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Marlee Matlin Can Add ‘Constitutionally Challenged’ to Her List of Disabilities

Academy-Award winning actress Marlee Matlin admits to People mag that she owes $50,000 to the IRS and isn’t at all embarrassed by this fact. ”I’m paying it back. I’m not shying away from it and I’m certainly not ashamed of it,” Matlin told the magazine. “It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. It’s reality. It’s the reality that a lot of people in America are facing.” You tell ’em, girl!

The Celebrity Apprentice “star” (we use that term loosely, not being a huge fan of D-lister reality shows featuring hot messes such as Gary Busey and Lil’ Jon) tells People celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and, in fact, it’s her four kids and modest middle class life in the ‘burbs that is to blame. “Living modestly in a suburban neighborhood while trying to support four children through private school is not extravagant or living large,” Matlin said. “My husband is a Los Angeles area police officer and between the two of us we have always made ends meet in the past — and we will in this circumstance as well.”

To adjust to their new life as (probably accidental) tax protesters, the Matlin clan plans to make some important financial adjustments, like putting their poor children into public school. “At the end of the day, it’s about the best interests of the children,” she said. “Transitioning out of a private school environment will certainly relieve some of the financial pressures but hopefully this will not compromise the kids.”

Yes, hopefully it will not. Let the record reflect AG is a product of public school and we all know how horribly I turned out; someone pray for those kids.

Despite these hardships, Matlin seems upbeat and not at all worried about what this means for her reputation (let’s hope the IRS didn’t put her in the non-TIGTA-friendly “Tax Terrorist” category). “I’m not broke. Like everybody else, I owe money. My family is healthy and happy.”

Marlee Matlin Is Paying $50,000 in Back Taxes [People]

Big 4 Shoots Blanks on Glassdoor 50 Best Places to Work

The following was brought to our attention this morning:

Glassdoor just published their 50 best places to work… and I believe none of the Big 4 are on it. Surprise surprise?

So we checked it out and yes, it’s true that none of the Big 4 (or any accounting firm for that matter) appear on the Glassdoor 50 Employees’ Choice Awards for 2011.

It’s worth noting however, that the methodology for this particular list is driven entirely by audience participation. From the FAQs:

The Glassdoor list is the only list that truly represents employees’ choice. Unlike many workplace-related awards that require companies to self nominate, Glassdoor relies solely on the input from employees. All that is required for consideration is an employer must have had at least 25 employees complete a survey to be considered.

So you could probably conclude one of a two things: a) Fewer than 25 employees of each firm bothered to visit Glassdoor to sing their firm’s praises or b) the reviews were so incredibly negative that the firms landed nowhere near the Top 50.

Now, possibility “a” seems unlikely since there are plenty of people working at these firms that don’t have anything better to do than mindlessly surf the web and participate in seemingly innocuous surveys and whatnot. Possibility “b” seems a little more realistic, so we’ll explain our thinking:

Since this particular list doesn’t have an application process, it is merely up to some ambitious person in the marketing/Internet reputation department to take the initiative to spread the word about this campaign TO EVERYONE IN THEIR OFFICE. Besides the fact that asking employees to add one more thing to their already-impossible-to-conquer “to-do list,” these types of emails are largely met with eyerolls that would cause most people to topple over backwards in their chairs. But rather than simply delete the message, this wells up so much annoyed rage within the bitter Big 4 Bobs/Betsys out there that they immediately proceed to the survey to crucify their firm out of spite.

Or then again, maybe we’re just cynical. If you’ve got your own theory, do share.

What if Accounting Firms Had Their Own Version of WikiLeaks?

We were a little surprised to learn that both KPMG and PwC had brief mentions in the WikiLeaks cables, however it is far less surprising that they were quite humdrum and didn’t bring anything new to light.

From the Swiss site, inAte>Wikileaks published cable referenced 09MOSCOW3144, created December 30, 2009, classified as confidential and originating from U.S. Embassy in Moscow, on alleged pressure that the Russian government has exerted on PwC to disavow its “clean opinion” audits in the Yukos Oil, aided by the reported raids on PwC office in Russia and threats to recall Russian audit license of PwC, closing this market for the Firm.


Wikileaks also published (09LONDON2598, for official use only, originating from U.S. Embassy in London, created November 11, 2009) KPMG’s sceptical reaction on the Queen’s opening speech in Parliament on November 18, 2009, where Her Majesty sets out one of the priorities for new legislative session – to develop a new Financial Services Bill, requiring form systemically important banks to establish plans for recovery and resolution, that ensure banks’ financial continuity, later called by journalists “living wills”.

Like we said – meh.

Now, what happens within a Big 4 or other large accounting firm is rarely a matter of national security (Francine may disagree with us) but there’s little doubt that firm CEOs, partners and other notables have said things that would range from the slightly embarrassing to the absolutely mortifying. Consequently, reactions to those statements would also range widely from mere chuckles to ”OH NO YOU DI’INT!” Because our imagination has a tendency to run wild, we’ll dispel a few of our own scenarios that we imagine being in the Big 4/mid-tier version of WikiLeaks:

Prior to the unveiling, Bob Moritz emails Tim Ryan, “Between you and me, the new logo looks like a half-finished Lego™ project.”

• Barry Salzberg and Jim Quigley are known inside some Deloitte circles as “Team Propecia.”

• After the OT loss to Michigan State, John Veihmeyer is so upset that he sends an email to Henry Keizer stating, “THAT’S IT! NO RAISES THIS YEAR.” Keizer responds to JV, reminding him that ‘if that punk Jimmy Clausen had stuck around’ they wouldn’t be in this situation and he shouldn’t take it out on the firm’s employees.

• Emails between two Ernst & Young partners in Jericho, reveal that they’ve been hoarding the extra bathroom keys because they can’t stand asking the receptionist.

• Various Deloitte partners are quaking because it is common knowledge that Arnie and Annabel McClellan have an elaborate spreadsheet detailing their various fetishes.

• In numerous exchanges Stephen Chipman begs Ed Nusbaum to let him ‘drop this ridiculous accent’ just like Ross did on Friends.

• High-level executives at McGladrey considered putting ecstasy in the punch so people would be happier but ultimately decided against it (Phoenix/Vegas went their own way) because it would have resulted in too many accountants dancing for no apparent reason.

Jack Weisbaum = The Most Interesting Man in the World. (Just like several actual WikiLeaks, everyone knew this to be true but it was not discussed openly.)

Perhaps you have your own theories or documentation regarding other exchanges. Please share with the group at this time or email us.

People Are Still Getting Off on Scaring the Bajeezus Out of IRS Employees

[caption id="attachment_12661" align="alignright" width="260" caption="Does this get you hot?"][/caption]

In what amounts to either coordinated efforts by some lunatics or a giant coincidence, envelopes with white powder were sent to eight federal buildings including an IRS office in Bellevue, Washington yesterday. CNN reports that the building in Bellevue was evacuated after “an employee opened a letter and the white powder ‘poofed out.’ “

Other envelopes were sent to FBI buildings in Seattle, Spokane, Salt Lake City, Pocatello and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as well as U.S. Attorney’s offices in Boise and Coeur d’Alene.

While this latest IRS powder package incident seems to have caused no harm, one has to wonder what the motivation is behind such spineless actions. Does someone out there a major beef with the IRS and have a Hazmat fetish? Has that been diagnosed yet?

Rahm Emanuel Was a Little Late Paying His F—ing Property Taxes

And by a little late, we mean three months. Rahm found out the news from WBBM radio in Chicago let him know about it. So a slight embarrassment that was likely met with a response of “well, f*ck me,” “get the f*ck out of here” or simply, “F*ck.”

But the worst thing that Rahm Emanuel will endure for forgetting to pay his property taxes isn’t the questions from the media, it isn’t the $445.56 penalty that he and his wife incurred on the balance of $7,400, it’s that he just gave material to Glenn Beck for the rest of his time as the Chief of Staff.

Since delinquent taxpayers in the Obama Administration has been a favorite target of Beck but since he had his own tax troubles maybe he’ll just let this blow over.

Then again, GB could spin this into the jobs report that came out today which in turn encouraged a nice little drop in the markets which parlays into a Deepwater Horizon connection and pretty soon someone will be calling for someone else’s resignation.

Rahm Emanuel Pays Property Taxes After Inquiry [WBBM]

Is the AICPA Lowering the Bar on the CPA Exam?

Friendly reminder: >75 is here to answer your CPA Exam questions so send them over.

Sadly, JDA is technically still employed by a CPA Review course (and, of course, not a CPA) but hey, if any of you are looking to protect the public interest, have at it.

This may just be some wild speculating here but I have to admit my first thought upon seeing this was that the AICPA is scared everyone will freak out when IFRS hits the CPA Exam on January 1, 2011 and bomb horribly. Does this mean it’ll be graded on a curve? If so, I’m starting to have some concerns about that “protecting the public interest” bit.

Lowering the bar, AICPA Board of Examiners style:


When the new Uniform CPA Examination is launched on January 1, 2011, changes in content, format, and structure will be introduced. These changes will require the current passing score to be re-examined. The process to do so will include convening four panels of CPAs – one for each examination section – to prepare the groundwork for the passing score decision by the AICPA Board of Examiners. A new passing score determination is necessary in conjunction with the new examination to ensure that legally defensible CPA Examination pass/fail decisions continue to be made in protection of the public interest.

Panel Nominees

The AICPA is seeking nominations for passing score panel membership. Nominees should be CPAs who:

• have been licensed for between 3 and 5 years
• have supervised entry-level CPAs during the past year
• have NO affiliation with CPA Examination review courses, and
• are willing to participate in an August 2010 two-day meeting in Chicago, IL at the expense of the AICPA.

The selection of panelists from among qualified nominees will be made to ensure broad representation from all segments of the profession and demographic categories. Panelists will be given training at the August meetings on their responsibilities as panel participants.

Submitting Nominations

Nominations may be submitted online at or the forms completed and returned by FAX to 609-671-2922. Or, the names and contact information of nominees may be sent by e-mail to [email protected] The information collected about nominees will be used only for the purpose of selecting panel participants.

The deadline for submitting nominations is MARCH 31, 2010.

Like I said, JDA is out; any of you kids in on this?

PwC Basks in the Oscar Gold

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

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

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

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

But we digress.

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

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

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

Koss VP Sue Sachdeva: Shopping Addict or Burgeoning Retail Queen?

It’s been a few days since we had read anything on embezzler of the year 2009, Sue Sachdeva. We figured the whole thing was on the fast track to getting resolved since her attorney started claiming that the woman has an addiction. Well today, we checked in over at Fraud Files Blog where Tracy Coenen has come up with a theory that blows the whole shop until you die argument out of the water

Since Sue had 461 different pairs of shoes that ranged from sizes 8 to 14 (!) and 34 fur coats, Tracy is thinking that S-squared didn’t have a shopping problem; she was simply working on achieving an entrepreneurial dream:

She couldn’t have worn that range of sizes, but that range would have been perfect for someone retailing the merchandise. I bet we’re going to hear soon that Sachdeva was selling this merchandise to domestic and overseas retailers at a fraction of their wholesale value.

It’s already a matter of record that SS was having garage sales at her desk, so Tracy’s logic makes sense. We’re now convinced Sue had bigger plans.

Obviously enamored with the idea of a Sachdeva Goodman’s, Suze may have gotten a little ahead of herself as Tracy notes, “[I]n late 2009 (which is fiscal 2010 for Koss) she got greedy and stole much more in a six month period than she ever had in one year.”

The indictment lists six wire transfers (total of nearly $3 mil) from Koss accounts directly to her personal AMEX accountant, so girl was definitely burning up the plastic. That’s not an addiction; that’s inventory. Besides, isn’t a shopping addiction a faux-addiction? The real tragedy here is that a dream was not reached and an accounting firm was fired. Neither makes us feel very good.

Wherein We Speculate Wildly on the Merger of Accounting Firms Mazars and Weiser

Last week we told you about the on-going Global 6 talks between Mazars and Weiser. As we mentioned then, the copulation of the two firms would put them in the direct competition with the likes of Grant Thornton, BDO, RSM and hell, they may even snag some Big 4 clients.

Web CPA caught up with this story yesterday and we learned that not only has Mazars done business in the states with Weiser, they’ve also “relied on joint venture agreements with U.S. firms…Moss Adams and BKD.”

Maybe we’re going way out on a limb here, but if Mazars is making a play for Weiser (and it sounds like it’s all but a done deal) are they just trying to make a play on the whole IFRS bonanza that’s being unleashed OR are they looking to get closer to the likes of Moss Adams and BKD to expand their exposure and to become a bigger player in the States? Even if Mazars were to merge with Moss Adams and BKD the combined revenues still would be a drop in the bucket of the Big 4 but it would cement their presence in U.S. and allow them to compete even more directly for potential business here.

If we’re letting the cat out of the bag here, mucho apologies, just kinda thinking out loud.