If you have career aspirations to be a partner at an accounting firm, achieving the status of a "non-equity partner" might not be what you had in mind. The whole point of being a partner, I think, is the opportunity to have some skin in the game. Yes, you also have a say on how […]
In case you needed another crummy datapoint to help illustrate the gender disparity at the partner level in the accounting profession, this finding from the AICPA's Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee CPA Firm Gender Survey should do the trick: Many firms have non-equity partner tracks that don’t include ownership in the practice. The WIEC survey found […]
The other day we mentioned the AICPA Trends report, specifically, the growing number of accounting graduates and the talent shortage at small CPA firms. Oh! And fewer people are sitting for the CPA exam, that too. If you're just joining us, hop over there to join the discussion. Today, we'll cover something that really isn't […]
Grant Thornton deified 50 new partners on August 1st, according to a firm press release. This year's class size dwarfs those from recent years; there were 32 new partners admitted in 2014, 30 in 2013, 27 in 2012, 26 in 2011 and 22 in 2010. Purple Rose of Chicago CEO Mike McGuire heaps on the […]
Another month, another set of closing jokes. Here's what Greg Kyte & Co. covered for the May close: The 2015 PwC partner class That time Bernie Madoff's CFO stuck a phony ledger in the refrigerator Insecure millionaires Grant Thornton's audit of the Marine Corps A CPA tattoo. More Monthly Close:April '15: The Monthly Close: That […]
It's New Year's Day in the EY universe which means a new partner class. The firm dropped the news on their site earlier today: EY today announced the promotion of 753 of its people to partner, its largest increase since 2008 and a 12% increase over 2014. This year, EY added a record number of […]
Maybe you heard, but the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that same-sex couples would be allowed to marry in all 50 states. It was an enormous victory for civil rights and serves as a reminder that America can still get something right. In their quest to be the diversitiest and inclusiviest, the Big 4 have […]
Effective July 1, 30 new partners will get a seat at BDO's adult table. This class is the largest since we've been covering the firm's partner promotions. There were 24 in 2014, 16 in '13, 15 in '12, 13 in '11, and 5 in '10. I count 7 women on this list and, oddly, everyone […]
Well, this is exciting. The list of new PwC partners fell into our lap earlier today and now we're sharing it with you. They all officially join the partnership on July 1, the firm's New Year's Day. There are 201 partners in the 2015 class, one of the largest ever. The firm named 180 last […]
Here's a story of hedge fund of fund guys doing hedge fund of fund guy things — onshore fund, offshore fund, master fund, an investment advisor, along with a couple other affiliated companies — and not being very good at some of the finer points: An SEC investigation found that Alpha Titans LLC, its principal […]
So, we're working on a somewhat involved piece — which we'll debut later in the month — on diversity and socioeconomic barriers to the profession. In our research, we turned to the 2013 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report, which is chock-full of all kinds of […]
At least she did not miss out on the iconic 1992 film Encino Man.
As we know, BDO and McGladrey have both been on a very busy acquisition streak lately. BDO picked up one of Ohio's biggest firms with SS&G and then grabbed UHY's Texas practice. McGladrey, meanwhile, gobbled up sub 100 firm Cole + Reed out of Oklahoma. We're talking apples and oranges when it comes to size, […]
EY recently reported global combined revenue of $27.7 billion, or approximately eleventy bazillion in OMGdollars. Just how much of that do partners see? Unfortunately, we don't have US numbers, so UK numbers will have to do: Partners in the UK firm will receive an average £727,000 share in profits, an increase of 12% on last […]
What makes a Big 4 partner? Chris Carter, Crawford Spence and Claire Dambrin (academics, natch) set out to find that answer, looking specifically at partners in Canada, France and the UK. You will not be surprised by the results. First, they discovered that only about 2-3% of those who start out at Big 4 make […]
Not to be outdone by PwC’s addition of 180 partners the other day, EY has internally announced the admission of 295 new partners, 170 new executive directors and 31 new directors. Dang, son, slow it down over there.
The email that went out to EYers was standard congratulations, we are so excited, exclamation point exclamation point blah blah:
It must be that time of year, as the smell of fresh partners is in the air! First, BDO announced 24 new partners and now, we've got our hands on the list of all 180 new partners that were admitted today at PwC, effective July 1. You will note PwC is nothing but timely, as […]
This just in from the BDO camp, 24 new partners have been admitted to the partnership effective July 1st; seventeen in assurance, six in tax and one from the national office. “I want to welcome each of these highly accomplished individuals to the BDO USA partnership,” said Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO USA. “As a […]
This kind of goes with the article we shared last week, which quoted one Jacob Soll as saying accounting as a profession has been de-elited and made Midwestern (which is another say of saying pedestrian and not all that special). Side note but you will be happy to know Jacob reached out to us, tried […]
The following comes from CPA Trendlines: QUESTION: My partner seems to always be out of sync with me, but my biggest pet peeve is that he never does what he says he will do. Do you have any suggestions? Respondent Ed Mendlowitz goes on to identify 8 types of people who are not cut out […]
Alright, we need to sage this joint out a little bit. I'm posting the following reader question not to start another monkey dung-throwing match in the comment section but to spark a real discussion about this matter. I have some theories but let's get to the question first: I've been working for one of the […]
Over at Bloomberg, Jesse Drucker has a lengthy profile of PwC Partner Feargal O'Rourke, the head of the firm's tax practice in Ireland. As you know, Ireland figures quite prominently into tax planning strategies for companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Apple and untold others who solemnly swear that they're in full compliance with the tax law. […]
UPDATE: See update below regarding sentencing timing. It's been quite awhile since we've been on the Scott London beat, but something interesting was brought to our attention late last week that's worth sharing. In a court filing from last month, London's attorney Harland Braun laid out the arguments against a Presentence Report by the United States […]
Robert Coplan, one of three former EY partners who were convicted of selling illegal tax shelters that cost the government $2 billion, has had his case rejected by Supreme Court. Coplan's conviction was upheld last November by the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York and he was hoping to challenge one count in front […]
Yesterday was a big day for the gang at Mickey G's as new partners and principals were annointed: McGladrey Promotes 35 to Partner/Principal – http://t.co/fwD7t6eMZu — McGladrey (@McGladrey) October 1, 2013 The 35 is 11 more than last year's partner class of 24. And because it's a firm of the little guy/gal, the non-partners got […]
This is per Accounting Today by way of the Rosenberg Survey: Income per equity partner at the nation’s CPA firms jumped 5.5 percent in 2012, climbing to $386,000, according to the recently released 2013 Rosenberg MAP Survey. If you have an extra $450 sitting around gathering dust, you can pick up your own copy of […]
The following story out of Europe reads more like an SAT question about two trains approaching a station from different directions at different speeds than a tale of a speeding partner who apparently suffers from one of the most first worldly first world problems in history: Colin Brereton, 53, was clocked speeding at 94mph as […]
Here's an interesting email that was forwarded to us late last week. It's from a peeved partner and we've removed the particulars since the message strikes us as universal among larger public accounting firms. From: [Regional Partner In Charge of Assurance] To: [Whomever it may concern] Cc: [Office] Leadership Team Subject: Respect […]
Craig Haber, who, after being a partner at Grant Thornton for 11 years, started helping himself to client fees, admitted today that what he did was wrong and he's sure sorry about the whole thing: Craig Haber, who prosecutors said diverted money to his own bank accounts between 2004 and 2012, pleaded guilty to […]
The man who once led McGladrey as its managing partner, Dave Scudder, is now returning to the firm he once led, McGladrey, as…well, not managing partner. It's a…well, here, read the Mickey G's press release: McGladrey LLP, the nation's leading provider of assurance, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, recently launched a […]
Stephen Chipman has bestowed 30 purple roses, saying, "Our partners and principals have demonstrated great value to our dynamic clients and to our firm through their technical expertise and passionate leadership." There's also 20 new managing director,s however they merely, "[help] our partners execute the firm's strategy." Sounds like a slap in the face. I […]
If Bravo Delta Oscar's announcement of its 2013 fiscal year revenues are any indication, we're going to see big revenue numbers from accounting firms this year: BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation's leading professional service organizations, today announced revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013 was $683 million, a 10.5 percent increase […]
Call this is a GT service announcement (or something). A tipster informed us a little while ago that there were a couple of Purple Rose of Chicago audit opinions floating around that have an unfortunate typo. Titan International and Gentherm, Inc. filed 10-Ks in 2013 with Grant Thornton's name spelled wrong on the opinion – spelling it […]
For one reason or another, Bravo Delta Oscar announced their new partnership class late on Wednesday, so virtually everyone missed that news. Now that everyone has returned from their epic four day BBQ-beer-blowing off digits bender, we will present to you the 16 new BDO partners: Brandy Arbuthnot (Dallas – Tax) Matthew Cromwell (Bethesda – […]
Although the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page made it abundantly clear that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was way off, giving PwC and other large accounting firms a hard time for their mandatory retirement age policies, the AICPA thought it would be prudent to make its thoughts on the matter known: In a letter to members […]
This is quite the impressive move by Bravo Delta Oscar. The firm issued this press release earlier today: BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional service organizations, today announced an expansion of its financial institutions practice through the addition of 12 partners and as many as 97 employees formerly with the banking practice […]
We like to call attention the competitive poaching that goes on behalf of accounting firms because they do such a good job of bombarding the world with that knowledge. It probably got started when we noticed that PwC was using KPMG as its farm team, but more so lately, we've noticed that Ernst & Young aggressively shouting about all the BSDs that are joining the Black and Yellow.
On Friday, Francine McKenna provided a perfect example of what investors could learn about the audit partners for public companies should the PCAOB start requiring the naming of names. Francine, through her sources, was able to confirm that Linda McGowan was the partner for MF Global — something widely known amongst regulators, and lawyers involved […]
Joe DiStefano has nice scoop over at PhillyDeals about twelve ParenteBeard partners packing it in — sounds like it was unexpected — and taking their services over to Bravo Delta Oscar: According to industry sources, Richard T. Farrell from the firm's Philadelphia office, Alan Molin from its Clark, New Jersey office, and other audit partners […]
Never one to shy away from an opportunity to condemn the actions of any government agency, the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page came to a rousing defense of PwC, who is taking a bit of heat from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over their mandatory retirement age. The story starts in May 2010, when the […]
~ UPDATE: Full list of new partners included on third page. Partner promotion season is hitting its stride, people. After learning of Ernst & Young’s new class in the Americas last week, we’re happy to report that PwC’s class was announced internally on Friday, with public announcements being left up to the local offices. […]
Welcome back, capital market servants. Hopefully you achieved some combination of suntan/burn, hangover, and meat sweats this past weekend. Speaking of achievement! Last week while we were all distracted by Memorial Weekend daydreams, Ernst & Young announced their 2013 Partner, Principal, Executive Director, and Director (aka "PPEDD") class for the Americas (this includes North […]
Yesterday afternoon, right about the time I couldn't read another word about PwC's love of CAKE, this tip came through at approximately 7 pm ET: Tim Ryan just finished up an "emergency" call with all partners and managers about this. Call began at 5:30 EST. Mr. Ryan, as we noted this morning, was quoted in Floyd […]
Here's an interesting story about a fella by the name of Craig Haber. Craig became a partner at Grant Thornton in 1993. Around 2004, Craig decided to start helping himself to client fees that rightfully belonged to GT. This went on for a while. Approximately $4 million in fees from 2004 to 2012, to be […]
These are your new McGladrey National Industry Leaders: Alternative Energy – Dustin Petersen (Des Moines, IA) Business and Professional Services – Barry Rosenthal (Chicago) Consumer Products – Carol Lapidus (New York) Federal Government – Mark Waterman (Vienna, VA) Financial Institutions – Jeff Baker (Des Moines, IA) Financial Services – John Hague (Chicago) Gaming – Keith Stoneburner […]
GT partners have elected Dave Wedding as the next Chairman of the firm's board. He was also recently appointed OMP of the Purple Rose of Chicago: Carolinas practice. As a native of Charlotte, part of his appeal, undoubtedly, was his charming North Carolina accent.* This should match Stephen Chipman's charming English accent quite nicely. Leadership […]
For former Ernst & Young lawyers Richard Shapiro and Martin Nissenbaum, things couldn't get much better than a panel of judges overturning the convictions for your roles in selling illegal tax shelters. Their pals Robert Coplan and Brian Vaughn weren't so lucky, however: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York ruled […]
PwC International chairman Dennis Nally will remain in that position for another three years since he's done such a bang-up job for the past three. At least that's what the Oscar™ partner says: In announcing Mr Nally's reappointment, Brad Oltmanns, the Governance Board Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International, said: "Dennis Nally has done a tremendous job […]
Tax Masters. JK Harris. The Tax Lady. Their late-night commercials have all, at one time or another, pierced through the blood-shot eyes of insomniacs across the nation, ensuring that the sleepless masses are treated fairly and with respect during their IRS resolution. Unfortunately, they have all been killed off in some fashion or another. But […]
The firm regrets to inform five percent of their employees, including "a limited number of partners," that they will soon have a lot of free time on their hands: Mazars could make up to 5% of its workforce redundant, as it begins a consultation process across the firm. Accountancy Age has learned staff were informed this week […]
The AICPA asked around and it turns out that most CPA firms across the country have a seen an increase in fees in the last couple years. That's good! Consequently, partners are doing a little better than they were just two years ago. That's good! So good, in fact, that everyone at the adult table […]
Twenty-four lucky lads (18) and ladies (6) got seats at the big table as partners or principals on October 1. Joe Adams is busting: “Each of our new partners and principals demonstrates McGladrey’s values of respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence and stewardship in their interactions with our clients and with one another,” said Joe Adams, managing […]
At the end of last month the CPA Consultants' Alliance released a white paper on succession planning and leadership. Okay, it was mostly about leadership; succession planning was thrown in there to scare old people into reading it. Succession planning has gotten boring. It's been everywhere in the accounting press for years. A boomer can't […]
After naming a new Boss of Moss one week ago today, we just learned that thirteen new mini-Mosses will be admitted to the partnership effective October 1. I'll dispense with the platitude quotes and get right to the names: Tracy Paglia, Stockton, CA Jessica Cluzeau, Los Angeles, CA Francis Tam, Los Angeles, CAMark Woodward, Los […]
Chronically accounting challenged coupon* carrier, Groupon, has found a new Chief Accounting Officer and they've followed the methodology most notably employed by PwC – poaching a KPMG partner: Groupon Inc said on Monday it appointed Brian Stevens chief accounting officer as the online daily deal company grapples with a string of accounting controversies. Stevens will step […]
As fall approaches, Big 4 recruiting for next year's crop of capital market servants will shift into high gear. This means lots of handshakes at catered events where students will make small talk, laugh awkwardly, and feign listening in order to land that all-important first job. There's a lot of preparation involved for these students […]
Yes, 162 lucky boys and girls have earned their partner badges, according to an email that a tipster sent us. It's a crowning achievement after many long nights, arguments with spouse, and New Year's resolutions to shed the weight gained last busy season. Memo to ambitious youngsters: this is what it takes. Here are some […]
Deloitte partner Daniel Pirron's suicide is terrible. Anyone that has had to cope with a loved one taking his or her own life knows the helpless feeling you have in the aftermath of such a tragedy. If someone at your company committs suicide, the emotional level is obviously different but it is no less shocking regardless […]
Nine new partners and seven new directors have seats at the adult able, according to a firm press release. Here's your new partner class: Stephen Bedell, Tax (Columbus, Ohio) Rebecca Hurt, Tax (Knoxville, Tenn.) John Kelleher, Tax (Oak Brook, Ill.) Bart Kimmel, Risk Consulting (Los Angeles, Calif.) Troy La Huis, Risk Consulting (Grand Rapids, Mich.) […]
Don't wanna work? Just wanna to bang on a drum all day? Okay, but the noise may result in you being escorted out by security. Best to ask us about something that's been bugging you. Shoot us an email and we'll keep you out of trouble. Hi, this isn't a tip but can you do […]
You know, if ol' Tom ends up doing some hard time, I know of someone who might be able to recommend a rigorous exercise regimen that will keep him busy while he's inside: Federal prosecutors recommended a prison term of at least 37 months for Thomas Flanagan, 64. Flanagan was a partner for more than […]
For some capital market servants the number one goal in their careers, the crown jewel, the ultimate feather in the cap, the most memorable notch on the bedpost, is being admitted to the partnership of his/her public accounting firm. It's an accomplishment that takes commitment, perseverance, hard work, dumb luck, brown nosing, corporate politicking, very […]
In the past week, we have received several tips about an Ernst & Young OMP who was recently demoted to a less-BSD position. While that's the reality, we're certain that any internal messaging took quite a different tone with the partner in question ("PIQ") "transitioning to a client facing role" or some other euphemism for […]
Perhaps someone at KPMG is available to counsel Deloitte on how to handle the latest press release out of Uncle Ernie's camp that basically rubs in the fact that EY is busy snatching up Deloitte partners. We're not saying it's suspicious that BOTH of the named partners in the press release happened to do time […]
The word from the Purple Rose of Chicago was just handed down this morning from Stephen Chipman, at least that's what we hear. Oh wait, no, we know for sure, here's the email: Dear colleagues, One of my greatest pleasures as CEO of Grant Thornton is the opportunity I have every year to […]
Deloitte is appointing a new Chairman and CEO of its audit subsidiary, Deloitte & Touche, and the new man in charge is actually an old man in charge – Greg Weaver. He led D&T from 2001 to 2005 and with this triumphant return to big chair, this basically making him the Grover Cleveland of the […]
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 […]
Have you found forbidden love at your firm and don't know how to handle it? Do you have a problem saying no to an unreasonably demanding superior? Are you a new intern that is curious about the socially acceptable number of drinks to consume at a team happy hour? Email us your questions and after a […]
I'm always amazed by the misinformed comments made by those outside of the accounting industry about the accounting industry (and, sadly, sometimes the ones made by those on the inside). Now no one expects the uninitiated to have any clue what they're talking about but how hard is it to at least try if you're […]
Perplexed by corporate fashion dos and don'ts? Need remedies for comp/bonus anxiety? Are you an auditor that needs a go-to quip for those relatives who want help with their taxes? Email us your questions and we will answer them in order of stupidity. I have an upcoming interview at a large firm, but in one of […]
Just a quick update for you on the promotions we reported on Monday – the Atlanta and Nashville offices have issued press releases, announcing two partners each. Only 161 more to go! We'll keep a running tab of the newbies over at the original post, so if you see a press release or come across an […]
This slipped by us last week, but after noting last Thursday morning that a lawsuit against Baker Tilly for $327 million was nearing its end, we found this story from late on Thursday reporting that BT had lost the suit to Aqua Finance. Aqua Finance accused its former accounting and advising firm of negligence and breach […]
After getting a tip, we've confirmed with a source inside the firm that PwC made 165 employees' day on Friday. This year's class has 29 more than 2011, and is nearly double of 2010's class. Right now, we don't have a breakdown between men and women or by practice, but rumor has it that there's […]
For the past year or so, we've noted the efforts of PwC to stack up its talent via "competitive poaching," mostly at the expense of its smaller rival, KPMG. During this time, people familiar with the situation have informed us that this trend has been noticed by people at KPMG with slight agitation. In one […]
Knowing you guys as well as I do, I realize it's pointless to bore you with details from Council; like how Tom Hood got snapped at by a very frustrated Maryland senator in her office or what people wore to last night's black tie gala. However, I will share with you an interesting panel yesterday […]
From a tipster who is on his way out: A partner told me that raises for top performers will be in the 20% ballpark. Don't know if this is true. It was from a very Senior Partner in an Upper Midwest (not Chicago) office. He could just be talking. This is a Senior Associate 2 in the […]
You might not be aware of this, but mega law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf is in a lot of trouble. It seems to have started back in February with rumors of financial troubles and things have spiraled from there. Partners leaving in droves. Late bonuses. Layoffs. Problems with K-1s. The bright side of all these troubles […]
Have a question about anything – and we mean anything? Email us and one of the smarter than average bears around here will get to it. Colin, Can you explain why most accountants dress poorly? Also, is it inappropriate to intentionally dress better than the managers and partners? I enjoy dressing well and find it […]
Have the busy season blues but too lazy or untalented to write a song about it? Email us at [email protected] and someone will tell your story. Hi GC Long time reader, first time emailer. I am a first year manager at a Big 4 firm. For the past 4 months I have had this […]
It's Fat Tuesday which means a whole lot of people in New Orleans have been drunk for the past 7-8 hours and the sober ones…well, no one is sober in New Orleans today. ANYWAY, for you rubes that don't know squat about Mardi Gras (this includes myself), the King of Carnival is the "ebullient Rex," and […]
A blind item from the front: It has come to my attention that a manager in the [redacted] office of [redacted] is leaving the firm. Her last day is officially this Friday. The two partners have asked her to come in the Saturday and Sunday after her official last day, and she has agreed. I […]
Apparently a big shot audit partner has seen one too many of his tax brethren running for the door: Supposedly a high-ranking audit partner at [top ten firm] sent an email to the entire partnership in which he blasts the national tax leader for spending the firm's money on management retreats when he should […]
Bryan N. Polozola simply misremembered that he took that exact amount of money from a old employer. Problem is, he misremembered with the SEC: Polozola was the subject of a 2005 NASD (now FINRA) proceeding alleging that he took $49,350 in funds from a former employer for his personal use. Polozola neither admitted nor denied […]
On Wednesday we reported that the latest entries into the accounting firm merger orgy were Wipfli and Eide Bailly. Today, the firms rolled out their trite little song and dance about client service, expanded geography and whatnot but we've been over that, so we'll spare you from repeating those details. What we do have is a […]
A “Senior Associate” who was not impressed with the firm’s effort tipped us to an ad in today’s Journal. SUBJECT: How the hell have you not done a story on PwC’s terrrrrrrrrrrrrible ad in the WSJ???? What are you guys asleep at the switch? PwC ran shitty ad featuring our new brand in the WSJ. The partners […]
Ed. note: Are you in the throes of holiday cheer but deep in the belly of career jeer? Email us at [email protected], we’ll lend you an ear.
I’ll try to keep this short and to the point.
I’ll be starting my career soon with a firm that will be merging with another. Should I be wary of anything that could change on my end?
The first question to cross my mind was “what firms are merging?” Caleb suggested that our contributor could be from CliftonLarsonAllen, covered on Going Concern last month. Poor Gunderson. But yes, mergers (MERGERS!) can be fun/daunting/HR headaches/swag gold mines. Below are a few things to expect.
Client Coddling: Priority #1 in any merger is for the partners to assure their clients’ confidence in the new, stronger firm. Employee cross-over from one firm to the other’s engagements can be expected on the lower levels, but expect partners to remain active on their respective clients.
Crash Courses in Firm Lingo: Here come the HR tutorials. Acronyms – the lifeblood to any public accounting firm – will have to be efficiently combined. More so, understanding what “the other guys” do is very important from a sales perspective. Understanding the merger’s strengths will not only be beneficial in making current employees confident and comfortable with the merger, but they will be prepared to answer the inevitable client question of, “why did you merge with THEM?”
IT/HR headaches: “Who do I call for computer questions?” “Who is my HR contact?” “Are we UPS or FedEx now?” “How do we submit T&E?” There are bound to be efficiencies in the day-to-day operations of the newly merged. But, inefficiencies in the short term will hopefully lead to long-term improvements.
SWAG: Let’s end this dance on a good note. HR should be ordering up all kinds of stylish pens, travel sized 10 keys, and XXL hoodless sweatshirts. Most of the goodies will be slated to hit cover the desks of clients to keep them in the loop of Gunderson’s departure from the picture. However, look out for your office’s HR professional at the holiday party (i.e. – get them wasted) and see if they’ll hook you up with some of the leftovers.
Today in KPMG is the PwC Triple-A team news, partner Erik Hansen has joined the P. Dubs Houston office as a risk assurances partner leading the firm’s Internal Audit Practice in the Oil and Gas Industry Sectors. I suppose it goes without saying that Mr. Hansen is pretty adept in the energy field, as well as auditing:
Hansen has served companies in the oil and gas industry on issues related to internal audit outsourcing and co-sourcing solutions, Sarbanes-Oxley assistance services, as well as other risk and control-related services. He has also served as an instructor in several KPMG training programs designed to provide partners and managers with the skills and knowledge necessary to be effective in the marketplace.
Enjoy Houston, Erik! Just keep your wits about you at the happy hours down there.
For the most part, performance reviews are a fairly disappointing affair. You walk in, prepared to explain why you’re such a badass CPA only to be informed that you’re pretty average. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that your auditing/tax/advisory skills could use some improvement and there are many, many other people that deserve more money than you. For whatever reason, occasionally a performance counselor will take the opportunity in the review process to get a little personal. Feedback like, “Personal hygiene needs work,” or “Dresses like a slob,” or “Sucks as a human being,” is hardly constructive but has been known to happen. This morning we have yet another example of someone getting a little nasty.
Here’s our recipient/tipster:
I have gotten some interesting evaluations by the Partner in my office over the last couple of years. I would be curious to know if other public accountants get the same amount of candid feedback that my partner is willing to provide. Here is a sample of what I received on a recent evaluation:
“I have also commented to ___ on his professional dress. It appears he was compliant with firm policy regarding attire without collars, but I must admit that the overall choice was on the very low scale of professional dress. I believe ___ has taken action to correct this matter and I encourage him to “dress for success.” I also encourage ___ to place greater emphasis on proper table manners. In particular, not eating french fries with your hands while with a client at a nice restaurant.
Our tipster explains that his dress “was a nice, crew neck sweater with brown slacks, [the partner] was pissed off that there was no collar. I sent him an email with the firm dress policy to prove that it was within the guidelines.”
But really, our reader admits, “the french fry comment is the best. The restaurant was middle-tier at best.”
As our reader said, he’s looking for similar stories, so if you’ve been admonished for rocking a turtleneck or ignoring your knife and fork, share your stories below. And then you should feel shame. SHAME.
I kid, I kid. There are plenty of KPMG partners who couldn’t be happier if they were PwC partners. ANYWAY, that’s beside the point. What is the point is that former House of Klynveld partner Leslie Coolidge is running for U.S. Congress in Illinois’ Sixth District. Why would a seemingly normal
person CPA opt for a career in the dungeon asylum hellhole that is the House of Representatives? Well, she has her reasons:
“Like many of us, I have become increasingly dismayed by the apparent unwillingness of our current Congress to address the critical issues facing our country today,” Coolidge, 52, said. “As I watched the brinksmanship this summer as Congress actually considered letting our country go into financial default, I knew I could no longer sit on the sidelines. As a CPA, I can delve into and understand complex financial matters and create innovative solutions that make sense. In addition, much of my career was spent negotiating among parties with divergent views to find ways to successfully move forward, something Congress is not doing.”
An agent of change! A uniter, not a divider! All that crap! How could it go wrong?
Mark J. Mendola has been named as PwC’s U.S. Tax leader and a vice chairman of the firm. He will also serve as a member of the firm’s U.S. leadership team and the global Tax leadership team. Additionally, he will be responsible for the network of Tax practices across the Americas, including Canada, Mexico and South America.
For those keeping close tabs on this sort of thing, MJM joined PwC in ’86, no doubt inspired to join the tax practice thanks to the efforts of the Gipper & Co. He joined the partnership in ’98 with no indication that he strayed to the HoK. Word on the street is that KPMG is pretty bent out of shape over the competitive poaching, so PwC must be backing off. For now, anyway.
As we trudge towards busy season, there are certain things that everyone gets a little anxious about. Like not seeing the sun for three months. Like putting on an extra 15-20 pounds because you’re stuffing your face with takeout three nights (minimum) a week. Oh! and then there’s the hours. Right, the hours.
For those of you t awhile, you know how the game works. Do you really spend 14 hours a day staring at a spreadsheets, slapping together financial puzzles without nary a drop in your production? Obviously not. Some of you take smoke breaks. Some of you have the audacity to take a lunch hour. Some of you drop by this fine publication to keep yourself abreast of the latest haps in accounting world (and leave the page open all day). Some of you, on average, spend 15-30 minutes watching your your cubicle crush from afar thinking that you’ll just mosey over and say “What’s up? Numbers, huh?” only to snap out of your daydream.
All this non-billable time accumulates into a decent portion of your day. Accordingly, you work a little later to make up for your lack of productivity, charge the appropriate hours (based on your increasingly tighter budget) and you call it a day.
For those newer to the game, you may look up at the clock, note that it’s 6 pm and you think to yourself, “What did I accomplish today?” The answer: not much. But since there’s not charge code for “Fucking Around – General” and slamming it all to an administration code isn’t such a good move, you slip it into a code for a client that you’re supposedly working on. No problem, right?
Well, your managers and partners might have a problem. They look at the billed hours and then try to gauge what your progress is. If there are hundreds of hours and you have jack squat to show for it, people are going to be pissed.
With all that in mind, I’ll share a query from a reader out of Grant Thornton’s New York office:
I would like to know how wide-spread “Eating Hours” is at GT (NYC).
You are put on a project, its a lot of work, and as time progress more and more work piles on you. You end up putting a lot of hours. The manager/partner says that hours will not be a problem, and that you should bill all hours worked.
When the project is just about over, after you had worked tons of hours, when you are least expect it, they pull you into a meeting and admonishing you that there was no way that you worked those hours. (Basically calling you a thief to your face).
After that meeting, you are told to adjust all hours over and above the budgeted 35-40 hours work week.
Even though I am not an hourly employee, I do feel robbed in two ways. First, I can’t really enjoy the accomplishment of the project because I feel so cheated, unappreciated and disrespected by this unethical behavior. Additionally, I feel stress because how can I be expected to meet the already unrealistic utilization goals when those scumbags make me eat hours?
Okay, let me say first that I do not doubt this person’s account of being jerked around by a manager or partner with regard to hours. However, it’s a little bit unbelievable if this meeting where the de-pantsing occured came without any warning. Most of your superiors – whether they are partners, managers, SAs, whatever – are not completely unreasonable people. They don’t all of sudden turn on a dime and say, “Everything I told you was a lie. You should have known that you shouldn’t have been billing all those hours.” If that is the case, then you work for assholes.
Hopefully, if eating hours is expected of you, they tell you up front. I had former colleagues that were on engagements like this where a Senior Manager simply let them know exactly how many hours they were expected to bill but it was pretty obvious that they were going to be working far more than that to get the job done. It’s a fucked up equation to be sure, but at least you know what you’re up against. This has nothing to do with firms or offices but rather the people running the engagement.
As for GTNYC, it’s pretty tough to know how widespread the practice of eating hours is. How widespread is the alcoholism? Or doucebaggery? It’s not quantitative. But our tipster is still concerned:
I have spoken to many of my friends at other Big 4, at regional firms, and at smaller firms and no one had experienced it as bad as some of us here in GT (NYC).
Fine. But you’re very small cross-section of a huge population. Maybe you were just on a couple of bad engagements with bad partners/managers. It happens. Believe it.
For the Purple People Eaters out there, is eating hours at GT a problem? Does Vault have it all wrong? Eating hours definitely doesn’t win, but does it pay? Discuss below.
As you probably heard, the PCAOB officially put out a proposal earlier this week for audit partners to be named in the annual reports of public companies. It would also require “registered firms to disclose the name of the engagement partner for each audit report already require the form” and “disclosure in the audit report of other accounting firms and certain other participants that took part in the audit.”
While most Big 4 audit partners are probably feeling a little chapped by this whole proposal, there is at least one person going on record (by way of PCAOB comment letter) that feels that it doesn’t go far enough. That would be Carson Block, the CEO and founder of research firm Muddy Waters. In Block’s letter (in full on page 2) to the Board he writes that not only should the engagement partner be identified but that he or she should be putting their name on the audit opinion because “[it] will decrease investors’ future losses to fraud and gimmicky accounting by billions of dollars.”
That on it’s own is enough to get more than a few people riled up. But as we indicated, there are some conspiracy and fraud accusations as well:
Even the most reputable auditors in China seem to be in a race to the bottom. We believe that there are particularly egregious situations in which some Big Four partners in China offices have actually conspired with their clients to defraud investors. Further, it is a reasonable proposition that the conflict of interest inherent in the Chinese auditors’ business model also affects the quality of US company audits.
Now before your knickers in a twist, don’t forget that this is the guy who called Sino-Forest a “Ponzi Scheme for the 23rd Century” which more or less looks to be accurate. Further, if you consider all the trouble Big 4 firms have had with Chinese companies listed in the U.S. and elsewhere, it doesn’t seem to be that much of a stretch that some partners would just say fuck it and work with their clients to keep a lid on the shenanigans than go through the pain of actually doing their jobs.
Regardless, with these accusations the PCAOB may try to make another run at getting the Chinese to play ball.
That’s right boys and girls, 166 new lucky Klynveldians will be taking a seat at the big kids table, only to be poached by PwC in the next 2-3 years. Despite the risk that many of these new partners will trade blue squares for autumnal Atari, John Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer were excited to welcome the newest members of the club:
“These new partners are role models for high performance – with a passion for quality, an unyielding commitment to integrity and outstanding service, and a dedication to helping clients cut through the complexity in this dynamic environment,” said John B. Veihmeyer, Chairman of KPMG’s Americas region and Chairman and CEO of KPMG LLP (U.S.).
“We are very proud of each of these new partners, and we look forward to their continued leadership. We’re especially grateful to the spouses, family, friends, coworkers, and mentors who have played a key role in their development and their career success,” Veihmeyer said.
Henry R. Keizer, Deputy Chairman of the Americas region and Deputy Chairman and COO, KPMG LLP (U.S.) said, “With their steadfast focus on technical excellence, professionalism, teaming and relationship building, these new partners have helped us make great strides in achieving our strategic priorities.
“Their ability to engage and motivate our people has also been critical to our efforts in fostering a high-performance culture – thereby driving the firm and our people to the next level,” Keizer said.
The KPMG press release doesn’t have a breakdown of the numbers but luckily we got our virtual hands on an email that has the breakdown. We won’t name names but it’s probably moot since someone at PwC Experienced Hire recruiting probably has them all on a hit list already. ANYWAY, here’s the breakdown by service line for the U.S. (74 new partners):
Advisory – 26
Audit – 27
Tax – 21
And by line of business:
Information, Communications and Entertainment – 12
Financial Services – 17
Healthcare and Pharm – 5
Industrial Markets – 19
Private Equity – 4
Mid Market – 3
Government/Public Sector – 1
Consumer Markets – 9
Other – 4
Congrats to all the new partners!
How’s that going by the way? Are you on the partner track or do you have partner tracks on your back? Haven’t given it much thought lately but hey, this is what you’re doing and sure, making partner seems like a sweet gig, amiright?
Well an interesting statement from the Grumpy Old Accountants today got me to thinking about all of you hoping for a seat at the big table:
In fact, in the Big Four accounting firms today, if you don’t make partner, you often are considered a loser.
Now this little snippet comes out of a much larger discussion about why some many accountants are cheaters (it’s because everyone wants to be perceived as a “winner”). That’s a fine discussion as well, and the GOA post is worth a read, but we’ll focus on the notion that “no parter = loser.”
I certainly had my own partner aspirations for a brief point in time and many of you out there in Big 4 land have them right now. For me, my attitude changed when I observed a few partners, saw what their workload and lives were like and thought, “JESUS H. CHRIST, BEING A PARTNER SUCKS.”
The problem is, if you’re appear to be making a career for yourself at a Big 4 firm (I was quite the nomad which doesn’t really work), what is the ultimate goal? No one says to themselves, “I’d be fine with making Senior Manager in 8-10 years and then spending THE NEXT 30 in that same position.” As such, partner is a goal for many of you. However, we all know that Senior Manager is a parking lot in most service lines, so it may not be 30 years at SM but it’ll sure seem like 30. Having said that, if you like your firm, are reasonably good to FUCKING AWESOME at your job, then why wouldn’t you want to make partner? Not all Big 4 partners are created equal but if you’re on the fast track at PwC, would doing anything less than being admitted to the partnership satisfy your professional ambitions? And if you give up on career goals because…well, just because…does that not make you a L-O-S-E-R?
The answer is no. Personally, I’ve seen plenty of people with partner-level talent, hot on the partner track give it up because 1) something better comes along; 2) They want their life back; 3) SOMETHING BETTER COMES ALONG. In fact, many new partners are working harder than ever (i.e. “like a 2nd Year Senior Associate” has been overheard). Does that sound like a “winner” to you? GOA might have it exactly bassackwards. The last thing most Big 4 alums will tell you is that they feel like losers because they didn’t make partner. Quite the opposite in fact. It’s probably more accurate to say you’re a loser if you think you’ve got a shot at making partner at a Big 4 firm.
Professor Ketz clarifies below (seen via Twitter) that they the GOAs were talking about the culture within the Big 4 firms rather than you individual losers:
As we said, “… IN THE BIG FOUR ACCOUNTING FIRMS TODAY, if you don’t make partner, you often are considered a loser” (emphasis added). We were discussing the culture of the large accounting firms–we were not discussing our evaluations of those who are not partners. After all, we aren’t partners and we hope we aren’t losers!!
I’ll continue my contrary narrative here and argue that this not the case either. As we know, Big 4 firms sell themselves as great places to start careers but they don’t regularly make the case that this is where you want to spend 15-20 years of your professional life. The culture inside has evolved to accept attrition as part of the formula and that younger professionals are anxious when it comes to getting ahead. In fact, things have changed so much that convincing the talented professionals to stay is part of the culture. Hearing “You’ve got a bright future here,” from a pair of partners over lunch is standard these days because they know the “winners” will leave and the “losers” don’t know when to get out.
The FT reports that the average partner in the UK took home £763,000, up 1% from last year. Ian Powell, the Chairman of the UK firm, took home £3.7 million. The average take home at P. Dubs puts Deloitte partners to shame who only managed to scrape together an average of £758,000, down from £873,000. What does the mean for the partners in the States? Probably nothing but it could indicate that Deloitte’s reign as the biggest of the Big 4 could be a one year wonder. [FT]
We’ve chronicled many cases of poaching in these pages, focusing mainly on PwC’s harvest of KPMG partners. You may have thought that this type of competition occurred between the top firms with the occasional outlier of an obscure firm catching a Big 4 fish. Not so! Accounting Today reports that a super-regional [?] firm also doesn’t mind mixing it up with its smaller rivals:
Lisa J. Cines, CPA, has joined super-regional firm Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP as managing partner of the firm’s Rockville office. Previously, Cines had spent almost 30 years with Top 100 Firm Aronson, including serving as managing officer from 2001 to 2010. Most recently she was partner-in-charge of business and corporate development.
Thirty years at a firm including nine years as a managing officer isn’t anything to sneeze at, so this jump from Rockville, MD-based Aronson – a firm with approximately $56 million in revenues – to DHG who has roughly $280 in revenues (both numbers based on the most recent stats) this late in one’s career makes us wonder. Perhaps you can read between the lines for us:
“Dixon Hughes Goodman represents the future of accounting – a firm with a commitment to market niches and depth within its areas of service,” she said. “I look forward to this new phase of my career with such a dynamic organization.”
Maybe pinstripes are a little too prevalent at Aronson? That’s the theory we’re going with at the moment. If you’ve got other ideas, let us know.