Our only point is that if it wasn’t for the nice little explanation of the survey on the website, we would have assumed they had a huge room filled with survey elves working day and night.
Anyway, today GT issued its latest press release of its “national survey of U.S. CFOs and senior comptrollers”.
This installment shows that CFOs are homers when it comes to who sets their accounting rules (just so long as it isn’t the government). Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said that rules should be set by “A national independent board supervised by a national regulator” while only 24 percent want an international board. This despite the belief of some that Bob Herz is the most dangerous man in the country.
Only 3% thought a “national legislature” should set rules, which is a relief. Plus it probably gives Barney Frank a little vindication but definitely upsets Newt Gingrich.
The survey also states that the respondents are split on how to report debt on their balances sheets, either amortized cost or fair value, which may be why the FASB and IASB are talking contingency plan.
The last bit of interesting information is that CFOs are still scared shitless of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (“XBRL”) because 84% of those surveyed have no plans to start using it. If you assume most of the CFOs were in Big 4 at one time, then this isn’t so surprising.
elves are off until spring next CFO survey will occur in the spring when another spectacular round of press releases will inform all of us what is on the minds of financial bigwigs.
Earlier: Grant Thornton Survey: Financial Statements Are Still Too Complex for the Average Shmo Investor
Also earlier: Grant Thornton Survey: 40% of CFOs Never Ever Ever Want IFRS to Replace GAAP
Last time we checked in with the Grant Thornton bigwigs and their interview with Accounting Today, we noted how Stephen Chipman, the next U.S. CEO, was a bit of snoozer as an interviewee.
This time around is no different but Steve-o did happen to mention how great it was to be back in Chicago and able to take the train to work. A boyish grin spreads across his face as he describes how great the Chicago commuter line is. Somebody had a train set growing up!
Video for part four of the interview is after the jump that includes Ed Nusbaum admitting that he gave up his abacus awhile ago and that GT has managed to not become dinosaurs. If you’ve a different opinion on that, discuss here or over at our technology open thread.
Grant Thornton just isn’t able to shake Parmalat, the freaky-ass extended-life milk company. Parmalat appealed the latest dismissal of its lawsuit against GT and Bank of America that accuses the two companies of helping set up phony transactions so “insiders could steal from the company.”
Parmalat’s Chief Milk-Magician, Enrico Bondi, is obviously not satisfied with the $100 million that he twisted away from BofA and will continue to hassling both companies until long past the expiration date on his product.
Parmalat appeals BofA, auditor lawsuit dismissals [Reuters]
That’s right! Way too complicated. GT’s survey states that 73% of the finance bigwigs surveyed believe financial statements are too complex for the average investor to understand. That’s bad because even more respondents (82%) said that financial statements should “be prepared to meet the needs of the average investor”.
Strangely, this survey’s respondents, “CFOs and senior comptrollers”, are directly responsible for the still-too-confusing financial statements. Unless, of course, everyone that responded to this survey already has easy-to-understand financials and thus, is thinking, “NMFP”.
Also, average investor is not explicitly defined which doesn’t help us put the survey in context. So we’ll put it out there that if “average investor” is anything remotely similar to the “average American”, the solution to this whole problem may be to get Fisher-Price and reality TV producers involved.
Nearly three-quarters of senior financial executives say financial statements too complex for investors [Press Release]
According to a tip we received, less than “special” people at GT are receiving bonuses too:
Based upon my salary [the bonus is] about 2%….[I’m] assuming the criteria for a bonus wasn’t as stringent as Nusbaum made it out to be, or the pool was larger than we were led to believe. Based upon the call with Nus, I figured only 5.0 would get a bonus.
A pleasant surprise for some. This particular tip came out of the Southeast region. Apparently these conversations are occurring circa now so continue to keep us updated for your city or region.
Not only that, he used to FEEL GUILTY about leaving early to coach his daughters’ softball games. Oh Eddie, we realize that guilt is a bitch. Personally, whenever we felt guilty about leaving the office early, we’d slap the shit out of ourselves to the point of submission. That made us realize that feeling guilty is for sissies. Glad to hear you beat the guilt too.
Some other highlights from part two of SEVEN part interview*:
• Ed says, “all the firms are great” and his head doesn’t explode. Amazing.
• He also says work/life balance is not just words on a piece of paper.
• GT is very proud of “the Grid”, their version of Facebook. Which will fail miserably now that they’ve lifted the veil on your status updates.
• Ed loves his iPod. Just like you!
• Stephen Chipman put us to sleep in about half a nanosecond.
Discuss, criticize, debunk, or air high-five the GT honchos in the comments.
*Yes, its over a week old and yes, we skipped part one but it was really boring, so piss off.
Grant Thornton’s national survey of financial executives shows that only 1 in 4 plan to increase hiring in the next six months. That’s not great news but what’s perplexing is that the
meaningless highly regarded Grant Thornton LLP Business Optimism Index basically told us the same thing less than a month ago.
Does GT really have to repeat the obvious message that no one wants to hear? We get it. No one can leave their job that they hate for another job that they’ll hate less right now because no one is feeling spendy on new employees.
Oh but GT isn’t purely a purveyor of bad news. Only 10% of the financial bigshots surveyed expect things to get worse. Which is a relief but not particularly interesting since the Business Optimism Index pretty much said the same thing.
It appears that GT is hellbent on reminding everyone that while things certainly can’t get any worse, they’ll probably remain craptacular for the foreseeable future. Keep up the solid work GT, we’re looking forward to next month’s reminder.
National survey of senior financial executives finds only 1 in 4 plan to increase hiring in next 6 months [Press Release]
We’re happy to report that the generosity at Grant Thornton continues. We found out earlier in the week that those of you that did something special, which may or may not involve an outift that wasn’t of your choosing, would be included in GT’s small bonus pool.
According to a tip we received, The Baumer and Co. has now decided that those of you that remain will be rewarded with the ability to make banal status updates at work:
During the experienceAugust all-personnel call, Ed Nusbaum announced the firm’s plans to open access to several external Web sites from Grant Thornton’s network. These sites include social networking and personal email sites such as Facebook, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, and MSN Hotmail.
I am pleased to announce that access to these sites is now open.
This unexpected show of appreciation is almost overwhelming. As a tribute, leave cliché responses to this latest development in the comments. In this particular case, the more cliché, the better.
The Wall St. Journal reports that a judge has tossed a case brought by freaky-ass, longlife milk company Parmalat against Grant Thornton and Bank of America.
Parmalat filed for bankruptcy back when everyone thought invading Iraq was a good idea so this thing has been dragging.
This is another major lawsuit that G to the T has managed to avoid, along with the dismissal of the Refco suit last month.
GT seems to be quite the bullet dodger and can probably breathe easy. For now, anyway.
Judges Tosses Parmalat Lawsuits [WSJ]
Grant Thornton, a global six accounting organization, puts out a quarterly optimism index that is “a quarterly confidence measure of U.S. business leaders”.
That sounds very nice and the index is now up to 2007 levels, according to a firm press release. The press release also states that “58 percent of respondents believe that the economy will come out of recession by the first half of 2010, but only 26 percent plan to increase hiring.”
Call us cynics but this definitely has the whole underpants theory written all over it. Poll some executives with some vaguely worded questions and we are to believe that recovery will occur by virtue of a secret plan that has yet to be developed? Leave the wild speculation to us GT.
Because, you know, some of you may have forgotten that they were an international firm. Nevermind the complete failure to coin “Global 6 Accounting Organization” as a way to sneak into the
prestigous cool biggest firm club. GT is giving interviews with obscure accounting publications to make this happen.
Eddie Nusbaum, who will be the new Global CEO on January 1st, is going after Big 4 clients to continue building their international business, which kinda sorta works, we guess.
What’s most confusing about G to the T’s “strategy” is that no matter what happens, they’ll never compete with the big firms through organic growth.
Even if GT and BDO made sweet accounting firm love their total international revenues would still be dwarfed by what the fourth place Big 4 firm rakes in. Huge, Big 4-apocalyptic events that would involve government intervention are the only way GT is making it to the big time. So maybe the stars are lining up. WTFK…
Grant Thornton Plans International Growth [Web CPA]
Actually we’re not sure but it would be pretty awesome if they did. A judge in New York has dismissed the case against GT, E&Y, and law firm Mayer Brown that was filed by customers of Refco’s currency trading-unit.
More, after the jump
There may still be a problem, according to Bloomberg:
[Judge] Lynch dismissed the case against Refco’s auditor Grant Thornton, outside counsel Mayer Brown and tax adviser Ernst & Young because the trustee who sued failed to allege enough facts in his complaint to show the defendants aided the Refco fraud. He said the trustee may file a new complaint.
So if you’re feeling it you can put on “Por Una Cabeza” but we think that GT and E&Y will probably get cut off mid-dip.
Grant Thornton, Ernst Win Dismissal in RefcoFX Suit [Bloomberg]
Now that we’ve dispensed with the Big 4 on our Firm Watch, we’ll throw in the two major
second next non-Big 4 firms to demonstrate our willingness to spread the love hate coverage.
Get acquainted with GT
TT, after the jump
• Lawsuits – The lawsuits worth mentioning for GT are Parmalat and Refco. While Deloitte was able to get the suit tossed, GT wasn’t so lucky. Investors in the never-go-bad dairy company are allowed to proceed with their lawsuit which will guarantee that this case continues on to the end of time. As far as Refco goes, well, we’ll be damned if we can find anything that is even remotely recent as it relates to GT. Help us out if you can.
• Madoff Exposure – G to the T’s UK office is running down assets across the pond. That unenviable task could almost qualify the firm for sainthood.
• Overtime Lawsuits – Listed as defendants in two cases.
• Layoffs – This is where we need your help, GT-ers. As far as we can tell, not a lot of blood has been spilled at G to the T. If you’ve details on rumors on anything upcoming or layoffs that have gone down recently, let us know.
• Miscellaneous – GT’s partners in the UK have interns sign off on audit reports and the Midtown New York office as a diabolical address. Oh, and the lame attempt by their PR team to coin “Global 6 Accounting Organization” as the new tag for accounting firms.
There’s the study on passionate folks at GT. Get us caught up on stuff we’re missing at [email protected]. We can’t imagine it’s that boring to work there.
Nineteen individuals have proven their passion for the business of accounting (as well as an intrepid attitude towards liability) as G to the T admitted new partners and directors effective August 1.
The press release is your standard trite lexicon but we can’t help but notice GT taking the opportunity to slip in their favorite moniker, “Global 6 accounting organization” or a derivative of such. GT is bound and determined to get this to catch fire even though no one outside of the GT press team has probably uttered the phrase.
Grant Thornton LLP admits 19 new partners and principals to the firm [Press Release]
Last week we asked for some perspective on the chicanery and lovable idiocy of your interns. Today we learn that about a Grant Thornton intern who “verifies that clients’ accounting records are accurate and sits in on important meetings.”
That’s right, interns are verifying accounting records and going to important meetings. Probably the type of meetings where they get to take notes on internal control procedures while the experienced associates can barely keep from strangling themselves with a network cable.
Yet, life remains unfair for the interns, “Interns who talked to RedEye said they are gaining experience to prepare them for the workforce, but increased intern responsibilities typically don’t come with increased pay or perks or even more respect.”
After going to those important meetings, interns still aren’t feeling respected people. No increased pay. No perks. How can this be? Haven’t they done enough? They tried to earn your respect by making the copies that you asked for and getting totally bombed at firm events. They didn’t mean to ask so many questions about the copier. They’re just new, so they want to make sure they don’t screw anything up.
What else can they do? Shine your shoes? Fill your car up with gas? Buy your lunch (they’re probably making more than associates on a per hour basis anyway)? The summer internship season is winding down so make sure you’re letting them know (and us) how they can go that extra mile to get that full-time offer.
Chicago interns move up corporate ladder [Redeye]
Big accounting firms like doing surveys. We’ve often thought about the motivation behind the constant surveys and further wonder if firms ever josh the numbers around out of a personal vendetta against its rivals, enemies, former clients, etc.
Deloitte’s survey that states that American consumers are planning on spending less this back-to-school season causes us to speculate as to why the Big D would do such a survey? It’s a nice little press release we suppose. Shows that the firm is plugged into the current state of the economy, etc., etc. But then we got to thinking about how Heelys, the obnoxious shoes with wheels, recently dumped Deloitte because their fees were too high in favor of Grant Thornton.
Far be it from us to speculate about the temperament of a Big 4 accounting firm when it has business swiped away by a second-tier firm but isn’t it possible that Deloitte is bitter about the whole sitch? Isn’t it possible that Deloitte is merely putting out this survey as a way to scare consumers out of spending money on back-to-school junk like Heelys?
Back-to-School Shoppers Plan to Spend Less, Save More [Bloomberg]
Grant Thornton is really making our lives easy today: “Grant Thornton has agreed to pay nearly £6,000 in fines and costs after it failed to correctly sign off 43 audit reports.”
Measly fine, obv but 43 audit reports? And a incorrectly signed off report is one that, “had not been signed off by a responsible individual of the firm”.
So apparently the Brits have got their interns signing off on the audits. Gold star for you today, GT.
ICAEW fines Grant Thornton over audit sign-offs [Accountancy Age]
Okay, so large accounting firms don’t have the best reputations. They also have the tendency to be thick as thieves when they come under scrutiny. And the green eyeshade look has never been one that screams trustworthy.
But now, in what might be a bit of presumptuous awesomeness, the BBC is coming right out and calling Grant Thornton’s Growth Securities Ownership Plan (GSOP) a scheme. Maybe we’re jumping to conclusions but the subtitle doesn’t strike us as being subtle: “A big accountancy firm has denied that it has been peddling a tax avoidance scheme to help rich people avoid paying the new 50% income tax rate from 2010.”
Let’s break some of the key words and phrases down:
Peddling: Use of this word basically implies that narcotics are involved
Tax Avoidance Scheme: Implies a conspiracy of smart people to screw the tax authority on behalf of…
Rich People: Not the best time in history to be lumped into this particular demographic
WTG, G to the T. Not only are you trying to screw the taxing authority in Britain by virtue of the equivalent of slinging financial smack, you’ve got the audacity to do it on the behalf of rich people.
Accountants deny ‘new tax dodge’ [BBC]
We told you earlier about wheeled shoes company Heelys dumping Deloitte. It was reported that Heelys left because fees were too high but we speculated that the Big D probably wasn’t down with Heelys request to have the entire audit team don the juvenile wheeled shoes.
Heelys has now announced they will be retaining the younger, sexier, less Big 4-ier, firm Grant Thornton as its independent accounting firm.
We find this very similar to the all-too-common situation where the old wife/husband is left behind for the newer, younger, partner who’s young, racy, and willing to experiment a little.
As you might expect, for accounting firms, letting the engagement teams wear shoes with wheels on them definitely qualifies as racy and risque and other firms only wish they had the balls to do something like that.
Heelys hires new accounting firm [WFAA.com]
It’s rather mysterious that the New York office of Grant Thornton is located at 666 Third Ave. As I’m sure our more pious readers know, the significance of the 666 is commonly known as “The Number of the Beast“. We won’t get into any more specifics than that other than to mention that it is a pretty creepy-ass looking number.
Is G to the T run by a secret group of Al Pacino-esque figures that are working against the forces of good?
Maybe not but the otherwise boring-assness of that particular lobby is def working too hard to not be noticed…