September 24, 2022

this means war

IRS Goes Ahead With Voluntary Tax Preparer Program Despite AICPA Objection

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Melancon: WASHINGTON —  The Internal Revenue Service announced today that guidance will soon be issued outlining a new voluntary program designed to encourage education and filing season readiness for paid tax return preparers. The program will be in place to help taxpayers during the 2015 filing season. […]

Do Regional Firm Accountants Have Better Excel Skills Than Their Big 4 Counterparts?

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

I was having a discussion with a colleague concerning the Excel skills in industry versus public accounting. We agreed that, generally speaking and based on surveys of class participants in our respective Excel CPE classes, industry users are more advanced than public accounting users. Within public accounting, regional firm users are more advanced than local and Big 4 users. Why is that?

We had one computer for about 150 professional staff when I started out in Big 8 public accounting oh so long ago. Back then we were the cutting edge in spreadsheet use. We were consulting with our clients on how to use Visicalc to increase productivity and reduce errors. So how did the Big 4 apparently slide to the bottom of the scale?

Theory number one holds that the Big 4 does all their training from within. They take someone who has perceived advanced skills, and use that person to teach everyone else what they know. The problem is that the in-house trainer may not know some of the advanced features in Excel that would be useful to the group. The trainer may only know slightly more than everyone else. My own experience with selling Excel to a Big 4 firm is that they feel it would be nice to know more about Excel, but it’s not imperative to the job. Rather it is better to focus CPE resources on IFRS or the latest tax code changes.

Theory number two says that associates in the Big 4 are focused in on their in-house proprietary audit software which doesn’t allow incorporating new ideas into the audit process like pivot tables or form control objects. Stick to the audit program because there is no room in the budget to experiment with Excel.

Now that I’m done ragging on the Excel skill level in the Big 4 remember I said at the beginning of the post “generally speaking” and I know there are excellent Excel users in the Big 4. I just haven’t met them yet.

What Do Libya and KPMG Have in Common?

That was the question posed to us by our tipster. The answer: more and more defections. The latest is James Draper, per an internal email sent to us this morning.

Welcome new Risk Assurance Principal James Draper

The ranks of Risk Assurance continue to grow with the addition of accomplished professionals. These catalyst and experienced hires are helping us to evolve our services, and impress the marketplace with the expertise in which we deliver them. James Draper is our newest edition, joining us as a principle [sic, Jimbo is now a PwC “pal”] in our San Francisco office.

Jamie’s focus will be on helping to grow our IT&PA/ERP Controls services, particularly in the areas of SAP and JD Edwards. He joins us from KPMG where he has logged over 15 years experience assisting clients with technology risks. Instrumental in helping clients implement controls and security, Jamie has effectively managed the risks associated with large system implementations. In fact, he has assisted a number of global companies across a variety of industries through complex implementations, among them: Chevron, eBay, Nestle, Rolls-Royce (Aerospace) and Dolby. Jamie will help us to help our clients become more efficient in their control processes, leveraging system functionality including SAP’s Governance Risk & Compliance (GRC) module.

[The part where they talk about his personal life]

Please join me in welcoming Jamie to our firm, and to Risk Assurance.

If history is any indicator we’ll see a press release from PwC at some point but in the meantime, reactions to the latest KPMG turncoat are welcome at this time.

More competitive poaching:
PwC Lands Another KPMG Partner; Steven Tseng Joining Transfer Pricing Practice
PwC Picks Up Thomas Henry from KPMG; Will Lead Global Incentives Practice

PwC Picks Up Thomas Henry from KPMG; Will Lead Global Incentives Practice

This could be what PwC’s Talent Leader was talking about she said that poaching, “[Has] always been a place we like to stay competitive.”

Mr. Henry, a tax partner who has spent more than 25 years in public accounting, most recently at KPMG, has extensive experience in all areas of state and local taxation. He is best known for his work in the credits and incentives space, both domestically and worldwide. His experience in maximizing global incentives for large multinational corporations in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa will enable both US-based and non-US-based multinational companies to benefit from his counsel when entering into economic incentives negotiations.

Thomas Henry Joins PwC US To Lead Global Incentives Practice [PR Newswire]

Jackson Hewitt Doesn’t Appreciate the Implication That They Suck at Preparing Tax Returns

Call it the discount 1040 wars (or something):

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc sued H&R Block Inc to stop a new advertising campaign that it said misleads customers about tax refund loans and disparages Jackson Hewitt’s competence.


How disparaging? How about “two-thirds of the tax returns are wrong” disparaging:

According to the complaint, H&R Block falsely claimed that its “Second Look Review” program, which reviews past tax returns prepared by rivals, found that two-thirds of prior returns prepared by Jackson Hewitt contained mistakes.

“H&R Block’s 2 out of 3 claim necessarily implies the false claim that two out of three Jackson Hewitt customers who are entitled to refunds have been short-changed due to Jackson Hewitt errors or incompetence,” the complaint said.

Jackson Hewitt sues H&R Block over ads [MSNBC]

Swiss Village Insists Law That Allows for Killing of Dogs for Unpaid Tax ‘Isn’t About a Mass Execution of Dogs’

Someone call the State Department and cut off all ties with the Toblerone cobblers until this get rectified.

Reconvilier — population 2,245 humans, 280 dogs — plans to put fido on notice if its owner doesn’t pay the annual $50 tax. Local official Pierre-Alain Nemitz says the move is part of an effort to reclaim hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes.

Why, you ask? Apparently because the town had exhausted all other possible methods of collection back before World War I and there’s no point in trying anything else.

He says a law from 1904 allows the village to kill dogs if its owner does not pay the canine charge. Nemitz told the AP on Monday that authorities have received death threats since news of the plan got out. “This isn’t about a mass execution of dogs,” Nemitz said. “It’s meant to put pressure on people who don’t cooperate.”

Swiss village: pay your dog tax or fido gets it [MSNBC]

KPMG Manager Irritated with ‘Other 3’ Calling the Kettle Black RE: Recruiting Methods

This week we’ve shared a couple of examples with you that demonstrate how KPMG is attempting to land some talent from its rival Big 4 firms. The strategy ranges from the Google-ish to the good old fashioned cold call email. After yesterday’s post mentioning the latter method, a Radio Station manager felt compelled to point something out:

I am a KPMG manager and I don’t want everyone thinking that it is only KPMG that is on an easter egg hunt to try land experiived the following linked in messages over the holidays:

PwC M&A Advisory Manager opportunity in Mclean, VA

Zahara Kanji Sourcing Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers

Hi [KPMG manager],

I hope this note finds you well. By way of introduction, I am the recruiting manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Transaction Services Advisory practice. We are strategically growing at various levels across the country. I am interested in your professional background, which seems to align well with our Transaction Services Financial Due Diligence practice. Please reply to this email if you would like to learn more about our business. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best
Zahara

and

Position with Ernst & Young LLP Audit Practice

Renee Scott (Creese) National Diversity Recruiting Manager

[KPMG manager],

My name Renee Scott, Assistant Director of Recruitment with Ernst and Young’s Assurance practice. We are expanding our searches for experienced Seniors and Managers with assurance background and CPA designation.

Sasha Le with HR Consulting Partners, my sourcing assistant, through networking, has identified you as someone we would definitely consider speaking further about these great career opportunities. I’ve opted to make my initial contact with you via LinkedIn, a professional networking venue, so if you are or know of someone who is interested, please contact me at 410-263-3702 or via email at [email protected] OR you can contact Sasha Le via email at [email protected] or via (626) 839-7174. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,
Renee Scott
Ernst & Young LLP

A couple takeaways now that we’ve sufficiently beaten the competitive recruiting drum: 1) This time of year, there’s a big push to bring on new people because, well, there’s a perpetual shortage of people in some practice areas; 2) if you’re unsatisfied with your current firm, qwitcherbitchin and call one of these recruiters. They’d love to talk to you.

As for our tipster’s motivation:

I just begin to get irritated when staff from the other 3 point fingers at KPMG for being the bad guy. They seem to forget that an audit is an audit and unless PWC has discovered a new shmebit [sic?] to account for that the rest of the Big 4 don’t know about then I am pretty sure they audit the balance sheet and income statement the same way the rest of us do.

Now, then. Some clever commenter on the last post wondered “Whis [SIC] is this big news? Recruiters have been doing this in public accounting for many years.” We admit, this isn’t Andrew Cuomo slapping E&Y and E&Y slapping back but we seriously doubt it’s known just how competitive it is. Plus, the firm’s downplay the whole thing. Look no further than the interview KPMG’s Vice Chair of HR gave to FINS last spring:

[Kyle Stock]: I often read about poaching amongst the Big Four. Has that activity increased or decreased recently?
[Bruce Pfau]: Like any business, there are going to be fluctuations and vicissitudes in the industry in general and there’s a certain amount of movement between the firms. There’s no warfare going on between the firms or any vendettas or anything like that. In general, we find at least when people leave us, by and large, they’re not leaving to go to a competitor. And I think the same is true of our competitors. It’s usually because they see opportunities in either a corporate situation or another consulting environment of some kind.

So, Mr Pfau says it’s NBD but the reality is that the talent at the firms is very similar and when the shortage of people in a particular practice area becomes severe, the leaders in those groups put pressure on the recruiters to find good people to fill the holes. It’s reflective of the culture inside the firms and is part of the underbelly of what is going on behind the scenes. And in case you’re new to the site, that’s what we do here.