What can the World Cup teach us about accounting rules? (Other than rampant corruption is only real if you believe it is.) That it would be chaos if participants showed up to a global contest with their own set of rules. That's sort of what we have going on in global financial reporting, if you […]
As we’ve mentioned, the scourge of tax policy pragmatism, Grover Norquist, has been battling anyone that utters a word about raising taxes or eliminating tax credits without corresponding tax cuts. His main nemesis in this battle has been Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who was a member of the Gang of Six until he was determined the gang couldn’t get jack squat accomplished.
Today, a vote was held in the Senate that repealed the tax credits for ethanol, something that Coburn has been advocating strongly to his GOP colleagues. The idea has been floated that many Republicans who signed Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge would be violating said pledge by voting for the repeal, and thus incur the wrath of Grover & Co. Yesterday, Norquist insisted that the vote for the repeal isn’t a pledge violation because Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has an estate tax repeal waiting in the wings that would allow these Republicans to atone for their sins and thus making Coburn a loser again:
“Coburn tried. He failed. I’m sure he’ll try again,” Norquist told The Hill, asserting that Coburn had tried to trick his colleagues into voting for a tax increase. “We checkmated him.”
As we said Coburn did try again and now that the ethanol tax credit repeal has passed, Norquist will be counting on those senators wash away their ‘impure thoughts’ with a vote on DeMint’s amendment and allowing he and ATR to prevail once again, like the Roadrunner over Wile E. Coyote or Ronald Reagan over Communism.
He added that he had commitments from Senate GOP leadership to not agree to a deal with what he calls a net tax increase: higher rates or ending tax expenditures without an offset.
“Coburn’s going to be out in the cold by his lonesome,” Norquist said.
Did this Jeroen Hooijer character forget that he’s addressing a knight?
[Hooijer] said world leaders have extended the deadline for convergence from June to the end of this year and likened the IASB to a sports car driving at 160 kilometres an hour to the south of France. “We would like to slow down to 120. We don’t want to stop it. If you drive to the south of France and you only arrive half an hour later, the risk of an accident is 70 percent lower,” Hooijer said.
This time of year, the leadership at your firms are on a communication offensive because you all just went through hell. They want to whisper sweet words in your ears so that you keep the faith in them and your firm.
Today we bring you a little taste of some of those sweet words courtesy of the C-suite at KPMG.
Newly nveld, John Veihmeyer was joined by Tim Flynn, COO Henry Keizer, along with some inquisitors for a grueling Q&A that should re-energize you for summer.
Conversations with Leadership
How Are We Doing?
Flynn: First one up gets the mike.
[Prepackaged Inquisitor #1]: Are we on track? How is it going? What challenges have we faced?
Flynn: I think the foundation for recovery is being laid. And I think it started, obviously, in Asia. It’s moving its way through the U.S. Things are better than people had predicted three or four months ago. And we saw retail sales today came out with improvement – consumer confidence being up. So all of those things are signs that we’re on a path for recovery. And now the question is, how does that translate into our business?
Veihmeyer: We’ve built a plan that was consistent with our expectation of what that marketplace was going to be. First half of the year continuing to be a very challenging marketplace, with a gradual increase in marketplace activity as we got into the second six months of our fiscal year. So what have we seen to date? Our results have tracked what we expected. We are actually slightly ahead of plan, six months through our fiscal year, which is the great news.
And I think everyone should feel really good about that, particularly as you look at what we’re seeing in some of the businesses – Advisory, which was clearly hard hit by the lack of spending and the curtailing of a lot of initiatives on the part of our clients, have had very strong months the last several months. And that corner seems to have absolutely turned.
And we are just beginning to see, I think, the things that really impact Audit and Tax around some of the transactional activity that really drives those incremental services that make a big difference in Audit and Tax – that’s starting to come. We expect that to translate into greater revenue over the second six months.
Quite the trifecta of vague brainteasers PI #1 had. But without being very specific, and using a couple of banal metaphors, JV and T Fly are confident that everything is cool, thanks to China and India. Europe isn’t worth mentioning, that’ll blow over. Advisory was on its deathbed but things are bouncing back. Audit and Tax are far less sexy but they’re cash cows. They might see a little more action if Advisory started showing more skin.
[Prepackaged Inquisitor #2]: My name’s [Prepackaged Inquisitor #2]. I just wanted to ask about the new role of the office managing partners, focusing on just going to market.
Keizer: By focusing the office managing partners really on two areas: one, growth of our business, and also our people. So the office managing partners teamed with the functional leaders, and the professionals within geographies, and looked outside into the marketplace, and which companies fit that criteria—impactful to our brand, our people, great growth, and profitability opportunity.
From that exercise, across the country, over 1,600 companies were identified. A process was then undertaken to actually assign specific resources. As we sit today, and we take that population of companies and say, how are we doing? The revenue growth that has been realized in our first six months, in that population, has exceeded our normal portfolio of clients. So it’s showing, again, at an early stage, focus, and a prioritization of where we want to strategically go, does translate into opportunity and revenue.
Flynn: If there’s one message that comes out of this, just one message to everybody here listening – is that the one thing we know for certain—we are not short of opportunities.
We have tremendous opportunities what’s happening around the world. The key is, how do we align our resources, look at our investments, develop our people’s skills to capitalize on those opportunities? So from a standpoint of the future – there’s tremendous opportunity for all of you, and for our businesses, as we go forward.
Your local bigwigs are out there digging up biz because things have gotten a little more competitive than we would like. We can’t simply rely on a sexy Masters Champion in every RFP so they’re getting their hands dirty for a change. Plus, from where we stand, there’s plenty of business out there so if they don’t get the job done, we’ll probably go to the bullpen.
Yesterday we shared with you at least one person’s opinion about how quitting the Big 4 is a little like leaving Ike Turner. If that name doesn’t mean anything to you, insert Jon Gosselin. Get it now?
As accurate as that may be (and certainly not a laughing matter), we can’t help but think there are other metaphors that you’ve heard that you might want to share here.
Of course there’s the proverbial pimp/whore relationship but that’s played. Get the team together and come up with something good. We’ve got E&Y tchotchkes to give away as prizes (don’t let that dissuade you E&Y peeps, we’ll come up with something).
We’ll give you a couple of options to work with:
1. Working in the Big 4 is like…
2. Leaving the Big 4 is like…