As BDO prepares for a Jack Weisbaum-less existence, there are some final pieces that need put in place. With Wayne Berson becoming CEO, his position as "presiding board member" was up for grabs and Matthew Becker grabbed. In addition to Mr. Becker, Scott Guertin (Boston/Tax) and Joe Johnson (Orange County/Assurance) will join the board for […]
Jack Weisbaum's final year as the most interesting accounting CEO in the world will go down in the book as a good one. The firm announced $618 million in revenues for fiscal year 2012. That's an increase of 8%. Each line of business saw increases with consulting coming in 36% higher than last year, tax […]
Now that everyone's time has been entered and accounted for, the TPTB at BDO figured it was appropriate to recognize the men (13) and women (2) who make up the final new partner class under Jack Weisbaum: “I am very proud to welcome each of these very deserving individuals to our partnership,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO […]
It was a very quick turn around from the time we learned that the most interesting accounting firm CEO was retiring, to learning the slate of candidates to the announcement of the successor but here we are. Wayne Berson, BDO's Atlantic Assurance leader will be the new CEO effective November 1. “I am honored and […]
Last month we learned that Jack Weisbaum would be retiring at the end of his current term as BDO's CEO. It's been quite the run for Captain Jack, but eventually you knew that things wouldn't stay interesting forever. A tipster tells us that the process to replace J. Dubs will soon be under way: The […]
One last thing before you're off to make bad decisions this weekend…Oh, right! You're probably working this weekend and you probably don't get to make any decisions about that. ANYWAY, Captain Jack Weisbaum, the most interesting accounting firm CEO in the world will not seek reelection, and will retire effective October 31, 2012 when his current […]
The most interesting accounting firm CEO would like to welcome the gang at Carneiro, Chumney & Co. to the club. “The addition of the partners and other professionals formerly with Carneiro, Chumney & Co. provides BDO with a fantastic presence in the important San Antonio market. Combined with our existing practices in Austin, Dallas and Houston, Captain Jack said. With this move, all San Antonioa-area professional recruiters are officially on notice that your leads at Carneiro now have incentive to rat you out. [BDO]
As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of videos come through these parts that are of various production quality with the legendary “In a JIT” widely accepted as the best effort to date. While TPTB probably don’t appreciate the creativity, it always seems worthwhile for us to promote the talents (or complete lack thereof) of those willing to put the time into a such an extensive project.
Today in CPA-inspired video is from none other than the most interesting firm in the world, BDO. The mission of this particular video was to serenade recruits from Florida International University. And seeing how it’s a firm-sponsored production, it’s clear the firm is behind it.
1. How did the casting director consciously go with the two guys in the office that are completely tone deaf?
2. Will FIU recruits even attend an office visit after this display?
3. “Running through FASBs like Drano.”
4. At 2:35 they are clearly reading the lyrics off the screen. Poor form, gents.
5. Couldn’t they get Captain Jack to throw them out of the office instead?
We will give them an ‘A’ for effort since BDO is typically pretty quiet but they’ve got a long way to go. Feel free to share your own critique below.
Accounting Today released its Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting (free registration required) late yesterday and it seems to be a tad more interesting than in years past. Sure, there are plenty of predictable names and faces in the list but any list that has Dave Albrecht, Paul Caron, and Grover Norquist is okay by me.
That said, it’s still in alphabetical order which may not appropriately present who the influenciest influencers are. I mean does sticking a man with a last name that starts with “N” and ends in “quist” somewhere in the middle of the pack (only a few spots in front of the POTUS) truly show how influential he is? It’s just a question.
ANYWAY, here are some notables that you’ll probably recognize:
Dave Albrecht – Associate Professor at Concordia College, The Summa
C.E. Andrews – President, RSM McGladrey
Paul Caron – TaxProf Blog
Stephen Chipman – CEO, Grant Thornton
James Doty – Chairman, PCAOB
Joe Echevarria – CEO, Deloitte
Michelle Golden – President, Golden Practices
Tom Hood – CEO, Executive Director Maryland Association of CPAs
Hans Hoogervorst – Chairman, IASB
Robert Moritz – Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC
Caleb Newquist – Founding Editor, Going Concern
Grover Norquist – President and Founder, Americans for Tax Reform
Barack Obama – President of the United States
Barry Salzberg – CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Mary Schapiro – Chair, SEC
Doug Shulman – IRS Commissioner
Jim Turley – Global Chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young
John Veihmeyer – Chairman and CEO, KPMG
Jack Weisbaum – CEO, BDO
I cherry-picked this list obviously because it’s a bit of a pain to re-type all of them, so don’t hold that against me. Still how two Swedes and two Barrys got mashed together is kind of odd. And on a more personal note, I’d really feel awful if I was the one who took Dennis Nally’s spot. Go check out the full list and discuss at your leisure.
From the mailbag:
Comp adjustments are coming out this week/ next week can you start a thread?
As we’ve pointed out in the past, BDO is probably the quietest of the top tier firms. Rarely do we get news of hookers, out-of-control happy hours or milestone awards. Sure, we got under the skin of Jeremy Newman once but he has a blog. He was asking for it.
This omertà of sorts by the rank and file has been discussed amongst the GC team and we’ve come up with this: we’vegotnofuckingidea. Not that we haven’t had the opportunity to report on the consolidation of regions or $5 Starbucks cards but the tips are so few and far between that whenever something about BDO come in, it gets us all sort of excited.
But enough about us. If you’re at BDO and you’ve had your sit-down or you’re waiting and are hearing rumors of raise percentages OR you’re simply doubtful as to Jack Weisbaum’s status as most interesting accounting firm CEO in the world, please tell us below.
Jay Duke will head up the assurance practice while Doug Sirotta will lead tax. They’ll both report to the most interesting CEO in the world.
The business line regional heads (chart below), who formerly reported to Jack Weisbaum, will now report report to Duke and Sirotta. Speaking of those regions, the Southeast Region (Florida, Georgia) will merge into the Atlantic and the Southwest (Texas and Tennessee) will join the Central. It all goes down on July 1. Messrs. Duke and Sirotta will give up their seats on the BDO Board of Directors to take their new national roles (demotion?).
|Region||Assurance RBLL||Tax RBLL|
|Northeast||Alan Selitti||Robert Pedersen|
|Atlantic||Wayne Berson||Wayne Corini|
|Central||Steve Ferrara||Paul Heiselmann|
|West||Christopher Tower||Rocky Cummings|
For whatever reason, we don’t hear a lot of gossip out of BDO. Perhaps it’s because the entire firm is too captivated by the most interesting accounting firm CEO in the world, Jack Weisbaum, and are rendered loyal to a fault, thus choosing not to share the more sordid details of what happens inside B to the D to rtunate because we hear rumors that there are slew of partners who are not pleased with how things are going at firm but no one seems to want to talk. I’d encourage someone to speak up by emailing us.
But for now, we’ll take the opportunity to tell you about the efforts put forth by some inside the firm that were sensitive to the post-busy season onslaught of professional recruiters. As we all know, after people have worked their asses off for three to four months, some might feel unappreciated and opt to look for a new job. Recruiters are acutely aware of this and since it’s their job to fill positions for their clients, it only makes sense that they chase people that are looking for a change. And because professional recruiting is a competitive business, sometimes the emails can clog your inbox like offers for ED drugs. Some partners at BDO thought that in order to help people stave off this bumrush, they would invite employees to simply forward the emails and voicemails received and voilà! $5 of Starbucks burning in your pocket. Oh, and did I mention that there’s no limit for how many you submit? So if you’re a hot piece of public accounting talent, getting tons of calls, you can really clean up. Not only that, the person that submitted the most unique names of headhunters and agencies would receive a $250 AMEX gift card. Yes. Sound petty? Sound pathetic? Sound desperate? Read for yourself and decide.
I split up original screenshot sent to me so that it would be easier to read, hence the narrow break.
So you might expect such an attempt to bribe employees with corporate caffeination would fall flat. That tipping off firm leadership about PEOPLE THAT ARE SIMPLY DOING THEIR JOBS (and maybe change a few professional careers for the positive) would fall on deaf ears. Well, you would be wrong. DEAD WRONG. A follow-up on the firm’s internal website (next page) stated that over 200 submissions were made and one SA in Spokane submitted 15 alone.
That’s right, the effort was so successful that they are extending it through July 8th. Not really knowing what the protocols are, I don’t know what to tell the recruiters to expect in terms of retaliation from the TPTB at BDO but at least you’ll know that if you receive some kind of nasty correspondence, the person who gave you up was baited with the siren’s call that is the white and green coffee cup.
As you probably know, BDO has spent 2010 celebrating the firm’s 100th anniversary in the U.S. Throughout the year there has been various celebrations along with Jack Weisbaum’s successful run as Dos Equis dopplegänger.
The apex of the firm’s centennial is going on as we speak in Orlando, at the firm’s Centennial Partners Meeting where 700 some-odd partners, alums and their better halves are celebrating the big one hundo.
A brief word from the most interesting accounting CEO in the world:
“In 1910, there were a little more than 2000 certified public accountants (CPAs) in the United States, that’s approximately the same amount currently working at BDO. Today, there are hundreds of thousands CPAs, but just a handful of national firms that have been able to grow and prosper across the country and build networks with member firms around the world,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA. “Our firm bears little physical resemblance to the firm Maximillian L. Seidman started a century ago, and it is sure to change drastically in the coming century. What will stay the same is our unwavering commitment to clients, our capacity to adapt to change and our ability to find opportunity in every challenge.”
In addition to the Weisbaum speech, last night attendees were treated the aforementioned two-hour Disney production about the history of the firm.
Entitled “Proud Past – Bold Future,” the firm’s story is told with an extensive cast and musical arrangements, interspersed with video interviews of BDO partners – from both past and present – as the firm’s progress is tracked over the past century.
A Disney production sounds nice but two hours? Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture and it only ran for 84 minutes. Not that you can fairly compare the 100 years of getting to know BDO to animated bestiality. There really is no comparison but we’re just hoping – for the sake of the audience – it was screened before the comfort food and booze.
The firm celebrated its 100th birthday last month, with offices marking the occasion in various ways. And probably most importantly, the Florida Appeals Court ordered a new trial in the Banco Espirito Santo case.
The decision in this case allowed the firm to jump off its deathbed reenergized, allowing Jack Weisbaum to continuing to moonlight as a TV commercial star as well as open a Raleigh, North Carolina office.
The good times continue with the addition of McBride Shopa & Co. including a message from Tom Shopa with a pleasant piano accompaniment in the background.
Jack W. was able to sneak away from a busy commercial shoot to share his feelings on the matter:
“The addition of the partners, professionals and staff formerly with McBride Shopa adds the important Delaware market to BDO’s existing presence in the Philadelphia and the greater Washington, DC area. We are excited about the many growth opportunities that this combination will bring to our clients and our future clients,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA.
The bright side for BDO is that since the Taxman is likely coming to Delaware, there will be plenty of new business opportunities.
We’re merely echoing the question.
Apparently there is some go-karting happening in Charlotte which sounds fun, especially if there was a three beer minimum to get on the track.
Other things we’re envisioning:
• Gents of all body types in the Woodbridge, NJ office coming to work as The Situation (i.e. sans shirt).
• Miami office employees are wearing their homemade “FUCK BANCO ESPIRITO” t-shirts (that could be any office really).
• At HQ in Chicago, CEO Jack Weisbaum reenacting Dos Equis ads only to substitute “Stay thirsty my friends” with “People who know – Know BDO”
What else is going on? Let us know.
In what amounts to a HUGE win for BDO, the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami has ordered a new trial in the case between BDO and Banco Espirito Santo:
A Florida appeals court has thrown out a $521 million jury verdict and ordered a new trial in a dispute over audits between accounting firm BDO Seidman and a major Portuguese bank.
The Third District Court of Appeal in Miami ruled Wednesday that the 2007 trial was wrongly divided into three phases.
That meant jurors decided BDO Seidman should pay punitive damages too early in the case.
BDO Seidman was sued by Portugal’s Banco Espirito Sant med on a Miami company later exposed as a huge fraud. The bank claimed BDO Seidman was negligent for not detecting the fraud, costing the bank $170 million in losses.
Jurors awarded the bank $170 million in losses plus $351 million in punitive damages.
We reached out to the Steven Thomas, lead counsel for the Banco Espirito for his reaction:
This case has been sent back for another trial because of the procedural ‘bifurcation’ issue. We are pleased that the effort and hard work the jury put into this case was recognized by the appellate court, and we specifically note that the Court did not dispute BDO unethical conflicts of interest or its negligence. The evidence of BDO Seidman’s failures of even the most basic auditing procedures is so overwhelming that we expect a new jury will reach the same conclusion as the original jury. We look forward to trying this case and reminding everyone of BDO Seidman’s neglect of its public duty and the enormous conflict of interest they had.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, undisputed negligence cited by Mr Thomas, the mood inside BDO is one of vindication. From the firm’s press release not yet posted on the firm’s website:
The firm is pleased to announce that the Third District Court of Appeal of the state of Florida has unanimously overturned a 2007 jury verdict against the firm and ordered that the Bankest case be retried in the 11th Circuit Court. The Court of Appeal concluded that:
• The Trial Court erred in its original decision to trifurcate the trial, ruling that it was prejudicial to have allowed the case to be presented in three phases. This made it possible for the jury to find BDO grossly negligent without, at the same time, considering the conduct of other actors, including representatives of Banco Espirito Santo.
• The Appellate Court further concluded that the evidence of reliance on BDO’s audit opinions was insufficient to sustain the claims of the Bankest investors, save for the one individual who testified at trial.
• The Trial Court improperly allowed into evidence prejudicial hearsay testimony and documents that further served to deprive BDO of a fair trial.
The Appellate Court concluded, “We have carefully considered every substantive and procedural authority that might be applied to preserve at least some of the jury’s findings. In this case, no such balm is found.”
“We are very pleased that the Appeals court has reversed the lower court verdict. We have consistently stated that we were confident that the jury’s erroneous verdict in this case would be reversed on appeal. The addition of punitive damages at the time only served to emphasize the injustice that took place at the trial court,” said CEO Jack Weisbaum. “A new trial will be in accordance with the Court of Appeal’s decision and we will prove that BDO acted at all times consistent with its professional obligations and that its audit opinions were based on the proper application of generally accepted auditing standards.”
So we’ve got a new trial with a re-energized BDO and a tenacious plaintiff. It sounds like BDO will stick with its defense strategy of “we did no wrong,” so this should be fun.