“Given the recent change in auditors and my new chairmanship of the WKBT Audit Committee, we authorized the Grant Thornton review to take place last week, and are now releasing the results,” said Jeffery Chuang, independent director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of WKBT. “Weikang continues to advance as a U.S. publicly-traded company and we are committed to high standards in the thoroughness of our financial information,” said Mr. Chuang, a U.S. CPA who is based in Southern California.
Obviously this is completely harmless compared to, say, threatening to take auditors hostage but as far as giant wastes of time go, it’s right near the top.
Maybe! At this point, what harm would it do?
In Detroit, the largest city in [Michigan], the upcoming budgeting process carries an implicit threat: If local politicians can’t convince the state they have what it takes to repair the city’s finances, the state could appoint an outside official to do the job for them. The city has already hit several of the triggers to initiate the process that could install an emergency manager, say local politicians, who are scrambling to keep the city government out of receivership.
But would-be emergency managers say they can succeed where elected officials have failed. They stand to draw six-figure salaries from the local governments under their management, but some talk about this work as if it were a civic duty.
“We feel very strongly that not only is there a business opportunity here, but we want to be part of a solution for the greater good,” said Michael Imber, a principal in Grant Thornton LLP’s corporate advisory and restructuring services practice in New York. “We’re absolutely ready to help.”
From the mailbag:
Apparently, management finally recognizes that this was a real shitty busy season and as a last ditch effort to keep hemorrhaging seniors, is going to give some large bonuses and raises. Audit is to get increased comp because of how bad it was on our side. I mean GT-Chicago lost 3 seniors right before and 3 during busy season. Plus, we had a team working on a restatement that were working 80-100 hour weeks since November. I know GT will never pay out like the Big 4, but I’m curious to see if we’re in the ballpark this time around.
Who doesn’t love aggravated Grant Thornton auditors on a Monday morning? Frankly (and I know I’m not alone here), I’ll be floored like an Animal Kingdom Superfecta ticket holder, if GT pays out like the Big 4. However, because Stephen Chipman and GT have been on such a tear the past year – shedding less dynamic offices, making dynamic acquisitions – it’s possible some at GT may see better raises this year but it I’m guessing it won’t be the audit practice.
But our tipster’s email seems fairly optimistic (in a bitter, burned out auditor sort of way) since the attrition variable seems to be in full effect. If GT SAs are indeed heading for the exits, then perhaps there will be some pleasantly surprised GT dynamos after last year’s disappointment. Keep us updated.
As we mentioned this morning, Accounting Today reported – in an exclusive with Stephen Chipman! – that Grant Thornton is “planning a major marketing campaign later in the year to reposition the Chicago-based firm around the world.” Having had the luxury of watching a rival firm go through the process, we can’t help but think that GT won’t make as bold of a change but we’d love to be wrong about that.
Chipman told AT that GT wasn’t trying to jam into the Bigs saying, “We made it clear that we’re not building a firm to audit GE. Let’s get clear about the verticals and the skills.” So if you take SC at his word what exactly will this major brand repositioning involve? Some initial thoughts:
1. Underpants Gnome Accounting will become a specialty advisory service.
2. Poaching a certain golfer from a competitor.
3. Opting for pastel pinks and blues in a new logo to provide an “alternative.”
4. Four words: Gary Busey, Tax Partner.
5. Your ideas.
That’s because a source close to GT has told us “the deal with Moss Adams is dead.”
As for the why, our source told us, “The feedback from the Moss Adams board was that the MA partnership would not adequately support the merger.” Whether or not that’s true doesn’t take away from the fact that MA squeezed by GT in the GC Coolest Accounting Firm bracket and, thus, no MA partner worth their salt would want to join forces with GT and have to decipher hand-written notes from Stephen Chipman.
Despite this setback, that doesn’t mean GT isn’t on the prowl but we’ve got no idea who they might have their eye on, so we’d invite you to speculate on who that might be and get in touch if you know anything.
After yesterday’s news that LECG that was more or less pulling the plug, Grant Thornton finally put out a press release that they were acquiring a “significant portion” of the company’s business.
GT is taking on 270 employees in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Portland across all its service groups. Naturally, Stephen Chipman is thrilled to share this dynamic news, “We are pleased to welcome these outstanding individuals to Grant Thornton LLP,” SC said, “I am confident that they will fit in perfectly with our people — intellectually curious, talented individuals who want to make a difference with their clients, in their workplace and in their communities.”
Which was a perfect segue into this:
“As I have stated before, our goal is to be the leading audit, tax and advisory firm serving dynamic organizations in our chosen markets,” continued Chipman. “Dynamic companies are companies that are ambitious and growing, expanding internationally. They are dealing with critical events or transactions and are in need of our value-added, integrated service solutions. We will continue to explore additional strategic mergers and acquisitions as our balance sheet is healthy [Ed. note: care to share?] and we are in a position to attract similar talent.”
In other words, GT is still on the prowl for more people to join their party. Any interested parties need to come with dynamism in boatloads.
Now that we’ve reached the Final 4 without any Big 4 firms (all bounced in the first round), some of you may have lost interest in Going Concern March Madness: Coolest Accounting Firm. Well, that would make you a loser and anyway, we must press on! Face it, you’ll go for anything to distract you from the fact that you’re stuck inside whispering sweet nothings to Microsoft Excel while spring is slowly emerging outside. And it’s a pretty compelling Final Four anyway. Let’s take a look shall we?
So you’ll notice that we have the very interesting match-up between Moss Adams and Grant Thornton, the two firms that have subject of merger rumors (unfounded!) since January. Obviously the winner here will enjoy the upper hand in any future negotiations between the two firms, so anyone from either firm wishing to upset the leverage here would be wise to take a page from the Reznick Group strategy book.
Speaking of Reznick, we briefly mentioned the fact that their first round magic was nowhere to be found in round two. A tipster filled us in as to why:
I think the higher-ups were embarrassed by the public calling out and subsequent mockery in the comments, not a single other email went out about it – reminders about the competition or the beatdown they suffered at the hands of the commenters 🙂 Serious loss of billable hours that day too, everyone kept checking the site all day long for more comments, emailing and IMing each other about it.
So make a mental note – if your firm’s leadership has a thin skin and isn’t down with wasting a number of billable hours, the Reznick strategy may not be the way to go after all.
Moving on to the second match-up we have the perennial dark horse Rothstein Kass against McGladrey. Rothstein continues their hot streak in GCMMTCAF after their impressive performance in this year’s Vault rankings and McGladrey is…well, we’re pretty surprised to see McGladrey in the semi-finals, to be honest. Perhaps there are sweet incentives being offered internally but right now we haven’t been made aware of any such temptations. Anyway, McG has quietly made a run, so it makes for a decent showdown.
All right, enough with pleasantries. Let’s get to the voting. Polls close tomorrow night at 11:59 PT.
First up – GranMA
Cinderella vs. Mickey G’s.
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).
Remember those GT/Moss Adams rumors from back in January? At the time, our post sent both firms calling for plumbers but we still mangaged to get a copy of an email from Moss Adams CEO Rick Anderson that denied the rumor in an email to the firm’s partners. Everything has been quiet since then mostly because…well, it’s busy season. Granted, firm leaders like Stephen Chipman and Rick Anderson aren’t thigh-deep in spreadsheets like most of you so the fact it’s entirely plausible that while you’re all distracted, TPTB have been courting each other.
We received this brief note from a tipster yesterday:
Rumor is [Grant Thornton] [is] about to announce big west coast deal.
Our source originally speculated that a tax/valuation/consulting boutique was the target because of an old Andersen connection but then told us that the latest word from the west coast is that Moss Adams is back in the picture. In our original post, we went over the reasons for and against the GranMoss merger and frankly it still could go either way (we’re leaning “no” at this point). That said, Grant Thornton has been on a buying spree, most recently picking up some attest services from the LECG Corp. fire sale, so a merger of some kind wouldn’t be a surprise but WHO?? We’re listening to any and all well-founded or crackpot theories.
Moss Adams has declined to comment on the rumor thus far and Grant Thornton did not return an email requesting comment.
UPDATE: This just in from a Grant Thornton tipster:
While I have no actual basis for substantiating this, we have a Moss Adams wireless signal in our office in the central region. There is no Moss Adams office in our building, or even out state, its been there since about January when the rumors first popped up. I just thought it was interesting. I have no insight into any of this, I’m just a lowly peon staff…
Perhaps there’s an explanation for this but I’m no expert on the wireless signals and whatnot so I’ll leave it to you to reason this out.
Welcome to the upset-special edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a future public accounting foot soldier has to make a decision between a Big 4 firm and “GT/BDO type firm” but is stumped on what to do and can’t find a two-sided coin anywhere. The next best solution was, obviously, emailing us.
Want to know if you’re in a dead-end job? Trying to deal with stress in the waning days of busy season? Anxious about changes in your job? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you pull through.
Back to the indecider:
Hi Going Concern,
I have an offer from a Big 4 and a GT/BDO type firm and am having a tough time deciding. I wanted to ask which option will be better in the long-run if I want to start in public accounting, but then might want to move to a large publicly traded tech company? I guess my question is which route would give me better exit opportunities and long-term benefits should I decide not to stay in public accounting? (If I leave, I have a good idea of where I’d like to work on the corporate side.)
1. Mid-Tier Firm experience — having taken lead on small projects by my second year, more interaction with clients etc. Having experience with mid-sized (not public) tech companies, and experience with large, public companies that are not tech companies.
2. Big 4 — staying a little more than 2 years (enough to move up to Sr. Associate level but not staying too long beyond that) – and having worked on large, public tech companies. Having the Big 4 brand name on my résumé.
Also, there’s a chance that I might enjoy staying at the Mid-Tier in the long-term, but without being sure, I want to keep my options as open as possible.
Thanks. Any advice is appreciated.
Stuck in Indecision
Dear Stuck in Indecision,
I’m impressed that you’ve managed to cover all the angles here. You could possibly like each scenario without considering what it is actually want with your career other than “might want to move to a large publicly traded tech company” or “might enjoy staying at the Mid-Tier in the long-term.” You’re basically saying that you’re up for anything – hence, ” I want to keep my options as open as possible.” Your options are open all right since you’ve committed to exactly nothing. However I’m here to help, so here goes.
To keep it brief: all things being equal, go with the Big 4 firm. Here are some details – it’s likely that you will have the opportunity to work on smaller clients at a Big 4 firm, thus giving you the chance to “take the lead.” If you also have experience working for larger, publicly-traded companies (not as likely at a mid-tier), your experience will be more vast and allow you decide what it is you actually want to do (because, at this point in time, you don’t seem to have a clue). GT, BDO, McGladrey et al. are fine firms but you have a Big 4 offer – take it. You didn’t mention the people (a big selling point at most firms) so I’ll assume you’re indifferent or that they were all equal on this front. The network you build in a Big 4 firm will benefit you the long run and the experience will as well. Just don’t expect your firm to do well in “cool” contests. Good luck.
A new survey of more than 300 chief audit executives (CAEs) by Grant Thornton LLP finds that while nearly half believe that the shifting regulatory landscape poses the greatest threat to their company, a vast majority (88%) do not believe that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) should be repealed. Of those that believe SOX should be repealed, the cost of compliance is the main reason for doing so. “Since the passage of SOX, organizations have had to dedicate significant resources to comply with a host of new laws and regulations,” noted Warren Stippich, a Chicago-based partner and Grant Thornton’s national Governance, Risk and Compliance solution leader. “Based on discussions with various CAEs during the survey process, many believe that SOX brings a continued focus by management on financial and governance-related controls. However, CAEs believe that compliance audit processes are now well-defined and are currently exploring ways to contribute value creation to the organization well beyond compliance monitoring and reporting.” [GT]
LECG Corporation, a global professional services company that specializes in “global litigation; economics; consulting and business advisory; and governance, assurance, and tax expert services” is spinning off five practice groups to help pay off $27.8 million on a credit facility. Two of the expert groups are going to FTI Consulting, Grant Thornton is picking up two groups and also a third that is being split with WeiserMazars. News of this fire sale has given LECG’s stock price a serious case of the Mondays (bolding is ours).
The tenth amendment to the credit agreement is expected to tion several practice groups to other firms and determines the process for similar transactions in the immediate future. The tenth amendment also will limit how LECG may use its cash until it repays its lenders. The facility matures on March 31, 2011 and approximately $27.8 million is outstanding. Absent sufficient proceeds from the transition of practice groups, the company will not have adequate cash resources to repay amounts outstanding under the facility.
The transaction with FTI Consulting, Inc. involves the transition to that firm of LECG’s International Arbitration and Aviation Competition practices and is expected to be effective today, subject to satisfaction of closing conditions, including the consent of its lenders to the release of liens on certain assets to be transferred. Terms were not disclosed.
The company also signed a letter of intent with Grant Thornton LLP to transition the company’s tax and business consulting groups. Simultaneously, the partners of LECG Partners, LLP, which provide attest services under an alternative practice structure, will continue to provide their professional services with either Grant Thornton LLP or WeiserMazars LLP.
The announced transitions will involve approximately 350 employees in Atlanta, Albany, Cambridge, Chicago, Devon, Harrisburg, Houston, New York, Schaumburg and Washington, DC.
Doug Phillips, Managing Partner of WeiserMazars told GC that the firm is “working to close the agreement” and that it is expected to finalized this afternoon or tomorrow morning. WeiserMazars will assume five partners and 40 professionals and they will be based in their Horsham, Pennsylvania office. Messages left with Grant Thornton, FTI Consulting and LECG were not immediately returned.
These spin-offs are occurring less than a year after LECG merged with Smart Business Advisory & Consulting, however a quick glance at their last three income statements shows drastically dropping revenues from $370.43 million in 2007 to $335.68 mil in 2008 and $263.20 mil for 2009. Cash flow from operations was also trending negatively for the last three years and the company’s equity is dwindling.
By the count in the LECG/Smart press release, the company will have around 300 employees remaining after the transitioning of these practices groups is finalized. Not too good, man.
Despite all this, Deloitte’s most recent audit opinion was a clean one with no indication that the company was having problems. This fire sale of revenue-producing assets tells a very different story and we can’t say that we’d blame anyone that was thinking about rushing for the exits. If you’re in the know, email us and we’ll update you as we learn more.
After poking around a little bit, we have a bit more to share (although more questions seem to persist). A source familiar with the consulting industry informed us that FTI Consulting was very interested in LECG’s European locations however, there’s nothing in the press release that indicates that this was part of the deal, despite the fact, our source said, that Paris is major hub for international arbitrage. Our source speculated that LECG would liquidate in the next 60-90 days which confirmed the thoughts shared with us by a source close to LECG.
One other interesting item of note – Grant Thornton continues its expansion, with the pickup of these tax, advisory and attest groups. It’s not entirely clear what areas in advisory GT picked up here but we’re definitely seeing Stephen Chipman’s dreams of my dynamism (yes, it’s a word) in action.
Joseph DiStefano writes over at PhillyDeals that the deal would “[leave] about 1,000 with LECG in its remaining units.” Our previous number was based on the 650 cited in the March 2010 press release which appears to not have included the number of Smart employees that were added to the headcount.
DiStefano also published portions of a letter that LECG Managing Director John B. Stine II sent to clients:
“I am very excited to report that our tax, compensation & benefits, consulting and certain components of the audit practice of LECG (formerly SMART Business Advisory and Consulting) have joined Grant Thornton in its offices in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Portland, and London.
“Grant Thornton, the sixth largest firm globally, proved to be the best choice among the 11 accounting firms and 6 consulting firms that pursued our team.
“In only 10 days, Grant Thornton went from an initial one-on-one meeting to Board approval and sign-off of a deal that brings over 300 professionals to the firm…
So based on that it sounds like there were a bunch of firms in the mix and Stine gave clients the reasons behind going with GT: “Grant Thornton was the only firm with a similar roster of clients […] in contrast to the numerous local firms that showed enormous interest in doing transactions that cut out geographies or service lines.”
This week we learned that Dixon Hughes and Goodman & Co. would be wedded in CPA firm bliss on March 1st. We’ve also seen a couple of smaller mergers announced this week in the tri-state area: Rosen Seymour Shapss Martin & Company LLP and Kahn, Hoffman & Hochman, LLP formed Kahn Hoffman & Hochman and Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC and ERE, LLP.
But e heard a rumor that trumps all of these:
The new rumor is that Grant Thornton and Moss Adams are merging. I have it on good authority (an industry consultant and the MP of a California firm).
Okay, so not exactly rock solid but intriguing enough for us to ask around. So far, Grant Thornton spokeswoman Kristi Grgeta has not returned our emails or voicemails and Moss Adams has declined to comment at this time. We’re poking around with other sources but still waiting to hear back.
So for now, let’s just go with the hypothetical. If GT and Moss were to combine, it would make them the 5th largest firm in the U.S., narrowly edging out McGladrey, with about $1.5 billion in revenues, going by Accounting Today’s most recent figures. Currently they are 6th (GT) and 11th (MA) on the AT100 list and 6th (MA) and 23rd (GT) on Vault’s flagship ranking. Their combined forces would have nearly 800 partners and over 7,100 total employees, if you assume no layoffs.
While all that might serve Stephen Chipman’s desire more dynamic clients (and perhaps more blogging fodder?), it would certainly require a few more hand-written notes. Not only that but GT already has a presence in every major market that Moss Adams does unless they’re looking to mine the Eugene, Oregon market for LOSERS and have reconsidered their divestment in Albuquerque. Also culturally, this seems like a strange fit as GT strikes us as pretty buttoned-down while Moss Adams is more laid back but maybe we’ve got that wrong. You tell us.
Regardless, Grant Thornton has voiced interest in merger possibilities and picked up Huron Consulting’s Disputes & Investigations practice last year, so who knows!? Both firms just closed the books on 2010 and maybe they’re laying some groundwork?
So, what do the GT and MA people make of this? Hell, anyone can chime in, we’re just finding this particular rumor pret-tay interesting. Some things make sense and some don’t, so we’ll leave it to you to hash out. And of course, if any of this sounds familiar because, you know, you heard something in a meeting about this very topic, email us. We’ll update you with anything we hear.
About a year ago at this time, we just started learning about Sue Sachdeva, the convicted embezzler extraordinaire of headphone cobbler Koss. It took a little less than a year for everything to get sorted out including quite the inventory of